“In my place”, the tastes of struggle

More than four years after the first turmoil of Night Standing, Jeanne Dressen’s film comes to us with the hangover of unfulfilled revolutions. He carries with him the hoarse rumor of 49.3 of the labor law. In the spring of 2016, at the height of the social movement and its militant occupation of Place de la République in Paris, until the fall of 2017, the filmmaker followed a 25-year-old student, collecting the doubts and conflicts of her commitment.


I like it opens in the middle of an agora where Savannah holds the spittoon, clinging to the nervous speech that blackens a spiral notebook. The following scene is a tour of the owner: a visit to “her” place, precisely, whose ground she tattooed with euphoric words. A world where being a little at home, reduced in the eyes of this native of Marne-la-Vallée to a portion of Paris where healthy anger and shuddering come into contact.

That of the Republic aside, everything will be precisely a matter of “place” in the film: those that Savannah occupies or covets. Torn apart by two crazy dreams that are engaged in an arm wrestling under her head, the young woman aims for a degree in sociology of work at the Ecole normale supérieure – a prestigious fantasy of a workman’s daughter, obsessed with social issues. Overwhelmed by studies, she also offers herself body and soul to the citizen struggle of here and now, to reinvent the terms of a democratic ideal that is suffering. The theoretical height or the scrum, the personal goal or the collective aspiration. Savannah will answer “both, my captain”.

The film documents what a struggle involves in giving of oneself, mapping an exhausted body – eyes damaged by sleepless nights, lungs clogged with tear gas, a broken voice from having served too much. First symptoms of shortness of breath, seized between daytime revisions and nocturnal palaver. A question, plotted on a Velleda board as an invitation to discussion: “Why are we here?”


At the end of this fatigue and the sticks of CRS of which Dressen captures the violent spurts in the on-board camera, fulminates an intact revolt, almost candid in this young woman who rambles her war wounds at the table, presses her bruises to check that they are evil, states his indignation with the air of never coming back. We will hear her inquire, throughout the film, if the observers of her sleepless nights would like to join her in the middle of the circle so that she temporarily gives way to them. Who wants to take it? Savannah is worried about this whole future that she needs to start. The film is a chiaroscuro remembrance of a moment of vertical struggle, in which Dressen deploys successively combative and sober consciousness. At the end, it dissolved in the air, a year after its first vibrations. Instead, and from now until the next, there will be this film.

Sandra Onana

in my place of Jeanne Dressen (1 h 04).


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