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RE: [terrencemalick] Philibert

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  • QM
    Hi Theo, Thanks for the notice. I hadn t heard of this film ... and it s not out here yet, but I ll keep an eye out for it. I haven t been able to find
    Message 1 of 2 , May 3, 2003
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      Hi Theo,
      Thanks for the notice. I hadn't heard of this film ... and it's not out here
      yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it. I haven't been able to find anything
      about Philibert that mentions Malick or his works, but I did find a little
      interview in which he uses the words "thin" and "line" in the same sentence.

      Reading the mini-interview definitely made me more interested in Philibert
      and seeing his movie. He sounds like the kind of director I wish there were
      more of!


      ---From Kathimerini, Greek English language newspaper

      French Director Learns from Executives, Patients, Clerks
      Nicolas Philibert tribute under way at the 5th Thessaloniki Documentary

      By Margarita Pournara

      March 4, 2003

      Modest and discreet, French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert chooses his words
      carefully. A tribute to his work is currently being screened during the
      fifth Documentary Festival in Thessaloniki: Images of the 21st Century,
      which opened last Friday and runs to Sunday.

      Philibert was recently awarded the Cesar Prize at the annual French film
      awards for his latest documentary "Etre et Avoir" (To Be and To Have). His
      fundamental belief, as seen through his work for the past 25 years, is to
      enter the world of the others, to get to know them and to learn from them,
      something which he appears to have applied in his own life. The "others" can
      be pretty much anybody, people ranging from company directors and athletes
      to museum clerks and mental asylum patients. What is important is not the
      characters themselves, but their coexistence.

      You have stated that you are more interested in telling a story than in
      producing the traditional documentary of an educational nature.

      For a documentary to acquire cinematic value, its creator must give it a
      more human character by overcoming the strict limitations posed by the very
      theme of the documentary. Most of the reports and documentaries that we see
      on television are often trapped within those educative limitations, and I am
      sure that most of the time the viewers wish to know more about a certain
      subject. When the producer has predetermined the frame and the result of his
      work, and merely uses the camera to add to the concept which he has already
      shaped, then the documentary loses all cinematic value. When I decide to
      work on something, I never do any research beforehand, to avoid any
      prejudices that may influence my judgment. I believe that one must be open
      to all stimuli, because that is the essence of cinema.

      How difficult is it to eventually tell a story through your work?

      In my work, I deal with people's personalities which might make us cry or
      laugh. Nothing in my documentaries is predetermined and watching them is
      like watching a movie, one never knows what will happen next. Besides, films
      have their own power. Take my last work, for example, "Etre et Avoir," which
      is set in a one-teacher small elementary school in rural France. I don't
      focus on the difficulties of teaching under these circumstances, but on
      childhood itself. Whereas watching a child trying to read and write may seem
      commonplace to us, for the child itself this is a small miracle. And that
      miracle applies to all humanity; children of any nation will experience the
      same uncertainty and stress when they pick up the pencil and attempt to
      write their first syllable. It is not easy being a child and that by itself
      is a story, a fairy tale, my story.

      You film constantly, with your subjects ranging from the Louvre without its
      visitors to a mental clinic or even a zoo.

      I am not so much interested in the location itself, as in the small
      communities that live in it. The aim of my work is to show how we can all
      coexist by surpassing our codes of behavior, our differences, how we can see
      other people's desires and uniqueness - and therefore cooperate with each
      other. You know, it's not an easy thing to do. Other people are always a
      nuisance because they take us out of our security and expose us to all sorts
      of emotional dangers; they put us through hardships and make us drop our
      defenses. I did a documentary on a mental clinic, the reason being that I
      wanted to get acquainted with the world of madness which scares us because
      the line between what we consider normality and what we call paranoia is
      very thin. I gradually managed to get close to these people and my
      prejudices were eliminated because I saw their personalities. Each one of us
      is a hero and the star of his own life. Cinema can draw on small events in
      our daily routine, like the one I mentioned before, a child learning to
      write and to withstand the critical look of its classmates.

      The five films directed by Philibert chosen for screenings during the fifth
      Thessaloniki Documentary Festival are "La Ville Louvre" (Louvre City, 1990),
      "Le Pays des Sourds" (In the Land of the Deaf, 1993), "La Moindre des
      Choses" (Every Little Thing, 1997), "Un Animal, des Animaux" (Animal,
      Animals, 1996), and "Etre et Avoir" (To Be and To Have, 2002).
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