Synopsis by Judd Blaise
Initially begun as a documentary about Palestinian revolutionaries, Ici et Ailleurs (in English, Here and Elsewhere) was ultimately transformed into an hour-long filmed essay addressing the relationship between politics and image, the problems of documentary filmmaking, and the danger of media saturation. Collaborators Jean-Pierre Gorin and Anne-Marie Melville began the film with funding from Palestinian forces, under the title Victory, intending to create a sympathetic portrait of the revolutionaries as a true people's movement. Not long after the filmmakers' return to France, however, most of their subjects were killed in warfare, and the issues behind the film no longer seemed so simple. At this point Jean-Luc Godard joined the production, helping create a series of scenes focusing on the life of a middle-class French family; this is the "Here" portion of the film, with Palestine as "Elsewhere." By editing together documentary and fictional footage, and commenting on these images through photo collages, title screens, and other reflexive techniques, the film questions the association between political thought and the structures of fiction. Ultimately, Ici et Ailleurs seems suspicious of all images, even its own; the suggestion is that all films, especially documentaries, present a false, constructed vision of reality.
politics, family, slice-of-life