BARON, SUZANNE

Suzanne Baron

1927 – 1995

Suzanne Baron at Cannes with Jacques Tati (left) for the opening of “Mon Oncle”

Shortly after editing her first film in 1952, Suzanne Baron was an uncredited co-editor on Jacques Tati’s Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot. Tati then employed her as his sole (and properly credited) editor on Mon Oncle.
In the late 1950’s, Baron worked at the Musee de l’Homme alongside the ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch. She edited one of his most renowned films, Les Maitres Fous, as well as Les Fils de l’eau, and co-edited Fêtes de l’indépendance au Niger with Annie Tresgot.
In addition, Baron was a student of musique concrete (a type of music composition that utilizes recorded sounds as raw material.) She composed the score for a film by Joris Ivens, Demain à Nanguila, and exerted a strong influence on Rouch’s approach to sound.
Baron had a notable, longstanding collaboration with Louis Malle. Starting with The Fire Within, she edited fourteen films for Malle, including Calcutta, Murmur of the Heart, My Dinner with Andre, Atlantic City, and Lacombe, Lucien, as well as two episodes of Malle’s seven-part series, Phantom India. She also edited films for Volker Schlöndorff (A Free Woman, The Tin Drum, Circle of Deceit), for Werner Herzog (Scream of Stone) and Margarethe von Trotta (Das Versprechen). Baron accumulated forty-four editing credits over a career that spanned five decades and included work in narrative, documentary, short, and feature films.

Please note: On the following page are two letters she wrote to Malle. And you can read more about the seventeen women editors who collaborated with Jean Rouch here.

 

[referring to the editing in Jean Rouch films:]
“Catherine Russell has suggested that these transitions should be considered rather as examples of Eisensteinian “dialectical” montage. This certainly ties in with Suzanne Baron’s reported views about the importance of the “punch” delivered by the first frame of a shot, since this was also one of Eisenstein’s editing principles. But whatever the precise nature of these examples of montage may be, the number of exceptions to Rouch’s normal editorial praxis in Les Maitres fous is so great that it seems very likely that they were due, at least in part, to the influence of Baron.”
From “The Adventure of the Real: Jean Rouch and the Craft of Ethnographic Cinema” by Paul Henley, chapter 14. The full text is available in the Appendix.