MANU. The man who wouldn t let go of his camera. a film by emmanuelle bonmariage. L homme qui ne. pas lâcher sa caméra

Save this PDF as:
 WORD  PNG  TXT  JPG

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "MANU. The man who wouldn t let go of his camera. a film by emmanuelle bonmariage. L homme qui ne. pas lâcher sa caméra"

Transcription

1 A FILM WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY EMMANUELLE BONMARIAGE WITH MANU BONMARIAGE PRODUCED BY HANNE PHLYPO & ANTOINE VERMEESCH CAMERA LÉO LEFÈVRE, JOACHIM PHILIPPE & CHRIS RENSON SOUND BRUNO SCHWEISGUTH & FABRICE OSINSKI EDITING LUC PLANTIER SOUND EDITING BERT AERTS SOUND DESIGN & RE-RECORDING MIXING SENJAN JANSEN ORIGINAL MUSIC SACHA TOOROP A CLIN D ŒIL FILMS PRODUCTION IN CO-PRODUCTION WITH CBA - CENTRE DE L AUDIOVISUEL À BRUXELLES, RTBF (TÉLÉVISION BELGE) & CANVAS WITH THE SUPPORT OF CENTRE DU CINÉMA ET DE L AUDIOVISUEL DE LA FÉDÉRATION WALLONIE-BRUXELLES, FLANDERS AUDIOVISUAL FUND (VAF), THE TAX SHELTER OF THE BELGIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, CASA KAFKA PICTURES MOVIE TAX SHELTER EMPOWERED BY BELFIUS 2018 CLIN D ŒIL FILMS CBA - RTBF ALL RIGHTS RESERVED L homme qui ne voulait pas lâcher sa caméra MANU U N F I L M D E E M M A N U E L L E B O N M A R I AG E The man who wouldn t let go of his camera clin d oeil films presents UN FILM ÉCRIT ET RÉALISÉ PAR EMMANUELLE BONMARIAGE AVEC MANU BONMARIAGE PRODUIT PAR HANNE PHLYPO & ANTOINE VERMEESCH IMAGE LÉO LEFÈVRE, JOACHIM PHILIPPE & CHRIS RENSON SON BRUNO SCHWEISGUTH & FABRICE OSINSKI MONTAGE IMAGE LUC PLANTIER MONTAGE SON BERT AERTS SOUND DESIGN & MIXAGE SENJAN JANSEN MUSIQUE ORIGINALE SACHA TOOROP UNE PRODUCTION CLIN D ŒIL FILMS EN COPRODUCTION AVEC CBA - CENTRE DE L AUDIOVISUEL À BRUXELLES, RTBF (TÉLÉVISION BELGE) & CANVAS AVEC L AIDE DU CENTRE DU CINÉMA ET DE L AUDIOVISUEL DE LA FÉDÉRATION WALLONIE-BRUXELLES, FONDS AUDIOVISUEL DE FLANDRE (VAF), TAX SHELTER DU GOUVERNEMENT FÉDÉRAL BELGE, CASA KAFKA PICTURES MOVIE TAX SHELTER EMPOWERED BY BELFIUS a film by emmanuelle bonmariage

2 SYNOPSIS Synopsis Manu Bonmariage has directed over eighty documentary films, contributing a vast body of work to the landscape of Belgian cinema and television, establishing himself as a memorable feature of the country s wider cultural fabric. His daughter, Emmanuelle Bonmariage, is an actor, writer and artist, who makes her directorial debut with MANU. Throughout this touching and unusual take on the tradition of biopic documentaries, she takes the opportunity to explore the complex reality and contradictions of her father s life with the same wit and humanity that have become the trademark of his own work. Recently diagnosed with Alzheimer s disease, we see the iconic filmmaker grant his daughter with the opportunity to interrogate his philosophy through an inherited lens. As memories from his career show signs of gradually dissipating, Manu, constantly armed with his own camera and sense of curiosity and humor, relishes the opportunity to document his own daughter s evolution into a documentary filmmaker herself, as well as everything else around him, sometimes causing low-key chaos with his inquisitive eye. While still filming and facing forward, he reflects on significant passages from his life, including an unexpected brush with death that still looms large over the family. In this delicate process, Manu s memory begins to play tricks on him as the early signs of Alzheimer s make themselves known. However, while revisiting his vast film archive and in collaboration with colleagues, family and friends, Emmanuelle begins to comprehend the nature of her father, an unusual, divergent and incredibly talented man. At times funny and burlesque, at others deep and moving, MANU is a celebration of the wisdom and simplicity of a man, standing straight and looking at life squarely in the eye. Short Synopsis MANU is a strikingly unique and touching documentary portrait of a very singular, uncompromising and creative character, the Belgian film director Manu Bonmariage. The film travels through his life and works, intimately captured by his daughter Emmanuelle. A playful declaration of love to documentary filmmaking and humanity, between a father and a daughter, MANU is an uplifting celebration of an endlessly curious mind in the midst of an illness slowly affecting his memory. 3

