FIDMarseille 2020 (2): Zaho Zay, Forensickness
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Eugène Raphaël Ranaïvojaona in Zaho Zay

Every FIDMarseille 2020 film included a video introduction by the filmmakers who seemingly been given complete freedom to decide how and how long to approach it. Avoid standard speech-to-webcam output, Zaho ZayHad to be the best. In a living room, a woman (presumably co-director Maéva Ranaïvojaona) goes to an audio clip of Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? by Jean-Marie Straub on the indissolubility of form and ideology. "Shape, shape, your notorious shape," he growls. The woman roughly synchronizes with a chatter she seems to have heard and considered many times before. This intro is a pretty perfect four-minute short film on its own, containing a certain kind of both awesome and respectfully puzzled reaction to Straub's furiously articulated rules of cinema. (Nobody feels more comfortable emptying it than his late partner Danièle Huillet, who waits for the storm before she asks: "Are you ready?")

Zaho Zay, staged together with Georg Tiller, deals directly with several form / ideological separations. A POV separation is obvious: according to her biography, Ranaïvojaona is “a French filmmaker with Malagasy origins”; Pinne is Austrian. The film started when Ranaïvojaona and Tiller were looking for another project in Madagascar (Ranaïvojaona's first time since childhood) and were asked to cut life in prison for an NGO. Part of the resulting footage was redirected to this hybrid project, a mixture of clearly documentary, openly staged and quite a bit in the chaotic center. The story that holds it all together is an investigation into the narrator's long-lost father – a murderer played on-screen by Ranaïvojaona's uncle. His past was investigated in a voice-over by the French-Malagasy writer Jean-Luc Raharimanana. My initial assumption that this narrator was in a way a deputy for the co-director herself has been increasingly undermined: the voice-over switches from theoretically inflected reflections and memories to the narrator who identifies herself as a prison guard and directly identifies prisoners who are in silent tableaus stand in front of their lens, screaming at the camera. I assumed there was no chance someone outside the frame of yelling sexually inflected hostile threats against him, nor is it the type of director that someone outside the Dennis Hopper spectrum would want to identify with in a lot – the increasing suspicion of the speaker and his POV forms the strongest narrative arc of the film.

The real footage creates an unpleasant spectacle out of the prison yard in two ways: one of those tableau shots of prisoners standing against a wall, the other master shot of the entire yard full of dozens or hundreds of people, a cheaply put together version of the saying "cast of." Thousands. " There is a certain colonialist perspective inherent in this cold-blooded formalist portrait of a formidable crowd, provided free of charge by the karzeral state, but the ideological intent is firmly anti-colonial – Ousmane Sembene and Thierno Faty Sow & # 39; s Camp de Thiaroye from 1988 are also suitable for the staging of the epic for a film from the Second World War that shows the French permanently. This multi-shared gaze seems in part to be an affirmation that Ranaïvojaona is both back home and a stranger, and the film finds plenty of ways to widen this implicit void, increasingly removing the narrator and becoming hallucinatory as he goes exploring the landscape while effectively dropping the starting point of the investigation.

This is the second movie I've seen in the past two years that not only steals a shot of Uncle Boonmee remembering his previous lives, but actually the same shot (a spectacular top view of people in one bathed in sunlight Cave). . Here, the visual citation seems to be more than an allusion to an influential point of reference: an affirmation that this film will inevitably map them across external frames of reference, no matter how much effort is put into making Malaguy's voices speak for themselves and themselves represent yourself. Shape is both well-intentioned and a fairly well-defined art cinema tradition, while inevitably it creates a greater distance than anyone would like. Many mediocre festival films can trick viewers into thinking they have more to do than well-composed imagery before revealing their underlying lack of imagination in finding new uses for slow motion cinema – Zaho Zay becomes more and more interesting over time . Shedding the skin of a slightly generic festival hybrid film for something foreign and increasingly for yourself.

Chloé Galibert-Laînés Previous illness also plays with the gap between narrator and filmmaker and established itself from the start as a kind of companion / response film to Chris Kennedy's 2017 Watching the Detectives. Kennedy's silent glances at the Reddit boards in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, with posters attempting to tag Whodunnit by circling many, often brown, people in overhead photos of the crime scene, wondering if there was one in them Pressure cooker carries heavy backpacks etc. – a real counterexample to bromides about "the benefits of crowd sourcing". Kennedy's film is ideally shown at 16mm (his stated reasoning is that the celluloid removes metadata), but Galibert-Laîné is a specialist in desktop documentaries (often in collaboration with Kevin B. Lee) that query visual texts. She is also completing her thesis, a study of "netnographic" films, so Kennedy's short film – composed almost entirely of pictures from and from the Reddit boards – is just the thing for her. Galibert-Laîné begins by commenting on detectives, breaking down his methods and how he works in relation to Kennedy's other, more overtly structural, experimental films. Their obsession with detectives' methods mirrors that of their subjects. Finally, to find out how it works, she breaks it down in Final Cut to see in multilinear form how much each type of footage prevails.

Galibert-Laîné goes out from the opening text and deals with the FBI's marathon investigation. In a rather spectacular dunk, he compares / contrasts the version of the events shown on the Day of the Patriots by Peter Berg (in which all the major discoveries were made by POC and / or women) and the actual federal trial, like in a multi-part ABC -Special documented entirely directed and carried out by white men. Did the filmmakers think the public would find this awkward, she wonders? It is almost certainly the only time that Berg's work, which leans sharply to the right, has been invoked for unconvincing gestures toward liberalism. All in all, there are 40 minutes (four minutes longer than the original material!) Of researching thoughts that would be enough to produce a completely satisfactory film based on Farocki. To make this a "feature", the origin of the narrative is revealed at the last minute, which is supposed to change everything and destabilize confidence in the speaker. Not really necessary, it is an intellectual "surprise twist" that does not meaningfully reformulate anything that was previously. But as an exercise in critically examining government propaganda and online conspiracy, it is a valuable companion to Kennedy's short film, and this diptych, sadly, appears to be destined to be a key text of the era.

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