DER Documentary

Claude Lebet, Luthier


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From the Wood Crafts series
by Jacqueline Veuve
color, 35 min, 1988




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Claude Lebet, luthier, had originally wanted to be a parson, like his father before him. However, after one year in theological school, he left to study violin making in Cremona, Italy. Later, he returned to Switzerland, where he founded his workshop at La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Jura mountains. The "Musici di Roma" launched his career by buying the first violin he made, then helping him acquire his house.

For Lebet, a violin takes a month and a half to make, and requires the smoothest maple and spruce, which he selects himself, along with the finest shellacs. In the film, we watch as he makes a violin for a musician who comes to try it out and to choose from various woods. It takes but six weeks for Lebet to fashion the violin, but the relationship of musician and luthier lasts a lifetime.

"The greatest achievement of Jacqueline Veuve and of her small but efficient team, is to show us the complexity, the richness and the beauty of this "complete trade" (Claude Lebet). She does this in a brief, precise, clear and unpretentious way, but yet in a way which is full of art, pleasure and humour." — Peter F. Stucki, ZOOM Bern, 1989
"The pictures are beautiful, the light is quivering, the sound is exact, the editing is didactic in the order of the mouvements which are artisanal and creative. The bias of the film is interresting: there's no commentary, no questions/answers. The artisan talks about his trade and recalls a few moments of his life. The pictures complement his words." — Peter F. Stucki, L'Impartial, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1988

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This film is also available as part of the Wood Crafts collection.

other films in the Wood Crafts series:
Armand Rouiller, Sledge-maker
Arnold Golay, Toy-maker
The Bapst Brothers, Carriers
François Pernet, Carpenter and Sculptor
Joseph Doutaz & Olivier Veuve, Shingle-makers
Marcellin Babey, Turner
Michel Marletaz, Cooper
Pink Mountain Sand
A Little Corner of Paradise (Un Petit Coin de Paradis)



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