Archive of films On Call / La permanence
2016, 96 min
Section: Documentary Films - Competition
This exquisitely measured, softly engaging documentary observes the events at a suburban Parisian doctor’s office where free consulting services are offered to immigrants from around the world. Dedicated to his profession, the internist provides them with a safe haven that prevents their lives from hitting rock bottom.
“I was told about peoples and humanity. But I saw neither people, nor humanity. I saw many people, all very different. Separated from each other by a void.” – thus the introductory quotation from Fernando Pessoa, foreshadowing the weight of a documentary story that unfolds at Avicenne Hospital in one of Paris’s northern suburbs. A rundown doctor’s surgery becomes the end of the line for the personal dramas of immigrants from around the world, but ultimately transforms into a safe haven that prevents their lives from sinking to the depths. The French director follows events in the spirit of documentarist Raymond Depardon; the emotional intensity of the moment comes in static shots of a working internist who is forced to provide psychological counseling to those without a roof over their head, no insurance, and often no hope. This exquisitely measured, softly engaging film represents the views of those sympathetic towards the plight of immigrants. At the same time it criticizes a society that only shares prosperity, leaving hardship as our own personal problem.
About the director
Alice Diop (b. 1979, Aulnay-sous-Bois, France), French director of Senegalese origin with a masters in history and a doctorate in visual sociology, attended a documentary workshop at La Fémis film school. Since 2005 she has written and directed several documentaries, including the medium-length titles La tour du monde (2006), Clichy pour l’exemple (2006), Les sénégalaises et la sénégauloise (2007), and Vers la tendresse (2015). Her feature debut La mort de Danton (2011) took the Library Award at Paris’s Cinéma du Réel festival, the Grand Prix at the Education Film Festival in Évreux, and a 2012 Scam Star. On Call is her second feature-length documentary.
About the film
|Section:||Documentary Films - Competition|
|Dir. of Photography:||Alice Diop|