Watching and Making: A specific question of cinema which allows the discovery of the different parameters of cinema on every encounter: mise en scène, sound, light, acting, editing… Featuring resources to explore the topic in an educational setting. Play under examination: Between the real and the imagined, play opens up a free space in which directors, like the characters they creates, sieve with joy.

Presentation of challenges

Alain Bergala is a critic, film maker and a teacher. Psychoanalysts and sociologists have proven the importance of playing as the fundamental experience in the construction of an individual. Through the analysis of chosen extracts, Alain Bergala, reviews how film makers use playing, like players, to enjoy their freedom.

A question / a sequence

Alain Bergala analyses a sequence from the film Kikujiro by Takeshi Kitano: here, the film maker enjoys as much the directing of quirky characters (a child and delusional and wacky adults) sharing playful times, as he does with playing with the cinema codes.

Film Extracts

Foundations for playing: the object

A child playing on his own, elects an object (a doll for example) which is going to act as a partner, or as a medium for his imagination, facilitating the evasion to a fantasised world. Likewise, an ordinary object becomes a magical object when it is taken away from its primary function.

The doll, a transitionnal object

Foundations for playing: the space, the play area

Within the space of the film, just like in a sacred space, the play area owned by the characters is ruled by proper laws. Limited by a visible or imaginary frontier, whether limited by a simple circle traced on the floor or expanded to the scale of a neighbourhood during a hide-and-seek game, this space becomes island, within which only the players who know the rules can gather.

Different types of play

In the cinema, we rediscover the different playing categories existing in life: competition, luck, mock, playing with vertigo… Each of them raises specific question for the film maker with regards to directing, leading to making a choice of system to capture the emotions and the feelings felt by the player, and putting the actors’ bodies into play.

The players

Shared play, diversion of places dedicated to work, gloating social disruption but also psychotic break: the players, whatever their age, play with the clear frontier existing in the everyday world between children’s world and adults’ world.

Impossible playing

When the circumstances deprive a child from playing, this experience, that usually culturally builds up an individual, becomes impossible: childhood is stolen, playing becomes tragic. Even though the player’s gestures remain, the sense, the promises from playing are wiped out by the heaviness of an unbreachable seriousness.