St. Moritz Art Film Festival


Robert Cahen
Sept Visions Fugitives

1995 Color PG N/A 00:32:00

“At the beginning of these seven visions, we see a close-up of a child's eye, anonymous but unmistakably Chinese and bridled. And at the end, an ear on a shaved head, undoubtedly of a monk. This child, this bonze are not archetypes, but perceiving subjects, human examples encountered by Cahen in a proliferation of individuals - and their images, let us know how to see it, are not given to us as symbolic or interchangeable, the image of a young Chinese is not valid for all and all the others, or that of a monk for all the others. Cahen shows us well this one and this one alone who was filmed, anonymous but singular, Chinese and very Chinese, but also earthling.In documentaries and fiction, the anonymous individual is often associated, by convention, with the collective and the interchangeable, and China has been the country par excellence stereotypically represented as an anthill, an undifferentiated mass. 

Robert Cahen, who has always had a special eye for seeing and making us see, in his many travels around the world, the singular encounter, takes us out of this imagery here, as well as the moods of the Modern Westerner whose ego both retracts and swells at the sight of a world, of a vast people to which he does not belong. Let's take the sixth 'vision' where many gazes, each of which is never similar to that of any other, fleetingly cross that of his camera, or else the astonishing sequence where walkers in a park, each for himself, emit a real symphony of vocalizations, cries and voice tests: Robert Cahen makes us see the singularity as something other than what it is in the modern Western imagination, that is to say just a difference.
We like to watch, in his images, the singular, non-different anonymous person who peoples the world and inhabits it, such a woman who turns on herself and collapses, such a man who walks and walks in the trees.''

Michel Chion

Robert Cahen