Les États généraux du film documentaire 2011 Edito


In its attempts to return to periods of History or to capture the upheavals under way, documentary cinema requires a certain distance, at once that of a point of view, which is not contradictory with a commitment. This point of view and its direction establishes a narrative and constructs a representation. The images we see of today's revolutions and revolts testify to a state of urgency, a struggle and violent, lethal repression. What do these images show us? What do they tell us? To what do they commit us?
Allowing the viewer to see and to hear are the forms by which cinema is inscribed in the instant, in history, being there and filming, watching and testifying, but also questioning and provoking, replaying and reconstituting, preserving a memory. We have programmed with Olaf Möller a series of important films, most of them known but little seen. They confront us with difficult discourse that resonates beyond the individual who articulates it. To confront the speech of criminals and victims, to make it audible, filmmakers imagine strategies that can be minimalist or complex, from the frontal interview to fiction.
From the gesture — not without cinema — of an isolated amateur to that of a filmmaker who thinks and constructs her or his work, a film unites an ephemeral community – a director, a crew, protagonists, a producer, reviewers and finally spectators – carried by the desire of a meeting, a confrontation, a story claiming to be a true experience of the kind that cinema demands, imagines and must defend. Getting voices heard and the film as experience are two dimensions explored throughout this twenty-third edition. This intention led us to rename the selection of films from francophone European countries, entrusted to Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd and Philippe Boucq, "Viewing Experiences", but is also evident throughout the programming. From African documentary to the "Doc Route Italy" and "Doc History Czechoslovakia", from the revolutions of Torre Bela to Tahrir to the choreographic experiments of Gunvor Nelson or the direct and poetic cinema of Klaus Wildenhahn, from Marcel Hanoun's dialogues to the silence of Inês Sapeta Dias, all these are cinematic forms open to the Real, where the experiences of life and those of cinema are intimately linked.
This precious opportunity offered by festivals to discover and review films contrasts more and more with the difficulty involved in making them and distributing them more widely. The CNC, the Scam and the Sacem remain indispensable sources of aid for the production and distribution of films. We are continually reminded of this in our "Professional Encounters", moments of exchange and shared reflection where we also invite producers whose commitment seems to us fundamental. A commitment which allows the production of more marginal films, making it possible for trembling, living films to exist. "The fate is such,that none within is solid without trembling" whispers to us the Czech poet Vladimìr Holan.

Pascale Paulat and Christophe Postic