The Wars of Christine S.

The Wars of Christine S.

(Documentary, France, 2022, 89’, C, OV)

by Philippe Vallois

The Wars of Christine S.


Christine Spengler’s colorful personality contrasts with the darkness of her work. In an intimate setting, Philippe Vallois offers us a dialogue with the artist around her life and work, on all fronts, from her childhood in Spain to her most striking portraits.


My pictures are deliberately and intentionally bloodless, they look innocent, but they’re not.

I was sent to a bloody country where bulls were sacrificed … I had no idea that the blood I saw every Sunday in the Madrid arenas would lead me later to the bloody arenas of war.’Christine Spengler, Les guerres de Christine S.

It was in 1994 that I accompanied Christine to Beirut, which had just come out of the war. There were still attacks, minefields, and there I felt for the first time the intoxication of confronting the danger and the importance of overcoming it, in order to testify.Philippe Vallois, Les guerres de Christine S.

It is wrong to say that a photo is worth a thousand words. In that of the bombardment, there is missing the cries, the smells, the screams of the wounded, the whining of the horses that were rearing in the smoke. Later, I decided that anything I couldn’t photograph I would write. That’s why I wrote A Woman in the War [her autobiography], because it also allows me to communicate the cries and smells.Christine Spengler, Interview 20 minutes, April 2022


Philippe Vallois


Film Author :

Philippe Vallois
Philippe Vallois

Born in 1948, Philippe Vallois is a French flmmaker. He became interested in cinema at an early age and at the age of 18 flmed Salvador Dali during an informal interview. Throughout the decades, he has produced experimental and independent work with varied horizons. He highlights the question of gender and homosexuality in several of his flms, including Johan, in 1976, selected at Cannes in Perspective du Cinéma français. Philippe Vallois has made offbeat portraits of women artists, such as the surrealist Huguette Spengler in the early 1980s, in the underground Paris of the time. A decade later, he collaborated with her daughter, the war photographer Christine Spengler. He accompanied her on a trip to Lebanon, and from this experience was born the flm On dansait sous les bombes (We Danced under the bombs). Having remained close, in 2022 he dedicated the documentary The Wars of Christine S. to her, immersing us in a life at the heart of the international conficts of the second half of the 20th century.

Other movies: THEMA: Portraits, Landscapes, World

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