Les États généraux du film documentaire 2007 Uncertain Viewpoints

Uncertain Viewpoints

A Whole World?

The world can be seen as made up of a set of boxes. In these boxes you can find sometimes decipherable letters, not always yellowed photos, more or less coloured sketches, rolls of Super 8 film or video cassettes suffering from drops, their signals on the verge of the coma from which science can now retrieve them.

The world can also be seen as made up of secrets buried at different depths, of patent and discrete omissions, facts left elegantly and conveniently unsaid, successful manipulations, more or less noisy silences, deliberate lies, organised by individuals or in a band.

The world also includes children. The main concern of children when they grow up is to understand where they come from. This is also true when they are young, but they don't make films (even while they're acting up, of course), we eliminate them shamelessly from our field of study.

The whole world can be seen as suffering from the salmon syndrom. For those who are interested in the animal in a form different from its usual presentation as fine smoked slices, we can note of the salmon that it cannot resist the appeal which obliges it to cross oceans, swim up rivers, jump over dams to return to the waters of its birth.

Children, grown up and handling a camera, are often like persevering and vigorous salmon. By trying to return to some point of origin, they crisscross the world probing its foundations.

Armed with this strong conviction that the future has no future if it has no past, some work to link the threads of their memory to the fundamental undertow of History.

The world is also the territory of men (and increasingly often of women in the universe of films we have received).

It must be now admitted that the world also includes documentary films. Documentary films seek to strike a path towards a place, not of birth like the salmon, but of recognition. Their creators seek to share with an attentive viewing public the debates opportunely stimulated by the projection of their works.

This possibility of revelation, shared by images and latent words which can be found in any film worthy of the name, through the sharing of viewpoints and the confrontation of opinions, contributes much to the richness of the discussions which only fatigue and the early morning closing of the Lussas bars seem to interrupt.

This is the very meaning of this programme, so perceptively named "Uncertain Viewpoints", to screen productions that will both satisfy the legitimate need of the spectator for pertinent films and stimulate discussions likely to make our approaches to cinema progress.

But then arises "the" question. How do we choose (at the end of a long and sometimes painful process of selection) the films that you will see?

We thank from the bottom of our hearts the many producers and directors who have not hesitated to empty their bank accounts to offer us sumptuous gifts. We speak of course of all those who after very real sacrifices, sometimes long years of work, had the elegance to send us films in which they believe all the time knowing that we would be able to propose only a few in our final selection.

There were the known methods of choosing films.
First of all, take those we prefer, those we like or the films which handle a subject which interests us. But with this first method, believe it or not, we managed to find a good hundred films... We only have thirty slots... How to select? Out of the eight hundred films of annual documentary production sent to the festival, some are very good, some fantastic and many are very well made...

Another solution consists of adopting the methods of a television programmer: trying to conform to the supposed demand of Festival consumers (considering Lussas like a business)... but then we would need questionnaires at the end of each screening and spectators who would respond politely to surveys... The result after a very few years would be a Lussas quality label, a quality format that would be the kiss of death guaranteeing no more surprises to come... then, no more festival! Or only for the oldest who would be happy to always see the same thing, a little like some television channels only looked at by the elderly...

So, we have tried to honour this trust expressed by those who proposed their films by obstinately seeking out the films which invent, which work on cinema, and by maintaining a dialogue in spite of occasional divergencies which had us staying up nights on end trying to separate the kernel of the image from the giddy depths of levels of meanings.

For the world contains films which are unique objects, films born of women and men who feel most deeply within themselves that their independence of judgement is the condition for their survival.

The films we will show you are therefore superproductions of willpower, imagination, the refusal to give up, of tenacity, of hope in the capacities of indignation or empathy of the human species. These films trust in our autonomy as spectator. As "documentary" as they may be, they no less assume their positions on their subject matter, they do not hesitate to renounce the comfort of being simple transmitters of information (objective, balanced, rational, politically correct, cross out inappropriate items).

This risk taking, putting in danger, which characterises a good number of those who permitted the existence of these films is certainly what stimulates us, we spectators, to shake off the comfort of preconceived ideas as we look at the result of their work.

To the question "what is the world?" we can now also reply.

The world is composed of attentive ways of looking, shared emotions, movements towards the other, provoked encounters, of opportune chances, of wonders and of rebuttals to construct.

The world belongs to those who can look at it without complacency, but also without prejudice, whether they be early risers or not. The world belongs to those who see in films another occasion not to confuse lucidity and despair, and who trust in the fact that a coming wave will also in its turn touch the shore. Those people also know that it is not useless to learn to swim, particularly in an ocean of images, to be able to pick out the most subtle nuances allowing us to make our way towards the films which we will fully like and which can help us to build ourselves. (1)

Guests : (1) Bien que le phénomène ne soit pas encore expliqué parfaitement, les biologistes sont à peu près tous d'accord pour dire que c'est grâce à leur odorat que les saumons localisent leur rivière natale. Ils sont capables de déceler les particularités chimiques de l'eau des endroits où ils passent et se servent ensuite de leur mémoire olfactive pour refaire le même chemin en sens inverse. Les concentrations qu'ils sont capables d'enregistrer sont infinitésimales, au niveau moléculaire. Les scientifiques prétendent qu'un saumon est capable de déceler une concentration d'alcool de l'ordre d'une cuiller à café dans la mer Méditerranée. (Grands Frissons, guides de pêche au saumon).

Débats en présence des réalisateurs.