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“Is It In This Paranoid Society That We Want to Live?”: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne on Missing Cultural Life

In April, as we began to put together the Summer, 2020 issue of Filmmaker, we asked directors, cinematographers, editors and other film workers to send us their thoughts on the quarantine and their own creative lives. The responses printed here were collected from April through mid-June — personal statements that speak variously to individual filmmaking practices, films halted mid-production, politics, art and life. Read all the responses here. — Editor

Since March 13, we have been living in confinement, one of us in Liège and the other in Brussels. We call each other every day to write the script for our next film. These telephone exchanges often drift to the cinema, its future. It seems to us that the current growth in the distribution of films on online platforms does not mean that the screening of films in cinemas is now redundant. On the contrary, this growth in online distribution during the confinement period only means that this mode of dissemination corresponds perfectly to a confined society, a society where people are forced to stay at home, are afraid of the outside world, of others, of death. Is it in this paranoid society that we want to live? No. We are social beings, we desire the company of others and we feel this desire all the more because COVID-19 has deprived us of it. Go to theaters, see a movie together on a screen bigger than you, go to cafes, restaurants to talk with other people about the movie you just saw, it’s this social and cultural life that we miss most today. Best (confined) wishes to all those who in America await the reopening of cinemas and a more fraternal society.

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are Belgian brothers and a writer-director team. 

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