Interview with Jean-Gabriel Périot


What inspires you into filmmaking? In what kind of situation, do you get inspired most?

I believe in the strong power of cinema to question audience. Michael Hanecke said in an interview "all movies have to be political". I understand this idea. Even if as audience I like also apolitical movies, comedies for example, as an artist, I need to use movies to question audience with topics that question myself. Cinema is a perfect reflective media. To make a movie is a way to ask a question, not to give an answer.


Do you think you have a consistent theme through your works? If so, please tell us about it.

In way, I am always challenge by the same topics: disasters, wars, pain, and work… Also my movies question the same idea: how to understand our world and how to resist to the actual disaster.


Do you have any subject matter you are recently obsessed with, and you want to make a film about?

Obviously yes. Several.

I work on a long documentary for cinema about the RAF. Red Army Fraktion. A German revolutionary group, as the Japanese Red Army or the Italian Brigade Rosso. I don't really understand why they choose guerrilla and decided to use violence. So I want to work on this story to understand.

I am also obsessed with the actual French politic, I will try to make a movie, documentary short, about how in France, police men "throw" illegal peoples, with violence and without pithiness.


Please tell us about your approach when filmmaking.

I believe in liberty. For me, a movie is done during the filmmaking, not before on scenario. So, even if sometime the result is near to my first idea, sometimes I totally changed the movie. But for that, it is important to work with little money because people who paid never like to received another movie than the one they paid for!

I also believe that only the filmmaker could have a clear idea of his movie, and have to be deaf to another points of view.


When you encounter difficulties, in the process of filmmaking, what gives you the power to overcome the difficulties and go forward?

There are a lot of restrains during filmmaking, and it is important to change those restrains in qualities, to find answer to those restrains instead of hiding them. Difficulties make the filmmaking process alive!


What is your happiest moment as a filmmaker?

There is always a moment, during the editing, when I know that the movie is "done", even if I have to work again on it. Perhaps "done" is not the good word, "clear" or "obvious" perhaps. This moment, usually, is the best one. But it is not the "happiest".


About the film Even if she had been a criminal, please tell us the most difficult or considerable part when you created.

It was when I saw the archives the first time. I needed one year to make the movie after that. I known that I want to make a movie about those women, but I needed to think a long time before making the movie. Those archives are really painful.


For the film, you used enormous quantity of documentary photographs, and you successfully make “reality” appear in the film.  What is the most important factor to make it possible? In Nijuman no borei you used many still photos. This film makes me feel strong reality. It's stronger than any other video of Hiroshima I've seen. Do you think there is any reason why your film makes me feelso strong reality?

I don't know how to reply to a so great compliment.

Probably, the feeling of the Time is important in this movie. In one hand, it tell 60 years of history in 10 minutes, and in the other hand, it tell this story with photographs, that, in definition, create a stopped time, an eternal present and/or an eternal past. This contradiction could create deep feelings.

There are other things. The first is that the pictures had been taken by thousands of photographers. All of them give something to the movie. It is not only mine movie, but also their.

At least, for me, it is a movie full of ghost, full of the dead people of the city. There are in each picture. If you look carefully the movie, you could see that at one point, after the first ceremonies, there is no more alive body in the movie, until the end with the contemporary people. It was important for me to let the city empty of people for letting place to the ghosts. This movie is like a memorial for them, even if we don't really saw them.


What message would you like to send to your audience of the DVD?

It is important to learn about the past to understand what happen now, in our countries, in France and in Japan. French politics, as Japanese ones, want to erase the advantages created, with the hope of peace and humanity, after the World War II, like free education, social assistant for poor or jobless people in France, or pacific constitution in Japan... We, who born in a peaceful country, have to take care of this heritage.


Sapporo film festival