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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Leviathan (Paravel/Castaing-Taylor)

Leviathan (2012) Q&A at NYFF (30 Sept 2012) 37'16"
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel
Q : "What does the film say about the commercialization of fishing?"

Lucien Castaing-Taylor : "Nothing.
We are not trying to say anything. But one thing we're trying to do is to make films that don't say anything. Films, like everything humans make, are always about something in some way. But to imagine that they are about something that could be expressed in words, outside of the fabric of the film itself, is kind of ludicrous, because then you wouldn't make the film, you would write it. But fiction films in particular, narrative films, are not reducible to a point, or to making a statement about the world. And non-fiction, documentary, suffers by contrast, with this burden that spectators put on it, that filmmakers put on it, that programmers put on it... which is always elaborating an argument about the world, it is reducible to making a statement about the world (it's usually a political or a value-added statement). And to imagine that the whole swat, that whole domain of reality, of everything that is non-fiction, is divested of its plenitude, of its richness, of the all experiential, sensory quality of actually being in the world, of lived experience itself, so that could be reduced to 'meaning', encapsulated in language, in prose... That is such a travesty for those kind of films, which is why so many documentaries are so weak.
In our earlier work, and particularly in this work, we definitely didn't want to make a film that was reducible to making a point, that was reducible to a set of political propositions about fishing or anything like that."

Q : "[..] You make decisions when shooting, and certainly when editing. What your intention is for the audience to get from this film? [..] Human beings impose or interpret meaning..."

Lucien : "[..] I can't answer it. [..]
Obliging the filmmakers to articulate their intentions about the work rather than allowing the work to work itself on you, and for you to induce or deduce, and to guess at intentions (most of which are unconscious, and can't even be formulated by filmmakers in words, anyway the more profound intentions) is I think a more healthy way to go."

Véréna Paravel : "We didn't want to impose our intentions as a maker, and this why we wanted to share the camera with [the sailors]. This morning we talked with Philippe Grandrieux about something Gilles Deleuze said sur l'art et les animaux..."

Philippe Grandrieux : "First I want to tell you it's an incredible movie. It's so strong, so powerful. All these questions about intentionality... but the world is without any intentionality. There is no intentionality in birds, in flowers, in trees..."
Gilles Deleuze (cited by Grandrieux): "Quand on écrit on doit être à la place de l'animal. On ne doit pas le considérer comme un sujet. On doit écrire à la place de l'animal."
Véréna : "That's it. We shouldn't write for an animal, we should be the animal. This is what making a film is for us. My reference to Deleuze meant that it's not about representing the 'real' but the real is to aim at the 'real'. It's not about demonstration, but more about implication. Not writing for the viewer, but to be this."
Lucien : "Also implicit in what Deleuze says is this implicit critique of so much cinema (which is derived from so many inventions from the theatre, in many regards, in its mise en scène, staging of the characters, and in particular the narrative conventions, and so on) is about the private foibles of humanity : human comedy, comedy of errors, comedy of manners... which could be full of joy and could be immensly amusing, but which is in the end, profoundly familiar (or should we say superficially familiar) and art, or cinema, or literature that aspires to do something more really yokes us back to our nature which is fundamentally animalic. No matter how culturally constructed they are, no matter how psychologized they are, we are all beasts in the end, we are all creatures, we will all turn to dust and be subsumed by something much larger, and greater, and inestimably incomprehensible in comparison to this really rather parochial domain of humanity. Very little cinema seems to aspire to resituate the human in this larger swat of nature to which we inescapably belong."


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Interview de Véréna Paravel par Laure Adler (Hors Champ; France Culture; 10 Oct 2012) [MP3] 44'
Véréna Paravel : "C'était vraiment important pour nous que la paternité du film soit distribuée. C'est à dire que le film a été fait par nous, certainement, parce qu'on a orchestré cette symphonie de la nuit et des éléments. Mais les éléments nous ont aidés aussi à faire ce film. Les pécheurs nous on aidés aussi, pusiqu'on leur a accroché les caméras sur la tête. Donc on a cette perspective céphalique-là. On est accorché à leur tête, dans leur corps, dans leur mouvement de tête. Puis on est avec les poissons qui se batent [..] Y'a une absudité, c'est dégoutant.
On est dans une bestialité inter-espèce, où au font les hommes se confondent avec les animaux. Les hommes finissent par ressembler à ces bêtes. Ou les bêtes nous ressemblent tellement. On passe de l'un à l'autre. C'est un film liquide. Y'a une fluidité dans le montage ou on va de la mer, au ciel, aux poissons, au pécheur, aux oiseaux qui sont des prédateurs... C'est cette guerre où on est tous des prédateurs.
Et puis il y a le monstre. Revenons au Léviathan, qui est là. Et si on le réveille, c'est le chaos, c'est le trouble de l'ordre qu'il y a au départ, s'il y en avait un. On est en train de réveiller le monstre. Le Léviathan il est partout : c'est les hommes, c'est le bateau, le film lui-même.
C'est un monstre ce film, et c'est pour ça que personne n'arrive à le classifier maintenant. [..]"

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Related CCC Filmography :
  • La Région Centrale (1971/SNOW/Canada)
  • The Seasons (1975/PELESHIAN/Armenia)
  • Confession (1998/SOKUROV/Russia) 
  • La Peau Troué (2004/SAMANI/France) 
  • Les Hommes (2006/MICHEL/France)
  • Sub (2006/LOUSTAU/France) 
  • At Sea (2007/HUTTON/USA)
  • Sweetgrass (2009/CASTAING-TAYLOR/BARBASH/USA)
  • Alamar (2010/GONZALEZ-RUBIO/Mexico)
  • Two Years At Sea (2011/RIVERS/USA)
  • Hurtigruten Minutt for minutt (2011/NRK/Norway)


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1 comment:

HarryTuttle said...

"Filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel brought a multitude of cameras onto a commercial fishing vessel, mounted them to boards, fixtures, and sometimes the crewmembers themselves, then cut the resulting footage into a non-narrative film that's beautiful, mysterious, disorienting, and somehow revelatory. We got to sit down with Taylor to discuss the motivations behind the project, the complexities of production, and the value of capturing reality through the insights of art."
Mighty Movie Podcast: Lucien Castaing-Taylor on LEVIATHAN Chronic Rift podcast (Dan Persons; 10 March 2013) MP3 30'46"