Special Guest Jean-Marc Larivière
November 27, 5 p.m.
Drama | 27 min | World Premiere
After an argument with her leading actress, an overworked director sees her team’s morale put to the test. The play they rehearse on stage in adverse conditions highlights dramatic issues of our times. Meanwhile, a man with unclear intentions roams the city. His journey echoes the themes of the play: mass killings, a brutal war in Syria, the rise of extremism and the tragic fate of refugees.
The early 21st century is shaken by many upheavals whose complexity and consequences are sometimes difficult to grasp. Initially, the film focuses on terrorist attacks by both jihadists and white supremacists, the tragedy of the Syrian war, the mass exodus of refugees and the rise of the far right. Climate change and commoditization of our private lives by digital giants are also evoked. If you believe in humanism and a want a better future for everyone, there are many reasons to sound the alarm.
When we acknowledge these existential threats, we feel either numbed or powerless. Some will deny this reality and let it happen consciously or not. This made me think of the concept of “banality of evil” developed by the philosopher Hannah Arendt evoked in the film. It was first meant to describe the horror of Nazi Germany’s crimes carried out by mediocre public servants. The fundamental idea is that evil does not lie in the extraordinary, but in the everyday little things when you give up your ability to think about your actions. Today, when migrants drown in the Mediterranean Sea or the Rio Grande it is also because there is policy behind it. These policies are enabled because decision makers and those who support them routinely dehumanize migrants and refugees.
In this age of social media and an almost constant stream of pictures, the film also questions our perception and consumption of such images that depict this brutal reality. How do we or should we engage with those? How do we deal with our own complacency when most images are just ephemeral? A picture doesn’t always tell the whole story.
I felt the need to make a film about these troubled times we’re living. With arts such as theatre, cinema and music we can purposefully question and think about these issues. But most importantly we can re-connect with our humanity.