Frederic Rossif

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

Frédéric Rossif and Vangelis Papathanassiou may have more in common than is obvious at a first glance. Not only have they worked together on many occasions during the seventies and eighties, but both have used their own styles in either image or music to portray the beautiful and horrible things of the world...

Vangelis and Frédéric most likely met in Paris during 1970. Their first work together in 1971, "L'Apocalypse Des Animaux" (a wild-life series in six episodes) is the start of their life-long friendship and collaboration. After this, Vangelis scores many of Rossif's wild-life documentaries, with well-known titles like "La Fête Sauvage" (1976), "L'Opera Sauvage" (1979) and "Sauvage Et Beau" (1984). Much of the wild-life footage shot for these documentaries is later re-used for special compilations such as "Splendeur Sauvage" (1986), "Les Animaux De Frederic Rossif" (1989) and "Beaute Sauvage" (1989). 

Less known are their films about the painters Georges Mathieu (1971), Georges Braque (1974), Pablo Picasso (1981) and Morandi (1989), or the feature about photographer Gisèle Freund "Au Pays Des Visages" (1972).

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of L'Institut Pasteur in Paris, in 1987 Frédéric produces a special documentary for which Vangelis again composes the score. In 1989, a year before Rossif's death, they work together on what was to be their last collaboration, "De Nuremberg á Nuremberg", a four hour long special -in four parts- about the rise and fall of the German empire during the World War II.

Although it is clear that Vangelis composed original music for most of the documentaries listed here, some music also re-appears throughout several documentaries. For instance, some of the music from L'apocalypse des Animaux can alo be heard in films such as "Au pays des visages", "Georges Braque", "Morandi" , "L'Opera Sauvage" and of course all of the wild-life compilation series. It is commonly assumed that Rossif kept an archive of the music Vangelis once delivered for his movies, and when in need of some music for current projects, later re-used some of the old cues from his archive.

Frédéric Rossif (1922 - 1990) is mostly known for his pioneering productions for French television. The subjects of his documentaries range from history, to wild-life, culture, art, and music. Born in Cetinje, Montenegro (former Yugoslavia) he flees with his family to Greece during World War Two. After the war he settles in France, where he starts producing and directing wildlife documentaries as "La Vie des animaux" and "Nos amies les bêtes" for French television. 

His major breakthrough comes with the production of "Le temps du ghetto", about the terrible acts that took place in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, Poland. His next film "Mourir a Madrid" (To die in Madrid)  about the Spanish Civil War is nominated for an Academy Award in 1965. Another major production is his film about the Russian Revolution, "Revolution d'Octobre". In 1970 Frédéric produces his first (and only) non-documentary film, "Aussi loin que l'amour". The film features Salvador Dali as an actor (among others).

Frédéric Rossif died in Paris in 1990, where he lies buried still.


bulletLa Vie Des Animaux
bulletNos Amies Les Bêtes
bulletLa Strada Romanica
bullet1961 Le Temps Du ghetto
bullet1961 Vel D'Hiv
bullet1962 Mourir A Madrid
bullet1962 Pour L'Espagne
bullet1963 Les Animaux
bullet1964 Encore Paris
bullet1966 La Chute De Berlin
bullet1966 Donner à Voir
bullet1966 Un Roi En Baviere
bullet1967 Revolution D'Octobre
bullet1968 Un Mur A Jerusalem
bullet1969 Pourquoi l'Amerique?
bullet1970 Aussi Loin Que l'Amour
bullet1970 Cantique Des Creatures
bullet1971 L'Apocalypse Des Animaux (TV series)
bullet1971 Georges Mathieu Ou La Fureur D'être
bullet1972 Au Pays Des Visages
bullet1973 Histoires d'Animaux (TV series)
bullet1974 Animaux Couleurs (TV series)
bullet1974 Georges Braque Ou Le Temps Différent
bullet1975 La Mer Cette Aventure (TV series) episode "Semaine De Cowes"
bullet1976 La Fete Sauvage
bullet1976 Les Creches Du Monde
bullet1976 Plus Vite Que Le Soleil
bullet1978 Heureux Comme Le Regard En France
bullet1979 L'Opera Sauvage
bullet1979 Des Compangnons Pour Vos Songes (TV interview with Frédéric Rossif)
bullet1980 Une Prière Qui Danse
bullet1980 L'Arbre De Vie (TV interview with Vangelis)
bullet1981 Jacques Brel
bullet1981 Pablo Picasso Peintre
bullet1982 Un Monde Différent (TV series)
bullet1983 L'Aventure (TV series) episode "Une Terre D'Avant Les Hommes"
bullet1983 Pour La Musique
bullet1983 Les Grandes Demoiselles, Etienne Hadju, sculpteur
bullet1983 L'Air Du Temps et La Couleur Des Jours
bullet1983 Les Eaux Fertiles
bullet1984 Sauvage Et Beau
bullet1985 La Mémoire et la Volonté
bullet1986 Le Coeur Musicien (La Fête De La Musique, Festival à Paris)
bullet1986 Splendeur Sauvage (TV series)
bullet1987 Pasteur Le Siecle
bullet1989 Morandi
bullet1989 Les Animaux De Frederic Rossif
bullet1989 Beaute Sauvage (TV series)
bullet1989 De Nuremberg A Nuremberg (TV series)
bullet1989 Tatie Danielle (as actor)
bullet1990 Les Sentinelles Oubliees

Note: films marked with years in orange are confirmed to contain Vangelis' music.