Un animal, des animaux

“Without showing it, Philibert launches into a reflection on the gaze that recalls the animal inventory of Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar. The filmmaker stares this stuffed fauna in the eye; all of a sudden, it is observing us in silence, with, deep in its eyes, a terrible air of reproach, a mysterious interrogation. Lingering feelings of guilt rise to the surface with this question from an 11-year-old schoolgirl after seeing the film: ‘Where do the animals come from? Were they killed so they could be stuffed?’ A camera is never neutral. But the top prize for humour has to go to another schoolgirl who asked Philibert: ‘Why don’t you perform in the film?’ The filmmaker certainly isn’t mature enough (or dead enough) for embalming and, at this stage in our evolution, 20th century man isn’t about to join the specimens in the museum. In the meantime, Philibert has given us a lesson in modesty (man’s vanity in the huge chain of evolution). A lesson that has the elegance of being first and foremost a brilliant film, on the border of science, architecture, poetry, fantasy, naturalism and a work-in-progress.”

Serge Kaganski1