L'usage du monde (the ways of the world)
a collection of documentary films, directed by Stéphane Breton, film-maker and ethnologist
“THE WAYS OF THE WORLD” is a collection of documentary films coproduced by the musée du quai Branly, Les Films d’Ici and ARTE France.
With “THE WAYS OF THE WORLD” collection, the musée du quai Branly wished to implement the idea that it holds of the relationship with other cultures and other people in films. This idea is in accordance with its fundamental intellectual and artistic choices: foster contemporary creation, refurbish understanding of diversity of cultures, wonder about the role of anthropology in the modern world, mix art and reflection, learn to see the elsewhere.
These are not ethnographical or scientific films in the strict sense of the term, nor are they descriptive, pedagogical, objective or distanced films, based on a thesis, a speech or explanations. The makers have on the contrary chosen to seek inspiration from the intellectual and literary tradition of the philosophical voyage. In this tradition, the singular position of the narrator and the specific style of his outlook constitute an indispensable element of the narrative. It does not hope for objectivity or neutrality, and is on the contrary the account of a personal experience. In this fashion, the ethnographic endeavor becomes accessible to the public and takes on a universal meaning. This choice is exactly the choice made by documentary cinema at its very best. The one who is filming is present in the scene, amidst people that he is looking at. He is not protected from reality by a glass wall. The film is none other than his own outlook, a narration of his own presence and his position.
With this collection, the museum wishes to constitute a valuable heritage collection, a sort of memory of human societies on the threshold of a new century, irrespective of whether they live on the fringes of modernity or in the borders still unaware of modernity, and to present the shared state of mind albeit with different styles, of an entire generation of documentary film-makers, hailing from the four corners of the world and defending a true author’s viewpoint.
Il nous faut du Bonheur (We need Happiness)
A film by Alexandre Sokourov and Alexei Jankowski
This film, co-produced by ARTE France and the musée du quai Branly, invites us for 52 minutes to share the lives of two old women, between Kurdistan and Iraq. One has spent her life at home, while the other remains torn between Kurdistan and her native Russia.
les hommes de la forêt 21 – the men of forest 21
A film by Julien Samani (France)
Broadcast ON ARTE-TNT SATURDAY 3 APRIL 2010 AT 12 p.m.
Gabon, 2007. A forest site.
It is along walk every morning from the work camp into the heart of the forest. There, two men – a master tree feller and his apprentice — work in tandem. They fell giant trees, sending them crashing to the ground. Every day, in the heart of the Gabonese forest, they risk their lives in this "man’s work", as they call it. Back at the camp where they live, each of them carries within himself the echo of the daily struggle. The first man lives alone, far from his near and dear ones; he pays regular visits to the Evangelical Church. The other man, a young father, rakes care of his family; someone who likes to live it up, he goes to the city whenever he can. Their destinies bring them together only to separate them subsequently.
Born in 1973, Julien Samani studied at the école des Arts Décoratifs of Paris. Then he discovered cinema at the Cooper Union School of Design of New York, where he made his first films. Today he works as a graphic artist and illustrator. His first film, La peau trouée, narrates shark fishing on a trawler in the Atlantic Ocean.
la maison vide – the empty house
A film by Stéphane Breton (France)
BROADCAST ON ARTE-TNT SATURDAY 10 APRIL 2010 AT 12 p.m.
New Mexico, 2008. An old Spanish community from the banks of rio Pecos.
On the border of North America, a small Spanish community dating from the early 19th century is surviving, or rather quietly dying away, in the midst of an arid region eroded by rust, beer and rising sand. Carcasses of agricultural implements and dead bodies of cows are strewn over the cruel earth. This world gives an impression of a delicious rout. The chaos of ordinary days of a place bereft of anything and everything does not make existence more difficult, but it makes it lighter.
