Unemployed after being fired from the play he was rehearsing in Paris and at odds with his partner Françoise, Christian took refuge in the Corbières with his friend Nathalie. She has fallen in love with Hippolyte, who joins them between two business trips. His arrival causes tension, so much so that Christian settles in the Countryside of Cicero, the property of his friend Hermance. On the spot, he notices that Françoise has also been invited…
Constructed like an impressionist canvas, La Campagne de Cicéron paints the sentimental destinies of a group of friends in need of love. Shot in the sumptuous landscapes of the Corbières, this bittersweet comedy announces the way of filming the feelings that will mark the 90s. Long lost, La Campagne de Cicéron is a masterpiece of French cinema, a peak of intelligence celebrated by greatest authors, from Paul Vecchiali to Éric Rohmer.
“Dear Jacques Davila,
I saw your movie. It was a delight. Even more: a shock. Of the same nature as the one I felt, one evening in 1946 or 7, at the Raspail studio, at the screening of the Dames du Bois de Boulogne. Just as The Ladies was a landmark film of the 50s, I am convinced that The Campaign of Cicero will be one of the 90s.
Do not be surprised by this comparison. I know: these two films have very little in common; I even believe that you got rid better than anyone of those Bressonian hints that still float in French auteur cinema. But, in either case, one breathes in the work an air of indisputable and triumphant novelty.
Just as Bresson, in 1945, questioned the "poetic realism" of the interwar period, so you suddenly sweep away the fashionable (and already outdated) aesthetics of the 70s and 80s. : this expressionism, this theatricality which took itself for style, this cult of the advertising photo which had nothing to do with pictoriality, this poverty of the narration and the dialogue which no longer revealed I do not know what modernity, but the pure and simple impotence.
You bring to yourself rigor, invention, intelligence, poetry (the real one, not that of video clips), the truth, the beauty of words, gestures and, which is not the least merit, after so many dismal years, finally, humor. Your film shows that not only is cinema not "finished", but that the world it scrutinizes and searches has not finished revealing its daily splendors to us. It's one of those films that teaches us to see and makes us want to say like Rimbaud: “Now I know how to salute beauty”. »
Published in Les Cahiers du cinema (N°429, MARCH 1990)
CICERO'S CAMPAIGN (1989 – Colors – 107 mins) unreleased on DVD
Directed by Pierre-Henri GIBERT . A VAUDEVILLE THAT ENDS BADLY? (48 mins) In the Corbières, Cicero's Campaign revives the memory of an iconoclastic and unbridled world, where the most banal daily life becomes strange and where quirky humor is never far from drama.
. CATERING (14 mins) How can such a recent film disappear? Why did we have to restore it? The Cinémathèque de Toulouse is conducting the investigation.