ClermontFF16 - Lunch with Au bruit des clochettes (Brasserie du Court)
Friday 12 February 2016, by ,
Another year, another Clermont Fest, wish assorted goodies, freebies, queues and lunch vouchers. Not that they’re needed to sway us. It’s a strong selection, many hits and few misses. We’ll have updates and coverage coming up, but first, we’re kicking with a few interviews conducted by our writer Clotilde Couturier, with the Brasserie du Court, the festival blog.
First up is an interview with Chabname Zariab, director of Au Bruit Des Clochettes, from the Brasserie’s website:
How did you come up with the idea for Au Bruit Des Clochettes and why did you want to address the question of slavery?
I got the idea from a documentary made by an Afghan journalist, Abdullah Quraichi, who had infiltrated the “Batcha baz” (Players of Boys) networks. I have to explain what these “games” are about: very young boys are kidnapped or bought to dance, disguised as women, in organized ceremonies by and for men who then rape the young boys at the end of the performances. I found this practice to be absolutely barbaric and from another era. Those images stuck with me for days afterwards. I was shocked and saddened at first, then outraged. I had no other way of getting people to talk about this than to make a film.
Could you have made the same film with female slaves? What interested you more about men?
I could have also spoken about female slavery. In this case, my goal was to address the condition of these children in my native country of Afghanistan, and more specifically, in these ultra-religious societies, the ramifications between the world of women and the world of men which give birth to sexual frustration and hence the abuses. I address the practice in Afghanistan, but Nabil Ayouch also refers to it in his very beautiful film Much Loved which takes place in Morocco.
Can you tell us more about the dance and its meaning?
The dance is an integral part of this practice. Young men dance for the gathering. They are made to drink and smoke and then they are abused. I wanted this to be part of the film because it has a very strong cinematographic dimension.
Why did you choose bells, and not shells or coins? Is it a choice based on reality or the symbolism of the bells?
Yes, in fact it was only to make it as realistic as possible. Bells are used a lot in the dances of central Asia. Look no further than Indian cinema…
From a position of superiority, the master isn’t satisfied just using the slave, he needs to belittle him with accusations. Why did you want to show this kind of behaviour?
In the end, it is a common form of manipulation. The master plays on the feelings of the young boy. For the boy, his captor is his only family. It’s a bit like the Stockholm Syndrome. The victim, often isolated, ends up with an affection for his captor.
In Au Bruit Des Clochettes, you question your main character’s emancipation in all its forms. Did you imagine this phase as something that’s suffered or chosen?
For me, Saman, the oldest of the boys, ends up becoming aware of his condition. His decision at the end of the film is not endured but chosen. It’s his way of both freeing himself and saving the young Bijane.
How did you write the rivalry and friendship between the two slaves? Did you tap into a particular environment for your inspiration?
This rivalry is almost childish. For me, they are two children. It’s like when in a family one child suffers the arrival of a little brother or sister who will garner all of the attention. Jealousy may arise… however, in the end, they will learn to know and love each other.
How did you imagine the relationship with the other members of the village? How is it possible that they were all aware of this slavery and accepted this situation?
It concerns a network more than members of a single village. Not everyone participates in this kind of ceremony. So it’s those who come who know about it.
In your opinion, can the victims in turn become tormentors?
Yes, I believe so. I am fascinated by the complexity of human beings. To stay in the context of the film, it often happens that the Batchas, “the boys”, in turn become the masters once adult. But the exploitation of the weak is a trademark of mankind. Many people are shocked by what happens in certain countries like Afghanistan, but barbaric traditions also exist at home. They exist of course in other areas, but they remain just as frightening and unbearable – for me, bullfighting comes to mind. I don’t know how we can gather and applaud the torturing of an animal under the guise of entertainment, of art… it’s something from the dark ages! There are others such as the force-feeding of geese, the grinding up of live baby chicks, all the tortures committed by the dairy industry, and I’ll stop there because there are so many abuses in that area! I think we are as terrifying as we appear, each of us a little tormentor on our own level, and sometimes through simple ignorance.
Do you think that the short film is a good tool for questioning human relationships?
Not only the short film! There are lots of tools… the cinema, photography, philosophy, books.
Au Bruit Des Clochettes was either produced, co-produced or self-financed with French funds. Why this choice?
This film exists thanks to the production company Les films du Bal and was co-produced by the CNC and Arte. For me, there is nothing better than to have a production company. This allows you to concentrate completely on the artistic aspects of the film and not the financial ones as the search for funding is the job of the producer. Also, it gives us support during the writing and above all surrounds us with professionals who help us and advise us and who are there in service of the film just as much as the director.
Au Bruit Des Clochettes is screening as part of the National Competition F8.