Les États généraux du film documentaire 2016 The Right Methods

The Right Methods

Workshop 1

“The Right Methods”, there’s a title that might provoke perplexity: does that mean there are right methods, indeed wrong ones, to make a film and who would be the judge? Let’s make a hypothesis with Gilles Deleuze quoting Cassavetes: “What is part of the film is to be more interested in people than in the film, in the ‘problems of human beings’ more than in the ‘problems of direction’, so that the people don’t pass on the side of the camera without the camera having passed on the side of the people...”, before adding with Shirley Clarke: “you need time for the character to absorb what you expect”, "a certain time is necessary, which is an integral part of the film”...(1)
This time will be examined, at the centre of the discussions, all along the two days of our workshop “The Right Methods” with the desire to debate some observations shared by film and live performance: a growing number of filmmakers, of artists proceed thus amid collectives who decide to become immersed in territories previously more often explored by the social sciences. Is this a simple reminder of the weight of the Real? A necessity to approach a dismantled, fractured Real, to find a way to insert one’s presence? How can we think today about these gestures of commitment? What methods can we use and what do we want to do together? What stories do we want to tell? Following the path traced by The Documentary Fable, a workshop at last year’s États généraux, and Le Réel et ses dramaturgies, a discussion organised last May in Evry, both concerned with the problem of narrative, “The Right Methods” will present the work of cineastes who have chosen to make their films as part of an uncertain process in which the narrative structure is invented by and with those who have been invited to take part in the experience. This is when the film, imagined as a possible shared space, stimulates the search for the “right methods”, as close as possible to a step by step movement where the path taken, the bifurcations, become part of the film and offer it a form.
The workshop will invite teams who film what holds itself together with those who live together in a complex world, made up of exclusion, relegation but also rebellion, not to accompany some form of social or therapeutic work but to question what produces change, meaning and knots for us all. This is what guided our choice of films. As we met the filmmakers, our desire became stronger to focus on reflexive constructions, where the film sometimes documents its own method, in search of a Real which is neither represented nor reproduced but “targeted”.(2) The film considered as a proposal that distorts what might have been “a sure bet”. All those practices that Deleuze pointed out concerning the films of Jean Rouch: “it is necessary for the character first to be real in order to affirm fiction as a power and not as a model: it is necessary that he begin to tell fables in order to assert himself as that much more real, and not fictional. The character never ceases to become another, and is no longer separable from this becoming which merges with a people”.(3)
The use of masks, the detour by a co-written fiction, a long period of immersion in a poor neighbourhood, the practice of workshops, between completely different people or among friends, theatre, writing, chemical film, sound documentary, the re-editing of reels inherited from another time, the power of spoken biography bellowed like some poetic and libertarian ode, all of these are as many cinematic proposals so that the interstices of a creative process may resonate; like an off-screen area of today’s film economy.
By paying attention to these methods, the 2016 workshop proposes to think about documentary cinema as a gesture of hospitality, a shelter, and a space for a framework of shared experience and images. When the ambition to be political is lodged in the crevices of the ordinary.

Christophe Postic and Monique Peyrière (4)

1. Gilles Deleuze, L’Image-Temps. Cinéma 2, Éditions de Minuit, 1985, p. 201.
2. Ibid., p. 7.
3. Ibid., p. 198.
4. Monique Peyrière is a researcher at the Centre Pierre Naville, Université d’Évry and associate researcher at the Centre Edgar Morin (EHESS/CNRS). The Centre Pierre Naville and the Image and Society Master’s programme at the Université d’Évry are partners of the workshop.


Monday morning:
– Presentation of the workshops.
– Presentation of two films in progress by Manon Ott and Grégory Cohen.
Working in Les Mureaux (Paris suburb) for five years doing research, film and photo workshops with the inhabitants of a poor neighbourhood where they also lived, they are preparing two films, one documentary (Les Cendres et la Braise), the other fiction (T’es mort dans le film).
– Screening of excerpts of the film in progress by Manon Ott, Les Cendres et la Braise,
A political and poetic portrait of this working class area in transition, the film sets out to meet its inhabitants, their words and their searches for liberty.

Monday afternoon:
– Screening of excerpts from the workshops and the film in progress by Grégory Cohen, T’es mort dans le film.
Between fiction and documentary, the film was conceived in a video workshop with teenagers from a neighbourhood of Les Mureaux on the subject of relationships between girls and boys. The screening will provide the opportunity to discuss their method of co-writing a fiction with those who act their own roles to explore a subject as taboo as love in a housing estate.
– Presentation of the film in progress by Clémence Ancelin, Le cri est toujours le début d’un chant, made in a closed educational facility for repeat offender minors.
Screening of This Is Not a Film, accompanied by Laureline Delom.

Monday evening:
– Screening of Flacky et Camarades by Aaron Sievers.

Tuesday morning:
– Debate on Flacky et Camarades.
– Screening of On ira à Neuilly inch’Allah by Anna Salzberg and Mehdi Ahoudig.

Tuesday afternoon:
– Screening of Une tempête... by the groupe d’entraide mutuelle Les Envolées.
– Screening of Qui suis-je ? Marseille 1990 by La Parole errante, directed by Hélène Châtelain.
– General discussion.

Tuesday evening:
– Screening of Boys in Wolve’s Disguise by Vincent Pouplard, accompanied by the director.
– Screening of The Cool World by Shirley Clarke.
Screening accessible without a registration.

Workshop moderated by Christophe Postic and Monique Peyrière.
With Manon Ott and Grégory Cohen (filmmakers and researchers at the Centre Pierre Naville of the Université d’Évry), Clémence Ancelin (filmmaker), Laureline Delom (editor), Aaron Sievers (filmmaker), Anna Salzberg and Mehdi Ahoudig (filmmakers), GEM (groupe d’entraide mutuelle) Les Envolées and Vincent Pouplard (filmmaker).