ALL ABOUT ME ?
Director of Visions du Réel
All about our festivals.
Festivals are like the films they show. They seek to reaffirm their specific identity and go back to their local, regional and cultural roots. On the other hand, they have a desire, fed by insatiable curiosity, to discover the world at large, its endless diversity, its enthralling beauty and its distressing ugliness. The festivals of Yamagata and Nyon are, in Asia and Europe respectively, events noted for the quality of the films they discover and the questions they raise on the art of filmmaking. One such question—a crucial one on the intimate relationship between film and video makers, and the world at large—is marked by the spectacular emancipation, under exceptional circumstances, of digital filmmaking.
All about the video generation.
For over ten years now, the younger generations have seized on constantly developing audiovisual technology to put forward their pictures, their stories, their points of view. There can be no doubt that without this digital revolution, a considerable number of representative works would never have seen the light of day. Digital video simply removes a lot of barriers between the wish to express oneself in images and the possibility of doing so.
All about me.
It is with this manifest tendency in contemporary cinema that has prompted the close collaboration between Japan and Europe, between Yamagata and Nyon. It is about me-films, an approach that places the authors themselves at the center of the process, a center from where they lay claim to and question their own identity as well as their relationships with the outer world. The sixteen Swiss and Japanese films represented were each selected in terms of how much interest the presence of the filmmaker at the heart of his or her production manages to arouse. We are convinced that the expression of their individuality is a privileged mode of access to their vision of the world, which in turn opens a window for us to the collective mentality of the society they come from. With the media distorting our perception by endlessly harping on the virtues of a world turning into a global village thanks to the constant flow of goods, services, people and communication, the voice of each “small,” independent film based on the perception of an individual is a precious form of resistance. Each one is a representation of unique human experience which enriches our understanding of a particular culture by depicting some of its fascinating complexity.
All about them.
So are we going to learn everything about each and every individual filmmaker whose film is featured? Far from it, thank goodness! But their films are captivating on the basis of the emotions and trains of thought they provoke. We need to become attuned to these filmmakers, young and old, accomplished and beginners, authors of short and feature films, to share the sound of their inner voices, their encounters and dialogues.
All about the ways to tell.
It will be intriguing to discuss—in Yamagata, then in Kyoto and finally in Nyon in April 2006—the different aesthetic and narrative approaches the various authors use to tell their tale. Experimental forms, rigorous concepts, chronological accounts, set-piece films and accounts of inner and outer journeys are all means of giving an image to reality. What bearing do the individual shots, their centering and length, the editing and the position of the camera—rarely fixed on a tripod, more like a part of the filmmaker’s body—have on the story to be told? And we must not forget what the authors’ social and political preoccupations are. This kind of me-cinema is among the most creative strands of contemporary filmmaking, in which risk-taking is part of the philosophy. It is one of our festivals’ ambitions to highlight the key creative features of contemporary cinema.
All about us all together.
Such films with a strong autobiographical trait, ranging from stimulating narcissism to sustained interest in others, raise issues such as memory and mourning, intimacy and its representations, always flirting with voyeurism, and the body in all the aspects of its cinematic presentation. And what a great opportunity for us Europeans to catch a glimpse behind the seemingly impenetrable screen of what is quintessentially Japanese. The psychoanalyst Doi Takeo distinguishes between omote (the outward-facing side) and ura (its reverse, inward-facing side), which together bear witness to the double structure of Japanese consciousness.( * ) According to Doi, omote and ura are sometimes manifested in the form of tatemae—the façade and principle of the Japanese ‘contrat sociale’, and of honne—the individual truths and sentiments held deep inside oneself. Both the Swiss and Japanese films selected focus more on honne, without neglecting or ignoring the tatemae side. So this will be a journey of discovery of what characterizes our distinctive voices, our daily experiences, our mutual symbols, our nightmares and our fantasies. The images weave a unique tapestry made up of enclosed gardens and endless landscapes, and fragments of truth that both reaffirm our identity and take us beyond ourselves in moments of joy.
( * ) quoted from Nakagawa Hisayasu, Introduction à la culture japonaise (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2005)
|ALL ABOUT VISIONS DU RÉEL
Surfacing in the slipstream of 1968, the International Documentary Film Festival of Nyon, on the shores of Lake Genèva in Switzerland, was renamed Visions du Réel in 1995. Considered in all its forms, from the self-portrait to the home movie, from experimental films to essays, from major reports to epic narratives, the cinema presented by the Festival frees itself from the academic territories of the documentary and fiction. It aims to highlight personal approaches and unusual styles. Together with Doc Outlook, the Festival’s film market where meetings between professionals take place, Visions du Réel promises to be a focus of international excellence for sharing thoughts and pleasures connected with contemporary cinema at a moment in history of extraordinary economic and cultural change.