koen . vandaele on Mon, 15 Mar 1999 10:06:41 +0000

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Syndicate: D-Day 9: March 18: AFRICA as seen by DEPARDON


After the American Direct Cinema icon Frederick Wiseman, and
American-European always-curious traveller Robert Kramer, D-Day
introduces the work of another documentarist of format: the French
photographer and film-director RAYMOND DEPARDON.

As a film-director Depardon is probably best known for documentaries
on the institutions, the police, the judicial system, the press and
photography. Since the mid-eighties the fictional element became
stronger present in his already very personal documentary work.

But none of this in D-Day 9. Instead, we focus the program entirely

At 6pm we present six short and medium-length documentaries: 
TCHAD (1): L'EMBUSCADE (Chad: The Ambush; 1970); YEMEN (1973); TCHAD
Interview with F.  Claustre & The Ultimatum;  1975-76); TIBESTI TOO
(1976); and LE PETIT NAVIRE (1987).

At 8.30 pm we'll screen Depardon's 1996 movie AFRIQUES: COMMENT CA
VA AVEC LA DOULOUR (Africas: What about the pain?). 
(More program details: below).

Hope to see you on Thursday in Slovenska kinoteka.

Best regards,
Koen Van Daele
programme curator & coordinator 

please reply with "REMOVE" in the subject of your message.

D-Day 9: Dan za dokumentarec
March 18, 1999
Slovenska kinoteka, Ljubljana

RAYMOND DEPARDON (born on a farm in Villefranche-sur-Saône in 1942)
began his career as a photographer at the early age of fourteen. In
1959 he started working as a photo-reporter for the Dalmas agency.
For more many years he covered the top stories of that period (the
war in Algeria, Vietnam, Biafra, Israel, the Olympics, the Prague
Spring,...). In 1966 he established Gamma, the first independent
photographer's agency. In '81 he co-founded with Pascale Dauman his
film-production-company Double D Copyright Films. Since 1978 he has
been reporter for the world-famous photo-agency Magnum.

As a film-director Depardon is probably best known for documentaries
on the institutions, the police (Faits Divers ('83) follows the
daily activities in a Paris police station), the judicial system
(Délits Flagrants ('94) shows the procedural itinerary of persons
caught "in the act", from arrival in the holding cell until seeing
their lawyer), the press and photography (Numéros Zéros ('77) shot in
the daily Le Matin de Paris; Reporters ('80); Contacts ('90)). 

Since the mid-eighties the fictional element became stronger
present, in his already very personal documentary work (Les Annees
Déclic ('84-'85); Empty Quarter (Une Femme en Afrique) ('84-'85); La
Captive du Désert ('89); Paris).

But none of this in D-Day 9. Instead, we focused the program entirely
on Depardon's sights and sounds of Africa. "In the beginning there was
nothing that predisposed me to Africa and its deserts. But I began to
spend more time there... I felt good there... I was happy there... I always
felt like going back. I always found a pretext to return. Was it the
Toubous and their charm? Tibesti and its mountains? Or simply the
desire to do something different. to film the desert." 
Africa is like a refrain in his opus. More than a third of his --now
around 30 movies counting-- filmography were shot there. Africa
became a touchstone of his "homework". In a way, the place where he
measures his other work. Depardon enjoys showing us his beloved
continent: its beautiful people, its magnificent landscapes. It seems
his ultimate refuge. And yet, he does everything to avoid the
ever-seducing exoticism, Africanism. So he puts the beauty in
perspective (but refuses to ignore it) to let us perceive something
of the real Africas (in plural!).

In his 1996-movie "Afriques, comment ça va avec la douleur" Depardon
comments:"The man of images is inhabited by endless doubts. The
field of investigation of the eye is boundless. In Ethiopia, sight is
a talisman, even a medication. It teaches the wisdom elaborated by
King Solomon: I walk towards my image, and my image towards me. It
welcomes me and embraces me upon my return from captivity." 

The French film-critic Serge Daney called Depardon the successor of
the later Rossellini: "He informs his audience about the current
state of his discoveries and research. Depardon, the photographer,
then the filmmaker, then the author, becomes the inventor of his own
imag(in)ed life".


