Cine-Monde: Photographs by Xavier Lambou
By Dave Crossley
Bibliotheque Andre Malraux, 78 Boulevard Raspail
Parisians seem to love two things in their photography: fashion and film stars. The fashion is supposed to represent right now while the past is kept alive with photographs of movie stars. Xavier Lambours photographs the latter, but he has not lingered long with the typical soft light, romantic images we're all used to. Some of his photographs are fierce, especially one of Lee Marvin and another of Orson Welles. He has photographed Francois Truffaut (who had just died and whose picture had a small black ribbon across the corner of the frame) Lillian Gish, Anthony Perkins, Martin Scorcese, Jeanne Moreau, Robert de Niro, and many others.
But these are pictures of celebrities that one would actually stop and look at. Sometimes its just a little trick, a different viewpoint, shot from below perhaps.
But more often it's some sort of connection Lambours seems to have made with his subject, a way of working that's similar to the way Annie Leibovitz is able to get inside and tear everything up and rearrange the furniture so we can actually see what the place looks like.
Something curious is going on in Lambours' mind. Right in the middle of this exhibition of photographs of famous people is a print of a cow’s udder. And in a little alcove is a series of square pictures of a fellow wearing a sort of mandarin robe, little wire glasses, huge fake ears, and a beanie with a propeller on top He is seen on rides at fairgrounds, sitting on lampposts on bridges, being laughed at by a policeman, and almost always with a big lawn chair, which he drags around the streets of Paris.
Lambours has obviously been off the deep end for quite a while, and France is surely fortunate to have him around occasionally to lift its people out of their melancholy.