Our Defeats by Jean-Gabriel Périot wins the Art Cinema Award at the 69th Berlinale Forum
The International Confederation of Art Cinemas is proud to announce that the Art Cinema Award at the 69th Berlinale Forum, goes to OUR DEFEATS by Jean-Gabriel Périot.
OUR DEFEATS (Nos défaites)
In May and June 2018, Jean-Gabriel Périot collaborated with ten students in a film class at a high school in Ivry-sur-Seine on a project that unites cinema with politics. The students worked both in front of and behind the camera, restaging scenes of strikes, resistance, and labour disputes from films dating from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, including ones by Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Tanner. Nos défaitesassembles the results, and adds interviews in which the director queries the students about the scenes they’ve just acted in, about such concepts as “class,” “labour union,” and “political engagement,” about wider social contexts. It’s a simple, yet trenchant setup, affording viewers a glimpse of how a younger generation sees politics and the political cinema of the past.
We chose Our Defeats for its challenging form, content and its complexity. Here we find the dialogue between the director Jean-Gabriel Périot and high school students who take part in a cinema workshop at the Ivry-sur-Seine high-school as well as a reflexion on the history of politically engaged cinema.
As students try to tackle political concepts such as class struggle, freedom, solidarity by re-enacting scenes from the most famous and influencing films that emerged in the sixities and seventies in France, one ponders the failure of one generation to transpose its struggles and their importance to the younger generation. It makes us question the future of Europe and the medium of film as a tool for changing conscieousness and bringing about social change. It also questions the potential and the limits of cinema, as well as past and present revolutionary action.
Although the film´s title Our defeats sounds rather pessimistic, the film is anything but – making us embrace our defeats, rise above them and attempt to find new ways of thinking about cinema and society, and how they relate to one another.