Les États généraux du film documentaire 2015 Editorial


How to save a point of view?
Time and space are two conditions and require a gap, a space so that we can move outside the flow, the illusory infinite, and work on difference, the place of the other. Safeguarding the time and space of a point of view means thinking the time and space of representation, the place where form and narrative are invented, in a context where speed is transforming our way of looking at and practicing images.
In this edition’s workshops, we will take the time notably to think about technical and aesthetic mutations of cinema, to note how formal inventions sometimes precede technical changes, which, in turn, modify our practices and the ways we perceive, not forgetting to consider the “conditions in which the camera can become a subject in-itself, an alter”. This preoccupation is shared in the encounter between the scenes of therapy and of cinema: what place do the camera and the person filming occupy in a therapeutic situation, and what can this triangulation transform? How can we represent therapy as a setting for pure creation, of narrative invention? We explore other imagined tales in “the documentary fable” to discover how cineastes have created a moving form where staging and narrative seize reality. Filmmakers’ words and experiences are at the heart of all these sessions shared with the public.
Critical comment will also be exchanged in “Doc History”, where the confrontation of two films, one from a country’s film heritage and the other a contemporary work, will give us the opportunity to follow a formal current and its evolution over time. From the intimate to the historic, from personal narrative to a portrait of the world surrounding them, the Spanish cinema of “Doc Route” explores the complexity and diversity of the country’s inhabitants and territory, while never ceasing to look beyond its borders to seek out whatever fracture can be cracked open into which cinema can slide. Gaps are also at work throughout the works of Marc Karlin and Michael Snow, and again in the impressive Homeland where director Abbas Fahdel pulls us along beside him through the streets of Baghdad before and after the war, and also in Miguel Gomes’ magnificent Arabian Nights. Festivities will open with new films by Claire Simon and Éliane de Latour and will close by celebrating fifteenth anniversary of the Lussas École documentaire’s Master’s programme in documentary filmmaking.
Inventive films are also honoured in the “Viewing Experiences” and “Tënk!” selections. These creations would not exist without the obstinate conviction of those who make them in increasingly precarious conditions. For several years already, the existence of creative documentary has become more and more fragile, and today it is violently under threat as funding possibilities melt away like snow in the sun. Put into doubt is the whole future of creative audiovisual documentary in this country and more widely the freedom to create. That is why we have mobilised within the collective “We are documentary”. It would seem that negotiations are progressing and our demands have been heard. However in a similar way to the movement against the still suspended reform of the unemployment insurance regime covering intermittent workers in the entertainment industry, what is at stake is that the experience and the analyses of those who engage in thinking out and working on alternative proposals be considered seriously and that we refuse the establishment of a two level system. Like in other social movements, simply listening to a different point of view, voices who refuse and demand, is not enough. They will have to be taken into account.

Pascale Paulat and Christophe Postic