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Jean-Pierre Gorin

Professor Emeritus


Jean-Pierre Gorin received his baccalaureate in Philosophy in 1960. He prepared for L'École Supérieure (Ulm) at the Lyçée Louis-le-Grand from 1960 to 1964 while pursuing his Licence de Philosophie at the University of Paris (Sorbonne).  In 1965, Gorin joined the editorial staff of Le Monde, the prestigious Parisian daily newspaper. From 1965 to 1968, he worked as an editor for its Literary Department and collaborated on the creation of its Weekly Literary Supplement (Le Monde des Livres). 

In 1966, he met the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Two years later, they created the Dziga Vertov Group. From 1968 to 1972, Gorin co-directed the films Wind from the East, 1969; Struggle in Italy, 1970; Vladimir and Rosa, 1971; Tout Va Bien, 1972; Letter to Jane, 1972. The films of the Dziga Vertov Group have long been recognized as seminal to the period of radical filmmaking of the late Sixties and early Seventies. They are historically significant for their pioneering critical reexamination of film language and its ideological implications. Selected bibliography of writing on the Dziga Vertov Group films and Gorin's role in their production include Double Feature, Michael Goodwin and Greil Marcus, Outerbridge and Lazard, New York, 1972; Cinema and Revolution, James Roy MacBean, Midland Books, Sister Bay Wisconsin, 1975; The New Wave, James Monaco, Oxford University Press, New York, 1976; How to Read a Film, James Monaco, Oxford University Press, New York, 1976; Godard, Images, Sound, and Politics, Colin McCabe, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1980; May '68 and Film Culture, Sylvia Harvey, British Film Institute Publishing, London, 1980; The Brechtian Aspect of Radical Cinema, Martin Walsh, British Film Institute Publishing, London, 1981; The Cinema Book: A Complete Guide to Under-standing the Movies, Pam Cook, Pantheon Books, New York, 1986; Film History, An Introduction, Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1994.

Gorin joined the faculty of the UCSD Visual Arts Department in 1975. His investigation of narrative led him toward documentary. He attempted to redefine the parameters of the genre in a series of three essay films done in and around San Diego which form a Southern California trilogy: Poto and Cabengo, 1978; Routine Pleasures, 1986 (Best Experimental Documentary Award, Festival dei Popoli, Florence, Italy, 1986); and My Crasy Life, 1991 (Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival, Park City Utah, 1992). These films have been selected for major film festivals in Europe as well as in the US; Venice, Italy; Edinburgh, Scotland; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Melbourne, Australia; Cannes, France; Florence, Italy; Munich, Germany; Sundance Film Festival; San Francisco, etc. They have been shown at major art venues both in Europe and in the US: Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Louvre in Paris, the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, etc. They have been aired on the following television stations: KQED, San Francisco; WNET, New York; Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, Germany; Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany; Arte, France/Germany; British Broadcasting Corporation, etc.

Gorin's American work has been discussed and analyzed in major film journals: Cahiers du Cinéma, Sight and Sound, The Independent, Trafic as well as in major art journals: Artforum, LAICA Journal, Afterimage, and has been reviewed in the following publications: Village Voice, New Yorker Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The London Times, The Independent, Libération, etc. Selected articles on Gorin's Southern California trilogy include "Double Trouble," by Amy Taubin, Soho Weekly News, March 19, 1980; "Stranger than Diction," by J. Hoberman, The Village Voice, March 31, 1980; "16 Ways to Pronounce Potato': Authority and Authorship in Poto and Cabengo," by Vivian Sobchack, The Journal of Film and Video, Fall, 1984; "The Obsessions of Routine Pleasures'", by Vincent Canby, The New York Times, April 30, 1986; "Trackies," by J. Hoberman, The Village Voice, May 6, 1986; "Critiquing The Documentary Cinema," by Daniel Marks, International Documentary, Spring/Summer, 1989; "Alice in Reverse, Proletarian Nights," by Lawrence McDonald, Illusions, 21/22, Winter 1993; "Letter to J.P.," by Bérénice Reynaud, MJC Terre-Neuve Publishers, 1993; "Gorin, L'Amérique," by Marie Christine Questerbert, Trafic, Fall 1994.

Since the completion of this work, Gorin has focused on the possibility of rethinking film narrative along musical structural lines. To this end, he wrote and directed Letter to Peter, 1992, a feature-length video essay around Peter Sellars' staging of Olivier Messiaen's four hour opera, Saint François d' Assise, at the Salzburg Music Festival. He has also directed the live recording of this four-hour opera for the national Austrian Network, Osterreichischer Rundfunk in August 1992.

Gorin's work is in the permanent collections of the Cinémathèque Française, the Cinémathèque de Belgique, the Pacific Film Archive, the Rotterdam Arts Council, the Film Study Collection of the National Library of Australia. Recently, his work has been the object of several retrospectives at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, United Kingdom, 1992; Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dunkerque, Dunkerque, France, 1993; and Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France, 1994. Gorin taught courses in film history and criticism, editing, and scriptwriting.