JEAN-GABRIEL PéRIOT / Une Jeunesse Allemande
ENGLISH - A GERMAN YOUTH
A German Youth is a feature-length film on the history of the Rote Armee Fraktion (or Red Army Faction, a German revolutionary terrorist group from the 1970s founded notably by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof), as well as the images generated by this story. The film will be entirely produced by editing preexisting visual and sound archives.
The film aims to question viewers on the significance of this revolutionary movement during its time, as well as its resonance for today’s society.
WHY DO WE NEED YOU?
To carry out this project, we must restore five unreleased films from 67 and 68, which are directly linked to one of the iconic figures of the RAF: Holger Meins. These films to be restored are rare and precious testimonies of these times. Three were made by Holger Meins and he appears in the two others.
The restoration cost is € 30,000. Once these films restored, they will finally be accessible to the greatest number. All backers will be credited on the restored version of these 5 films.
5 FILMS TO BE RESTORED
Machen wir den Tegeler Weg zur Kochstrasse
Let's walk boulevard Tegeler
(Holger Meins, Gerd Conrad, Thomas Giefer…)
1968 / 6'
Film announcing a demonstration the 4th of November 1968 and urging demonstrators to be prepared to fight
BZ ins Klosett
The Berlin newspaper in the toilet
1967-69 / 6’
Film tract against a famous Berlin newspaper
Film tract against the arrest of a student leader
1967 / 15'32
In this film stands a discussion of students - including Holger Meins - who write a manifesto about what their film school should be.
Traktat (oder Diskurs über Rausch und Revolution)
Tract or discourse on drugs and revolution
1967 / 30’30
This film raises the question of using drugs as a revolutionary tool and ends on a discussion between Holger Meins and another student on how to change the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jean-Gabriel Périotoften built his films from existing archives; photographs, films, internet files ... His work goes into a reflection on the polymorphic status of violence in our societies. Everything goes through the power of images, without speech, without comment: a cinema-thought. Through his films, Jean-Gabriel Periot plays with images manipulation: he is fond of syncopated editing, he leaves the aesthetic to elaborate the discourse - a necessarily political one - he goes out of the image to deal with spaces. He likes to confuse the issue by playing on film genres (documentary, experimental, fiction, animation). His films have been selected and awarded at festivals all around the world.
All rewards are cumulative: you automatically get the rewards of lower levels.
Illustrated pag of the script:
DIRECTOR’S NOTE OF INTENTION
Georges Didi-Huberman, Reediting time.
In the quote above, Georges Didi-Huberman speaks about the importance of the use and re-editing of archival material in the work of German filmmaker Harun Farocki. I find this idea resonates powerfully with my own work and artistic sensibilities.
Finding a form for anger has been one of my primary goals since I began making films. There is a common theme in my films, an exploration of a fundamental question: why does violence occur?
Of course I can no more find a logical explanation than anyone else. It has always seemed irrational to me - it is simultaneously inhumane, yet in a sense, it is the very essence of humanity. In a way, my filmmaking is a reaction, and an attempt to reconcile this ingrained flaw. Each of my films attempts to deepen my interrogation with whatever images I found most powerful at the time: whether iconic historical images, or mundane scenes with no apparent impact on our collective memory. Through the editing, however, I am able to juxtapose ideas and shed new light on their inherent contradictions and violence. By re-contextualizing these images, I can make them both poetic and political.
In my short film Even If She Had Been a Criminal… the editing allowed me to show images of shaved women during the Second World War Liberation filled with the same fear I had upon discovering them. It became obvious that the events had been organized with the express purpose of being filmed. The official mise en scene of these public punishments can only provoke disgust. I wanted to re-edit these images to show not only their primary, obvious violence, but also their hidden violence.
My films paint a bleak portrait of humanity: concentration camps, Hiroshima, prison, reprisals, revenge, oppression, violation, death. However, my work as a filmmaker is not to burden, depress, or lecture my audience with these images. On the contrary, I have found that watching humanity at its weakest builds a feeling of resistance. And moreover, that within this resistance lives resilience, a love of humanity in its fragility, and most importantly, hope.
I realized a few years ago that I only questioned violence produced by the systems to which I was personally and deeply opposed. It is much easier, of course, to judge the acts of adversaries. Why was I so ready to find excuses for actions committed in the name of convictions I deemed to be "good"? Just because the impetus was an ideology closer to my own, did that somehow make one act of violence more justified than another? Upon reflection, I realized that associating with the victim was still ultimately a one-sided point of view. To be truly objective, one must truly examine and question the motivations and thought processes of the so-called wrongdoers as well. This raises unresolvable and even unbearable questions. While considering these ideas as human beings neither rewrites history, nor excuses the crimes committed, it does open a door to a more complete discussion about the nature of the acts, and our own humanity, albeit the gloomiest part.
