Conversation FR
5.05.2021

En 1956, Paul De Swaef passe sur le tournage du film Le chantier des gosses de Jean Harlez pour le journal dominical belge Germinal, film qui sera finalement présenté en première à Bruxelles en 1970.

Conversation EN
28.04.2021

“But I’m going to reveal a military secret to you that I haven’t revealed to anyone else, because the Tricontinental is as dear to you as it is to me. Thus, your interview will not be like others. People wonder why Heiny Srour has always been a pioneer, a groundbreaker, both in substance and form, why she has always gone off the beaten track. Why, in all of Arab cinema, was she the first to shoot in Dhofar and, also, to go to Vietnam? Why has she been innovative in various domains? The reason is that I was fortunate enough to be born in Lebanon, part of an ultra-minority, unrepresented in Parliament. That immediately offers you a wide-angle view of the world, which the Anglo-Saxons call ‘strategic thinking’.”

Conversation EN
28.04.2021

The Hour of Liberation is, therefore, a partisan film at all levels. In terms of the montage as well: you can’t place images filmed on both sides of the fence in any order, and tell the viewer to choose sides; that would put oppression and freedom, injustice and justice on the same level. The film is constructed on a structure that rejects the bourgeois conception of ‘objectivity’: it clearly takes sides, without necessarily hiding the difficulties of the struggle, without hiding the contradictions, without ultimately lapsing into triumphalism. The entire montage is conceived to produce an analysis of what a people’s war is.”

Conversation EN
21.04.2021

Conversely, I try to find my words on the editing table. I have both my typewriter and my editing table in one room. It is connected to this question of writing and filmmaking, because it is also very evident you cannot make films the same way you can write a text. For the text you need to go to the library, but 80% or so of them are created in the room, or if not created, then at least the final version is made indoors at your desk. That is also the last stage of the filmmaking, the aspect where writing and filmmaking come together. People ask me, why don’t you write anymore, and I realise it is because I have succeeded in making a form of writing out of my filmmaking.

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“I began by making film reports, documentaries, and I didn’t come to fiction until much later. The boundaries between the two aren’t very clear-cut, however, and there are often documentary elements in fiction films and vice versa. At the time, there was a fabulous reporting tradition, with film crews in conflict zones that didn’t hesitate to take risks and demonstrate a certain situation by bringing us the footage. Resorting to cinema, especially to documentaries, in order to provoke or accompany social change, to denounce or to provide a basis for action, all this was very much present when I started.”

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“Each time I made a film, it was in a given political period; each time I had a political objective, my films couldn’t just be without orientation. That’s not sentimentality. Through a form of sensibility, a political problem emerges. The destruction of Beirut, the children fighting, it means something. I figured this way of showing things could touch people and have a real political impact. People are fed up with the talking. On television, for example, one day they show a representative of the left, the next a representative of the right. Every day, they agree with someone else, and they end up forgetting who’s right or wrong!”

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“They no longer allowed us to express ourselves. There was no freedom anymore. At the time, I didn’t fully understand that I was scaring them because I didn’t realize the impact of my work. With my documentaries and my different way of looking at things, I managed to reach European and American television channels. They were afraid my images would shake the public opinion and dismantle their propaganda.”

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“Today, nine years later, I say to myself: “It’s no longer a matter of taking a position.” That’s where my films are headed and that’s what brings me to fiction. I think I’m meeting my time, the wave of complete scepticism, of doubt, which means that in the fiction to come I have completely abandoned any political point of view – even if everything is political. Even if there is no doubt that there has been a political position. The desire I had to be on TV, to reach a lot of people, meant that my work was concerned with the imagery, which was much more powerful than militant film.”

Conversation EN
7.04.2021

“This documentary phase wasn’t only linked to my personal history; it was determined by my country’s political situation and Lebanon’s cinema history. My trajectory is a bit like that of other Lebanese filmmakers. If I decided to move to fiction it’s because, after speaking in a “militant” manner, I now want the image to speak as much as possible.”

