Bambi, A French Woman
Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle for Love is Love: Sébastien Lifshitz’s LGBTQ+ Portraits, five films directed by Frenchman Sébastien Lifshitz. First up is Bambi, A French Woman [Bambi, une nouvelle femme] , a new longer cut of his 2013 documentary short Bambi.
- Screening Date: Saturday, April 22nd, 2023 | 1:00pm
- Venue: The Mason O. Damon Auditorium at Buffalo Central Library
- Specifications: 2021 / 83 minutes / French with English subtitles / Color
- Director(s): Sébastien Lifshitz
- Print: Supplied by The Party Sales
- Tickets: Free and Open to the Public
Downtown Central Library Auditorium
1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203
(Enter from Clinton Street between Oak and Washington Streets)
716-858-8900 • www.BuffaloLib.org
COVID protocol will be followed.
Bambi was born in the suburb of Algiers in Bordj-Ménaïel in 1935. Her name was Jean-Pierre. Against all expectations, he tears himself away from his native land that he loves so much to join the Paris of the 1950s. He then begins a new life, where he will be able to free himself from his fears, from his malaise which the secret carefully. Thanks to the world of cabarets and his new friends at the Caroussel, he began his transformation and very quickly became a music hall star, better known as Bambi. Jean-Pierre is now called Marie-Pierre Pruvot, she is 77 years old and lives on a small pension from the National Education. It is she who tells us about her funny life.
The film will be constructed as a sort of collage made up of photos, super 8 images filmed by Bambi herself, or by her friends, including the famous Ladybug, the first famous transsexual in France; scraps of archives recovered from French or Italian television; excerpts from fiction films where Bambi played small roles.
Bambi’s life is almost a screenwriter’s invention, except it’s a real life and she’s the one who lived it. With this mosaic of sources, we are going to tell the story of a woman who was multiple, the story of a life where Bambi had to glue together faces so different from herself.
From the day she was born in Algiers, Marie-Pierre has always wanted to wear dresses and has stubbornly refused her given name: Jean-Pierre. At the age of 17, her life takes a major turn when she comes upon a drag show on tour: le Carrousel de Paris. Marie-Pierre becomes Bambi, and within a few years establishes herself as a legendary figure of the Parisian cabaret scenes of the 50s and 60s. By collecting the story of one of the first transgender women, Sebastien Lifshitz continues his work initiated with Wild Side and Little Girl and portraits a forceful personality. This updated version of the film extends and deepens the short-film released in 2013 to become the feature-length version the director has always dreamt of making.
“My work centers essentially on the idea of the portrait, that is to pick an individual and try to picture his or her inner landscape – one could almost call it the inner space. And the discontinued narrative helps me to approach it.”
Courtesy of The Lives of Thérèse press kit:
After studying art history, Sébastien Lifshitz began working in the world of contemporary art in 1990, assisting curator Bernard Blistène at the Pompidou Center, and photographer Suzanne Lafont. In 1994, he turned to filmmaking with his first short, Il faut que je l’aime.
In 1995, he made a documentary about film director Claire Denis, and in 1998 he completed his mid-length feature Open Bodies, which was selected for numerous international film festivals, including Cannes and Clermont-Ferrand, and won the Prix Jean Vigo and the Kodak Award for Best Short Film. In 1999, he directed Cold Lands for Arte as part of their series Gauche-Droite. The film was selected for the Venice Film Festival.
In 2000, he directed his first full-length feature, Come Undone, hailed by the critics and released internationally. In 2001, his second full-length feature, a documentary – road movie entitled The Crossing, was selected for the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. In 2004 he began shooting Wild Side, which went on to be selected for numerous international festivals and won, among other awards, the Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award. In 2009 he shot Going South, which was selected for the 2010 Berlin Film Festival. Then in 2012, he directed Les Invisibles, a documentary film selected in Cannes Film Festival in the Official Selection. The film won the César (French Academy Award) for Best Documentary of 2013. That same year, he completed the documentary Bambi which was presented at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Teddy Award. In 2014, Sébastien Lifshitz received the «Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.»
- Casa Susanna (2022)
- Bambi, une nouvelle femme [Bambi, A French Woman] (2021)
- Petite Fille [Little Girl] (2020)
- Avenue de lamballe (2019)
- Adolescents (2019)
- Les vies de Thérèse [The Lives of Thérèse] (2016)
- Bambi (2013)
- Les invisibles [The Invisibles] (2012)
- Plein sud [Going South] (2009)
- Jour et nuit (2008)
- Les temoins (2006)
- Wild Side (2004)
- La traversée [The Crossing] (2001)
- Presque rien [Come Undone] (2000)
- Les terres froides [Cold Lands] (1999)
- Les corps ouverts [Open Bodies] (1998)
- Claire Denis la vagabonde (1995)
- Il faut que je l’aime (1994)
Here is a curated selection of links for additional insight/information:
- Cultivate Cinema Circle info-sheet – link
- “There have been moments in my life that have been so visually impacting that they are forever engraved vividly in my memory. I remember coming home, putting down my bags and hurriedly opening my newly bought thrift-store treasure. I sat in silence on my futon (as I had no other furniture) with an extremely bright bare light bulb over me as the wall-unit air conditioner hummed away. As I began to turn the pages I became transfixed by the extraordinary imagery before me, depicting ‘transvestites’ of the 1950s Parisian cabarets in glamour, candid, performance and group photos. I was simply astounded. Who were these creatures? How could this have existed then? How were they so beautiful? How did they have breasts? As my mind raced with endless questions I turned the pages and came upon a stunning blonde that looked like an ethereal goddess of the silver screen. The caption simply read ‘Bambi.’ Transition is unique for everyone. People often ask me, “When did you know you were trans?” – as if it was some sort of epiphany in which suddenly everything lights up theatrically, bells sound, a sequined halo appears and you declare: ‘I AM WOMAN.’ My journey was foggy at best. And in another of those visually impacting moments in my life, it was not until I saw beautiful transsexual women in American pageant videos that I realized this was possible and that it was possibly me.” — Marie-Pierre Pruvot (Bambi), Antidote  – link
- “In 2013 Sébastien Lifshitz’s documentary, Bambi, won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the Berlin International Film Festival, one of a series of prizes for films exploring LGBT themes as decided by an independent committee of judges. Bambi tells the remarkable story of Marie-Pierre Pruvot, a French transsexual who became one of the most famous and long-standing performers at Le Carrousel de Paris, the Parisian nightclub where the Travesty Revue drew sell-out crowds. Pruvot, now 78, tells her story in conventional documentary fashion – straight to camera with no interventions from her interviewer – intercut with archive performance footage and Pruvot’s own home movies, filmed on Super 8. This standard, even old-fashioned, format works here partly because the world of the story is so fascinating, but mainly because Pruvot herself is such an intelligent, thoughtful and articulate subject…Sébastien Lifchitz has created a very clear, direct, narrative here, as determined by Pruvot’s telling of her own story in her own way, and there is an element of performance in that. Some other voices might have been a good idea – Pruvot’s siblings perhaps? – and the film could easily have been extended to feature length. As it is, this is sixty minutes in Bambi’s company that left me wanting more. More than anything, what you take away from this film is an approach to life that faces up to, and faces down, the challenges that present themselves. Marie-Pierre Pruvot is an inspirational figure because she dared to create the person she knew she is, rather than remain the person she was born as.” — Michael Langan, Polari Magazine  – link