Les États généraux du film documentaire 2006 Pieces of an opus : Manon de Boer

Pieces of an opus : Manon de Boer


Two silent portraits in Super 8 inaugurate the work of Manon de Boer. This threatened format is frequently used by filmmakers. The length of the scene is determined by the length of the reel. The format is frequently used to film faces. In this case, Laurien and Robert, in 1996, the subjects of a full-face shot, are concentrating on what they are doing, which is entirely responsible for the look being filmed. One is very close. We are observing them. They are not looking at us. They are not speaking, which word be useless since we cannot hear them. This is the only moment, one could say, among the films presented, where the voices are synchronous with the bodies they emanate from, for lack of words. The filmmaker is going to build the structure of his future films on the “silence” of the Super 8. We will hear a premonitory intuition of his meeting with Suely Rolnik, for his last film where the matter at hand is the dissociation and reconciliation of bodies and voices, which seems to be complete.
In Sylvia Kristel - Paris, the Super 8 brings on sound. The body speaks, but not the one being filmed. We hear Sylvia Kristel speak on two occasions about the same thing: her life in Paris. But the passages are separate, a year apart and inverted chronologically. With Robert, October 2001 and Laurien, September 2001, we find their bodies, five years later, busy at the same task, as if they had simply been forgotten there. Only their image had been provided as if is watching for some imperceptible movement of time. This time, changes in the narration have been added to the subtle variations in shots that are repeated from one interview to the next.
The film opens with a long silent shot on Sylvia Kristel, she’s smoking. We are looking at her, closely looking at her aged face. With the exception of the announcer’s voice, the silence expressed by the body makes room for the eye. The image of the actress disappears, making room for words, so that we can listen better. Paris, filmed as if through binoculars, is reduced to a focal point for the eye and the ear, and then the movement begins, and in the end Sylvia Kristel’s narration fills the city. The repetition and movement in the story makes the body familiar through its voice. The film reproduces the words of the actress, whose image has been overly reduced to that of her body. And when she wonders about the lack of depth in her stories, "it's always light, just as my gait”, her silent body seems to be behind her face and the breath in her voice, deeply hiding the reasons.
Resonating Surfaces is the story of psychoanalyst Suely Rolnik, who fleas from the dictatorship in Brazil after having been in prison. The film reveals what may be tied up in the depths of her words and her voice. The thing that has taken refuge there, “encapsulated”, she says; the wound protected by the form of her speech: her tongue, a wound that can be detected in the tone of the voice (cries, whispers, breath, songs, music, etc.), vibration of this vital energy, where resistance to violence abides. This time, in the eyes of Manon de Boer, words can be superimposed on a talking body, without synchronization however, to prolong the opportunity to hear and to see separately: one body and one voice starting to vibrate.
Will Laurien and Robert find their voices one day ?

Christophe Postic


Guests : Débat en présence de la réalisatrice.