a state of mind

In the wake of cinéma direct, learning at Varan is aimed at giving back to the people who are filmed a chance to speak, which is too often denied to them. To allow their words their own rhythm, complexity, beat and duration. So, it means learning how to step back or at least to be available and give a subject its relevant place. That means to learn how to define a viewpoint, to position one’s look and give it sense and a moral stand which will establish the guideline for the training film.

This means practical workmanship at every stage of the making of a film, since the trainees film their own images and record the sounds for their fellow students’ films. It is also learning in progress, since everyone shares in all the stages of film-making. It nourishes the individual approach, multiplies strong points, sharpens the critical approach and keeps the inevitable pathos at bay. Finally, it is a chance to escape from the constraints of compulsory subjects and frustrating simplicism imposed by the audiovisual market and to find a space of freedom, to meet other people, to take an active break, a time to breathe, differently.

With the choices and general principles proposed to the trainees over the years, a "Varan style" has emerged.
Here are a few of those principles :

•To make a film is not only a matter of intelligence, skill, sense of aesthetics or technical expertise but also of morals. Rather than observe from a distance, we encourage the trainee to be part of the reality he is filming, with the respect due to the people filmed.
Curiosity is not a matter of skill. It’s a question of being attentive to the others.

• Since the 60s, with the synchronized 16 mm format and then with video, technical progress has enabled the documentary film-maker to be more discreet and faster on the field. Documentary films can thus be free from the constraints of classic dramas : long frame setting, actors direction and rehearsals.

• Every documentary shoot meets the unexpected : what you have recorded is not necessarily what you had hoped for. Rather than ignoring what doesn’t match preconceived ideas, you should constantly adjust the film to what reality offers.

• Serious observation doesn’t exclude a dramatic dimension : the film can also play with mystery, suspense, surprise and total reversals of situation : the film makes room for emotion.

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