Françoise Collin began working in 1961 as a co-editor (with Jean Ravel and Néna Baratier) of Chronique d’un été/Chronicle of a Summer, the landmark film by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. Between then and 2006, she amassed thirty-two credits for both narratives and documentaries. Her collaboration with Jean-Luc Godard began in 1964 as a co-editor (with Dahlia Ezove and Agnès Guillemot) of Bande à part/Band of Outsiders. Following this, she was co-editor of Une femme mariée/A Married Woman (with Andrée Choty, Agnès Guillemot and Gérard Pollicand). Collin was sole editor of Godard’s next film, Pierrot le Fou and then co-editor of Made in U.S.A. (with Agnès Guillemot) and co-editor of 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle/Two or Three Things I Know About Her (with Chantal Delattre).
Collin continued editing with numerous other directors, including Jean Aurel, Pierre Koralnik, José Varela, Anna Karina and François Dupeyron. Between 1999-2005, she edited three films for Philippe Garrel (Le vent de la nuit/Night Wind, Sauvage innocence/Wild Innocence and Les amants réguliers/The Regular Lovers). When Collin cut Histoire naturelle for the director and actress Ysé Tran in 2006, it was the culmination of an editing career that lasted forty-four years.
There is also one listing on the (often unreliable) internet of a documentary from 2011, Rua Diamantina Rosa, that lists her as the director but I haven’t found any other evidence to support it, and a different website spells the director’s name as Coullin.
Note: You can read more about the seventeen women editors who collaborated with Jean Rouch here.
There isn’t a single photograph of Collin to be found in any archive or anywhere online. One can find images online, but they’re all of a same-named French philosopher. So here instead is the screen credit from her first film—above, in which her name is misspelled —and one from a later film.
1931 – 2005
Agnès Guillemot was renowned for her collaboration with the Nouvelle Vague directors, having worked on numerous films with both Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut.
She edited sixteen films for Godard, beginning with Une femme est une femme, followed by Contempt, Alphaville, Bande à part , Masculin Féminin, Vivre Sa Vie,Weekend, etc. In some cases, she was the sole editor; on others, she worked either with Françoise Collin, Lila Lakshmanan, Dahlia Ezove, Lila Herman, Marguerite Renoir, or Delphine Desfons. During that same period, Guillemot edited four films for Truffaut, including L’enfant sauvage/The Wild Child and Baisers volés/Stolen Kisses. In the late 1970’s she edited five films for Jean-Charles Tacchella, including Cousin cousine and Il y a longtemps que je t’aime. In the 1990’s she was the editor of three films for Catherine Breillat (Sale comme un ange/Dirty Like an Angel, Romance and Parfait amour!/Perfect Love.) Guillemot also edited films for several other women directors, including Nicole Garcia, Catherine Corsini, Francesca Comencini and Paula Delsol.
“Editing has one marvelous thing—you are alone with the material and you listen. I use many metaphors, metaphors you use when talking about painters and sculptors. They look at a landscape, a stone; the stone inspires them to do this or that. Editing is the same. The material is given by somebody else, but I listen to it afresh. I do not try to make it mine, I try to produce what it can do. The object is inside—it must be made to come out. It is exactly this—I listen, I look a long time with all my being and I extract what the director wants.” —Agnès Guillemot interviewed in “Fine Cuts: The Art of European Film Editing” by Roger Crittenden. The full interview can be found in the Appendix.