Storaro and I were at Camerimage together

By Pascal Lagriffoul, AFC

by Pascal Lagriffoul

[ English ] [ français ]

We were once there. A week of meetings, films, discussions with DoPs at Camerimage. I returned home in a particular state of fatigue, leaving the hotel for Poznan Airport at 2:30 a.m., just after the last party of the week, alongside a director from Bombay. That was my last meeting of the week, and like all the encounters during the week, we understood one another immediately! We discussed images, cameras, shootings...

My ears still buzzing, I remember. Conferences, discussions, screenings. In particular, these two films: Life is Be, Still Life. Alive, still alive, life, my life, our lives.

Life is Be is a Georgian documentary by Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili. Filmed, produced, and edited by him.
A few characters from his city, Telavi, are attempting to survive in between the communism of the past and the capitalism of today. They try to fill their lives, attempt to kindle new relationships, whilst celebrating old, decrepit dreams.
I watch the declassed engineer trying to stay on his feet, between video games, rock music, and books on mathematics. He’s bored out of his mind and asks himself too many questions..., just like I do between two distant shootings...
Existential angst.
“Life is Be” is what a graffiti says in the squat where the bum lives, who composes music on commission and plays an organized and chaotic melody on out-of-tune pianos.
The power of films. The echo that they cause to resonate within us.

Still Life (Gorge cœur ventre), a film by Maude Alpi, cinematography by Jonathan Ricquebourg. An implacable and empathetic camera, from the point of view of an absolutely authentic main character, follows the feelings of the animals and humans in an abattoir. Those who are about to die, the cows and pigs, express their visceral fear. The camera can do that, wordlessly...
A dog looks on, he empathizes, he watches...
Can my camera do that?
Feel that pain?
Watching means being silent and feeling.
I am that dog, Boston, I watch and I suffer along with him.
And when he goes to heaven, to doggy heaven, I see how happy all those dogs are to be alone together with one another...
I saw at Camerimage how happy we can be together, we cinematographers, alone with one another.

(Translated from French by Alexander Baron-Raiffe on behalf of the AFC)