In "Paul Nizon: a nail in the head", the director Christoph Kühn sketches the portrait of the Bernese writer exiled in Paris. History to evoke the surprising trajectory of one of the most famous Swiss authors.
Born in Bern in 1929, Paul Nizon is one of Switzerland's most famous writers. But it is in France, in Paris, that the 91-year-old author chose to go into exile and to rebuild his life over fifty years ago, leaving wife, children and dog to devote himself to literature. And become there what "he was supposed to be", he who asserts that "life, we gain it or we lose it".
Christoph Kühn's documentary in the form of an empathetic self-portrait, "Paul Nizon: a nail in the head", captures him in his privacy to evoke his surprising trajectory. The director, who likes to dwell on atypical and extraordinary personalities (Nicolas Bouvier, Bruno Manser, Friedrich Glauser, Alfonsina Storni), collects his confessions on his art and his career which he intersects with archives, excerpts read of his novels and staged imaginary scenes. It also reconstructs the tiny "alveole room" of the anonymous early Parisian years of a Nizon already celebrated in his native Helvetia. A "petty" country too narrow for him, where he feels unhappy and where the artist cannot flourish.
"Great philosopher of life"
This sudden exile has always fascinated the German-speaking director: "Above all, he is a man who is completely outside the norm, who has always taken the opposite course. When he left Switzerland and broke with everything, it was was the most promising Swiss-German writer. He had just published his novel 'Stolz', which was a huge success, and everything was open for him to enter the pantheon of German-speaking letters. This may interest you : The Blacklist season 8: episode 3, Liz ready to take revenge on Red in the promo video. He preferred to leave for a back- court, in Paris, where no one knew him. And that's pretty crazy and daring, and made me want to be interested in him, "explains Christoph Kühn to RTS.
The film, which borrows its title from Paul Nizon's last unfinished work, which began twelve years ago, returns extensively to this painful and lonely first Parisian period marked by the depression – "of the decisive years – of the writer whom Christoph Kühn also considers. as a "great philosopher of life".
Now published by Actes Sud, entered in the Larousse which praises its "sensual and refined prose" (a funny scene shows the writer reading his notice), Paul Nizon has sacrificed everything to literature, has still not parted with his typewriter, remains fascinated by the freedom of the tramps and continues to be angry.
Interview: Julie Evard and Pierre Philippe Cadert
"Paul Nizon: a nail in the head" by Christoph Kühn. A documentary to see on www.filmingo.ch.
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