Artist in Focus: Sylvain George

Sylvain George (1968, Vaulx-en-Velin, France) studied philosophy and worked as a social worker until he turned to filmmaking in 2004. His work, influenced greatly by the thinking of Walter Benjamin, combines militant commitment with formal experiment. “The idea”, he says, “is to make films that take a stand and assert a political position, and at the same time not to separate content from form; to be formally demanding and to manage to define an own view and grammar as a filmmaker.” Far away from any form of didacticism or dogmatism, his films – from short “contrefeux” filmed with a mobile phone to elaborate feature-length documentaries – depict and allegorise the struggles of the “nouveaux damnés”, trapped between the rule and the exception: the stateless, the clandestine, the precarious. His most recent work, the impressive Qu’ils reposent en révolte (des figures de guerre), gives an account of the living conditions of migrants in Calais over a period of three years (2007-2010). “Politically speaking, it is about standing up, contesting these grey zones, these spaces or cracks like Calais standing somewhere between the exception and the rule, beyond the scope of law, where law is suspended, where individuals are deprived, stripped off their most fundamental rights. And that while creating, through some dialectic reversal, the ‘true’ exceptional states. Space-time continuums where beings and things are fully restored to what they were, are, will be, could be or could have been”. Rebellion and emancipation are at the heart of George’s films, which find true politics in the gestures, cries and bodies of those who are within the dominant socio-economical order considered as “surplus”: Included, but not belonging.


See also Opening Night, Wed 30.03.2011

Sylvain George and Robert Fenz will give a masterclass together on Friday 01.04.2011, 10:00 at KASK Cinema. Information: