IT HAS BEEN SAID
by Jean-Charles Masséra, writer and critic
by Frederique Chapuis in Telerama
by Kevin Temple in Now Magazine
Naturally attracted to the hidden sides of society and the principles that underlie it, I am specifically interested by themes that touch on History, politics or strategy. Fictionalizing problematics of a documentary nature is my preferred method of getting reality to talk. In my opinion, this stratified and many-branched reality requires a process of fictional highlighting, in order to render its complexity accessible and to avoid the risk of it remaining unintelligible. I approach things as I would resolve a problem, conduct an investigation or elucidate a mystery.
Each of my projects begins with a long period of theoretical research which may take several years, as was the case for storytelling or reenactment. This phase is indispensable, both to avoid commonplaces and to master my subject perfectly, but also to discover all the correspondances, analogies and digressions on which my narrative will be articulated. In parallel with this stage of research, a rigorous and detailed study of the aesthetic registers and cinematographic genres I intend on utilizing is set up.
For me, art is a means; never an ends. It is not a question of manufacturing seductive objects by revealing a few spectacular symptoms of our particularly troubled times. My objective is to observe the world with a fresh eye and to proceed in such a manner that this regard is meaningful. As History falters, it is logical that my attention is drawn towards individual destinies. Creating bonds, filling in the gaps that separate personal histories from collective History are things I hope to achieve through this approach. In this way writing becomes the cornerstone of a process of reconstruction—or even of reparation. The practice of conducting interviews and their eventual rewriting and then editing, are some of my preferred domains. I like to say that I make films with, never films about.
Playing on the question of point of view, it is not the relation of the Ego with the world that my work aims to capture. Rather, my method involves abstracting myself temporarily from reality in order to observe—like the magical sphere described by Borges in Aleph, which is “the only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” It is only at the outcome, after observing the intersection of different registers of focalization, that I can try to find a place for myself—even if that place turns out to be off-camera.
Fictional procedures function for me as articulations of views determined at the outset as being heterogeneous. Fictionalizing and/or creating a narrative allows me to impose a new order on the reality I perceive and to point up specific aspects that constitute tensions: the theoretical, emotional and aesthetic knots I want to shed light on. Thus I intend my process as analytical work in which fiction becomes the channel of re-distribution of the Real. The whole narrative process functions as a mechanics that initiates a dialectical movement which may lead to greater understanding regarding the true nature of the tragic beauty of our contemporary existences.
I like to describe my productions, in a provocative manner, as amoral. Thought reflexes that merely separate the world into good on one side and Evil on the other, or indignation used as a unique and accepted reaction to circumstances are not part of my register. I prefer distancing effect methods, which seem more effective for understanding the questions concerning violence and Evil that are omnipresent in my work. My engagement resides in the decision to never give in to the ease of following well-worn paths nor capitulate to the complacency of an agreed treatment, since for me courage is the supreme value.
Translation: Liz Young