AT 6 pm:

TCHAD (1): L'EMBUSCADE (Chad: The Ambush)
Dir., photo. and voice off: Raymond Depardon; editor: José Pinheiro;
sound-mix: Paul Bertault; journalist: Michel Honorin. 
1970, 12 min., col., 16mm (French spoken, with Slovene sim.

The ruins of a school bombarded by the French airforce, Aozou, Chad,
1970. Depardon --accompanied with two colleague reporters (Gilles
Carron and Michel Honorin)-- makes his first images of the
revolutionary Toubous. The regular Chadian army catches them in an
ambush. The journalists give themselves up. The fighting continues.
Depardon: "In Paris people slowly became aware that French troops
were fighting in Chad since 1968.  But people knew little about this
rebellion. Much later they would know that some 200 French soldiers
were killed there."

Dir., photo., sound, voice off: Raymond Depardon; editor: José
1973, 19 min., col., 16mm (French spoken, with Slovene sim. translation)

After a photo-reportage in Vietnam, Depardon leaves with an Ã?clair 16
and a Sony-cassette for Yemen:"I like the Orient. I had just returned
from Vietnam. It was winter. Yemen was divided in two: the feudal
North, and the South with its scientific Marxism. It was a little
reportage, a sort of TV-pilot: subjective and at the same time a bit
political and geographic. But I like the film, cause it's free. I
asked a Yemen-specialist to write the text. It's a very classical
approach: commentary, a bit of sync-sound, some music, some people
with weapons. faces. everything I detest. And yet, it was worth to
experiment a bit with treating a subject in this way. to then move on
and go further."

(The Interview with F.  Claustre & The Ultimatum) 
Dir., photogr., sound and voice off: Raymond Depardon; assistant:
Lionel Cousin; editor: José Pinheiro; sound-mix: Paul Bertault;
prod.: Gamma.
1975-76, 40 min., col., 16mm (French spoken, with Slovene sim. translation)

The second and third part of Tchad are two interviews with Françoise
Claustre, a French archaeologist taken hostage by the Toubou-rebel
fighters of Hissene Habré. The first one was shot in August 1975, the
second a year later. In the first interview she talks without thinking
about the camera. She expressed herself very emotionally, speaking
about her living conditions, the coward attitude of the French
government in the affair, her despair, she cries... 
The second interview has everything to be even more tragic (a year
later she's in a more desperate situation: the rebels have set an
ultimatum), and yet it's not. Now she is totally aware of the
presence of the camera, and grasps the opportunity to use it. She
realises it's probably her only chance to get something done. So she
controls her gestures, her lines. 
Claustre was liberated in 1977, after 33 months of detention. 
Charles Tesson (Cahiers du Cinema) remarks that the title of this
film could very well be "The Human Voice", for it's a "genuine
manifesto on the art of the monologue in cinema". 
Depardon's 1989-fiction film La Captive du Désert (with Sandrine
Bonnaire in the role of the captive) was based on the Claustre Case.

Dir., photo.: Raymond Depardon; assistant: Lionel Cousin; music:
Marius Constant; editor: José Pinheiro; sound-mix: Jean Neny; prod.:
1976, 40 min., B/W, 35mm (French spoken, with Slovene sim.

Between cinema and photography. The desert and those who inhabit it.
A sensitive look, beyond the spectacular. 
"I took two cameras with me: an Ã?clair 16 to do  the interviews, the
journalistic work, and the Cameflex for the long takes. It began at
that time: this schizophrenia of the two persons within me: the
journalist and the film-director-photographer. (...) Tibesti Too was
a fantastic experience. I was always a bit unhappy of being a
reporter, even if I realise that that's my family, my education, my
culture. The Orient is important to me, because it produces a
flagrant contradiction: Tibesti is the Orient, but it's also the
farmer's world. I found a lot of similarities with the world of my
childhood. People ask themselves:"Who are the Toubous?" Yes, they
sound exotic, but they're people just like us. I remember my father
asking that question. And I wanted to tell him that, in the end,
there's no big difference between a farmer in Villefranche-sur-Saône
and them. They have a similar character. The character I know, the
one I have a bit too, the one of never being satisfied:"It rains, it
rains too much, it doesn't rain enough, it's too dry, it's too wet.
Yeah, that's a beautiful cow, but..." If the Toubous got away with
it, it's because they resisted lots of invasions, Turkish, Senussian,
French too. They lived through them, they were proud about it, like
farmers. They are proud to be able to live of their soil."

