without qualities news
Claude Pérès' interview
Claude Pérès explains his wanting to make this movie:
What was the original idea?
I’ve been really intrigued by the first seconds of those Big Brother TV Shows. When you have this feeling you are going to see a bunch of people making up their own rules, building something like the beginning of a society, with some archaisms perhaps and some innovative stuff… That’s the thing of Social Contract thinkers. Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes, all tried to figure out what would be a human before society. Obviously that question doesn’t matter anymore since Structuralism. But still, I watched those TV shows hoping we would see something we are too accustomed to see in a new light. But after those first seconds, the twisted, pervert concept of those shows is too obvious to expect anything but a fucked up outcome. I mean the whole experiment is biased anyway and pretty gross.
This kind of questions is treated in the movie Sex Jack by Wakamatsu, where a group of revolutionaries try to run away from this so-called system and end up by making even more brutal rules or in Lars von Trier Idiots, where this “system” ‘s rules backfire on a group questioning them. Those were the questions I needed to look into.
What was your direction concept?
When Dogma’s movies popped out, with those breathtaking camera movements, I thought we were getting ahead with something filmmakers gave up since the French New Wave. What was thrilling was this so human, so honest, so spontaneous way to deal with cameras and the possibility for the viewer to follow the filmmaker turning his attention to something, hesitating, having second thoughts…
That was really interesting for Without Qualities, because
I had to film a group, to isolate someone from this group or to drown him in
it… Those movements allowed me to underline those questions about individuals,
group, society… I had in mind and this very idea I have that you never reach a level when you have on one hand a group and on the other hand individuals... They also allowed for those who were filming
to be a part of the group with their very filming.
During the editing I push forward this idea by using all this
material usually cut off, all those accidents, when the camera is still running
or when you set it… I can’t tell how I enjoyed it. I felt this material was
so energetic. I used it like a texture, like something I could almost touch
and work with my hands.
Besides, this feeling to step outside the box… I’m very fond of Rauschenberg’s attaching a chair to his canvas or Basquiat’s writing the word “crown” rather than painting it. Questioning the film itself, mishandling it, bombarding it… It’s very joyful!
Conclusion of this experiment?
I thought nothing would really happen. I was really surprised
by the excitement, the joy during the shooting. The performers surpassed themselves
and that was really impressive. And the bystanders reacted pretty well and were
really astonishing. The outcome goes way beyond everything I could have expected.
And about those questions I wanted to look into, society, group, individuals… I think we have a pretty useful material to think, but it’s up to the viewer to get an idea about that…