Le Télégramme : “By my window”, a platform that publishes your confined videos

Newspaper article.
8 May 2020. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
Reading time: 3 min  
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Interview of Benoît Labourdette on the back of the Breton newspaper Le Télégramme, about the platform By my window, by Guenaëlle Daujon..

Link to the article on Le Télégramme :
https://www.letelegramme.fr/france/benoit-labourdette-nous-sommes-tous-des-praticiens-de-l-image-08-05-2020-12548648.php

“By my window”: a platform that publishes your confinement videos

Benoît Labourdette is a filmmaker and teacher. He accompanies the new forms of creation in cinema. On April 1, he launched the platform “By my window”. Filming through his window and telling a story. This simple device allows everyone to express themselves and make a link with images.

What is your relationship to images?

Among my various activities, I have a pedagogical activity of education to images. Learning to read an image is like learning to read words. This language needs to be educated, i.e. practiced with a critical mind. There is a political and social dimension. Today, images are part of our lives and practices are evolving. In the Middle Ages, images remained in churches and we were spectators. With the invention of photography, they participate in the construction of our identities. The year 2005 was a pivotal year. The appearance of community sites such as Youtube and the camera in mobile phones means that we carry tools with us all the time. We have gone from being spectators to producers of images. I’m accompanying this major change.

How did you come up with the idea of this platform “Through my window”?

Since 2009, I’ve been leading audiovisual workshops in educational and cultural contexts. As part of these creative proposals, I often propose to people to film their intimacy, what they see through the window and to tell a memory. It’s a path that interests me. It’s not that simple to dare to do it. 1,500 films have been created in this way. In 2013, I wanted to bring these films together in a one-hour montage that was left aside. At the beginning of the confinement, when you only have your window as a link with the outside world, Marion Geerebaert, who works for the Clair Obscur association in Rennes and organises the Travelling festival, encouraged me to show this montage. I listened to it and put it online. The next day, Serge Tisseron, a psychoanalyst, and Thierry Méranger, a teacher from a high school specialising in cinema, in Dreux, encouraged me to open a platform (www.parmafenetre.fr) to deposit the fragile creativity of each person, all the more fragile as it is shared.

“This simple form, filming through the window and talking, everyone can do it. There are no barriers”.

On the platform, there are amateur and professional films. Is it a desire to confront these looks?

I think we are all practitioners of the image. Everyone has, as soon as they feel authorized, a lot to offer in terms of expression. This simple form, filming through the window and talking, anyone can do it. There are no barriers. It is believed that in order to succeed with an audiovisual or artistic object, you have to master techniques. I think the opposite is true. You discover your skills in action. I suggest not writing the text. There’s an unconscious part of it that joins in with the literary games of the surrealists, which bring sacred emotions to life. The films of filmmakers like Michel Gondry or Mathieu Almaric are great, but they are no better or worse than the others. There is no value judgment. Who cares if it’s fuzzy? The subject is deeper. It can give you confidence. Every film is almost everyone’s original film. Some people are making a movie for the first time. Everyone invents their own cinema. It’s not a contest, it’s bonding. People feel valued. It allows them to open up to themselves and, as a result, a little to others.

“If this terrible situation has a virtue, it’s to get to the point.”

What do these movies say about our time and this period?

If this terrible situation has one virtue, it’s to get to the point. There is a terrible social violence, a return to oneself, to an increase in one’s positive or negative experience, very profound. Two-thirds of the films are made by women, which is rare in the artistic field. It’s striking because we were in the middle of a debate on the Caesars, which has been somewhat forgotten. But it’s important what happens. There is a questioning of systems of domination. There is a woman who made a film about the violence she experienced. She might not have been able to say that in any other situation. Artistic creation is part of this process, of working on oneself, of personal ecology.

Will this platform stop on May 11th?

No, it’s not just a containment project. I envisage it in the long term and it will be able to host old or new films. The women’s film festival of Créteil is going to do a mini-festival in September and there will be a screening of “Par ma fenêtre”, and the Bibliothèque National de France will index them.

“A film is a gift,” you write. What do you mean by that?
The films on the platform are a gift. There’s no expectation of commentary, no commodification of like. You don’t know what it’s going to produce in the other person. It’s nothing but love.