3 CONTEXT AND DIRECTOR S NOTE Preambule I have a strange father. I m the daughter of a poorly known filmmaker, who is quite of a filmmaker nonetheless. I m the daughter of a man who, without a camera, is lost inside himself, who all his life has clung to cinema du reel to find meaning. He looked to make sense of an increasingly complex reality, one he was less and less able to grasp, a reality that leaked outside the frame of both his personal and professional life. Or maybe it was his way of contesting a religious morality that follows him like a shadow since his teenage years and with which he struggles. Centre an image in order to escape the centre? What deeply connects him to his films? Was my father the object of obsessions that he continuously tried to capture on film? From the beginning My name is Emmanuelle Bonmariage, the daughter of Emmanuel Bonmariage. I am a child from a first relationship. Three days after my birth, my father imposed my name on my mother. I was already named Hélène, but going alone to declare me at the mayor s office, he chose another name his. Did this detail create a special attachment between us? This attachment was reinforced by a father who was mostly on the road, on sometimes dangerous routes, taking all kinds of risks until the day I felt him slipping away. He had taken in a lethal does of arsenic. I was 9 then and any news about him coming out of the coma was unclear. For us children of his first wife, our entire life was turned upside down. He later told me that me gazing intensely, as a child, through the window of the sterile chamber between us brought him back to life. I ve seen his films ever since I was little. At that time, my father was at home only when he wasn t out shooting, which wasn t often. At any time of the day or night, we would often hear, Dad s working! I decide to question him through his films. To me, he is his films. That is what connects me to him since my childhood. - Who are you when you are not filmings? -...When I am not filming I can film in my mind What Manu s films say With Manu s images, I am touched by the deep humanity in all its complexity and humour, in everything both absurd and moving. Jimmy Kets I grew up with an obstinate father who is passionate about filming society while making his own life a micro-society full of wives, mistresses, children both legitimate and illegitimate, secrets, pain and abandonments? Over time, this gave rise to sequences of an unusual life like those from his direct cinema! 4 5

