Jerk, by Gisèle Vienne

After a 12 years international tour, director Gisèle Vienne decides to adapt for film her cult performance « Jerk ». Through a long sequence-shot, it’s the struggle between an actor and his extreme role that we are experiencing in a visceral way. Also the one from drama to cinema. With a strong inspiration from the genre film, especially horror movies, it’s the fascination for the ultra-violence that is explored through questions of domination relations, bodies incarnation and disembodiments.

« Jerk » is an imaginary reconstruction – strange, poetic, funny and somber – of the crimes perpetrated by American serial killer Dean Corll who, with the help of teenagers David Brooks and Wayne Henley, killed more than twenty boys in the state of Texas during mid-70s.

David Brooks who is serving his life sentence, learnt the art of puppets in prison. He then wrote a show that reconstructs the murders committed by Dean Corll, using puppets for all the roles. This somehow enables him to face up to his responsibility as partner in the crimes. Solo on stage, David performs his show in prison for a class of psychology students from a local university.


World premiere on October 13 and 14, 2021 at UGC Ciné Cité Bordeaux, as part of the of the Festival International du Film Indépendant de Bordeaux 


Duration 60’12 “
Based on the play directed by Gisèle Vienne (written by Dennis CooperGisèle Vienne)
Year of production 2021


Director Gisèle Vienne
Writer Dennis Cooper
Original music Peter Rehberg
With Jonathan Capdevielle
With the voices of Catherine Robbe-GrilletSerge Ramon
Creation of the puppets Gisèle VienneDorothéa Vienne-Pollak
Creation of tattoos and drawings Jean-Luc Verna
Make-up artist Mélanie Gerbeaux


Director of photography Jonathan Ricquebourg
Chief editor Caroline Detournay
Sound engineer Pierre Bompy
Chief Electrician Georges Harnack
Chief machinist Romain Riché
First assistant operator Ronan Boudier
Second assistant director Brandon Luong
Assistant director Camille Queval
Stage manager Antoine Hordé
Color grading Yov Moor
Sound mixing Mikaël Barre
Special Effects Robin Kobrynski


Filming location CND Centre national de la danse


A co-production
DACM / Compagnie Gisèle Vienne
CND Centre national de la danse
MC93 – Maison de la Culture de Seine-Saint-Denis
La Compagnie des Indes (Associate Producer – Gildas le Roux)


With the participation of France 3 Paris-Ile-de-France & Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne


With the support of the Ministère de la culture / Direction générale de la création artistique, de Image/mouvement du Centre national des arts plastiques et du Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée


Awards and winners

Best film award

Award of the Italian National Union of Film Critics (SNCCI)

Best feature film

Noves Visiones Competition