Monday, 20 July 2009

Interview with Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Ange Leccia on 'Des Films à Faire'


First of all, we would like to ask you where the story that you tell in your movie comes from.
Well, above all, we didn’t want to make a film “for”, but “on”. What we wanted to do was to set the scene on the issue rather than come up with answers. This is a turning point in history for films and film making, access to images is now diversified, everything has digital. What we wanted to do was create a thought-provoking atmosphere, which would give rise to a discussion on current issues in film making. This film wants to illustrate not only the difficulties involved in maintaining diversity and film minorities, but how, when comparisons are few, images can be born from a single phrase. There is a reference to Antonioni’s opening scene in Zabriskie Point, where a bunch of students on strike are passionately arguing, and one of them just gets up and walks away from the debate to head off into the desert...
With regard to the topic that was given to you, which aspect struck you the most? Are there ways in which you were already addressing it in you work?
Observing this meeting of the League of Human Rights has helped us grasp the difficulties in making a film that emphasizes distribution problems better. The problem isn’t just production, which is already difficult enough, but distribution. Films have ongoing survival problems.
Human rights are real and tangible. In a film, the artist and filmmaker - just like a poet - creates a personal universe that relates to his or her own life in some way. Can you describe the link between your short film and the experiences that led you to make the film this way?
 We’ve tried to get away from emotions to get to the core of things, to what actually happens on the set and in production when we transform those emotions into images. This film deals with what goes into the making of a film. Even if the film manages to make an initial impression through words, we’re dealing with a film on how it could become impossible to make films and distribute them, something we’re involved in both as filmmakers and film goers.
We think culture in general and films in particular can give people a better understanding of the importance of human rights in their own lives. What do you want your film to provoke in the wider public?
We want people to realise how fragile films are and how multi-faceted; how they depend on individual and group effort, and not just from a cinematographic point of view.
In most of the films created for this project, we see signs of clashes deriving from cultural diversity or caused by limitations imposed on individuals that curtail their freedom in different ways. What do you think is the reason for that? 
It’s part of man’s contemporary condition, of the world today, of a complex society with a lot of rules, and a lot of necessary transgressions if you want to oppose a grey uniformity. It’s virtually impossible to reconcile the requirement of billions of people living together, who obviously have to obey a series of complex rules to make society work, and the need to preserve unique qualities and ways of being.
Now let's talk a bit about you. Who are Dominique Gonzalez - Foerster and Ange Leccia?
Two old friends whose combined ages clock up a century and who have been in constant contact for over twenty years. We made our first film together in 1996, Ile de Beauté, from a collection of clippings, leftovers, mistakes, forgotten reels and the impossibility of writing a screenplay. Ever since, whenever we make a film together, we have interminable conversations on films, lights, Corsica, Japan, love and adventures.

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