Tuškanac Cinema / Sunday, 14 May / 8 pm

On the Adamant / Sur l'Adamant

France/Japan, 2022, 109'
Director: Nicolas Philibert · Photography: Nicolas Philibert · Editing: Janusz Baranek, Nicolas Philibert · Production: Céline Loiseau, Gilles Sacuto, Miléna Poylo – TS Productions; Norio Hatano – Longride

Adamant is a unique day care centre floating on the Seine river, in the heart of Paris. The crew leading it rejects the dehumanisation of psychiatry, and offers its psychologically diverse patients a combination of therapeutic, educational and cultural activities, as well as an escape from capitalist levelling and the chaos of contemporary metropolis. It is an asylum in more than one sense, where the disenfranchised can speak, sing, dance or yell freely. The renowned documentary filmmaker Philibert points to fragility of mental health and the importance of attention we bestow on each other. These are the topics he had already addressed in his Every Little Thing (1996), filmed at the psychiatric institution La Borde. Philibert’s camera outlines a safe space around its protagonists, and through its non-intrusive eye, allows them to express themselves as they please. Instead of an in-depth analysis of institutional environment typical for, e.g. Frederick Wiseman, Philibert’s intention is less ambitious, but also more fitting for the a-institutional character of this apotropaic enclave. Through delicate observation, he creates a charming homage to therapeutic microcosmos of Adamant and its crew, which keeps the poetic function of humanity alive. But, it is to be seen how long it can stay afloat surrounded by the world pursuing perfection, and forgetting that it is exactly about the imperfection.

Awards and festivals: 

Berlinale (2023) – world premiere, Golden Bear for best film

Nicolas Philibert was born in 1951 in Nancy, France. After studying philosophy, he turned to film, becoming assistant to directors René Allio, Alain Tanner and Claude Goretta. In 1978, with Gérard Mordillat he directed his documentary debut, His Master’s Voice, in which a dozen heads of leading industrial groups talk about control, hierarchy and power, gradually revealing the image of the future world governed by the financial sector. In 2001, he directed To Be and To Have, showing everyday activities in a mountain village school. It premiered in the official Cannes selection in 2001, and was a great hit in France, as well as in forty other countries. Since 2002, Philibert’s films have been screened in more than a hundred retrospectives and tribute events worldwide.