In 1992-1993 French filmmaker Dominique Cabrera was commissioned to make a series of documentaries on the regeneration of Val Fourré, a densely populated banlieue / ‘outer-city’ area west of Paris. This regeneration project centred on the initial demolition of a set of tower blocks. In contrast to the public discourses which demonised the built environment as cause and emblem of social disrepair and presented social and economic progress as inevitable consequences of serial regenerations, Cabrera’s films trace the loss of shared place and collective identity. Viewing regeneration as trauma Cabrera’s film-making strategies work to assert subjective sensual experience and to play with the constructions of time associated with the photographic and the filmic image respectively to assert a durationality of shared space and the present inscription of memory.
Julia Dobson is Reader in French Film and Performance at the University of Sheffield. She has published on the theatre of Hélène Cixous, performing objects, French film and documentary. Her recent book Negotiating the Auteur (Manchester University Press 2012) includes a chapter on the documentary and fiction films of Dominique Cabrera.
Dominique Cabrera, Chronique d’une banlieue ordinaire (1993)
Reserve your free place at the symposium (which will take place on May 22nd, 10am-4pm) here.