I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU WILL BE TOMORROW
Reem is a general practitioner at the Administrative Detention Centre in Marseille. She provides medical consultations for many of the men there. Their life is at a standstill and no one knows where they will be sent the following day. Reem, with a sympathetic ear and much respect, tries her best to help them.
Reem is a general practitioner and works at Le Canet Administrative Detention Centre in Marseille, where she treats and accompanies the male detainees. The film, built around several consultations, renders her capacity to listen. The stories that land up in her surgery describe an indefinable physical and moral distress to which the institution offers no response. The centre seems to be designed to crush the imaginaries of a possible life in France and the few stories we hear are enough to convey all the violence of French migration policy. At each new consultation, Reem repeats: “I’m not the police, I’m the hospital”. But what can be done in the face of a world that has chosen the police as its major institution? Here it’s the police who are the best equipped and whose ideology prevails. That of repression and abusive authority. As a result, Reem has to constantly rebuild her commitment and dispense care in a place where it is impossible to be well. In a way, she is also locked in there, with this contradiction, this senselessness that limits her and traps her. With a tight framing, the filmmaker stays riveted on Reem, respecting the anonymity of the detainees whom she receives. The detainees are seen from behind in the foreground of the shots and partly out of frame. But the camera becomes an indispensable presence and witness, and what is said to the doctor gradually veers towards the camera, which some detainees actively search out to ensure that their story and words leave this place before they do. While Reem endlessly repeats that this is not a normal place, the film somehow tries to find surviving signs of normality. Perhaps in the anxiety of the gaze of the doctor who is alien to this place, this well-framed trap where you remain in order to waste away.
Emmanuel Roy, born in 1976 and living in Marseille, is a documentary filmmaker. His works include How to Make a Ken Loach Film (2016), La Part du feu (2013) and Histoires d’œufs (2006). He is also an editor, and intervenes in creative workshops and film training.
529 Dragons (Aurelia Barbet)
Jean Christophe Beauvallet, Emmanuel Roy
529 Dragons - firstname.lastname@example.org