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of FATMI Mounir

FRANCE, 2003, 00:18:38

Production : FATMI Mounir
Genre : Video art
Keyword : Allegory, War, Politics, Society

Summary :
Thérapie de groupe/Group Therapy (2002-2003) organizes a parallel montage, in time and space, between demonstrations against the first Gulf War, organized in Rabat in 1996, and demonstrations against the war in Iraq organized in Paris in 2002. From one decade to the next, from one continent to another, from one city to another, times, places, crowds, banners, songs and dances all intertwine. As a counterpoint to the general trance, Mounir Fatmi punctuates the shots of these calm slogans which hallmark his work, be it video or visual: "I'm so afraid"; "I'm lost"; "I think people hate me".... To the unlistened-to peoples (Moroccan and French), to the inaudible people (the Iraqis), Mounir Fatmi provides a small site of visibility and readability: "No to Arab silence", proclaims a banner; "those who can dream no longer sleep", runs a slogan by the anonymous narrator; "Group Therapy", relativizes the film's title. But the parallel, merging montage and the slow-motion of certain gestural events totally releases the verbal and calligraphic discourse. It is the power of peoples that is at issue here, that power oppressed by the military-economic complex, confiscated and repressed by the political powers-that-be, and denied by the media. The description of this kind of energy turns out to be very new, it in no way tallies with our reflexes produced by the pages of Michelet and Victor Hugo, the films of Eisenstein, and the photographs of Akadij Sajchet. It crops up rather as the origin of the factographic novels of Victor Chklovski (Sentimental Journey) and the melancholy revolutionary silkscreened works of Gérard Fromanger. Instead of the usual triumphalism, Group Therapy points out the crowd within the populace, i.e. the moment of its disorganization and its uselessness; the film asserts solitude, fear and melancholy in the midst of collective protest action; and it does not turn away at the ritual moment of hatred (burning the American flag) which, in the eyes of vague hecklers, might muddle legitimate protest with any old propaganda. But precisely because Group Therapy admits such ingredients (disorder, terror, hatred), the description of the wrath of peoples by Mounir Fatmi releases an historical might that had been held back by the sluicegates of imagery resulting from a backward-looking sedimentation and media denials.

Nicole Brenez

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Original language : french
Original format : video
Aspect ratio : 4/3
Chroma : Couleur
Available version(s) : Version originale française et version originale française sous-titrée anglais

rental : 120 euros

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