Les États généraux du film documentaire 2017 Editorial


A form of wandering can give birth to the most beautiful associations: ideas mature sometimes over long periods before taking form, before being able to find a formulation. Programming is a process of sedimentation during which films, works of art, are laid down, anchor in memory. Then this accumulation of traces sketches out a pathway. It is just such a pathway that has led us this year to two workshops around the theme of memory. We are dealing with forms of cinema that roam, explore, stroll, bringing to the surface the memory of a place, or else that compose the territory of a memory where history has got involved. The numerous invited filmmakers will share with us their experience and their reflection, connecting ever more tightly “an archaeology of memory and a sensory cartography of territories”, the archaeological approach taken by a cinema that attempts to uncover and reveal in a territory’s present the marks of history but also of a memory.
The recent Lebanese films in “Doc route” still bear the traces of the tragic and violent history of the wars fought on this land, a land of refuge as much as of flight, and strive to find a way of overcoming the Real, affronting it, in an attempt to inscribe oneself within the world when memory and history are not only questions of heritage but also of present construction.
The “Doc history” devoted to Poland also highlights this exploration of cinema through history in general and the history of cinematic forms. “Is the political field of documentary still this space where forms can move, accompany the world in its tremors, in its very dematerialisation?” Dominique Auvray and Vincent Dieutre set out on this search for experiences and experiments when we entrusted them this year with compiling the “Viewing experiences” programme.
And while it is an honour to welcome Peter Nestler and Guy Sherwin, it is also a source of happiness to propose such radical cinematic experiences. Whereas Guy Sherwin brings us back to the silence and light of film and, with it, another experience of perception, the work of Peter Nestler reaffirms the necessity of a liberty of form and critical message. In a cinematic gesture of splendid intensity, another message, just as precious, that of Jean Oury, will give us food for thought during a “Special screening” shared between two films and the two extraordinary creators that are Jean Oury and the stage director Claude Régy. Unexpected links will emerge, in particular in their preoccupation with words and the way they are said and heard. Other radical expressions which bring us back to methods and approaches, to the research for experiences and forms that construct other ways of viewing, to which the public is invited. And we would like to re-appropriate the words of Claude Régy: “For me (for us) it is important that the members of the public do not mistake what they have come looking for in the theatre (in the cinema).
They have come to create.”

Pascale Paulat and Christophe Postic