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_Le grand incendie

A sad and shocking investigation into a wave of self-immolation suicides in France reveals the unreported elements of protest, desperation, and despair that secretly burned beneath the surface of these stories.

2013 Olivia Colo,Samuel Bollendorff
EN,FR Visit the project

“We absolutely did not want to be in a voyeuristic project. We did not want violent images, because the more violence that’s shown the more empty it becomes, causing a lack of physical and memory traces. … It made more sense for us not to show it, because ultimately it is the spectator who himself manufactures the violence in their own vocabulary.”

Samuel Bollendorff, Author, in

Beyond the scope of international reporting, an inexplicable rash of deaths is sweeping the country of France. Since 2011, an average of one suicide every two weeks is committed, all in the same fashion: self-immolation. Treated by the press and the government as brief headlines to be wondered at and forgotten, the similarities of these suicides led a team of documentarians to look closer and seek out the underlying stories of such a shocking epidemic.

Le grand incendie (Burn Out) tells the story of a handful of individuals whose lives ended in such a dramatic act, seeking out strains of protest, desperation, and burn out in their lives that may have led them to it. Photographs of the scenes of these deaths are augmented with audio and video of friends and relatives, attempting in their testimonials to shed light on the final acts of their loved ones. Viewers navigate between seven stories, led by the jittery line of an EKG machine that peaks and recedes with the details of the narrative, until finally going flat. Pieced together from the cinders of those left behind, Burn Out is a searching documentary experience that probes what was dormant in the minds of the victims and in the culture at large that led to their last moments.

Project at a Glance :

Language : EN,FR
Country : France
Year : 2013
Author : Olivia Colo,Samuel Bollendorff
Producer : Arnaud Dressen,Honkytonk Films
Team : Alan Langlois,Cécile Niderman,France Télévisions / Nouvelles Ecritures,Godefroy Fouray,Guillaume Urjewicz,Jérôme Pidoux,Pali Meursault,Saber Chaabani,Sarah Trévillard
Exhibition Venues : IDFA DocLab
Funders AND Incubators : CNC,MEDIA interactive
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