A vast hydraulic factory in London is the site for a special kind of production. One of the world’s foremost portrait photographers, Brigitte Lacombe, is having her own documentary portrait made about her, here. While she candidly discusses her life and ideas with filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, we see Brigitte’s intimate process at work: the graceful movement from behind her camera towards the subjects she’s capturing. This cast includes her sister, Marian, and a series of other siblings, some related by blood, others by sheer love. A conversation about making images illuminates the film’s deep monochrome mood and Brigitte’s directing gaze. We look at her looking.
BRIGITTE, directed by Lynne Ramsay, is the 18th commission from Miu Miu Women’s Tales. The acclaimed short- film series invites today’s most profound and original female directors to investigate vanity and femininity in the 21st century.
“I hate having my photo taken. Brigitte was the first person who captured me,” admits Lynne. “She cast a magic spell. I wondered, ‘how did she do that?’” Originally trained as a stills photographer herself, Lynne says that when it comes to the documentary form, “I’ve never done anything like this before.” There’s a stripped back quality to BRIGITTE. “I want to show the artifice of the shoot,” Lynne reveals, “but I also wanted to cast characters that I’d cast in one of my films.” For Brigitte, who has been on-set photographer of the Miu Miu Women’s Tales productions, when Lynne approached her with the documentary idea, she says, “I absolutely wanted to be a part of it. And I always saw this as a collaboration.” BRIGITTE playfully inverts the question of who is directing whom. “I knew I wanted at the end to turn the camera on Lynne,” says Brigitte.
BRIGITTE gives a rare insight into this photographer’s creative rhythms, her obsession with human details, and how her lens articulates a way of relating to the world. A world rooted in family, sisterhood, work, sacrifice, and creative collaborations.