LE PETIT NAVIRE (The Little boat)
Dir.: Raymond Depardon; photo. & sound: Claudine Nougaret; editor:
Roger Ikhlef; prod.: Double D Copyright Films.
1987, 6 min., B/W, 16mm(French spoken, with Slovene sim. translation)

"It's difficult to kill exoticism. Here, there's a beautiful bleu
sky... yellow sand... well, you can't see it cause it's shot in black
and white... and it's not because I don't want to give you the
pleasure of seeing it in colour.... it's because I think it falsifies
Le Petit Navire is another piece in the autobiographical puzzle of
Depardon. We discover him, seated on top of a dune, talking about his
fears, his madness, his attraction/repulsion for the desert. 

AT 8.30pm:

(Africas: How about the pain?)
Dir., photogr., sound: Raymond Depardon; editor: Roger Ikhlef;
sound-mix & producer: Claudine Nougaret. 
1996, 165 min., col., 35mm (French spoken, with English subtitles)

"I'm starting a journey. It's not a road movie, and not a piece of
investigative journalism, but the sights and sounds of ordinary pains
in Africa. A subjective journey, through my wishes, but also my fears.
Reassure yourself, I won't try to make you feel bad." 
With these words Depardon begins his almost three-hour long,
beautiful, moving, revealing, and above all sincere, cinematographic
diary about Africa. His journey begins on top of a hill on the Cape
of Good Hope in the South-African winter-month of July, takes us
through dozens of countries, landscapes, situations,... and ends in
the courtyard of his parental home, a French farm in
Depardon sets down his camera and looks around, carefully, precisely.
Fixed frames are alternated with shots where he lets his camera pan
on its axe, the full 360 degrees. Slowly the landscape, the situation
unfolds. To grasp something of the complexity you need time. Depardon
avoids easy solutions, the collection of sound-bites, the
spectacular, the clichés. He explains that he shoots without cuts
("en continue") for two reasons: he doesn't want to give himself the
possibility to modify real time --his real experience-- afterwards,
and he wants to show us his position, his point of view. "Every
film-director has the moral responsibility over his take. Real time
guarantees this." An image of a sick old abandoned people in a
desperate looking hospital for outcasts in Sudan continues to smiling
faces, some children. Sometimes he informs us about the shots he
didn't take. They were too known, too spectacular, over-mediatised.
So why show them again? They wouldn't explain anything new. They
wouldn't contribute to our understanding, let alone to our
solidarity. We see the first black president of South-Africa, whom he
asked to film one minute, in silence; the remains of apartheid:
Soweto; the Mo Kuvale nomads who live on the high plains border-zone
between Namibia and Angola; refugees in Ruanda and Burundi;
worshippers at the ancient cave churches in the Ethiopian Lalibela;
the magnificent plateaus in Ethiopia; Mogadishu from the green line
dividing North and South; Tibesti "his favourite mountain in the
desert"; the Toubous, the Saharan black nomads, who "played" in his
fiction-film La Captive du Désert; 5000 incarcerated people, waiting
for their trial, accused of the Ruandan genocide; passers-by in a
Brasilian café in Alexandria. 
It's a puzzling picture, complex and full of contradictions. Depardon
communicates with sounds, images and words something of the every day
pains of Africa. 

(More info "Afriques..." at Forum, Film Festival Berlin 1997:
http://www.fdk-berlin.de/forum97/f001e.htm )

ob 18.00: 600 SIT
ob 20.30: 600 SIT
Complete D-Day 9: 1000 SIT
The series D-Day: Dan za dokumentarec is produced by OPEN SOCIETY 
Executive producer: SLOVENSKA KINOTEKA.

Additional support for D-Day 9:
Ministere des affaires etrangeres - Republique Francaise - Direction 
generale des relations culturelles scientifiques et techniques -  
Direction de l'action audiovisuelle exterieure - Division des 


Koen Van Daele
Program coordinator D-Day: Dan za dokumentarec
phone: -386-61/329.184
fax: -386-61/13.23.092
email: Koen.VanDaele@guest.arnes.si