Year 2021-2022 : Motifs in cinema





Last year

Encomntros P. M. Goulet

Le sacrifice, Andrei Tarkovsky

Nature et Nostalgie, Digna Sinke

Nouvelle vague, J-L. Godard

Goupi Mains Rouges, Jacques Becker

The Wold Shadow, Brakhage

India, Roberto Rossellini

Le vent nous emportera, A. Kiarostami




New start, new year, new subject.

The motifs in cinema - tree, mirror, window, shadow, umbrella, staircase, and so many others - give great freedom to travel and compare, within and between films, through works of fiction as well as documentaries, or experimental works.

This year 44 workshops are being organised in 15 countries, including 8 regions in France (metropolitan and overseas).

Loyalty of the partners who have been involved in this programme for years, newcomers (such as the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam).

Support from the ACE (Association of European Cinematheques), aware of the role that cinematheques have to play in film education throughout Europe.

In the Ile de France region, coordination will be provided by the association Documentaire sur grand écran, in association with Ciné 104.

However, the future of the CCAJ is still pending.



After the subject of time in the year 2020-2021 - associated with a period in which reality was becoming more distant and abstract - we thought it would be interesting to return to the things themselves. They are the raw material of cinema.

But while the things that are shot are countless within a film, many of them are merely incidental and do not acquire the status of a motif.

For a thing to become a motif, the filmmaker must be aware of the way in which he or she is going to treat it (in the mise en scène, in the script, through the frame and the light) so that it becomes a cinematic material, an important piece of the film.

Like a painter who chooses a bunch of flowers, a mountain or a particular face to consciously make it, with the technique at his disposal, an element of his canvas and his pictorial representation of the world.

Motifs can be found on several levels, closely intertwined in the creation of the film.

Things of the world. The tree, the umbrella, the swing, etc. The filmmaker begins by choosing them as motifs that he needs or wants for his film. Then he has to choose among the things that belong to the same category: this tree, that bicycle, etc.

Basic and recurring scenographic sites: the staircase, the pedestrian crossing, the window, etc. Certain film motifs, which are often scenographic sites, have great "narrative" power. At the same time, they induce scenario situations and offer strong virtualities of cutting, of points of view and of filming.

Specific means of cinema. Cinema willingly uses visual motifs that share an affinity with its language and specific dispositifs: the window, the mirror, the shadow, etc. Is the window, for example, shot from outside the house, as a frame within a frame, or on the contrary from inside the house with a "view" on the outside? In a shot where someone is looking into a mirror, does the filmmaker choose to show only the reflection in the mirror or, on the contrary, to include the back of the person looking at themselves in the frame? Is the shadow of a character filmed with the character in the same frame or is the shadow shown in isolation, without the character from whom it comes?

Elements of the filmmaker's personal themes. Some filmmakers, like some painters (Cézanne and the Sainte-Victoire, David Hockney and the swimming pool, Morandi and the bottles) have favourite motifs that inspire them and to which they keep returning. Like Bresson's hands, Sergio Leone's long coats flapping in the wind, Tarkovsky's stagnant waters, the "fragments of nature" in all of Terrence Malick's films, etc.

Some motifs even end up bearing the singular mark that a filmmaker has stamped on them, and are constitutive of his poetics. For example, Godard's " book-face " motif.

Many cinema motifs were already present in the history of painting: we will sometimes follow the painting-cinema genealogy of certain motifs such as the tree, the hair, the mirror, the swing, etc.

Finally, as certain visual motifs can be found in many films, we can compare how filmmakers work with them. For example, how did Jean Renoir, Nicholas Ray, Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman shoot a woman on a swing?


Alain Bergala



GERMANY: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin (Jurek Sehrt) with Universität Bremen - (Bettina Henzler) / DFF - Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main (Christine Kopf) ARGENTINA: Cero en Conducta, Rosario (Emiliano Ovejero, Ana Belén Pagiola) with Institut Français d'Argentine / Quiero cine ! , Buenos Aires (Florencia Fernández Feijoo) BRAZIL: Imagens em Movimento - RAIAR, Rio de Janeiro (Ana Dillon) with Cinemateca do Museu de Arte Moderna / Escola Carlitos, São Paulo (Manuela Mendez Leal Anabuki) with Cinemateca Brasileira BULGARIA: Arte Urbana Collective, Sofia (Ralitsa Assenova) with Festival "Rencontres du Jeune Cinéma Européen" CHILE: Cero en Conducta (Nicolas Guzman), with Instituto de la Comunicación e Imagen - Universidad de Chile, Santiago (Maria Inés Silva) FINLAND : Valve film School for Children (Tommi Nevala) (new) ITALY: Cineforum Teramo, Teramo (Dimitri Bosi) JAPAN: Children meet cinema, Tokyo (Etsuko Dohi) LITHUANIA: Meno Avilys, Vilnius (Ginte Zulyte) NETHERLANDS: EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (Florine Wiebenga) (new) PORTUGAL: Os Filhos de Lumière, Lisbon (Teresa Garcia) with Cinemateca Portuguesa - Museo do Cinema SPAIN: Cinema en curs - A Bao A Qu, Barcelona (Núria Aidelman) with the Filmoteca de Catalunya UNITED KINGDOM: British Film Institute, London (Mark Reid) / Screen Argyll - Scotland (Alasdair Satchel) URUGUAY: Cineduca - CFE, Montevideo (Cecilia Cirillo Chiesa) with Cinemateca Uruguaya 


AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES: Cinéma Mon Ciné, Saint-Martin-d'Hères (Pascale Puig) CORSICA: Corsica.doc, Ajaccio and Cinémathèque de Corse, Porto-Vecchio (Annick Peigné-Giuly) GUADELOUPE: L'Artchipel, Scène nationale de la Guadeloupe (Suzie Belair) ILE-DE-FRANCE: Le CCAJ! Documentaire sur Grand Ecran, Ciné 104, Paris (Nathalie Bourgeois, Sabine Costa) MARTINIQUE: Tropiques Atrium, Scène nationale de Martinique, Basse-Terre (Steve Zebina) NOUVELLE-AQUITAINE: Cinéma L'Utopie, with the association L'Ecran livradais (Alexandre Anton) OCCITANIA: Institut Jean Vigo - Cinémathèque euro-régionale, Perpignan (Kees Bakker) PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D'AZUR: Cinéma Jean Renoir, Martigues (Henri Denicourt)