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by Jean-Gabriel Périot


In May and June 2018, Jean-Gabriel Périot collaborated with ten students in a film class at a high school in Ivry-sur-Seine on a project that unites cinema with politics. The students worked both in front of and behind the camera, restaging scenes of strikes, resistance, and labour disputes from films dating from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, including ones by Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Tanner. Our defeats assembles the results, and adds interviews in which the director queries the students about the scenes they’ve just acted in, about such concepts as “class,” “labour union,” and “political engagement,” about wider social contexts. It’s a simple, yet trenchant setup, affording viewers a glimpse of how a younger generation sees politics and the political cinema of the past. The film also documents the director’s attempts to stir up the students. The conversations vary between encounters in which director and students seem on an equal footing, based on more teacher-like questioning by the never-visible director, and contemplations of revolution in the here and now: the performance of an uprising follows reflection upon the same. Could this lead to one happening for real?

international title: Our Defeats
original title: Nos défaites
country: France
year: 2019
genre: documentary
directed by: Jean-Gabriel Périot
film run: 94'
cinematography by: Amine Berrada
film editing: Jean-Gabriel Périot
producer: Frédéric Dubreuil
production: Envie de Tempête Productions
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