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Le Bois dont les rêves sont faits (The Woods Dreams Are Made Of)

Saturday, May 7, 2016 - 8:30pm

Le Bois dont les rêves sont faits (The Woods Dreams Are Made Of)

Claire Simon | 
France |
 2015 | 
144 minutes


The Bois de Vincennes park in Paris, spans some 995 hectares and contains multitudes. In the same spirit as her previous work Géographie humaine (featured last year in DOXA’s inaugural French French program), The Woods is a deep investigation of both people and place. Whether it’s gay men cruising for sex in the rain, or a hermit who makes a home deep in a remote section of the park, everywhere humans are busily going about their business.

The brainchild of Paris architect Georges-Eugène Haussman, the park came into being under the auspices of Emperor Louis Napoleon. From the beginning, it was conceived not only as a garden, but as a work of art. In each of its sections, a different story is unfolding — whether it’s cyclists chatting as they train, sex workers discussing their trade, single mothers and their kids, or lecherous voyeurs spying on other people’s romantic picnics. Whatever the situation, Claire Simon functions as our guide, engaging people in conversation with openness and curiosity that prompts almost an unbidden and often highly voluble response. People talk without any apparent self-consciousness and the stories spill forth. Scientists looking for salamanders, a man obsessed with pigeons, botanists caring for the arboretum, Cambodian expats — Simon listens to them all, and pays that most gracious of gifts: attention. There is something deeply humble about this approach. It allows a look inside this vast space, like a cross-section of society, where all the wonderful eclectic detail and strange human foibles are amassed like a bed of flowers. -DW


Claire Simon

Born in London and raised in the Var, France, Claire Simon studied ethnology as well as classical Arab and Berber. While establishing herself in the film industry as an editor, she directed short films, including the 1992 French television series “Scènes de ménage” (10 x 5 minutes) starring Miou Miou. She discovered the practice of documentary filmmaking at the Ateliers Varan workshops and directed several documentaries that were made using V8 at first, then Hi8, and then film. Her early films, “Les Patients”, “Récréations” and “Coûte que coûte”, received awards at the Cinema du Réel International Film Festival among others. Most recently, she has made two feature-length documentary films: “Le bois dont les rêves sont faits”, whose theatrical release is scheduled for early 2016, and “Le concours”, which is currently in post-production. Read more about Claire Simon here.