• French Competition

Little president

The media hype didn’t do any good for the Calais Jungle. Far from such echoes, Christophe Clavert’s concern is to come back to the sites – afterwards, otherwise. Beginning with clarifications as to how to do things. Thus, by way of a preamble, the scrupulous and detailed reminder of events and the political, administrative context of the jungle in Calais in 2016 while the places the film-maker evokes unfold through slow, methodical sequences. Then Khalid Mansour comes in: the only witness who will be with us all through the film. Formerly a journalist who lived in the jungle and was forced to flee Sudan, his narration will be orchestrated with three voices: Marie Chebli’s, an interpreter, Giorgio Passerone’s, an intellectual and university professor committed to the migrants, then Christophe Clavert’s voice off camera, commenting and completing in the aftermath. We understand it’s about working on the reception of a testimony and its sovereign uniqueness. Thus, from an uncomfortable room in an ancient home for emigrated workers, he relates with humour what his journey was like and its dangers for him, a Black man travelling across Europe from Ukraine up to Calais. Now, through a recollection of life back then, sharp commentary, from the places in the jungle he walked through and scrutinized, to the traces all covered now, to history erased. Clavert pays attention to the circulation of speech, as conversations are pursued, so he can offer, as expected, all the space needed by the work involved in passing from one language to another. It’s about the tale’s rendition, from one time to another, and from the images of the regime unfolding, with its magnificent drawings taken back then, in counterpoint to the photographic archives and video. A work of hospitality, devoid of excessive light or spectacle, yet insisting on History’s memory, as the final annotation reminds us with striking dryness. (N.F.)

  • French Competition

Technical sheet

France / 2020 / Color / HD / 58’

Original version : Arabic, French.
Subtitles : English.
Script : Christophe Clavert.
Photography : Christophe Clavert.
Editing : Christophe Clavert.
Sound : Lucie Taffin.
Casting : Khalid Mansour, Giorgio Passerone, Marie Chebli.
Production : MACT PRODUCTIONS (Antoine De Clermont Tonerre).
Distribution : MACT PRODUCTIONS (Christophe Clavert).