Sur les Toits

I have meant to write about the Sur les Toits special issue I recently edited for some time now. Unfortunately, however, a lack of time prevented me from doing so.

The filmmaker Nicolas Drolc, whom I mentioned in a previous post, was kind enough to join us for a discussion at Warwick last May. He screened and discussed his movie Sur les Toits. The documentary film focuses on the infamous prison protests in Nancy and Toul (northeastern France) in the early 1970s. The collection I edited was published in Antipode. I am very happy with the end result, it is a very creative and well-composed set of papers written by academics from across the humanities and the social sciences. All of the pieces, including an interview with Nicolas, are open-access and available as PDF downloads from the Antipode website.

This symposium contains a rich collection of contributions based on the screening of the French documentary film Sur les Toits (“On the Roofs”). On a Wednesday in May 2016 I invited the film’s independent maker, Nicolas Drolc, and a number of academics from across Warwick’s humanities and social sciences to the screening of the movie. The result was a friendly and productive discussion on an important, but sometimes forgotten, episode in the history of incarceration.

The film can be bought online from Fnac.


Pasolini’s Birds

I am organising a panel discussion later this year on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Vangelo Secondo Matteo (“The Gospel According to St. Matthew”). I recently saw Pasolini’s Uccellacci e Uccellini (“The Hawks and the Sparrows”, but literally translated “Ugly Birds and Little Birds”), apparently the film he felt most content directing. Pasolini described the movie himself as an “ideo-comedy” [ideocomica] made in the tradition of earlier Chaplin, Semon and Keaton movies. The film contains however also elements of Brecht and Bunuel. As it laughs about the increasingly disturbing crisis of capitalism, the film touches upon themes and sentiments that continue to speak to us today. The film opens appropriately with a quote from Mao Zedong:boh - crow

“Dove va l’umanità? Boh” (Where is humanity heading? Who the hell knows!), Mao Zedong to Edgar Snow

The opening credits of the film are pretty amazing, too.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand – Human

Human is the name of the latest project of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the director of Earth from Above and Home. The music is composed by Armand Amar. From the official website:

À travers les témoignages remplis d’amour, de bonheur, mais aussi de haine et de violence, HUMAN nous confronte à l’Autre et nous renvoie à notre propre vie.  De la plus petite histoire du quotidien, jusqu’aux récits de vie les plus incroyables, ces rencontres poignantes et d’une sincérité rare, mettent en lumière ce que nous sommes, notre part la plus sombre mais aussi ce que nous avons de plus beau et de plus universel. La Terre, notre Terre, est sublimée au travers d’images aériennes inédites accompagnées de musique tel un opéra, qui témoignent de la beauté du monde et nous offrent des instants de respiration et d’introspection.

The trailer is emotionally gripping and visually stunning