Situation allows to think about the relationship between the characters, the mis en scene, and the spectator’s place. As they go through situations – wanted or forced onto them, classified or unknown – the characters change, metamorphose and even sometimes shift as part of some decisive moments.
The spectator follow the character from a situation to another through the film, but he identifies with him differently, depending on its own subjective mind, the issue of these situations, or the way the filmmaker cut them and film them.
In June 2019, during the international meetings “A nous le cinema” at the Cinémathèque française, children and teenagers from these worldwide 43 CCAJ workshops will introduce their films and discuss this question of “situation” with invited godfathers filmmakers.
In 2018-19, the Cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse (CCAJ) takes places in 15 different countries and 9 French mainland and oversees regions. It welcomes Nouvelle-Aquitaine region (France) and Italy.
Situation and cinema
Situations, characters and spectator's place
What is a situation in a film? It’s the relationship between the characters that is set up in each new scene. The film progresses from a scene to another, from a situation to another.
The characters are not necessarily aware of their own evolutions or of these transformations they undergo when going from one situation to another. They don’t control all of it because they go through situations which are sometimes forced onto them, unknown or enigmatic. There are situations upon which they can take action, others when they can only react, like in films where the characters explore or travel through unknown lands.
The situations depend just as much on the space in which they take place as on the scenario. Filming a situation means setting up relationships between the characters in a specific and precise space: the same relation between two characters, or even the same dialogue, will not trigger the same emotions if they are filmed side by side in a car, or separated by stairs, or each of them in their own setting over the phone. If they are filmed in a car, my relationship to the characters depends on the choice made by the film maker to only film one of them and leave the other one out of the off camera.
As a spectator, I am present in the film through the characters, I follow them from a situation to another, I evolve with them, I can relate to their emotions, I share their emotions. But depending on the way the situation if filmed (the axes, the size of the shots, the editing) my identification to such and such character varies, evolves. In the situation attacker/attacked, for example, the film maker can ensure I identify myself rather with one or the other: in M by Fritz Lang, the moment when M is chased by the police in the cordoned off building, I can identify myself with a child murderer because he is the one who is in danger, and that he only has very little chances to get out of it.
I find my place in the film by going through the spaces and successive situations alongside the characters, but this place constantly gets modified, and my relationship to the characters evolves also from one scene to another, depending on the way the situation evolves.
Soon: resources (eading list, links), and supporting materials, to allow you to explore the topic in greater depth.
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 ITALIE: Cineforum, Teramo 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 et 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 and 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 Nouvelle-Aquitaine : ALCA - Agence livre cinéma audiovisuel, Bègles 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.