Colette Piault, born in Paris, received a doctorate at the Sorbonne in 1963. She has conducted fieldwork in West Africa, France and Greece. Her first film, Albertine et Dorcas, was shot in the Ivory Coast in 1966 while simultanously working on a different ethnographic project under the direction of Jean Rouch. She started to work in a village in Epirus (Greece) in 1974 and shot in 16mm a series of six films (Greek original version, subtitled in French or English) about aspects of migration from the point of view of the deserted village, trying to carefully observe the pace of the events and daily life rather than to restructure them through a commentary or other devices.
Piault is presently honorary Director of Research at CNRS (Paris, France). In order to make foreign anthropological films better known in France, in 1985 she created the French Association for Visual Anthropology (SFAV), of which she is still President. She has published several papers in French and English about her field work and visual anthropology. She created and organized an annual international research film seminar, “Looking at European Societies” between 1982 and 1992; she has worked as a lecturer at the Anthropology Department at the University of Paris X-Nanterre (1995-1998) and has been a member of the selection committees for the film festivals at Göttingen (1993-1996) and Nuoro (1988-2000). She is an Honour Member of the Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA). She coedited with Peter Biella a special issue of the Visual Anthropology Review devoted to “Visual Anthropology in Europe”, Spring 2007.
Her most recent film, Return to the Brouck (2011), was shot in the North of France, 40 years after she had shot her first film with the same group of people. It was selected by the SVA and shown at the AAA in San Francisco in 2012. She has presented her films in universities and film festivals internationally in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom, USA, and others.
Study Guide for many of Colette Piault’s films