Les États généraux du film documentaire 2016 Editorial


Since we wrote our preamble to this twenty-eighth edition in the pre-programme last June, it would be difficult to say that the state of the world has inspired any great enthusiasm. But the world is what we make of it and we are not alone in the making, neither all-powerful nor powerless. We expressed in that text several reasons for us to come together at Lussas and share in a public discussion around films which carry the ambition to think of cinema as an experiment, an attempt to transform the world which can only exist through a form of commitment, thought, action, imagination.
Sharing the results of these experiments seems to us more necessary today than ever and we draw strength from this idea to hold fast to our artistic and political goals.
Documentary films, through the intermediary of the women and men who make them, carry the desire to see and hear what is rustling, what is nesting, what is taking place in the cracks, interstices, margins – this is its political conscience – in opposition to the society of spectacle’s pernicious tendency to generalise, camouflage, distract, stifle, repress… Currents must be strong and movements obstinate to resist the domination driving the rhythm of spectacle. To resist the onslaught of images, to exercise one’s responsibility and critical capabilities, we will take the time to question with discernment the violence of images in the company of our four contributors to the “Battle of Images” with an eye to understanding what potentialities cinema still holds.
Today, thinking of a film as a common space for a shared experience takes on its full importance, a space shared in the making of the film, then in its public projection. This is the area of reflection to which the workshop “The Right Methods” invites us: imagining ways of doing, saying and creating relations between a film and its audience – that is, between creators and spectators – to facilitate the circulation of speech. These films “made with” other people, which consider the process as important as the result and draw their form from the experience of having been made together, will mark the entire week. We will see films with extremely different forms but which share a common demand to think about their inscription in the world. It’s up to us then to be open on each occasion to what might be unusual, what we might not be used to, as spectators both critical and welcoming.
What do we want to say? What do we want to do together and how to go about it?
With our guests, each from our own particular place, let us consider an attempt to get a grip on the world, at once modest and ambitious, lucid and responsible.

Pascale Paulat and Christophe Postic