Cinema

Droit de parole

Patrick Péris

We listened as children looked into the future

Droit de parole : notre futur collectif selon la jeune génération

Peaceful co-existence, the environment, democracy… This “vox pop” documentary gives voice to young Montrealers regarding the collective future of our city. Producer Patrick Péris interviewed over 80 children and teenagers from various neighbourhoods in Montreal. The clarity and prescience of their insights are both unsettling and deeply moving.

Story

WE ARE LISTENING


It’s one of those summer nights when the city feels serene and hospitable. Souls are drifting and the air is light. Next to the imposing council chamber in Montreal City Hall, children are eating chips and sipping from juice boxes. They’re enjoying a drink. They are tonight’s stars, and at the microphone a consultant yells “Montreal needs you!” to the children. The truth of her words soon becomes apparent after viewing a documentary by Patrick Péris.

For 56 minutes, 82 children from every corner of Montreal, aged 7 to 17, speak to the camera about democracy, the environment, school, friendship and new technologies. The depth of their knowledge and foresight is disconcerting. They seem to have grasped everything. They understand that previous generations are responsible for the increasing strain on their playground (our living spaces) to the point of threatening its very existence. They understand that democracy is an illusion. They understand that man is wolf to man.

They are also full of ideas.

One of them suggests we ban smoking on Wednesdays.

Another thinks we should wake up later to enjoy “longer dreams”.

One child believes we should use sheep instead of lawnmowers in our green spaces.

There is talk of flying cars, and of trash being automatically transported to waste bins.

Montrealers are obsessed with the peaceful coexistence of our communities, and with discrimination and racism. They say “Montreal schools are very multiethnic, yet there is still so much racism”, or “If we enforce a charter of values on immigrants, they will feel dispossessed and incapable of opening up”. Their clarity and fatalism about cellphone addiction (both others’ and their own), for example, are striking.

They are aware of tax evasion.

They are aware of the decrease in hours allotted to special education.

They are aware of climate change and our dependency on oil.

The chilling words of a smiling young girl resonate: “We’re lucky that we’re still on Earth.”

They have noticed that Montreal is a constellation of orange cones and potholes, closed streets and traffic jams. They don’t understand why construction never ends. Yet in the midst of this sea of knowledge and clarity, bright smiles and hopes for the future shine through. The oldest call for the “power of the people”, the “reform of our electoral system”, a “constituent assembly”.

As we listen to them share their insights, we start to dream of fast-forwarding into the future, seeing these children at the helm of our city.

Utopia

The term solastalgia describes the feeling of being uprooted from our lives; the feeling of homesickness while at home. This neologism was conceived by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, and is used to describe psychic or existential distress caused by environmental change.

We all experience solastalgia when we feel the world escape our grasp, or when democracy, our active relationship with the world, slowly disintegrates and loses sight of its founding principles – when it is enslaved, tamed, instrumentalized, twisted in every direction. It then becomes but one energy among many.

We must cultivate our solastalgia relentlessly. It must become a source of strength rather than unpromising nostalgia. It must become a vector for movement, an incentive for action, a new matrix! Now!

Jonathan Durand-Folco, a young philosopher from Quebec City, believes the revival of democratic enthusiasm requires that we focus on local issues. We must develop our “environmental awareness” and our “territorial citizenship,” he writes (1), and dream without limits. Dream our city, just as the Montreal children and teenagers interviewed by Patrick Péris have done.

In 25 years Montreal will be crazy / Being free sounds fun / We’ll farm in our houses / Litter will teleport from the floor to the garbage can / Life will be better together rather than apart / We’ll call the wealthy and tell them to give to the poor / Power of the people, by the people, for the people / We’ll wake up later in the day and enjoy longer dreams / We must engage with the world while we’re young, or we’ll withdraw into ourselves as adults / We’re lucky that we’re still on Earth.

WE’LL WAKE UP LATER IN THE DAY TO DREAM LONGER

Exactly! Longer dreams that won’t fade with the rising of the sun, that will cling to our consciousness and our daily lives, that will contribute to clearer thinking. We must bring them into existence come what may, through our words and our actions.

WE WANT

We want to rediscover the energy of desire through the daily procession of faces and places. We don’t want to lose our capacity to desire just because the world is in a terrible state. We want to overcome our fatalism, our hopelessness. We want to achieve this together.

Rather than withdraw, body and spirit, into ourselves, we prefer to be exposed to the wind of democracy, regardless of whether it’s cold; indeed especially if it’s cold. We want to fight against the fear of thinking and share what we are going through. We want to overcome our failings, our narrow-mindedness and the comforts that blind us. We want to occupy the public arena in our own way.

We are Montreal.
We want to bring forth the future, today.
  1. Jonathan Durand-Folco, À nous la ville, Écosociété, Montréal, mars 2017

Traces

Droit de parole and Democraty

Watch the movie trailer:

ID card

Patrick Péris

Patrick Péris

Versatile and self-taught filmmaker, Patrick Peris is known for his attention to detail, his efficiency and his images to the service of emotions. Prepared and intuitive, he possesses a very diversified filmography between fiction and animation. His animated short film Nadine, produce by the NFB, is now touring festivals around the world. He’s been doing commercial work and music videos for many years. Recently, he’s been working on a series of artist portraits that have had an extensive global run. Patrick already has a great visibility on the web and his approach is in constant evolution with the latest technologies. Curious, passionate and efficient, Patrick is always looking for new and creative challenges.

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Co-production and co-diffusion

Kino
LA SERRE – arts vivants

Partner

FONDS de solidarité FTQ

Credits for the piece

Creation Patrick Péris

Video

Director and Editor Joël Morin-Ben Abdallah; 
Camera Isabelle Stachtchenko, Charlie Marois, Joël Morin-Ben Abdallah;
Sound Sophie Bédard Marcotte, Joël Morin-Ben Abdallah;
Filming was made possible thanks to the equipment provided by ON EST 10, solidarity co-op

Photos

Event Lucie Rocher
Portrait Albert Zablit

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