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JOJO

Antoni Collot / France / 2021 / 90 min

Georges Bataille’s childhood reimagined in a dark and enigmatic film that stages the formative years of the French thinker and writer in free form. The backbone is a rare radio interview with Bataille, whose voice echoes like a ghost in the twilight.

A boy reads poetry to his father, who is blind and paralysed by syphilis. We are in the countryside, the house is dark and autumn is in the air. The boy’s name is Jojo, known later in life as the thinker, writer and ex-surrealist Georges Bataille: an almost untouchable cult figure in European intellectual life. Antoni Collot (who appears in the role of Jojo’s father) recreates his formative years in free form, but instead of letting childhood explain adulthood, he immerses us in the immediate world around Jojo, bearing in mind Bataille’s dictum that experience never should seek authority elsewhere than in itself. A rare radio interview with the French thinker speaks to us like a ghost through the twilight of a film that subverts any expectations of a traditional biopic.