4 6 Jimmy Kets

5 Today, as he hands down a camera to me, how could I not want to film? How could I not be moved by the desire to pay tribute to all these characters more real than reality and inevitably biased by his point of view as a filmmaker? I m not turning the tables on the gardener, rather I am driven by a desire for clarity and for understanding this capturing of reality, this giving of oneself to the camera. I also know that certain protagonists that Manu filmed were not especially comfortable with the end purpose and with what they showed of themselves at a certain point in their lives. It s only human and understandable. Yet giving of oneself within a documentary film is, in my eyes, important outside of any doctrine or crushing, guilt-ridden morality. We are all so imperfect, including the emotional, active, unsophisticated Manu as he likes to describe himself, the instinctive Manu who acts without thinking first. He falls under the spell of outsiders and losers. They are the characters mirrored in his direct cinema, a designation that he rigourously upholds. This cameraman/filmmaker filmed so many people plunged in moments of complex lives. He grasped the fragility, vulnerability and the sometimes tragicomic side of certain situations. It was this same man who always seemed to evade me. All these people anchored in their own reality have become the characters of Bonmariage s films. To me, all these people are fragments of a single portrait: that of my father who is, in my eyes, the best subject of Manu Bonmariage s films! He is the perfect character, right out of his direct cinema. Manu alone is a condensed expression of all his films characters. Manu, a man who won t let go of his camera At the time I was shooting my film, Manu was 76. He wanted to make his film, The Whirlwind of My Life and after that to redo yet another (Living Our Death, his last film, released in March 2015). It s not so much his age that stops him as it is his memory, which plays tricks on him. He had just found our that he has Alzheimer s disease. Right from the start of my film, his camera becomes an important part of the process on its own. He clings to it and plays with it as if it were an outgrowth It s not so easy for him to let it go. In the end, what is its function? Is it a shield? A lifebelt? His trademark? Manu continues to film all throughout the shooting and even beyond filming me and my crew, he films himself alone, as if his camera were a strange confessor The disease Jimmy Kets Manu never had a great memory. He often turned to me or other family members to help him remember things or I d spontaneously remind him of events, places or music that I knew through him. Like anyone, Manu is a confused being. He incidentally likes to mention that he is plagued by doubt. In the film, I don t divide the man from his creation. He is his creation. And I find it interesting to remind him of that. Alzheimer s disease is extremely destabilising for the person affected by it as well as for those close to him. During the shooting, Manu had a certain awareness of his disease. He knows it s visible and that the film is witness to it. This awareness weakens him, but he doesn t try to shy away from it. He even films his own appointment with his neurologist. Manu was never bashful. Manu says, I am an Alzheimerian. Alzheim airy My father slips away every time I try to pin him down. Handing down With a father like Manu, the question of handing down is certainly not ostentatious. He is too preoccupied with himself Beyond all time periods and generations, what do we unknowingly hand down to others and what was handed down to us? What can I still learn from him today? I believe that no matter what we do or say to dismiss our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in order to define ourselves outside our shared heritage, there is this inevitable bond between us. So we try to sort it all out I ll take this, I ll leave that! Not counting those things that come creeping back Throughout the film, I question and dismantle the very fact of filming reality, including our own. I attempt to mirror it and put it at odds with the films of my father. - Are you able to stop filming? - Me? Stop filming? I hope I can at least film my funeral. You ll have to be there to take the camera at the last minute! Emmanuelle Bonmariage 8 9

6 CONVERSATION WITH THE DIRECTOR How did the film project originate? Manu gave me a Sony EX3 that he could no long hold after a serious bike accident. It seemed obvious that he give it to me even though I had no technical know-how and he was not about to share any. He couldn t remember any more himself Alzheimer s starting fogging up his brain I d been wanting to make documentaries for quite some time now. I don t think I allowed myself to really do it. The fact that he gave me that camera surprised me and certainly gave me permission! A first film with you father as the main character, why? When I first wanted to make a documentary, it had nothing to do with him, but rather with small children in special education I met these children while working with them on acting This camera being handed down to me was revealing in a very intuitive way. It seemed clear to me that my father, Manu, was a very beautiful character and that it was time to make a kind of filmed portrait of this man and his camera. I knew I was tackling a difficult task in choosing my father as the main subject since, as some already know, he has quite a temper. Making a film with him was also a way of reaching out to him, getting to the core of his life, which is direct cinema. You filmed a man who filmed people all his life. How did he accept to be filmed himself, all the more by his own daughter? Jimmy Kets In the beginning, it wasn t easy. And I can understand: he had a kind of professional distortion in which he was generally behind the camera with his specific way of connecting to his protagonists At first, it was really a challenge for him to be there and just exist in the image without a camera. I strived to build his trust. I didn t make this film to persecute or judge him, but to understand this question of being filmed in one s own reality and being exposed. To what point is it interesting for the audience? What can people learn about another through this kind of film? Fortunately, humour and our deep personal connection helped him, even though I was also looking for clarity and openness. I m not sure I could have made this film when I was younger It constantly shifts from lightness to seriousness and plays with the idea of doing things carefully without taking ourselves too seriously

