Les États généraux du film documentaire 2009 Uncertain Viewpoints

Uncertain Viewpoints


In this world of the image, what images of the world still await documentary cinema? Is it not true that too many images act as a screen between the world and us? Preventing us from seeing or thinking?
After viewing several hundreds hours of documentary film to select the programme we are proposing you this year for this twenty-first edition of the États généraux, we forged at least one conviction: documentary film remains an unparalleled tool for discovering the world in its most varied aspects, from the nearest to the most far, in an infinite liberty of tone and form. It is neither of course by chance nor on the sole basis of aesthetic criteria that we wanted to show Bassidji by Mehran Tamadon or two films made within the Varan workshop at Kabul. It is the existence of such films made today with very modest means that allows us to state that documentary cinema is very much alive and more necessary than ever, especially when, for example, we can connect a film on the children who wash cars on the streets of Kabul with the migrants that Sylvain George films in the obstinacy of their wait in Calais in The Impossible...
Faced with the logic of modernity and its social and human chaos, faced with political violence, each individual points their camera in a radical, vital gesture. The possibility of utopia takes on consistency, questions its figures, spaces, logic during the time of a film. Whether this time be a chronicle of lived reality or virtual, an essay or a filmed letter (Jean-Louis Comolli, Marcel Hanoun, Vincent Dieutre): the individual reinvents within him or herself a possibility of dialogue with the other, with others.
Some characters you will discover in the films remember a brush with History, want to recover their lost loves with her, retrace a place and gestures, a common identity, buried or emerging landscapes. Cinema and the cineastes of our time are at work (films on André S. Labarthe, Naomi Kawase, Jia Zhang-Ke, René Vautier, Archipels Nitrate by Claudio Pazienza). The unsettling word by writer Marcel Moreau on the face of Denis Lavant, in So, renders visible the movement and sensations of writing. Neither portraits nor biopics, these films on the act of creation, on creators in the movement of transmitting their imaginations, weave an intimate material, speak of the world. The grace of encounters with artists. Of the art of meeting in cinema. Of the art of love.
Some filmmakers inhabit the sites of institutions from yesterday and today with those who were the flesh and blood actors: from the Venice women's prison (Fondamenta delle convertite by the Italian director Penelope Bortoluzzi) to the site of psychiatric care (Asylum by Catherine Bernstein and Valvert by Valérie Mréjen) . Others inhabit rural territories like Dominique Marchais or try to reinvent a community with actor Jacques Bonaffé as the hero (Jean-Pascal pour la France by François Nouguies).
These films are so many singular ways of looking at emerging places, defeats to transmit or to reconstruct in the contemporary landscape. In all these viewpoints, transmitters of the invisible are scouring the horizon, following an impossible community or reinventing others: in this way documentary remains more than ever a formidable laboratory for fiction.
We wanted to close this edition with The Cat, the Reverend and the Slave where the new pioneers of "Second Life" remake their America. To reveal themselves in their nakedness, our time's fantasies have easy access to the keyboard. The word of God is in a virtual church run by a couple of preachers whose faith has redoubled thanks to their new tool, the quest by a husband in a virtual SM club where he finds his wife who left the conjugal home in real life with a player from Second Life. Second Life allows you to retrace all those friends who had a secret desire for animal costumes: the fantasy is finally realised of wearing a cat's skin to the office; living it out is salutary...
The beasts are not only in the jungle, it is well known. As long as we have the giddiness, as long as we have the fur, our screens are open... Will the people of virtual reality have the last word? The people is nonetheless not virtual by definition, even if some politicians of our time would rather forget it. The quest for new utopia is a battle on our cinema screens. In all its modernity, the poetics of the image and emancipation are more than ever at play. We invite you to join in.

Fleur Albert and Gérald Collas


Guests : Debates at the end of the each screening with the participation of the directors.