On the roads of Saintonge, at the entrance of the villages or along the ring roads, strange constructions have been laid out in places that we pass without stopping: roundabouts organized with an obsession for local culture. This film is an opportunity to turn around these postcard landscapes where oysters, parasols and prehistoric women live together.
As the narrator of Saintonge Roundabout assures us, roundabouts are a French invention, “just like human rights, the rabies vaccine and the Minitel”. If he can set major historical advances on the same footing as an obsolete technology, this is because he is following the logic that determined the creation of these urban works, particularly in the Saintonge region. Extolling the Roman heritage, gastropods, Ronsard or a Neanderthal woman, these ridiculous creations reveal a dizzying fantasy, a touching weirdness that we suspect derives from the unnatural relations between local policy and aspiring artists. The simple fact of studying these creations so attentively is almost subversive, as they are quickly caught out at their own game, revealing the way in which a territory wishes to be seen in the eyes of the world. The effect is heightened when the voice (belonging to Eugène Green) adopts a precious tone worthy of the Sun King’s court – the voice is interrupted by Luc Moullet, a way for the film to pay homage to the outstanding sarcastic essays that are La Cabale des oursins or Imphy, capitale de la France. Yet, beneath the derision, a more innocent desire emerges: the desire to travel through a region and see it differently. Saintonge Roundabout shows the stitching of its seams through its rough sound editing and jolts of the camera, and bears the trace of a collective adventure guided by a genuine curiosity.
Quentin Papapietro, born in Limoges in 1987, graduate of the ESAV and a former critic at the Cahiers du cinéma, has shot in ten years twenty short films, including 40A service Pierrick (2020) broadcast on Canal+, as well as two feature films, Water Music (2014) and En Fumée (2018). His films, selected at major festivals in France and around the world, had a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française in 2019.
Hippocampe Productions (Jordane Oudin)
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