Discover This: Vous n’avez encore rien vu

Copyright: Alamode Film

PREMISE: All words are futile. Nothing original is to be expected. It has all been written down. It has all been turned into literature, into plays, essays or poems – translated, interpreted, and analysed to death. From now on, it’s all but a repetition of the same. Everything has been read, it has all been said. Ideas, ancient in origin, will just be reinterpreted and films will tell you the same thing over and over again, just slightly disguised with every performance.

PROLOGUE: An old man won’t stop working. His hair has turned grey and he has all the right to sit down and look back at his life. But he won’t and he does. Not resting on his laurels, he is picking fresh ones. The old man has produced great art. More than 60 years ago, he had made one of the few appropriate approaches to reconcile the Holocaust with film. Later, he twisted many minds and dazzled audiences with excursions to Marienbad and Hiroshima. Now in his nineties, the old man has made a film about a dead director. The young will have forgotten him soon.

EXCURSION: It comes down to one cinema, only one, that will leave the language untouched. Beautiful, these French words, spoken by French actors. Oh languages! I wish I could speak them all – Arabic and Mandarin, Portuguese and Afrikaans. How lucky can you be, to hear the people on the big screen say them and take you by the hand on a trip into worlds of different sounds and semantics. Vous n’avez encore rien vu – what a brazen title, and what a big fat lie. ‘You haven’t seen anything yet’ is about the most pointless assumption you can make these days, but it’s still a clever title for a film about a group of people who have seen and felt it before. Many times.

DISTINCTION: A group of actors gathers in a mansion after their friend has died. He has left a video for them to watch, and shortly after, they will witness the performance of a theatre play they have all been part of at various stages of their lives. The images of the young theatre troupe trigger emotions and memories and turn the audience into performers, as the Greek tragedy of Eurydice enfolds. The settings merge into stages and the reactions turn into actions. Roles played will be roles changed, double cast, and embodied. Dialogue turns into feeling that -though not always well remembered- will be played out organically. The fantasies of fiction become the realities of a desire to perform.

QUESTIONS: Do actors have a different approach to life? Can you be too old to be an artist? Why are there so few women in this film? Why was Eurydice so enchanted by the music and why does the heroine have to die? Is life really a stage or is life staged? Why do all young French actors look so cute and all old French actors look like chauvinists? Why did the distribution company decide to have a press screening of the film dubbed in German instead of showing the French original with English subtitles? Why are audiences so lazy? Why do we have such different ideas about what “reading” means? Why are only three cinemas in Berlin showing this film? Why do we trust reviews? Why can’t more films be like this one? Why do we make statements instead of asking questions? Is film always a lie?

Ihr werdet euch noch wundern (Vous n’avez encore rien vu), France/ Germany 2012, 115 min

director: Alan Resnais, cinematography: Eric Gautier, actors: Sabine Azéme, Anne Consigny, Pierre Aditi, Lambert Wilson, Michel Vuillermoz, Michel Piccoli, Anny Duperty, Mathieu Almaric, Hippolyte Girardot languages: French, distribution: Alamode

Berlin screenings: Fsk (original version with German subtitles), Eva Lichtspiele, Filmkust 66

Discover This! is a weekly Berlin–based film comment.

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