Abstract

Dominique Cabrera's oeuvre attests to a consistent preoccupation with the representation and construction of a bonheur collectif. Through a detailed analysis of two documentary films, Chronique d'une banlieue ordinaire (1992) and Demain et encore demain (journal 1995) (1997), this article will reveal her adoption of the documentary as a therapeutic form in opposition to dominant Griersonian modes of documentary that counter the potential empowerment of representation with the conferral of victimhood on its subjects. Cabrera's films avoid such heritages through their insistence on a formal mise en abyme of documentary processes to perform a réinsertion sociale of the stigmatized communities of Val Fourré and a moving réinsertion temporelle of the filmmaker herself in the first-person confessional Demain et encore demain. This mise en abyme includes a meditation on the ontology of the photographic image and its pervasive relationship with mortality; both films sensitize their audience to the relationship between image, time and narrative. Such arguments are presented within the context of the dramatic increase in production of (first-person) documentary in contemporary France and the current crisis of legitimization in the conventional documentary form.

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