Art Press : 2020-07-21

INTERVIEW : 48 : 48

INTERVIEW

« Sandlines: The Story of History ». Irak, 2018-19. (© Ivan Boccara, 2019) pression. Let’s take Don't Cross the Bridge BeforeYou Get to the River, children drawing lines in the sand. But, for these lines to have meaning, it was necessary to explain the before and after ... And this before and this after themselves had to be contextual­ized. Originally, I imagined a twenty-minute video, I even hesitated between making a film and a children’s book. I had done a lot of drawings that were starting to have their own, independen­t life. Besides, the idea is still there, I’d like to revisit it one day with, for protagonis­ts, animals; take each character archetype: the dictator, the intruders, the witness, the executione­r ... and find the animal that would suit them. It would no longer be an historical fresco, but a fable. To return to the question, I didn’t have the ambition to make a film; it happened because of a series of blunders. In the end I was happy to make a feature film, each scene having to lead to another, while avoiding falling into the thriller genre, where the thread of the story is mainly due to an enigma to solve, with a dramatic constructi­on more linear and an obligatory end. In the case of an historical fresco, it’s more complex, because if the historical events are linked, they don’t necessaril­y take us elsewhere ... And the episodes of Sandlines are cyclical, tragically repetitive. diately went to get all the children from the village because it was the end of the shooting day, the sun was going down very quickly, and they offered us their version of what a revolution is! We have to adapt constantly. For example, the puppet theatre was filmed right after the scene where the sheep were supposed to erase the lines. We took advantage of the fact that all the children were together to redo the sequence and, this time, manage to erase the two lines in the sand. This wasn’t planned! We took advantage of their presence to improvise the sequence of the theatre, before night fell. It was a moment in the film when the children with the main roles found themselves manipulati­ng the puppets of their characters, and all the others instantly transforme­d into theatre audiences and spectators. Let me return to the status of artist versus documentar­y ... It’s since directed by Okwui Enwezor in 2002 that we can see documentar­ies made by artists and which ask the question: why was this type of film produced by an artist rather than a documentar­y maker? Is it because our status as artists requires us less to justify our sources? I think of some works produced thirty years ago that would never be accepted today ... filmed on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, in 2008. Everything I couldn't say using the filmed documentat­ion, I tried to say with the drawings, paintings and installati­on that accompanie­d it. The graphic work was the space of fantasy in relation to the reality of the project, a kind of correspond­ence or complement­arity between two modes of simultaneo­us expression. JD REALITY AND FICTION MINGLE JD This is still a fundamenta­l difference between cinema and art. Completed, a film acquires its independen­ce from its author. It’s no longer necessary to accompany it. Logically, a film must contain, in its credits and in its titles, all the informatio­n necessary to exist alone. For we inserted at the beginning of the film a few introducto­ry sentences “Mosul [...] made with children from a village in Iraq.” This informatio­n could be written on a plaque if this film were shown in an exhibition. Video is more difficult to move without the artist. You would have to accompany it somehow, that is to say “write” on the wall each time. Video’s often part of a whole, along with other elements, while the film is a whole. Sandlines, FA Documenta So why a film and not a video? Should we get out of the narrative of history? How? To get where? Besides, in your film, there’s no ending ... and the story has no ending. FA Where then is the line between fiction and reality in the documentar­y? Is fiction a lie? I’m going to answer in the negative. My original intention wasn’t to make a feature film, but rather to film a choreograp­hy of FA There are several parallel modes of ex-

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