A showcase of the winner POLITICAL Feature Film of 2022.
IT ALL BEGINS, 92min., Switzerland, Documentary
Directed by Frédéric Choffat
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Sacrificed generation? At the beginning of 2019, young people are taking to the streets all over the world to warn of the climate emergency. In Switzerland, young people are demonstrating, blocking banks and questioning the system. As their voices begin to resonate, the arrival of the coronavirus in 2020 abruptly cuts their momentum and silences them.
It all begins intimately follows these activists through the euphoria of the first demonstrations and the spleen of the health crisis. It asks us, young and old, about our relationship with this world that is collapsing and how to envisage a future together, all generations included.
Director Biography – Frédéric Choffat
Born in 1973 in Agadir (Morocco). Swiss and French nationality. 1992 Diploma of professional photographer, IREC (Institute of Research and Teaching of Communication), Monthey. 1994-98 Training at the ECAL (Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne). 1998 Diploma of the ECAL, in directing. Since 1998 independent filmmaker. 2009 Founded Les films du Tigre. 2016 Received the “Louise Weiss Prize”, European journalism prize.
Three years ago, I started this film. An urgent film in reaction to this global collapse: the fall of primary resources, the disruption of the climate, the acidification of the oceans, the melting of the permafrost. A violent economic reality and the potential collapse of an entire system.
I wanted to make a quick film, to alert, but very quickly, I discover that this subject will take more time, that we can’t respond to urgency with urgency, that it seems to me necessary to focus on the most immediate to tell the most global story. Starting from the
country where I live, Switzerland, as a metaphor. A world nerve center of raw materials, finance, scientific research and pharmaceuticals.
I also understand that my children, Solal 19 and Lucia 15, are at the heart of this fight. That this film is above all addressed to them. To them, to their friends, to this generation generation that doesn’t even fight for the next generation, but for their own possibility of future, the one that was stolen from them. They are convinced that nothing can go on as before and that if we together continue as before and that if we don’t move with them, their future won’t look like anything else.
I also discovered that one only makes one film about one’s own children in one’s life, and that the subject is too essential to be told in a few months. This project then became the one and only film I had to make. Today, a subjective film is taking shape, the cartography of this youth who has made this probable collapse its priority.
Through the eyes of my camera, I see my children growing up to face the world and the carefree attitude of their age. I see them getting informed, thinking, questioning society, science, the economy. They doubt, are enthusiastic, fight, struggle, They take to the streets, armed with their only weapon: their youth in the face of a system to their claim of a livable future.
I interview scientists who silently shout about the collapse of biodiversity, the contamination of water the dramatic fall of fertility and the disappearance in three decades of more than 60% of the population of certain species. Retired bankers analyzing a financial world that is ecocidal and without a future. Lawyers and politicians, unable to make justice and the economy hear the urgency of putting a destructive system. All victims of the legal and democratic slowness and of the victory of a populism which summarizes tomorrow to a feeling of insecurity in front of the loss of its own comfort.
At the beginning of 2020, it is the Covid-19 that arrives and the confinement that follows it closely. It is then suddenly there is total silence. All gatherings are forbidden, the street has been extinguished, the rebellion is stifled. All discordant voices are silenced. And the whole planet, worried, takes refuge at home, relegating the question of the future to an even more distant and uncertain future.
Usually, adolescence is a time of life when sorrows concern above all a break-up in love, a personal or family question or a questioning about a professional path that is taking shape. But today, it is a deep malaise which falls on this youth: daze, impotence, paralysis, burn-out, depression. It is a a serious and existential crisis that they meet, the one that we often live at the beginning of on the verge of 40 or 50 years old. The one I am experiencing, for example. And then our crises collide.
The first law passed in Switzerland in an emergency at the end of the first confinement was a massive and unconditional financial support to aviation and airports, while no real funds were have been released to think about a long-term ecological future. We must save the economy first.
While a few impulses of protest from these young people emerge, the repression takes over more and more and each new action ends up in identity controls, arrests, gardening and identity checks, arrests, police custody. The climatic lawsuits of their past actions are redeployed, the companies targeted for their ecocidal actions are protected and the verdict for the young people is without appeal: fines, suspended sentences, firm prison. It is necessary to ask for authorization, act legally, follow the law. You have to respect the legal time, accept the democratic slowness, wait gently for everything to work out.
Demonstrations and mass movements reach their limits and show their incapacity to change the system, while legal and political issues are locked. A more radical societal shift finally appears to be the only solution for this generation. How long will they accept a system that no longer listens to them? Should they attack private property? Should they go underground to question this way of life that is leading us straight into the wall?
While some throw in the towel, others dream of more radical action.
This film tells a few years of life on our earth. This film draws up a report and and explores some paths. The voices of generations that cross, contradict and complement each other, choirs of voices for a possible tomorrow. It is the portrait of a youth that will not let itself be so easily done.
This film does not propose a solution, but asks us questions. Questions to to provoke the desire to understand, to think, to act.