Showing / telling
Since its inception, cinema oscillates between the places it shows us and the stories it tells us.
This year is dedicated to questioning the boundaries of those places where stories are written: to analyse the unique qualities that make the places different from the rest of space; to find out what happens there; to work out how to access these places and how to return to them once again… Sacred and forbidden places, places of memory and history, dreamlike places, alternative places will all be evoked, through the precise selection of films and excerpts from all periods of the world’s cinematographic history.
45 groups this year in 8 regions of France - including French overseas territories - and in 15 countries across the world, will present their films on this topic at the International Meeting “ A nous le cinema !” in June, at La Cinémathèque. Including, for the first time, Japan, under the direction of director Nobuhiro Suwa.
Places and stories
Many cinema stories emerge from the actual places that inspired them. Others, more psychological, need to find a real place to be embodied in a film. Cinema often happens in between those two poles: the one of the place where the characters evolve and the one of the story they live within the scenario.
The character of little Ahmad in Where is the Friend’s Home ? by Kiarostami would not exist without the actual reality of the two mountain villages between which he goes back and forth. The scenario of The Night of the Hunter by Charles Laughton is also the one of the symbolic places that the two children go through: the mother’s house, the cellar, the river, the barn, the house of the old woman who welcomes them.
A place, in the cinema, is neither a simple setting, nor just a space
First of all, a place is not “generic”. It is not the hill, or the garden, but such specific hill, such unique garden amongst every garden.
A place is necessarily circumscribed, defined, singular. A country, a town, are not places. Space is an objective and homogeneous notion. The characteristics of a space relies on geometry and are the same for all. A place, on the contrary, is made of memories, feelings, different for each person, of personal resonances.
A place only exists for one individual, or a small community, who has a direct experience of it, and almost always an emotional one. A place has a memory, a history, often a name for the one or those who is/are attached to it.
Places, when they are not just settings, also tell their own history, that of their memory, of their culture.
The place is what connects reality, imagination and memory. This constitutes the very essence of cinema.
Personal spaces within common spaces
Michel Foucault invented the concept of heterotopia which is really enlightening to think the relation between the objective, homogeneous space and the heterogeneous spaces isolated by men. Childhood is the moment in life when this work of emotional ownership of personal spaces within the common space is the most active and productive. This can be seen in many novels and films. Among others, I think about The Spirit of the Beehive by Victor Erice, about Zéro de Conduite by Jean Vigo, and about many others that we will identify together.
The posthumous film by Manoël de Oliveira, Memories and Confessions, is the finest example: its scenario, is the place itself.
ARGENTINA: La Cinemateca y Archivo de la Imagen Nacional, Rosario BELGIUM: Service de Culture Cinématographique and Cinémathèque royale de Belgique, Brussels BRASIL: Imagens em Movimento (association Raiar) with la Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM-Rio), Rio de Janeiro / Escola Carlitos with la Cinemateca Brasileira, São Paulo BULGARIA: Association Arte Urbana Collectif with Festival "Meetings of the Young European Cinema", Sofia GERMANY: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin and University of Bremen FINLAND: IhmeFilmi ry and the Finnish Cinematheque, Helsinki INDE: Children’s Film Academy, Mumbai JAPON: Children meet cinema, Tokyo LITHUANIA: Meno Avilys, Vilnius MEXICO: EduKino with la Cineteca Nacional, México PORTUGAL: Association Os Filhos de Lumière with la Cinemateca Portuguesa, Lisbon SPAIN: Cinema en curs (association A Bao A Qu), Barcelona UNITED KINGDOM (ENGLAND and SCOTLAND): British Film Institute, London / Centre for the Moving Image, Edinburgh.
FRANCE : Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: Cinéma Mon Ciné, Saint Martin D’Hères Corse: Corsica.Doc et La Cinémathèque de Corse Grand-Est: Vidéo Les Beaux Jours, Strasbourg Guadeloupe: L’Artchipel National Scene of Guadeloupe Ile-de-France: La Cinémathèque française, Paris Martinique: Tropiques Atrium, National Scene of Martinique Occitanie: Institut Jean Vigo-Cinémathèque euro-régionale, Perpignan Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur: Cinéma Jean Renoir, Martigues.
The blog allows participants to get to know each other and keep in contact throughout the course of the year, discussing their work, their discoveries and how they are progressing through the project.