Bergala at the Bilan

After each day of screenings at the finale of Cinema Cent Ans De Jeunesse, the film-makers and teachers spend an hour going over the year’s work, and the final films.  We also begin to think about next year’s theme.  This year Margaux Guillemard, following the Film MA at Birkbeck, went to the final bilan, and brought back these notes for us (thank you Margaux!)

Le contenu avant les techniques: Bergala noticed something, something that he or Nathalie apparently never thought of before in the context of this program, which is the importance of the content, the story that the kids are narrating. He really enjoyed the fact that this year, the kids were talking more about the story than the techniques. “Qu’est-ce que ça dit?/What does it actually say?” He also felt that the children have never been so concerned than this year, that they were talking from “their inside”.

La différence: exclusion/intégration: Obviously the main theme this year was the différence, being different, being accepted or not, being in the norm or not. He saw several reasons for this: the first one is structural and linked with the exercises (for example the 2+1 exercise which logically leads to exclusion), he saw the second reason as a mirror of what the kids hear about a lot (news, etc.), but also experience themselves (at school).

Danger sur la différence: Even though it was great and interesting that the films and discussions were more focused on the content than the techniques (which they see as an evolution), Bergala and Nathalie also saw a potential danger. According to them, a lot of the films had “beaucoup de mauvais sentiments” meaning negative, unethical or borderline thoughts. Each time there was a “problem”, a “different person”, the resolution of the film was réparationniste, meaning that what was important was to fix the problem, and that conformism often won. What most of the films were in the end saying was “being in the norm is good”. To summarize, Bergala insisted on the responsibility and ethics of story-telling.

Info for next year:
Two potential ideas of theme for next year:

– Plan-séquence (Sequence-shot): which would mean having two sequence-shots, without editing.  [Mark adds: at the bilan on the previous day, there was much discussion about the feasibility of 8 minute films comprising only two shots.  Orson Welles had quite a bit of trouble setting up the 4 minute sequence in Touch of Evil..)

– Regarder/Raconter (Looking/Telling): which would about playing and finding the right balance between what needs to be said in the film, and what the films says, or shows.  [I think Nautical’s Unspoken film does this beautifully, in the final shot, of Barnaby looking back at Adi and nodding.  The Catalan films in the programme always seem to do ‘regarder’ so well, with this year’s film, about an emigre Pakistani family adrift in Barcelona, being especially evocative.]

Nathalie and Alain emphasized on the fact that they would be really happy if teachers, coordinators, were writing to them to share ideas of themes, or to defend one of their ideas as they are not sure yet. (Nathalie’s favorite is Regarder/Raconter, and Bergala said that he would be happier if it was Plan-séquence!)

Three new workshops for next year: Vienna, Belgium and Germany.
The introductory meeting will be on the 4/5 of October.

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