Les États généraux du film documentaire 2005 Those films which concern us

Those films which concern us

While viewing the films produced this year, we were often moved. They speak of a world disappearing without new promise; they speak of unchosen ruptures and departures, and this to the very act of life leaving the body.

It is certain that the world is not doing well, and that documentary has a hard time recounting the way things are, filmmakers have a hard time finding their place in the ambient moroseness and confusion. No doubt the harsh economic realities of filmmaking is partly responsible.
Dumbed down television norms, defective or absent systems of production, wreak their toll of discouragement and exhaustion and lock filmmakers within themselves.
Is this why the films so often explore the intim-ate, the closest and most easily accessible circle of people? The movement is not new but, this year, seems particularly strong among the films we have screened.

And yet, the world thus conveyed is neither closed nor drawn in on itself.
Yet, the emotions we feel are not only sadness or sickness of the heart.
Good news! Otherness, which seemed to have been a little eclipsed, is re-emerging, or trying to re-emerge.

We have been surprised and touched by the great dignity of the characters being filmed. Not only victims, not only sacrificial lambs, but human beings bearing essential values in spite of their ambivalence, in spite of the unknown and the fear, sickness or poverty they face.
On each occasion dignity responds to adversity.
The films we present are restricted neither to the observation, nor the sociological poster.
And once again, documentary torments us, causing the question to rise within us: “where does otherness begin?”
Far away and near home. Certain films carry us over great distances in search not of difference but of a relationship which renews our own questions. Inversely, within the intimate circle, closeness is etched by a strangeness and the filmmaker finds a place which is not only that of a relation or a friend.
Singular figures emergent which neither foreclose the enigma of other beings and nor provoke compassion.

It is a vertiginous and cruel experience, one that simultaneously makes us sense our belonging to a single humanity and the irreducible gap between human beings.

This is the experience we invite you to share through this selection of films which, in extremely different modes, set up a very concrete, very direct tension and confrontation: between human beings and the events that engulf them, between people who have not lived the same things but where one tries to transmit to others his or her experience and bring some kind of aid or comfort. Sometimes this face to face is a direct confrontation between the filmmaker and the person he or she is filming.
In any case, the filmmaker plays with the viewer: taken as a witness and at the same time cautioned against reacting “as if” she or he were in the shoes of the other.