• Artistes en exil  
  • First Film Competition  
  • French Competition

DANS LE SILENCE ET DANS LE BRUIT

IN SILENCE AND CLAMOUR

Clément Roussier,

Hadrien Mossaz

In a motionless train in which they live, going nowhere. But here, nowhere is a place, a precious place, a large, beautiful building with stone walls overgrown with ivy, looking out over fields, sky and total silence. Clémence and others have found refuge here. It’s about slowing down, and the film understands this, with long shots that focus on simple actions (hanging out the laundry, rolling cigarettes). These long shots give us time to get close to the lodgers and appreciate the events that, in silence, take up their rightful place – the sound of birds singing, nature breathing in the wind, a crumpled piece of paper. Nothing forces its way in, neither the faces, nor the words, which, although few and far between, are, above all, unhurried. Clément Roussier and Hadrien Mossaz record them, simply exchanged or serious when, without representing a weighty testimony, they articulate the breaking point or collapse that led to this retreat from the violence of the world. With sober directing that matches the protagonists’ everyday lives and rhythm, the directing duo translates this system of kindness encapsulated by the film’s delicacy and gentleness as the possibility of healing. From time to time, the outside world makes its presence known; a world to which they will one day have to return and experience again. And it’s to the chaos of the buzzing city that we leave Clémence, swept off by a superb tracking shot at the end, on the Corniche Kennedy in Marseille, on the threshold of a new start. “The most important thing is never put into words”. Perhaps this is the great challenge the two directors set themselves – putting it into images.

Claire Lasolle

Why did you choose to shoot your debut film, Dans le silence et dans le bruit, in the La Chesnaie psychiatric ward? 

We started out with a shared desire to collaborate in producing an object, a way to reinvent the « twoness » that fraternity can imply. Clément had begun hosting a workshop in La Chesnaie in 2019, and it was therefore quite a natural process. Hadrien’s first visit to the ward took place in January 2021, and there was definitely a shared interest for the psychiatric world – born from readings and personal encounters, as is often the case. This interest is actually a form of desire. Because we never intented to come as spectators, but as makers. We set out to make a film that could partially render our experience there, whilst staying inscribed in the location’s temporality. But we would never enter it on a first-person level. Only as a testimonial camera, reactivating possibilities of enacted play for those who found themselves in its line of sight. 

What kind of project did you build with the residents, and how long was that happening?

Initiated in 2019, Clément’s monthly workshop (a video-writing workshop, open to any interested resident) was brought to a halt in the Covid era. We were both involved in the workshop when it reopened. The initial project was to shoot a short film during every session, which quickly proved tricky due to our technical deficiencies and to the location-specific temporality of a space like La Chesnaie. The first real milestone for the film is January 2022, when we decided to spend two weeks in the ward every month. That was the only way we could exist within the space and federate a group. We did this over a period of six months, and it paid off: a group of roughly ten residents came together, and we were able to sketch out a plot for the upcoming film. We knew that we were not interested in our camera being intrusive, and that this implied a crucial notion of playfulness, and therefore, a collective. 

What was the structure of the film during this process of writing? 

It was quite anarchistic, to be honest. We worked on the basis of fictional, fabricated situations, which were often nearly real. The workshops and the shooting were spaces for encounters and experimentation. In truth, we had no long-term vision regarding what the film would become. However, it only took a few return trips to realize that a group had come together and that we would be able to experiment as a team. At this point, we decided to bring the project to a stop, and to shoot. 

The protagonists feel like fictional characters straight out of a novel. How did you choose these protagonists, and how did you work with them?

The workshop served to determine who we would work with. We wanted the film to be choral, and for everyone involved to have a hand in its fabrication. With this in mind, we explored as many different directions as we could with the group. Often, this implied a form of doubling down after resorting to fictionalization: « Who am I? Who do I want to be in this story? ». Maybe this is what gives the characters this novel-like dimension: they are invested with individual desires to portray oneself in this specific fashion. 

Early on in the film, a young woman (Clémence) makes her mark on the spectator with her soft yet assertive voice. Could you describe your encounter with her?

It was immediately quite clear to us that Clémence would be central to our story. These certainties can’t really be explained: they have to do with a manner of speaking, of moving – of being. A recognition. This is what happened with Clémence. 

Why resort to still shots for most sequences within the film ?

 

The film’s structure, built around daily situational scenarios, determined our choice to use still shots. Rolling a cigarette, hanging out one’s laundry, playing … we wanted the unexpected to occur in a simple and unobtrusive context. Everyone, be it Roman, Sevan, Jeanne or Simon, contributed something extrafictional through their personal characters and their moods. Still shots felt like the best way to transcribe that. 

Other sequences, featuring voice-overs, are shot more loosely by the residents themselves. Why delegate the camera? 


That part of the work was realized prior to the actual shooting, when we were still hosting the workshops in La Chesnaie. We wanted this camera to guarantee a form of continuity during our periods of absence from the ward, to maintain a level of energy and to ensure that everyone could get more involved in the means of narration. 

How did you and Clément Pinteaux approach the question of editing?

Meeting Clément proved essential. We began working with him between the first and the second periods of shooting, and his opinion was highly influential in shaping the subsequent work and the final form of the film. Clément is an expert at approaching stories from a bias of sensitivity: « Who am I watching? Why am I watching them? How can fiction reinforce my emotional experience? ». He was able to see what we sometimes couldn’t, and which eventually went back to the film’s origin and to our presence in this space. We had been moved by certain figures, by certain manners of being, and our film had to focus on these elements.

Interview by Olivier Pierre

  • Artistes en exil  
  • First Film Competition  
  • French Competition

Technical sheet

France / 2023 / 58’

Rights holder
VIXENS
Jeanne Draut
jeanne@vixens-films.com