Shown in Compétition #4.
In Oujda, there is a forest populated by Migrant
In this forest we try to meet
In the darkness, it is our shadows that we meet.
Texte du comité de sélection
It could be the story of a failed encounter.
Or that of filmmakers who can’t find people for their films.
Or a meta-film on the problems of remuneration in cinema and particularly in documentary film.
Or a film about money, about speech as capital, about the exchange of goods like any other good, about the meeting between two environments that a priori everything distances, about the feeling of not belonging to a social group from which one cannot totally extricate oneself.
It’s also a film about guilt, sincerity, contact, friendship, about English gibberish as the only possible language to speak between borders.
Translation made by the translator www.DeepL.com/Translator
What is the starting point for your film? What led you to make it?
At first there was curiosity, anger, guilt. Then, We were, me and Ouahib left to take sound in the village where Ouahib grew up, Jerada in Morocco, in order to advance in the making of the film Mineurs that we have just finished. During this trip we stopped at the faculty of Oujda where Ouahib had done his higher education. Next to this faculty, we saw these tents in the forest. We had met many young people who were waiting and looking with other Moroccans, solutions for their futures. We had the desire to go and see this forest. What was happening there. What could happen there if we go there.
The film La forêt was shot in 2011 on the forested hills of Sidi Mâfa (named after a healer Marabout) north of Oujda, the border town between Morocco and neighboring Algeria. The title was for a long time the focus of discussions between me and Lo about what we experienced together in these places with the African migrants who had taken refuge there. Beyond the frustration of all that we were not able to film with them during our short stay. Time has done its work! After the recent media footage that the whole world has seen and heard about what the “Jungle” of Calais in France let us see and hear, I finally think that in its title La Forêt, this film carries a way of seeing the question of migrants or whether they are under another visor? One day, Someone once told me, as in a fairy tale, “We humans are like ants. Some seek, and some dig…” I just wanted to show my friend Lo those who seek…
What material did you use to make it? And what was your creative process? Did it evolve during the filming, given that you were unable to film your discussions with the migrants?
We shot in super 8 colors. I made the image and Ouahib the sound. We had already used this mode of work on a film previously made Le Mirage et la pierre. This shape suits us well. It makes it possible to maintain our different way of living in the world and of making cinema. It makes it possible to make it exist freely, because we can get lost, we can get lost in relation to each other. As we can also bump into each other, each with his tool. Editing comes to finalize this path by trying to bring all this together. We didn’t know at the beginning what we wanted to do, apart from trying to meet and document it. Each day was a stranger. One door opened and another closed. Sometimes we would try to force it, and other times we would take a different path. We didn’t necessarily want to do interviews, let’s say we wanted to have a word. It was not given to us, we tried to take it. Towards the end, Christopher gave us one.
Beyond the simplicity of the light material with which this film was shot and the few means at our disposal, it is time that decided for us, which we take great care to respect. Especially since it is the unknown that is rarely taken into account in all that we undertake in our daily life here.
In the end, how long did it take to develop La Forêt?
We shot over 5 days. The editing, which was done several years later due to lack of time and money, lasted twice a week.
This is what Lo says, no matter the conditions, the means, the hazards, the ifs and buts… To provoke a meeting is an easy thing. To suffer its consequences is another story… The purpose of making cinema is to see, isn’t it? So in order to really see and give to see, you have to know how to live; to endure and resist this miracle ingredient: time!