I am currently working on a video project consisting in a fiction featuring friends from my hometown in the suburb of Paris. I am following Fatyh and Ronald, filming their life and making them act scripted scenes that are mirroring their daily encounters in a suburban area.
The scenario of this fiction is not predefined, the story’s content evolve through the process of filming. The filming consists in proposing the actors a constructed situation in which they improvise the dialogues. At each gradual outcome, I let the situation evolve and imagine the next scene. In parallel to these scripted scenes, I collect footage closer to documentary observation, following them in their daily actions. From this blending between two different kinds of footages, an ambiguity emerges about the realness of what is being shown. If the situation is real or not, if it’s depicting a certain reality or not, if the characters are actors or not, these questions stay unresolved.
In my work, I am interested in the “other” and the triangular relationship between the camera, the subject and myself, the filmmaker. I like to work with different kinds of people and communities. I wanted to make a project about my hometown, which left a big mark on who I am and how I relate to others. I grew in the suburbs of Paris, in an underprivileged neighbourhood, on which a specific cultural and social image is being constructed. I am interested in questioning this mode of creating identity. Through filming my friends that are still living there I want to explore their way of representing themselves in front of my camera and what it can reveal about social and cultural perception.
I want to play with these clichés that falls into the category of suburban guys in a “hood”. The way they want to portray themselves, what society expects to see from them, how I know them; I try to deconstruct all these facets of the same reality and reflect on them hoping sometimes to avoid perpetuating these ideas. By asking my friends to play their own characters and giving them the space to improvise I hope to trigger some nuances and complexities in their identities.
Performing the self is a recurring aspect of my video work. Fiction is for me a tool to make people perform and interact with the audience and the artist. My surrounding is a source of inspiration for questioning my reality, that is why my work has a strong sense of documentary. I previously worked a lot with this format and at the same time I try to contradict it. With this project I take a step further in my practice, as the fictional and constructed aspect is getting more important than the documentary form. Here, I construct a fictional narrative that allows me to slowly depart from the documentary format and come closer to the realm of fictional film and cinema.