To be a filmmaker in 2018 is to be a bit of a spiritualist. The rarefaction of the film object, humble, palpable, which weighs in the hand, is a fact. Its historical place of diffusion, the theatre, is also disappearing in Europe. Even DVDs and USB keys are relics of yesterday's world. Modern computers don't care about the ports where these objects could drop anchor. There is hardly any material trace of the cinematographic creation anymore. Some data stored on a cloud on the other side of the world, wind in a cloud.
The filmmaker's job is therefore to produce the invisible for nomadic souls, not to say wandering souls, in a bus in Tokyo or a café in Denver. It is to speak to the spirits. There is no nostalgia in this observation of the times, just the desire to adapt to the Zeitgeist.
At ECAL, we love objects. Like Georges Perec, who was "all about the language that surrounds things, about what's underneath, about everything that feeds them, about everything that's injected into them. Because it is a language, the cinema is matter. It agglomerates what we are, we the creators, we the spectators, in a communion of thought. To testify to this encounter, an object was needed. And the most beautiful of all: a book. To say what nourishes us, but also what we give to eat. The encounters, the essays, the filming, the trips, the debates that make up the living and vibrant body of our school.
The one that asks the only question that matters: for whom are we doing what? May this book be the Ouija board that allows us to communicate with the spirits, here and elsewhere, today and tomorrow. Many thanks to Rachel Noël, coordinator of the ECAL's Cinema Department, initiator and curator of this first volume. And to all the contributors.
Lionel Baier / Head of the Film Department