Groupe Medvedkine

Nouvelle Société No. 5 (1969)



The Medvedkine group united young workers with filmmakers in the spirit of the post-’68 era, in an attempt to document the condition of workers at factories like Rhodia in Besançon, the Peugeot facility in Sochaux, and Kelton-Timex watch factory. The « Nouvelle Société » series captures the group's attempt to develop the revolutionary potential of cinema---with a logic akin to that of television.

"Medvedkin was a Russian filmmaker who, in 1936 and with the means that were proper to his time (35mm film, editing table, and film lab installed in the train), essentially invented television: shoot during the day, print and edit at night, show it the next day to the people you filmed (and who often participated in the editing). I think that it’s this fabled and long forgotten bit of history (Medvedkin isn’t even mentioned in Georges Sadoul’s book, considered in its day the Soviet Cinema bible) that underlies a large part of my work - in the end, perhaps, the only coherent part. To try to give the power of speech to people who don’t have it, and, when it’s possible, to help them find their own means of expression. The workers I filmed in 1967 in Rhodesia, just like the Kosovars I filmed in 2000, had never been heard on television: everyone was speaking on their behalf, but once you no longer saw them on the road, bloody and sobbing, people lost interest in them. To my great surprise, I once found myself explaining the editing of Battleship Potemkin to a group of aspiring filmmakers in Guinea-Bissau, using an old print on rusty reels; now those filmmakers are having their films selected for competition in Venice...."

Chris Marker

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