Skip to main content


France, 1983 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Andre Antoine

Realised in 1920, The Swallow And The Blue Tit is a silent film about love, treachery and smuggling among barge dwellers. "The Swallow" and "The Titmouse" are barges captained by Pieter Van Groot who, accompanied by his wife and her younger sister, traverse the canals of Belgium and France ferrying coal and construction material for areas devastated by World War I. On the side, Van Groot smuggles diamonds and his wife lays aside a cache of delicate Belgian lace.

The film turned out to be more of a documentary, which led the original distributor to think that it wasn't commercial enough. He demanded more action but director Andre Antoine refused. The cutting copy was lost but six hours of rushes were found a few years ago in the vaults of the Cinematheque. "In the midst of the debate about 'colourisation' of old films, it is a revelation to be reminded of just how eloquent some of those early black-and-white productions were." [San Francisco Chronicle 30/1/87). Henri Colpi, the French editor of Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Last Year At Marienbad, was commissioned to produce a final print.

See also...


For his first film in six years, Robert Bresson has been inspired by a short story by Leo Tolstoy, "The Counterfeit Note". When making a delivery of fuel oil, a young Parisian workman is given a fake ... More »


A freelance cameraman travels around the world and wonders about the role of the images he creates. These images,as manifestations of his memories, are being commented upon by a woman friend, who ... More »


The film follows the dance group of Pina Bausch in Germany, Italy and Avignon in France during her most recent European tour. It shows the working atmosphere, the presentation, the intense ... More »


Akerman's Man With a Suitcase, starring herself, is an unexpected mixture of Chaplinesque comedy and poignant self-mockery. ... Returning home to write a film script and desperately needing the ... More »


"Life is a Novel"—Gothic novel, fairy tale and philosophical puzzle all in one seeming reputation of Napoleon's truism "la ... vie n'est pas un roman" (probably his version of "life wasn't ... More »

Le Cygne

With Yvette Chauvire, Dominique Khalfouni. In Le Cygne no one speaks, transmission occurs in silence; it's less about transmitting a role or shape, than an intensity, the naked intensity of the swan ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director