With this in mind, I dove headfirst into my research of revolutionary violence. As years passed, I narrowed down my research to emancipation movements in the sixties and seventies, until finally I chose to focus on the history of the Red Army Faction (aka : RAF), a left wing German terrorist group. Terrorism is no more than failure and destruction, blindly spreading death, and discrediting its own revolutionary ambitions. My question all along was this: how could anyone deliberately choose this kind of violence? This question is even more pointed when the terrorists are not of some marginalized, disenfranchised group, living on the fringes of society. In the case of the Red Army, we see a group of "normal" German youths with rights, resources, and a bright future ahead of them. They held the proverbial keys to a country that, in the 1950s, in the crippling aftermath of the world wars, was still immersed in total reconstruction. A German Youth is a real story of failures and fears. A story told through powerful, historical images. During my research about the RAF, I watched over a thousand hours of archives, fascinated by the deep link between the story and the images.
The images are diverse and often surprising. Some of them are almost iconic, others totally forgotten. They all are troubling. As we look at them today, forty years later, they appear as ideological images, representations of passionately held beliefs at the heart of a tenacious political conflict. For me, these images are the most menacing because of the appearance of innocence, the attempt to mask the blood they shed in reality.
The first film that really moved me was Germany in Autumn, collaboration from some of the most gifted German filmmakers at that time, (including Fassbinder, Schlöndorff, and Kluge.) It was made just after the September 1977 drama. Within a few hours, an anti-terrorist commando in Mogadishu assaulted a hijacked plane. Hostages were freed, abductors killed, three RAF leaders committed suicide in prison and the major German business leader who was kidnapped a few weeks before, was found dead in a car trunk. The filmmakers worked with urgency to make a fragmentary and kaleidoscopic movie, somewhere between documentary and fiction. Something I found most curious about this film was the palpable sadness throughout the film, a feeling of a profound grief. The filmmakers seem deeply saddened by the terrorist’s deaths, and appear very critical towards the German government and its representatives. The questions asked, left unanswered, in the film left me with a burning desire to continue exploring this story in search of my own answers.
In fact, as it turned out, the founders of the RAF had been deeply involved in the proliferation of media, including but not limited to news coverage, films, and television. Members of the party had been directors, film students, journalists, and even actors. Having seen the lion's share of these films myself, I can say confidently that they are all, to one degree or another, propaganda films. Being myself a political filmmaker, I can identify with filmmakers who use their medium as a platform for activism. The question of the transition from creators of media and activists, however, to violent radicals remains largely unanswered. With these images, I will attempt to tell the true story of the RAF, and this same question that I present to the audience.
Jean-Gabriel PERIOT Hide
La Rabbia is a film by Pasolini, Histoire(s) de Cinéma is a film by Jean-Luc Godard, but I could also mention films from Santiago Alvarez, Harun Farocki, Chris Marker, Guy Debord, Marcel Ophüls, Johan Grimonprez, Serguei Loznitsa and recent Andrei Ujica's The Autobiography of Nicolas Ceausescu.
All those films create a singular, personal, subjective collection. « Film d'auteur » in its entire splendor. That's because they are films thought as mediums of questioning, open-minding and emotional issues and not only giving answers. Those films bring us to understand things beyond what's written, to guess what hides beyond the images and also permit us to be touched.
I'm following Jean-Gabriel Périot's work since a few years. I was the producer of Undo, a documentary short movie made of archive footage about possible destruction of the world as it would happen today or tomorrow, but also feature short films such as Looking at the Dead, adapted from a short story from Don DeLillo. Each of those films leaves behind it a powerful feeling: from an archeology of memory images, he always manages to highlight how have been built some founding myths of modern History. At the same time, he never forgets his first vocation: cinema.
Many retrospectives of Jean-Gabriel's work have been made worldwide because it’s recognized as a cinema, which delivers an ability to see, think and go beyond frontiers. And it sure is that dimension of sharing that gives the films their ambition: his questions are also ours, those images from the past, already seen thousand of times or even totally unknown are also ours. I do believe in the « collective power » of that kind of cinema, even though we usually consider it as an intimate experience. Whether we are politically « for or against », his films are “watching us”.
Nicolas BREVIERE Producteur Hide
1 590 €
Sortie : 2015 Objectif : 1 590 €