Better than any other art, cinema, by giving voice to individual human beings, restores and questions History. It itself becomes « historical material ».
Make of these words a shared reality, at a moment when political action seems ever more cut off from general interest and public welfare. Other systems of governance, citizenship and relationship to politics are being invented at the margins of the classical systems of representation. Some films testify to this movement.
How does cinema represent the media, and therefore the issues of freedom of speech, censorship and the relation between the media and the people in power?
Cinema, at the precise moments when it has met history being made (under the Popular Front (1936) or in May 68) created films which have become testimonials. These films speak to us and remind us both of powerful moments within the collective memory and the aspiration to change the world.
These documents also allow us sometimes to look at the commitments of the time and to question them. Today films are still being made which strongly testify, sometimes in premonitory ways, of the fundamental movements and questions which are shaping our societies.
Around the relation between society and cinema is proposed here a history of the 7th art, necessarily subjective, but which can suggest paths for further enquiry to all those who wish to enter this world which, perhaps, is new for them.
A « Founding film » is a film which renews cinematic form, in other words which « writes » in a new way, like the Impressionists at their beginnings or the first jazz musicians… Furthermore some of these films have become, for a generation, « manifestos ».
Immigration, displaced persons, the stateless… Hannah Arendt hoped that one day all would become « the world’s guests », i.e. that there would be no more deported people, illegal migrants, individuals harassed for their opinion, for their « deviance », sexuality, religion…
From the deserters of the Wehrmacht to the mini-projects set up between tiny communities of Israelis and Palestinians, there have always been links between « enemies ». Running against dominant thinking within their own camp, some, very few, at painful moments of history take the risk of reaching out to meet the adversary…
Here we retrace the filmed memory of the Corrèze, find out how people speak of our territory in other lands, pay attention today to what cinema is being invented in our area…
A joker card! And yet if our wish one day is that a cultural Europe exist, what art can better signal its first steps better than the cinema?
Trails: Organic agriculture / Industrial agriculture / AMAP (Alternative distribution networks) / Biodiversity / Protecting the environment / GMO / Pollution / Climate / Water / Air / Sustainable Development / Nuclear Power
Even Schwartzenegger is at it, pushing the United States to ratify the Kyoto agreement which commits the world to fight against the greenhouse effect…
Sometimes adults criticize the young for speaking too much, sometimes for being too silent. How to choose? Perhaps by looking at films and discovering that youth can express itself via the cinema.
Talking about a film is one way of allowing it to exist and perhaps of inviting a distributor, a video publisher, a federation of ciné-clubs to re-screen it. Sometimes, also, a film can disappear because it has been censored. Recording it in the base is also a way to help it come back to life.
How pertinent remains that remark by Simone de Beauvoir. Alongside the huge number of films devoted to the feminine condition, a women’s cinema has always existed from the origins of the art. It is useful to mark its presence for it is a defining aspect of the art’s history and existence.
This fine line by the songstress Colette Magny denotes the power of collective action. In workshops, companies, the unions resist the deterioration of work conditions. Work councils, staff organisations invent alternatives in the world of labour.
What is more difficult than to film work, the memory of gestures? Through this act of cinema, film-makers have traced the lives of thousands of people whose existence is expressed in the daily routine of the workplace.
Could a world exist without work? We do not believe so. And in the meantime, capitalist exploitation is overwhelming the so called « emerging » economies, transforming our countries and producing precarious living conditions, poverty and unemployment. And on the positive flip side, sometimes, produces other ways of working….
In the 5th century BC, slaves freed Athenian citizens from work who were five times less numerous and who were left the time to engage in politics and experiment the practice of democracy. On the contrary, Edgar Morin in the sixties, reflected on the notion of free, time coining the expression « the value of long holidays produces a holiday from our major values ».
An old word, developed before the Enlightenment and which gives a fine definition of Economics: the economy is the management of the common house. Cooperatives, mutuals, solidarity economics, open each in its own way to the construction of another world. The manage in this way « the common house » which is our world, making its way alongside capitalist economics.
From Saint Denis in the Paris suburbs to the Satéré Mawé Indians, via the centre of Paris or Saint-Yrieux le Déjalat, one unique world with multiple belongings, a multiplicity of ways of inhabiting the earth.
When the world becomes a gigantic market, when the generalised « brainwashing » carried out by giant advertising agencies and media groups is at work, money is no longer a means of exchange but a goal in itself, endlessly sought after by all-powerful shareholders.
Trails: Friendship / Being in love, tearing apart… / Family, recomposed or not / Living in one’s body / Questioning one’s origins / Religion = religere: linking people together, but not always… / Health
Living with sickness, madness, watching the arrival of death, resisting, hoping, waiting
Observing the school system, questioning its operation, what has become of the ideal of equal access to education professed as the aim of the government supported school system? Looking at adults, what paths of popular education represent a true tool of emancipation and an access to culture for those who left school early?
The police, justice, prison, army, state… Over the past few years, film-makers have been welcomed into prisons, questioned the justice system, observed the police, probed the exercise of democracy.
From its invention in 1895, the 7th Art has accompanied the most diverse range of artistic movements. Today the development of digital recording, like the introduction of video 40 years ago, is upsetting the forms and ways by which the world is represented through images.
Let us close with this theme, for cinema is perhaps the greatest inventor of utopia, as it is of catastrophes…