Who is speaking there?
Some Greetings to the Other Side

Ines Schaber

In: Journal of Centre d'Art les Églises de Chelles 08/09


Centre d'Art les Églises de Chelles


It is said that the essence of the attempts to link documentary filmmaking with contemporary politics in the 1960s and 1970s in France concur in one single scene: a scene filmed in front of the Usines Wonder in Paris in 1968 at the end of a strike. It is as well told that Jacques Willemont passed by the factory with the cameraman Pierre Bonneau coincidentally, having only 10 minutes of film left in the camera. With it they caught a moment where a woman refused to reenter the factory and take up her work. Her anger, her refusal, and her invoking voice get to the heart of what was tried and discussed at the time, and visualize what can be shown with a document. But at the centre of the disputes between the proponents of cinéma vérité and cinéma direct lie the question, which role filmmakers should take. Should one observe and document or provoke a situation, and produce a scene? Should the position of the filmmaker be visible? Should it reveal itself? Or should one try to let the situation speak by itself? Which possibilities exist to reflect these questions in the making? And how could one approach the complication of documenting and representing people involved or affected? Should one find new ways and forms of production, in which the material and the films themselves reflect on the fact that there are different voices that need to find their own form of representation?

— Excerpt