Born in 1959, Stéphane Breton is an ethnologist and documentary film-maker. He shoots his films all alone and takes care of both photography and sound. He lived for several years with the Wodanis from the highlands of New Guinea, where he shot a film Eux et moi-Them and me(The Films d’Ici and ARTE, 2001). Shot behind the scenes, from the viewpoint of a subjective camera, this film relates his ambiguous relationship and negotiations with the people living in this far-flung village lost in the mountains.
l'argent du charbon – coal money
A FILM BY Wang Bing (China)
BROADCAST ON ARTE-TNT SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2010 AT 12 P.M.
Northern China, 2008. The Shaan Xi Province.
On the coal route, which stretches from the mines of Shaan Xi to the big port of Tianjin, in Northern China, drivers in hundred tonner trucks loaded to the hilt hauling coal back and forth, night and day. Along the highway, cops, tollbooths, restaurants, accidents, traffic jams. The drivers stop over in parking lots and sell their cargo. An ill behaved and clever middleman facilitates the negotiations between the haulers, always distrustful, and the buyers, disdainful by profession. The entire soul of modern China, full of energy and disorder, is described in this detailed and gasping narrative.
Wang Bing studied photography at the Luxun School of Fine Arts and then at the Beijing School of Cinema. In 1999, he began shooting of West of the Tracks, which took four years, a documentary film on the dismantling of the Shenzen industrial area, which won him international recognition. He then went on to make Fengming, a Chinese Memoir (2007), on the Cultural Revolution through the portrait of a woman. Crude Oil (2008), his latest film, once again borrows a monumental format that is typical of his works.
lumière du nord – northern light
A FILM BY SERGUEI LOZNITSA (UKRAINE)
BROADCAST ON ARTE-TNT SATURDAY 24 APRIL 2010 AT 12 P.M.
A small village located on the shores of the White Sea, 2008. In Northern Russia.
While winter has shrouded everything in the glacial night of the North, a few hours of light per day seep in on the eve of Easter in the village of Soumskiy Pozad, around a thousand kilometers to the north of Saint-Petersburg, in the province of Karelia. Connected to the rest of the country by a vague muddy road and a piece of railroad, the village experiences a suspended and mysterious time. The film is about the Russia of unending forests and potato fields. A few robust and intransigent people live peacefully, in no hurry by pressing needs. Two small girls have just been adopted by a family. The woman is sweet and soft-spoken, whereas the man is hot-tempered. It is Chekov’s Russia: still happy, yet torn apart, and cold.
Born in 1964 in Belarus, Serguei Loznitsa settled down subsequently in Kiev, in Ukraine, where he studied mathematics. He worked at the Institute of cybernetics of the town. In 1991 he began his studies at the Institute of cinema of Moscow, under the direction of Nana Dzhordzhadze. From 2000 onwards, his films
have been produced by the documentary film studio of Saint-Petersburg. He has made a dozen odd non-fiction films, among which Representation (2007), Artel (2006), Blocus (2006), The factory (2004), Landscape (2003), Portrait (2002), The wait (2000), Life, Autumn (1998, with Marat Magambetov).
la montée au ciel – ascent to the sky
A FILM BY STÉPHANE BRETON (FRANCE)
BROADCAST ON ARTE-TNT SATURDAY 1ST MAY 2010 AT 12 P.M.
In the folds of a valley in Nepal, at the end of a path worn out by so many centuries and so many footfalls, lies a Brahman village: shit lying on all the corners of the road, purity of hearts, amazement. Two old shepherds, far too often sad, accompanied sometimes by a boy full of innocence, live there and push their animals while singing on the most desolate slopes.
Born in 1959, Stéphane Breton is an ethnologist and documentary film-maker. He shoots his films all alone and takes care of both photography and sound. He lived for several years with the Wodanis from the highlands of New Guinea, where he shot a filmEux et moi – Them and me"(The Films d’Ici and ARTE, 2001). Shot behind the scenes, from the viewpoint of a subjective camera, this film relates his ambiguous relationship and negotiations with the people living in this far-flung village lost in the mountains.