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The two films plunge us into the heart of night.  Turf technicians and groundsmen  busy and curse on the Vincennes race course, and seem to be the only spectators at the nighttime races, filmed by Matthieu Bareyre. Camille Holtz films her character who is called Big Daddy, who is either voluntarily isolated or has been forced into isolation in his life, a denial of what his nickname announces. Matthieu Bareyre films the young betters with their consent. In this time-frame he shares their space and their time. As much as possible, he tries to have a discreet presence, adopting the stance of never interfering with what they are experiencing. Camille Holtz is quite different: she allows herself questions, and sometimes appears in the image while dealing with the story of her character, letting missing things and anxieties caused by voids develop.

Matthieu Bareyre 


2015, 48 mn

Cécile Lestrade / Alter Ego Production


Nocturnes is my way of exploring a paradox that has fascinated me for years: how is it that, no matter what, men are able to invent their own sort of freedom within a system that is designed to alienate them; how is it that a group of young guys sees in a place like the Vincennes racecourse, that is made to suck gamblers into repetition and oblivion, a land they could rule over; and how is it that, every week, these selfcrowned kings fnd in this deserted place, in the pixels of hundreds of screens and the numbing music, a joy so deep and complete that ordinary morality, oblivious to the risks of gambling, has no authority to judge. For a year and a half I filmed Mehdi, Jimmy, Safr and above all Kader, who was the source of my energy. I watched them as they followed the races, surrendering themselves to their endlessness and, in return, using them to escape their ordinary lives/live a parallel life. Compelled to continuous circles, endless cycles and constant repetition, these young guys seem to have found a formidably powerful way of exhausting their senses and feelings to the point of sufering, giving themselves fully to an intoxicating reaction: screaming. The very spirit of this huge deserted racetrack, this fantastically numbing world made of echoes and screens had such a effect on them that some nights they got their kicks from simply being there. This is why in Nocturnes, Kader’s cries and the heavy breaths of the horses resound as one just like his body moves to embrace the circularity of the racetrack.

This is why the film has been edited to constantly tie together men and machines, gazes and screens, persons and spaces, to create one single entity. This is why it was so important for me to film the gamblers who consume the pictures as well as the media who create them. It was essential for me to show both sides of the picture because I am convinced that it is always at the very heart of what is outside our control that the margins of our sovereignty are born and reborn. MB

Camille Holtz

Big Daddy

2016, 29 mn

Quartett Production

I met Ivanov when I was grape-picking with Ombline Ley and Caroline Capelle. We spent ten intensive days together between the tiring hours of work in the day and our free time in the evening. We swiftly became friends. In the group, Ivanov was a kind of mascot. Tall, strong, muscular, and very funny, he was the focus of everyone’s attention.

Later, Ivanov invited us to spend a weekend with him in Belgium. He told us about his large house where he could put us up, and the garden where we could have a great barbecue. When we got to Ivanov’s place, we were very surprised to discover that behind that merry and invincible façade which we had known there lurked a great loneliness and a daily life marked by obsessive rituals involving tidying things up.

That fragility, which I had had no inkling of, touched me all the more when Ivanov talked to us indirectly, without spelling things out, about his two sons whom he had not seen for several years. Ivanov rents his house just in case his children might one day come and visit him, and perhaps even decide to live with him. In the meantime, the bedrooms remain empty. The only room that is not empty is the one containing Ivanov’s shoe collection.

Ivanov sincerely hopes to see his two boys, Justice and Jason, again. At the same time, the house is not very welcoming, For example, he could have furnished the rooms so that Justice and Jason could sleep there, and feel at ease.I don’t know what Ivanov’s boys look like. He has their first names tattooed on his forearms, but there are no photos of them anywhere to be seen in his home. Nor did I feel like knowing why he is no longer in touch with them.

For me, this film is at once the intimist portrait of a father removed from his children and a gap in the loneliness with which some people may be faced at a certain moment in their life. CH

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