|OFFICIAL SELECTION / INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION||FIDMARSEILLE 2012|
4 BÂTIMENTS, FACE À LA MER
Three months after the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima, TEPCO, the electric company operating the nuclear power plant, installed a livecam on the facilities. The images, on which days and minutes add up, are available online. Using them for sole visual material, such is the daring challenge Philippe Rouy has taken up in 4 bâtiments, face à la mer.
A disaster watched from a distance, its most toxic effects remaining invisible: this is one of the paradoxes raised by those tediously poor images. A deceptively transparent witness, the livecam mostly appears to be guarding a dead landscape. By the sheer power of editing, Rouy turns the images of this mechanical eye filming day and night, come rain, come wind, into sickly beautiful spectral sequences. An impression only reinforced by the white figures of liquidators, the faceless workers in their safety overalls, bustling about, coming and going, like futurist zombies. Their restlessness seems somehow pathetic in this unmanned place reclaimed by insects and birds, especially when we get to hear off screen the arrogant builders of the plant, by way of conclusion. Sole interlude in this desolate area: the spontaneous, accusatory gesture of one of the liquidators. But it only emphasises, to the point of hallucination, the post-apocalyptic atmosphere. (NF)