Jean-Gabriel PĂ©riot Political and politically



Everything is political. Private is public. Would you sign under these slogans of the May 68'? Do you have any sentiment towards this epoch and the art that was emerging then?

Everything is political - yes. Private is public - yes. I like also others: Revolution is not a spectacle!, The audience doesn't exist, We are all the participants even though we are not aware of that!, Don't ever work! lf it comes to art, I am close to Godard's and Dzigi Vertov's manifest in which they proclaim: We must make political movies and we must make the movies politically. What I really envy the generation of the 68' is their conviction that world can be changed. That was the way of thinking of both the artists and the art recipients. People were not afraid to try and act. Nowadays we are very fearful. So petitbourgeois that we are not able to achieve anything.


Would you be able to go out on the street in order to defend the case? What kind of case would it be?

I was going out and I am still going out to defend issues important for me. Although, to be honest I don't believe in demonstrations. Probably, I wouldn't be able to participate the riots in the outskirts of the French city, in Athens, lran, but it seems to be more successful than the peace marches.


Do you consider yourself as an artist und a lefty at the same time? Can good art afford the political commitment?

Yes, I consider myself as a artist and a lefty but I'm not naive. I know that I have a lot of petit bourgeois habits while making art. Making movies is a wonderful way of doing nothing and keeping a good mood. I am also aware that the political art is an integral part of the culture market.


Your movies often resemble video clips.

I make my movies on the pattern of propaganda movies although, I use rather propaganda of questions than the answers. I want to share them with an audience as large as possible. The use of music helps a lot in that. It also aids to link the political context with abstraction.


Does the movie help to reach the other person?

Absolutely not. In the movies, we don't see others but our ideas which are embodied to them. We make a mistake when we talk about understanding others. The idea of a global agreement is false. We are not capable even to understand our neighbors. We finally love to live through the mourning after thinking that others are like us and try to build other interactions.


You work on the images, often on the images of war. Why do some events stay in the official memory? Such as lynching of the women sleeping with the German officers that you show in Even if she was a criminal.

Anyone who listens to those saved from Holocaust, Hiroshima, Sarajevo realizes the price of life. But it turns out that no one cares about it. Capitalism is a huge hole in the memory. But as the citizens and the people we should be able to confront with the ruins that we left behind us. My personal meetings with the witnesses of the Hiroshima made me appreciate life more. I can't repine for my problems after I heard their stories. I think that we have an obligation towards them to love and enjoy our life.


Can the violence and destruction be beautiful? The diving-bombers which you show in Under twilight, move elegantly in perfect harmony. Is it ethical looking at violence in such way?

That was the question of this movie. But I don't want to answer it. I used the image of the diving-bomber as a killing machine and turned this image into stunning abstraction. In my opinion destruction can be beautiful and that scares me.


In the description of Undo you write: Today was a sad day, tomorrow won't be any better. Don't you see the world in the bright colors?

I am happy to live in France, in Europe, to have money, a flat and to make movies, but people die so that I could carry on such life.



By Karolina Sulei
For Exklusiv Magazyn, 2009
For Gdansk film festival 2011