Did you think the Western was an exclusively American genre? Not really...
Tracing the history of early cinema, the documentary “Joe Hamman, the Frenchman Who Invented the Western” takes us in the footsteps of Joe Hamman, a French filmmaker who is recognized today as one of the inventors of the genre...
In the early twentieth century, Joe Hamman, Jean Paul Arthur Hamman was his real name, and was born in Paris on October 26, 1883. He would become the king of the United States Western.
He turned out dozens of films in the landscape of the large Wild West, he found ... in the part of France called Camargue!
Through his personal archive, his few friends and survivors - eyewitnesses of his incredible life - memories saved in books, drawings, film clips and analysis of the history of cinema specialists of orographic... Joe Hamman leads us in time and space, between Montmartre and the Pine Ridge Sioux plains; between South Dakota, the Camargue and Normandy.
It is the portrait of a man who had managed to remain a child until the end.
Here's the amazing and incredible story of a film pioneer, his introduction to the Western genre by Buffalo Bill himself, his successful career as a director, producer, actor and stuntman; the story of one of the inventors of the Western!
Following is an interview with Vincent Froelhy, author and film director
Q: Why this film?
VF: I worked for almost three years with Arte and France 3, on a documentary film about the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and its European tours, a history of the Americanization of Europe. By working on this, I discovered many unusual characters and incredible stories.
Joe Hamman was one of those characters whose journey I thought largely deserved a film. He is, indeed, one of the most important pioneers of cinema in France and has been completely forgotten by all.
Joe Hamman allowed me, seeing I am passionate about cinema and the Western, to reconcile the two and dive into a little-known side of the history of cinema.
It was very difficult to find documents, or even films by Joe Hamman. Some of his westerns are now totally lost; others have been found, restored and are sometimes visible during special events. This documentary pays tribute to a great man of the theater and the world of the western and I hope it will put a new light on him, because he is really forgotten in the history of the 7th art. In addition to being one of the inventors of the Western, we discovered that Joe Hamman was among the top stuntmen in the history of world cinema - it's probably the same precursor. And something that deserves that he be attached to it at the time in film history
[To be continued on February 20th]