OFFICIAL SELECTION / FRENCH COMPETITION FIDMARSEILLE 2009

World premiere

   

COMMISSARIAT


Virgil Vernier and Ilan Klipper

 

FRANCE
2008
Colour
DV
85’

Original version
French
Image, son et montage
Ilan Klipper et Virgil Vernier

Production
Les films Pelléas, Ilan Klipper AND Virgil Vernier

FilmographY
Virgil Vernier
KARINE (OU LE CHÂTEAU INTÉRIEUR), 2001
L’OISEAU D’OR, 2004
SIMULATION (“Flics, part 1”) en co-réalisation avec Ilan Klipper, 2006,
CHRONIQUES DE 2005, 2007
AUTOPRODUCTION, 2008
Ilan Klipper
SIMULATION (“Flics, part 1”) en co-réalisation avec Virgil Vernier, 2006,
LES BLOUSES BLANCHES (titre provisoire)


 

Everybody knows how institutional spaces – hospitals and judiciary or educational establishments, for instance – exert a great fascination on documentary cinema. Filmmakers usually try to dissect the moving forces of these enclosed environments, which are either microcosms or metaphors for actual power in actuality, and to explore their twists and turns. With Commissariat (Police Station), following after Flics (Cops, 2006), Virgil Vernier and Ilan Klipper take on another perspective with Commissariat (Police Station). Not much is revealed about the daily routine of a police station, nor is it glorified or denounced. They don’t offer an immersion into its administrative machinery either. The real issue lies elsewhere.
In this film, shot in some ordinary police station, in the quiet suburbs of Rouen, Normandy, a human comedy is being played out right before our eyes. There is no pathos, no spectacular angle, the camera doesn’t focus on the sordid aspects of the situation only; it goes beyond the picturesque or heroic quality of things, without neglecting humor. Small offences, neighbor quarrels, where the grotesque and the absurd meet, familial drama or melodrama, all collapse in this place which has become the ultimate stage where people come to talk and ask questions. The most varied tales intersect, including the policemen’s confidences, that add up to the storybook feel. The multiple games of confession, seduction, regret and authority are displayed, without any attempt at rationalization. The filmmakers are holding the magnifying glass: they alternate static shots with very few reverse shots, and this rigorous device avoids the naturalistic illusion of dialogues. The audience is thus trailed from one scene to another, in a van or an office, indebted to faces that give off a language at times helpless or transcendent, the complete range of tragi-comedy.
What slowly emerges is the hustled portrait of a society in which speech twists and distorts in a hallucinating picture of ordinary madness, here and now.

Nicolas Féodoroff

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