Conversation FR EN
17.03.2021

“Yes, from a filmmaker’s point of view, we wanted to look for images other than those brought back by television crews every time there’s a political event in the occupied territories (manifestations, strikes, riots, etc.). We actually believe that these images make us forget the essence: the sense of the struggle of these people. The informative television images are images of ‘effects’, and we are looking for images of ‘causes’.”

Conversation FR EN
17.03.2021

« Oui, notre point de vue de cinéastes était de rechercher des images autres que celles ramenées par les équipes de télévision à chaque événement politique dans les territoires occupés (manifestations, grèves, émeutes, etc.). Nous croyons, en effet, que ces images finissent par faire oublier l’essentiel : le sens de la lutte de ces gens. Les images d’information télévisées sont des images d’« effets », nous recherchions des images de  « causes ». »

Conversation FR EN
17.03.2021

“[Fertile Memory] is the result of several years of work. I made several reports in the occupied territories, but I also have to say that the film was beyond me. The Palestinian question is basically an issue of oppression: an oppression that dominates the world. I said to myself that I would be able to give the Palestinian question a new dimension by talking about the most oppressed. I thought that women would help bring out all the contradictions.”

Conversation FR EN
17.03.2021

[C]’est le résultat de plusieurs années de travail, j’ai fait plusieurs reportages dans les territoires occupés, mais je dois dire aussi que le film m’a dépassé. Au fond, c’est quoi le problème palestinien, c’est le problème de l’oppression : une oppression qui domine le monde. Je me suis dit que c’était en parlant des plus opprimés que je parviendrai à donner une dimension au problème palestinien. J’ai pensé que la femme permettrait de faire ressortir toutes les contradictions.

Conversation FR EN
10.03.2021

“There’s something crazy about editing. The little I learned about film technique and the manipulation of forms comes from editing really. Because I had to edit everything myself; I couldn’t afford an editor – and I didn’t want one anyway. I was too – what word do they use nowadays? – “invested”. Funny word.”

Conversation FR EN
10.03.2021

Le montage a quelque chose de fou. Ce que j’ai un peu appris de la technique de cinéma et de la manipulation des formes me vient réellement du montage. Parce que j’ai dû tout monter moi-même ; et n’avais pas de quoi m’offrir un monteur – du reste, je n’en avais pas envie. J’étais trop - comment dit-on maintenant ? – investi. Drôle de mot.

Conversation EN
17.02.2021

“I already knew that you can’t just make a film overnight with people who aren’t actors. Especially when you want to make a feature film. And there I was, plunging into a spoken feature-length film. Some friends had told me, “Be careful!” I responded, “Damn it! Flaherty made Nanook, and he made Moana!” “Ah yes, okay, but that’s silent film! You, your peasants, when they open their mouths, you’ll see, it’ll be a catastrophe.” I hung on all the same. Of course, you can’t make them play Le Cid or Hamlet... You have to make them play something that’s closer to their hearts.”

Conversation NL
25.11.2020

Parallel aan hun autonome filmprojecten werkten de documentairemakers Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer en Isabelle Tollenaere jarenlang samen aan een film die zich afspeelt in de Amerikaanse woestijn. Victoria is gegroeid uit een voortdurende dialoog tussen drie filmmaaksters die ervoor kozen om samen een weg tot het einde af te leggen. Op een reis door de woestijn ontmoetten ze Lashay. Hij treedt op als gids doorheen een landschap waar de levens van uiteenlopende woestijnbewoners met elkaar verknoopt zijn. De Ceulaer: “Victoria bestaat uit verschillende lagen die we met elkaar wilden verweven, zoals de relatie van Lashay met California City en Los Angeles of de verschillende aspecten van Lashays persoonlijke situatie. Het was een enorme opgave om tot deze structuur te komen, ook al lijkt die zo eenvoudig.”