Nicolas Philibert: I'm fascinated by Kiarostami's Experimentalism
19 Dec 2018 - 10:49
Famous French documentary filmmaker, Nicolas Philibert, who appeared at the 12th Iraninan International Film Festival, Cinema Verite, to show his new documentary, Each and Every Moment, said that he is fascinated by Abbas Kiarostami's Experimentalism.
In his documentary, Philibert takes us to the heart of the hospital where nurses get trained. In his film, we get familiar with the nurses' concerns and the way they are trained; their fragility and how they try to do their best for patients. A documentary with a very human perspective.
Philibert made Each and Every Moment after an embolism and being admitted to the hospital. In this regard, he says: "I think we create films based on our personal experiences. For instance, when I was younger, I used to go hiking and made a movie on the same subject, but you choose which experience to maneuver. On the other hand, at many times, you do not know where the subject came from and why you are so eager to make it.”
"For me, the subject is not the most important point," Philibert said about the variety of subjects in his films. “The most important thing is our view to those subjects. For me, there is no good or bad subject. You can make a very good movie on common and banal subjects and you can make a bad film on a very good and great subject. The beauty of cinema and the importance of the film is not related to the importance of the subject matter. To be plain, it's more important for me to understand the world I live in, to understand a little better who I am, and what I'm doing in this world. I am curious about the world, I have an inexorable passion for understanding new things. I make movies to learn, to tell the audience what to think.”
"I have seen a lot of Iranian films," said the French filmmaker about his acquaintance with Iranian cinema. “I know and meet many Iraninan filmmakers. In France, we know how valuable Iranian cinema is. Many people love Iranian cinema and its great filmmakers, people like Abbas Kiarostami and Asghar Farhadi.”
Traveling to Iran for the first time, Nicolas Philibert said: "Fortunately, Cinema Verite is a very well planned festival, it has kind staff, and most importantly, it has a full, diverse, attractive and rich program. Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity to watch all the documentaries in this festival, but I really like to see the documentaries in the National Competition. You can watch the documentaries in the International Section at any other festival, but not these Iraninan films. Maybe I watch a few Iranian films."
He emphasized: "For me, the poetic expression of Iranian cinema is very attractive; also, its philosophical view, especially in the works of Kiarostami, who is my favorite filmmaker. I met him several times and I was very impressed by his personality, his art, and his behavior. After he died, I wrote a note about him for an English Newspaper. For me, Kiarostami's fascinating feature was his experimentalism. For example, in Close-Up, the movie I adore."
About the drama in the documentary cinema, this filmmaker said: "In all my films, in addition to drama, there is surely some humor too. I think it's necessary to laugh. In fact, we need to laugh in order to survive. Antoine Chekhov said, 'In life, all emotions are mixed together; deep and shallow, transcendent and ridiculous.' This is life and we do not need any subject, because all these emotions are mixed up. For me, this is the process of finding a subject, and all of this is human comedy. As a filmmaker, the only thing I know is that a movie should not pretend and should not be so sophisticated that it prevents the audience from understanding it. It just have to point out the issue and highlight the visual aspect of the subject. Otherwise, it lacks the cinematic feature, because the audience has not been able to reach the depths of the film and the subject; everything has remained in the surface, hidden.”
He said: "I don’t think the film should take a step forward in convincing the audience, and it should not dictate a point to them, to make them ask this or that. Of course, the film will be more interesting if it gives its audience elements that make them think, instead of telling them what to think and what not. They should be able to free their thoughts while watching the movie. The film is not a rigorous statement, nor is a university thesis for the director to issue, and for the audience to be condemned to respect its all aspects. You should see and check your audience as a person and a subject, not as a bird that you are supposed to feed it. The film should connect you with a level of mystery. The film should be able to keep your questions and open them to you, not to answer them.”
"For me, documenting is not the first stage to make a narrative film," said Philibert. “I know that many people, even filmmakers, do not consider documentaries as true films and true cinema. They believe that it’s not movie until it’s a fiction movie; and it does not matter whether you are at the start of your career or it’s 40 years that you are making films. This idea that documentary is not a complete movie and it doesn’t have any story to narrate and engage the audience must be changed. People often ask me when will I make my narrative movie? And I always say that I have already made a narrative movie. What do you mean? The documentary is an extremely good medium for storytelling. From the moment you turn on the camera until it turns off, you are telling a story. The documentary is never a movie with no judgment and only with the filmmaker's interpretation. It always has a view. The documentary is always closer to the filmmaker’s view than a film that aims to reconstruct reality. Therefore, a documentary filmmaker does not have a neutral view, but a personal view like any other filmmaker."
He said: “As a documentary filmmaker, you need to be aware that your responsibility is multiplied and you have to guard people’s dignity. An ignorant filmmaker can change the fate of a subject or person for worse.”
Story Code: 4128