La réalité éclatée / A many splattered thing
PhD Research and creation in Arts RADIAN
Doctorat de recherche et création en art RADIAN
ésam-c2 - ESADHaR - ENSA Normandie - ED558 / Com-UE Normandie Université.
We’re afraid to speak. We’re afraid to come up and say there are unsafe conditions in the industry. (…) Too many accidents, you’ve never heard of. They happened, they get covered up so completely that the people that they’re made for, which is our audience, they never know about them.
Brianne Murphy, cinematographer, 1982.
In reponse to your request, I was never at the Indian Dunes location of « Twilight Zone » on the night of the accident or at any other time.
Steven Spielberg, director and producer, 1982.
I found a man leaning against my dressing-room door. He was heavily bandaged. I asked : « What’s wrong ? » He said : « Thirty-eight ambulances have left. They’re coming back for me. I am in better condition than most of them. » And he said : « I think somebody’s been killed. »
Dolores Costello, actress, Hollywood (TV documentary series), 1979.
Then, when hundreds of extras came at the beginning of filming, some of them ran on the explosives and were torn apart or injured. But on the editing table, there was no difference between the people who played dead and those who were really dead, and this bloody incident was integrated into the storyline. The whole thing was hushed up. The scenes were added to the movie. Nobody has ever heard of it, apart from eyewitnesses.
Will Quadflieg, actor, Wir spielen immer. Erinnerungen, 1976.
Forgetfulness is nothing but a palimpsest : an incident happens unexpectedly, and all that was effaced revives in the blanks of woundering memory.
Victor Hugo, writer, The Man Who Laughs, vol. 2, 1869.
Throughout its history, fiction film & TV productions have been marked with on-set accidents, leading to serious injuries or the death of cast members or filmmakers. A large number of these accidents logically relates to stunt people.
These on-set accidents will be tackled from an aesthetic and historiographic angle, on the basis of the verysubstance of their images. By documenting the accident, these images seem torn between the violent manifestation of materiality and fiction’s influence on them.
Through a detailed investigation of precise case-studies, with a strong focus on American film, the on-set accident becomes an operative concept with which another film history may be written.
Inquiries stemmed from a short item or the detail of an image can reveal a system which is characterized by tensions between the very matter of bodies and the power of the imaginary, at the heart of cultural industries’ key issues.
The accident’s image is a challenge to filmed fiction and its industry. Set accidents are telling : by unveiling them, the industry’s effects on bodies and their stakes (practices linked to gender and ethnic background), the strategies of dissimulation and how the real is twisted when the transformation into picture happens (for instance, the actor/actress or stuntman/stuntwoman hiding his/her wound in order to not spoil the shot), are uncovered.
At the heart of this project are the notions of inquiry and testimony : words and reactions of cast and crew, of production and the studios, of the audience, convey the confusion, the unease (in relation to fiction and images, death and pain on the screen), the pressure (silence, threats, ostracism) and the deficiencies (safety, empathy, solidarity and support).
Ce projet a été sélectionné par la commission mécénat de la Fondation des Artistes qui lui a apporté son soutien.
Lauréat des RÉSIDENCES SUR MESURE Plus+ de l’Institut français.
With voices of Francesco Di Giacomo, Silvia Giulietti, Charlotte Rampling, and words of Michelangelo Antonioni, Bonnie Prendergast Freeman, Daria Halprin and Andrew Marton.
Production : Villa Medici / Alexis Guillier.
The project La réalité éclatée / A many splattered thing was selected by the Fondation des Artistes and received its support.
Villa Medici Film Festival, 2021/09/15-19.
Picture of performance : © M3 Studio.