The three lives of Just Jaeckin
– Le Télégramme
Posted on 03 September 2017 by The Telegram
No, Just Jaeckin is not the man of a single film which, in the early summer of 1974, thrilled France and then the whole world. "Emmanuelle", a film with eroticism chic, is still today one of the biggest hits of French cinema. But his director, who, in summer, runs quiet days in Saint-Briac, is also the author of several other feature films. The former star photographer is also a renowned visual artist.
"This is my last year to read Tintin! ". Just Jaeckin, sitting on a white couch with Jessie, his little dog, on his knees, is enjoying his 77 years. The serene face, the laughing eye, the relaxed body. He lives in a mill overlooking the countryside of Saint-Briac (35). From the first floor, he can even see the sea where he bathes every day.
"I spend eight months of the year in Marrakech and four months in Saint-Briac, says the director whose childhood is anchored in Britain. "I lived in Sainte-Marine (29) from 7 to 15 years old. My mother had a little house there. I even went to Glénans school and we were very friendly with Guillemots, Marc's parents, the navigator. "
Before returning to Brittany, the life of Just Jaeckin, whose grandfather, a soldier in the Austrian army who had invaded Alsace, merges with that of a great traveler. Sometimes by obligation. At 18, in 1958, he was forced to leave for twenty-eight months in Algeria, armed with his weapon, the camera. The war photographer lies on his film Ben Bella and Ben Barka. His brothers in arms are the journalist and writer, Philippe Labro, the director Francis Weber or the advertising Jacques Séguéla ... The photograph will follow in Paris. He then created, at Editions Filipacchi, the magazine "Mademoiselle age tender" in full period yéyé and, with the group Perdriel, collaborates with "New man".
Jane Fonda naked
Les stars se bousculent devant son objectif : Bardot, Deneuve, Barbara, Zizi Jeanmaire, Birkin, Gainsbourg… Mais l’un de ses clichés les plus célèbres reste celui de l’actrice américaine Jane Fonda qui se fait photographier nue en 1964. « C’est à sa demande, précise Just Jaeckin. C’est elle qui m’a choisi quand j’entreprenais un tour du monde pour le magazine Elle. Le portrait, c’est ma force. J’aime capter l’attention de mon modèle ». De la photo au cinéma, il n’y a parfois qu’un pas. Just Jaeckin le franchira. Mais avant le long-métrage, il s’essaie au film publicitaire. Avec succès. Il réalise le premier spot télévisé des bas Dim. Prémonition ?
8 million admissions in French
It remains to find the heroine. French actresses do not jostle. Eroticism, still too associated with porn, is scary. It is finally in Amsterdam that Just Jaeckin will find his rare pearl: Sylvia Kristel. With the sulfurous heroine, we find on the screen the Malouin Alain Cuny with whom the director will maintain relations less ... torrid. The current goes wrong between the two men. "Cuny? I called it "naked ass"! ". The release of the film on the traditional distribution circuit has not been a long quiet river. Censorship holds him back for six months. At its green light, it comes with a ban to 18 years. "Which did not stop him from staying thirteen years on the Champs Élysées. It made 8 million admissions in France, including 4.7 million admissions in Paris. And for 40 years, he has been on every TV in the world, says the director. A Russian was even sent to the Gulag for importing a cassette of the film. In fact, it's a film that has come at the right time: sexual liberation, the pill, the decriminalization of abortion ... ".
After the worldwide success of "Emmanuelle", Just Jaeckin will shoot several other films with soft eroticism: "Histoire d'O", "Madame Claude" ... Others also more confidential but which have met a success across the Atlantic as "Lady Chatterley's Lover".
"With the money I bought my freedom"
"Yes, I did commercial cinema. I made a lot of entries. But I am not part of any environment, no caste. I am a maverick. I have never been invited to Cannes or even to the British Dinard Film Festival, "admits without the hint of sarcasm Just Jaeckin. With the money, I bought my freedom.
The quest for the beautiful, he sought her through his films free from all vulgarity and obscenity. He continues with the sculpture, under the Moroccan sun, alongside his wife Anne with whom he exhibited in their Paris gallery. That will take back in one year Julia, his daughter of 23 years. "Yes, I am an old daddy", amused the septuagenarian, happy and fulfilled by his three lives.