Focus Jean-Gabriel Périot


Resisting easy categorizations, the prolific French short film maker works on arenas so broad and fertile, as to include photo-collage, found footage documentary, autobiographic journal, and even fiction cinema. The diversity in his artistic production and vision, however, seems to be crossed over by overlying questions about violence in contemporary society, where it comes from and how it explodes in the midst of the human endeavor. Beyond offering completed theses, Périot comes to us as a political agitator that, through intricate editing and sound design, is able to dialog with these questions, deepening on the reaches of representation vis-à-vis human trauma and pain In his short films, some times, the unrelenting torrent of images stops and allows the spectator to rest their gaze for a few seconds. Stop, maybe, on a Nazi woman suffering public mocking and torture. Other times, instead, our gaze is transported with the fluidity of the montage, on a journey where the roads of modernity lead inevitably to the totalitarian horror of the chambers in Auschwitz. Through complex constructions, full of layered interpretations and superimposed images, Périot dares to face the wounds of modernity, inciting the spectator to turn their gaze to the past. Violence and fascism, however, are not only found there, in the images of another time. On the contrary, they are found, latent in the daily bustling present, and in its social unrests.

To delve into Jean-Gabriel Périot's radical artistic production, FICValdivia has organized two programs that showcase a total of 17 of his films. The first of these seems to be marked by what John Holloway used to call the bitterness of history. After the heartache in the last century, the presentation comes to an end with Undo, where humanity moves backwards - literally - to its cosmic beginnings, as if indicating that it is necessary to begin anew. The call to action is, instead, more direct on the second program. Beginning with The Devil, his latest work with found footage, and ending with Our Days, Absolutely, Have To Be Enlightened, it seems one could glance, under postmodernist cynicism, that there is still hope for revolution.


October, 2012