The cinema mirrors all aspects of our world, touching our most intimate feelings, fears, joys, doubts and hopes.
Tackling the subject of conflict from all angles and dimensions, filmmakers often touch that which in all of us is most fragile and quickest to rebel. The cinema forces us to see realities we refuse to recognize. It allows us to better understand a world that sometimes eludes us and nurtures our capacity to strive for a better world.
War On Screen 2017 dives more resolutely than ever into what shakes the foundations of our planet, through the vision of filmmakers past and present who use their art to decipher the reasons for conflicts, both close or far away.
While global current affairs summon the spectre of a nuclear conflict we believed long gone, the cinema is visionary and healthy, showing us with humanity and perspicacity just how much The Bomb has been part of our lives for over half a century. Two films, with unusual formats and unexpected content, The Bomb and Collisions, take us to the very heart of the nuclear programmes, in which scientific research appears to ignore the consequences of its military purposes. This has also enabled us to include in the festival new formats such as virtual reality.
The grand retrospective on “Berlin in the Time of The Wall” reminds us, sometimes with humour, always with a remorseless pertinence, to what extent our human conflicts can be as absurd as they are pathetic.
Joan of Arc takes us through the history of film which, from its origins right up to the present day, has never ceased to be fascinated by the story of this heroine, who symbolised so many fantasies about rebellion, courage, fortitude and resistance.
From WWI, we discover the consequences of a Russian revolution that changed the face of the world and also the reality of the conflict in Alsace.
Always eager to explore conflicts all too little known and yet essential to understanding the world today, we present an exceptional focus on the atrocious conflict of the 1980s between Iran and Iraq, which took over 1.2 million lives. Due to not having obtained any Iraqi films, this conflict is presented through the eyes of Iranian filmmakers.
A project of La Comète, National Stage, War On Screen is positioned resolutely at the crossroads of the arts. Hence the Rock ’n’ War cycle illustrates the rich and wonderfully varied relation between rock, pop and war, in particular through animated film. Singers become actors condemning the absurdity of war (John Lennon and David Bowie) but above all rock, central to counter-culture and a weapon for pacifism, plays an active role in destroying walls.
This year, by Istvan Szabo will be doing us the honour of presiding over the official competition jury. This has given us the opportunity to rediscover many of his films, marked by the conflicts that marred the 20th century. Szabo knows more than anyone how to make us aware of the destiny of men faced by the tragedy of conflicts over which they have no control.
Special sessions and unreleased series complete a programme including two competitions that confirm the variety and profusion of 21st century film, in which conflicts and war are increasingly present.
Finally, with the aim of providing the young with the tools they need to understand a deeply-changing world, the Education in the Visual Image programme, held throughout the year, culminates during the week of the festival.
War On Screen 2017 demonstrates the power of artists to illustrate and stimulate our imagination, nurture our vision, give us profound emotional experiences, make us question ourselves and offer us hope.
- Philippe Bachman, Festival CEO