Les Frustrés de Bretécher between humor and sociology

Les Frustrés de Bretécher between humor and sociology

The philosopher Roland Barthes said of the great comic book scriptwriter that she was “the greatest French sociologist”. Madelen presents interviews with this ninth art artist.

The Frustrated of Claire Bretecher marked the 70s.These are stories of men and women who flaunt their contradictions, think on the left and live on the right.“, then confided the designer, surprised by this success and the spontaneous declaration of Roland Barthes: “She is the best French sociologist“.

Thus in 1975, a series of cartoons for television was born around the unifying themes of these chronicles. They recount, with tenderness and irony, the little daily hassles of a sample of the population, made up of bohemian bourgeois, middle or senior executives, and emancipated women. They wonder about the divorce, remake the world during evenings that never end, spend their holidays on a beach where they are bored.

Pioneer of research and innovation on small screens, Jean Frapat became in 1975, the producer of these cartoons or more exactly of what we called “tracings“: we discover on the screen the sketches of the characters on a black background, accompanied by comments with the voices of Tsilla Chelton, Michael Lonsdale and Dominique Lavanant, Bretécher’s best friend. Madelen invites you to discover or rediscover these 5-minute sequences, broadcast for one season.

A great modest artist

Disappeared three years ago, Claire Bretécher is considered, in the history of comics, as the first woman designer of what has been called the 9th art. Coming from Nantes without a penny, she began discreetly in the mid-1960s, thanks to René Goscinny who asked her to direct in The marrow bonea series of strips called The Rh factor. She then joined the editorial staff of the newspaper Pilotcreates, with Gotlib and Mandryka the magazine The echo of the Savannasand enters New Observer where will be published The Frustratedas well as its other series, starting with Agrippina And Cellulite. “My basic idea has always been to draw ordinary people and women, neither beautiful nor ugly, but simply normal she said in one of her rare media confessions.

She has always hated talking about herself. “I have often dreamed that the whole earth knows my drawings but no one knows who I am“, she assured with deadpan humor, which has become one of her trademarks. In forty years, she has produced several thousand boards, often in pain. Unable to stay at her desk to come up with an idea, she waited for inspiration to come to her. When she started a story, she was always enthusiastic, telling herself that she was holding there, a brilliant subject. When writing the word “ END “, after spending dozens of hours to find the right attitude of a character, she changed her mind: this story was zero and the album would not have the slightest success.

The rising curve of sales demonstrated the opposite. His gags, however, have not always been unanimous. “For my readers, I am a pioneer of feminism, but for feminists, I am a slapper“, she confided a few years before her departure. On this occasion, she clarified that allergic to any form of activism, she had chosen to defend the so-called weaker sex, in words rather than in deeds. It is probably for this reason that his work has survived him and is now considered a classic.

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