Directed, Filmed, Edited by Martin Hampton

Conception and additional camera by Leonie Purchas

Duration: 27’20


Christian lived in a small town in Provence. For 50 years he had been collecting things that have been thrown out by the people town's inhabitants. The Mayor tried to ban him from collecting, but Christian continued to work at night to evade detection.

On October 2009 Christian was forcibly taken to a psychiatric hospital in Montelimar after the Mayor and his legal guardian or 'tutelle' decided he could no cope with living alone in his home. A petition circulated in his home town of Buis les Baronnies in Provence demanding that he be allowed to return to be looked after within his own community. Eventually it was decided that Christian should be given a place in his town's retirement home. However, after waiting for over 2 months in the hospital, during which time he became progressively more depressed, on 30 December 2009 Christian suffered a massive heart attack and died in the office of the hospital. For more information see here: entrez-chez/ christian-g/

Christian despaired at the wastage of modern life and worked 365 days a year to salvage the things he believed were still useful, storing his finds at his home and on inherited land, occasionally selling or giving them on to his 'clients'. This enormous collection of fridges, televisions, toys, shoes, books etc... represents a remarkable material history of the town's consumer habits, and I consider it to be an outstanding artwork.

I hope one day that the mayor of Buis les Baronnies and Christian’s Tutelle, an Association in Valence are made to explain why he felt so persecuted, and why it was necessary for him to spend so long in a psychiatric hospital.

The film was made with the photographer Leonie Purchas.