The 2010 official selection of the 32nd edition of the Festival of the 3 Continents proves that despite Cassandra-like prophecies invoking the digital or global economic crisis and predicting its imminent end, the cinema of three continents remains alive and active. By the synergy of a different more subjective way of seeing things and new innovating stylistic diversity, the Official Competition (French premiers) and The Official Selection : Out of Competition (feature films not yet released in French theatres) are both re-energised by what might be called a « documentary drive ». Never indeed had cinematic realism focused in such a strong way on the tools, the shooting methods and aesthetics of a cinema that captures the real world. Does this point out a lack of imagination coming from our scriptwriters and filmmakers ? On the contrary plunging into nonfiction material has liberated their creativity pushing them to unfold new forms and approaches. For example this is true of Chinese feature films – documentary or drama – that firmly anchor the plot in an urban area capturing the setting with such meticulous framing that it plays a much larger role than just a simple decor. We can easily corroborate cinematography’s historical capacity to reinvent itself after intentional or accidental interference between fiction and documentary.
Whatever their origin, young filmmakers and fiction seem to return to reality to pull away from the artificiality that sometimes affects scenarios, acting techniques and genres. The accepted conventions of realistic film are therefore betrayed by procedures that bypass it without necessarily outrunning it. The stories, more linear than usual, are as striped bare, refurbished in this cinema which, heedless of frills, goes directly to the « bone » of emotions and bodies. On the other hand, the documentary attracted by the territories of the imagination, has also been released from its informative obligations. It now opens to forms such as narrative, or even mythology : in Los Abrazos del Rio by Nicolas Rincon Gille (competition), the stories of Colombian farmers harassed by paramilitary groups has nothing to envy their mythological spirits of the river, and when the eponymous hero of Jean Gentil (competition) sinks into a luxuriant forest of the Dominican Republic, at times his fate reminds us of a fairy-tale. Even in documentaries speaking in first person (Cuchillo de Palo or Port of Memory, respectively, in competition and out of competition), the most familiar and closest issues can always slip into unforeseen situations, obliging cinema to brake through « the skin of things » (H. Michaux), revealing beyond what is first given to be seen the beautiful fragility of life as the fuel of fiction (Mundane History).
The surprise is contained in the formal strength of selected works. Modest budgets are no longer synonymous of technical approximation. In films such as Novena (in competition), the rigour of the framing and the creative treatment of colour give it a very special pictorial power. The filmmaker’s presence in Nantes and the exchanges will confirm it : be it shot on 35 millimetre film or on new digital high-definition supports, if it creates or if it records, the film’s of the Official F3C Selection make a stand on our time, the complexity of territories and men who inhabit them.
Charlotte GARSON et Jérôme BARON