7 Manu has always had the gift of filming people up close in their reality. How did you position yourself to film him? Did he try to orient you? My starting point was to be straightforward, no beating around the bush and take on his approach be immersed in reality, in the filmed moment. What does it mean to be oneself in front of a camera, with no masks if possible? Starting from this rather harsh principle, it only seemed fair that I play a role too. Appear if necessary and interact either in the frame or out. He inevitably tried to orient me, think for me at times and judge what I was setting up Then little by little, trust built between us both. We see your father mixing his camera and yours. How were you able to secure your place as a director with you father? We systematically went back to our respective roles, not so much as a father and daughter or as an experienced person with a non-experienced one, but rather by leaving room for each other to affirm ourselves, as you can see in the quarrel scene at the beginning of the film. You touch on his career and his work for Striptease, but you especially chose to talk about the man and his relationship to groups of people, his loved one and his former colleagues rather than only addressing his life as a filmmaker. Why did you make that choice and how did you develop the film? For various reasons, I didn t want to make a typical portrait of a filmmaker. To begin with, what is the point of his daughter making a film about him? For me, since Manu, my father, is not an intellectual of documentary films but rather functions on instinct, I found it more interesting to approach his filmed material from an organic and sensory angle. He doesn t really analyse his films. He lives them. I think the film shows it rather well. Also as I was growing up, I realized more and more how much this man and his function in life were one. It was as if he could only see himself when he films! But in his life, I felt like there was no frame, no limits. I found that provocative and tied to see if, in my film, he was ready to question his relationship to that world. It was also important for me to find that organic, sensory aspect close to Manu s instinctive character. The montage essentially went in that direction. Today, Manu is suffering from Alzheimer s. How did the shooting go in that context? You touch on the disease without saying too much about it, with sensitivity and respect We see the daily life of someone affected by the disease. Can you tell us about that? Some people said, You came too late with the film about your father! I m not so sure. It s true that, initially, I wanted to follow him on his next film project since it was about him continuing to film. He started several projects that he then had to drop. As he says himself in the scene with the neurologist, I was certainly already sick while working on my last film in When we started shooting, I sometimes felt my father a bit terrified. He was afraid his disease would play tricks on him. But I had no intention of asking him to recall precise dates and titles. That was not the crux of the film. I reassured him on that. I didn t want to make a film about a filmmaking father with Alzheimer s disease and focus on that. It was, however, difficult not to include it and it would have been stupid to deny it. It was important to me that Manu feel comfortable and free of the fear of being judged. The other people in the film are like reminders or markers that Manu could count on and play with. That being said, you have to be leery of him! He sometimes acted like he didn t understand whenever that suited him! Alzheimer s essentially affects short-term memory and far less that of more or less significant events in the past. Manu is something else! Today, one year later, his condition has gotten considerably worse. He s really confused. He s in another world. Finally, to conclude, what for you were your father s leading films? Du Beurre dans les tartines J ose Allo Police Les amants d assises No Chance Entretien par Anne Lafère How did you work on the editing of this film? From the start, I knew that this would also be a montage film! Given the unknowns of the shooting connected to my father s willingness or unwillingness to cooperate as well as to the unfortunately unavoidable disease, the sequences I had planned sometimes took a whole other direction I had to enormously recompose the film with the editor, Luc Plantier. Given, too, the density of material I gathered, I had to find a clear narrative, supposing there was one! Of course Luc and I exchanged a lot... Then more obvious things arose like the idea of the man who won t let go of his camera

8 BIO MANU BONMARIAGE Manu Bonmariage was born in Chevron, near Liège in Belgium on 29 March His mother was a farmer and his father a forest ranger. He lost an eye at the age of 6. He later left his forest in the Ardennes to travel the world. After studying communications at IHECS, he first worked as cameraman in film, then as cameraman-reporter at the Belgian Teleradio (RTBF). It was there that he took part in Pierre Manuel and Jean- Jacques Péché s Faits divers show (the precursor of the TV show Strip-tease). He was mostly called upon for his dexterity with the handheld camera and filmed many in-depth reports for the RTBF. He filmed everywhere from Saigon to Bilbao, from Charleroi to Yaoundé. And of course in the Belgian steel mill town of Seraing! At 38, Manu Bonmariage became a director himself and today is the author of over 80 films, many of them from Strip-Tease, the show that made him famous. These also (re)defined a certain vision of truth in front of the camera. Manu Bonmariage films close to people in their everyday lives and in their struggles great and small. He is passionate about his work and his documentaries were shown worldwide being regularly awarded in festivals, films such as Du beurre dans les tartines (1980),which chronicals the restructuring process of a struggling mechanical tool company in Wallonia; Allô Police (1987) a human-sized portrayal of the social work carried out by the Charleroi police; Les Amants d assises (1992) shows the changes in two lovers reunited by a crime; The Will of God (1993) about a Boer community in postapartheid South Africa; Baria et le Grand Marriage (2001) relates the forced marriage of a Marseille teenage girl of Comorian descent; Ainsi soit-il on the religious life of Father Jean who ends up marrying his clergy assistant; La Terre amoureuse (2002) on the everday life of four Walloon farming families in the region of Stavelot. His last film, Vivre sa mort (2015) shares the perspectives of two men in their fight for the right to die in dignity. Because of its closeness and caring, Manu Bonmariage s camera strings together moments of men and women s lives, carving out a portrait of the world over these past thirty years. 15 Jimmy Kets

