For four years Eric Baudelaire regularly met with students from the film group at Dora Maar middle school in Saint-Denis. Time for them to grow together, time to find the form of a film in which they would be the true subjects: its characters, its authors and its promise.
“First initiated in autumn 2015 as a documentary about the newly constructed Dora Maar junior high school in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, the final film has transformed, over regular shooting sessions with students from the school’s film group, into an amorphous and ebullient collective project. At once a portrait of a diverse group of students during critical years of growth, captured at a time of political upheaval locally and globally, Un film dramatique is also a film about friendship, emancipation, trust, performance, and, in particular, the act of filmmaking for a generation raised by selfies and YouTube. Charming, and deceptively simple, the work’s political might emerges in small, magical gestures. As the kids grow and mature, the passage of time is felt rather than announced, most notably in their increasingly sophisticated footage: bold, courageous steps towards making work that matters to them, that responds to their questions, that confronts their place in the world. Neither documentary nor fiction, the film poses a conundrum of what it is the students are creating, individually and collectively. As time alters their bodies and shared conversations, they emerge as not only subjects of their film, but also of their own lives.”
- 1Andréa Picard, “Un film dramatique”, Toronto International Film Festival, 2019.