The personal and the political
in Jean Vigo
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Having completed Taris ou la natation in January 1931, the 25-year-old Jean Vigo now had two short films to his credit. One was an amateur experimental documentary with a small but significant critical reputation, the other a journalistic commission, which had introduced him to the world of professional filmmaking, and in particular to one of the major French production companies of the early 1930s, Gaumont, Franco-Film and Aubert (GFFA). When Zéro de conduite was shown in public for the first time, at the trade screening in April, the audience's reactions were violently split, mainly along lines of personal loyalty on the one hand, and ideological prejudice on the other. Thus the children appearing in the film, and their parents, were pretty delighted to see themselves portrayed on the screen. Likewise Vigo's extended family of artistic friends and political sympathisers were full of enthusiasm and vociferous approval.


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