9 Vincent Verhaeren 16 17

10 FILMOGRAPHY MANU BONMARIAGE HAY PO L DJOU C ÉTAIT L BON TEMPS DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES UN HOMME, UNE VILLE J OSE AVOIR 20 ANS EN PRISON A SUIVRE, C EST À VOIR MALAISES N KPITI, LA RANCUNE CHRONIQUES D UNE SAISON D ÉTÉ AU PAYS MINYANKA STRIP-TEASE ALLO POLICE LE VÉLODIDACTE APPELEZ-MOI MAÎTRE BABYLONE LES AMANTS D ASSISES 1979, feature documentary Grand Prix of television critics Young Talent Prize of the Liège Province 1980, feature documentary 1980, feature documentary Grand Prix at the Nyon Festival Best Social Film Prize Cristal Antena , documentary series, 5 episodes 1983, feature documentary Best Social Film Prize Input Selection in Baltimore 1983, feature documentary 1983, television magazine 1984, feature documentary Silver Sestertius Award Nyon Festival 1985, in the Planète des hommes documentary series 1986, in the Planète des hommes documentary series , documentary show, 47 films 1987, feature documentary Special Mentions of the International Jury and the Oecumenical Jury Nyon Festival Special Mention from the Jury Filmer à Tout Prix Tremplin Selection at the Brussels Festival Input Selection in Baltimore Prix Italia Selection 1st European Biennale Selection 1989, short film 1989, short film 1990, feature fiction film 1992, feature documentary Special Jury Prize Prix Italia Input Selection in Baltimore Prix SACD for Best Audiovisual Creation Cristal Antena 1992 Joseph Plateau Prize for Best Teleivion Film Best Documentary Prize at Rencontres Européennes de Télévision in Reims THE WILL OF GOD EN QUÊTE DE BANLIEUE HAMSA, LA RAGE AU VENTRE LES LIONS INDOMPTABLES AMOURS FOUS TOUT EN CAMION BARIA ET LE GRAND MARIAGE 1993, feature documentary Marseille International Film Festival Vue sur les Docs Festival Festival Dei Popoli in Florence Special Jury Prize Vues d Afrique in Montréal 1994, feature documentary Nominated for the FIPA d or 1995 and for Prix Italia 1996, feature documentary three Special Mentions at Vues sur les Docs Festival in Marseille 1998, feature documentary 1999, feature documentary Prix Ithème for Best Documentary 2000, feature documentary 2001, feature documentary 1st Young Public Jury Prize Nyon Festival Grand Prize for Best Documentary at Festival International du Film Francophone in Namur LA TROISIÈME GUERRE MONDIALE FOURONS 2001, feature documentary DIVORCE À L AMIABLE 2003, feature documentary Input Festival in Baltimore LE MAJORDOME 2003, feature documentary LE CHOIX DE MINO 2004, feature documentary NO CHANCE 2004, feature documentary Grand Prize Urti (Union Radio-Télé Internationale) CHEMIN FAISANT VERS COMPOSTELLE 2005, feature documentary EEN STUKJE PARADIJS 2005, feature documentary GENS D EUROPE 2006, 3 episodes LA HONTE DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE 2006, docufiction AINSI SOIT-IL 2008, feature documentary LOOKING FOR DRAGONE 2008, feature documentary LA ROYALE HARMONIE 2009, feature documentary LES TARÉS DU VERSAILLES 2010, feature documentary LA TERRE AMOUREUSE 2011, feature documentary VIVRE SA MORT 2013, feature documentary 18 19

