This biography, at the articulation of the personal story and the research projects, is a late work of memory without returning to the archives.
Links in blue refer to long written topics . I am the author of the photos presented here, except for a few marked ©.



Tales and tallies of the court – Gateway to the harem


When I started making films, I knew nothing about technical procedures, but I did know how to tell ‘cinema’ from ‘crap’, as I called it! After my teens and during my studies, I spent a lot of time in cinemas. My top list was made up of American independents and a few other auteurs.

Screening of “Après l’océan” ©Gauz

In our preteens, a friend and I used to sneak out of the house to watch gory Chinese films in Bangkok. I was attracted by the cinema facades adorned with huge automated scenes, like a burly guy with a ponytail performing a single gesture: cutting off a head on a chopping block, holding up the bloody head and then, of course, doing it all over again. The horror on screen was so great that it affected my memory. But I still have the crazy impression of having been in the middle of the most macabre scenes, as far away as possible from the diplomatic world in which I was brought up. It forged in me an unbreakable bond with cinema.


En 1982, je me suis lancée dans un film issu de ma thèse Les Temps du pouvoir. Par manque d’assurance face à une caméra, je voulais travailler avec un chef opérateur. Rouch m’a dit : Si jamais tu fais ça, c’est un coup de pied dans les fesses. Tu dois tourner avec tes yeux et pour le son, tu prendras sur place Moussa mon ingénieur du son.

Quelques temps après, il m’a envoyé à Jean-Pierre Beauviala, fondateur et inventeur des caméras Aaton en m’annonçant qu’il était en train de concevoir une « caméra agricole » : C’est ce qu’il te faut !

Jean-Pierre savait que je ne sortais pas d’une école de cinéma et que je ne connaissais rien à rien. Je n’appartenais pas aux « professionnels de la profession » et cela l’amusait que je décide de partir seule au Niger réaliser mon premier film. Par la suite, je suis devenue une aatonienne défoncée. Pas seulement pour les merveilleuses caméras !

Jean-Pierre with Zazou, my dog

In 1982, I embarked on a film based on my thesis, Les Temps du pouvoir.(Times of Power). I lacked confidence using the camera, so I wanted to work with a photography director. Rouch told me: “If you ever do that, you’ll get a kick up the backside. You have to shoot with your eyes and for the sound, get Moussa, my sound engineer”.
Some time later, he sent me to Jean-Pierre Beauviala, the founder and inventor of Aaton cameras, telling me that he was designing an ‘agricultural camera’: Just what you need!

Jean-Pierre knew that I hadn’t been to film school and that I knew absolutely nothing. I didn’t belong to the “movie professionals” and it amused him that I planned to go off to Niger alone to make my first film. After that, I became a staunch Aatonian. And not just because of the great cameras!

Les Temps du pouvoir – Meeting in a village