11 BIO DIRECTOR Emmanuelle Bonmariage is a trained actrice. She started out going between cinema and theatre, playing her first roles in short films, like Mon papa d Amérique by Daniel Hiquet. She also held small roles in television and feature films and many times took part in the acting work directed by Benoît Lamy at the IAD Film School. She also lent her voice to radio news broadcasts at the RTBF (Belgian Teleradio). For several years, she played in various youth theatre companies. Some of these plays toured for several seasons in Belgium, France and Switzerland. At the same time, she participated in scenario writing workshops led by Louis Dominique Lavigne, Veronike Mabardi and Luc Jabon. Emmanuelle Bonmariage wrote and recorded the play Le soleil luit pour tout le monde (The Sun Shines for Everyone) and took part in several collective writings. She co-authored two short films, Les provisions / Contre sens and adopted the dialogues for the animated film Couleur de peau miel. Her interest in writing continues with the writing of a feature film with Laurent Brandenbourger, Si je t attrape, je te tue. A docufiction project is in development. She is part of the theatrical reading groupe Lumières pour enfants combined with a philosophical discussion (training with Martine Nolis). She is currenty working with Anne-Sophie de Bueger on the project Abord age, leading workshops of singular expression in a retirement home. For fifteen years, she has been directing numerous theatre workshops and training for various people: newcomers to Belgium, future teachers and child care workers, children in difficulty, all under the authority of Bruxelles Laïque, the Cocof, la Montagne Magique and the Roseraie. She is the casting director on Marta Bergman s feature film, Seule à mon marriage (to be released soon). MANU is her first film. 21 Jimmy Kets

12 BIO PRODUCER Clin d œil Films is a Belgian production company founded and managed by Antoine Vermeesch and Hanne Phlypo out of their love for film. The company focuses on creative documentaries and author-driven film with a clear preference for films with a social or political statement by creative and innovative filmmakers. Antoine and Hanne work in close collaboration with their filmmakers. At the same time, Clin d oeil Films aims to co-produce international films. In 2010, Clin d œil produced Silent Stories by Hanne Phlypo and Catherine Vuylsteke, followed by Houses with Small Windows, a short fiction by Bülent Öztürk (selected at the prestigious Orizzonti section at the Venice Film Festival and nominated at the European Film Awards) and The Art of Becoming by Hanne Phlypo and Catherine Vuylsteke. In 2014, the company produced the award-winning Waiting for August by Teodora Ana Mihai (Best International Documentary at Hot Docs 2014, nominated at the EFA Awards, etc.) as well as a documentary series by Damien Chemin, Fanaticos (co-produced by the Belgian National Television RTBF). In 2016, the company produced Samuel in the Clouds, a film by Pieter Van Eecke which received the Best Cinematography Prize at the Bilbao Mehdi Film Festival and the Gold Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, amoung others. In , Clin d œil coproduced A Family Affair by Tom Fassaert (EFA Awards nominee), BUGS by Andreas Johnson and Ubiquity by Bregtje Van der Haak. Several projects are currently in development and in production at Clin d œil: By the Name of Tania by Mary Jiménez and Bénédicte Liénard, Fields of Hope by Olivier Magis, Century of Smoke by Nicolas Graux (in coproduction with the Belgian company Dérives), Love is Not an Orange by Otilia Babara, In Another Life by Philippe de Pierpont and Of Friends and Gods by Reetta Huhtanen (in co-production with Zone2Pictures). 22

13 INFO Length 92 minutes Date of release 6 June 2018 Original language French, Walloon Available subtitles French, English, Dutch and bilingual (FR/NL) Sound 5.1 / Stereo Trailer CONTACT PRODUCER CLIN D OEIL FILMS Hanne Phlypo +32 (0) PRESS NOISE FILM PR Mirjam Wiekenkamp

14 26