Bernard Maris, aka Oncle Bernard, was killed during the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on 7th January 2015. This film, released in cinemas later the same year in tribute to his ideology, is made up exclusively of the rushes of an interview filmed with Maris in March 2000 for the movie “L’Encerclement – La démocratie dans les rets du néolibéralisme” (Encirclement – Neo-Liberalism Ensnares Democracy). The director gives as much space as possible to the words of the economist, intervening only minimally on the original material. Without affectation or artifice and with breathtaking freedom, Maris develops his original way of thinking, upending the dogmas endlessly rehashed by the fervent choir of economic “science’s” lackeys.
With this filmed interview with Bernard Maris, director Richard Brouillette makes no attempt to hide the making-of, the off-screen and the interstices of the editing. Often, the voices and laughter of Charlie Hebdo’s editorial team in the office where it was shot interrupt the smooth execution of Maris’ demonstration, which he enjoys or worries about before picking up the thread again. The clapperboards and murmured discussions at the end of the reel after they’ve stopped filming are also conserved. But for us, in 2021, the decisive off-screen is knowing what happened afterwards – the massacre in January 2015, obviously, but also the financial crash of 2008, which Maris predicts with certainty, through to the current health and economic crisis that makes inequalities even more prominent and unbearable. Twenty years later, from one crisis to another, the lucid and incisive words of Bernard Maris seem even more relevant.
Programmer of Cinéma Le Bourguet in Forcalquier
Richard Brouillette is a producer, director, editor and programmer from Quebec. Starting out as a critic for the weekly magazine Voir (1989), he then worked for the independent distribution company Cinéma Libre (1989-1999). In 1993, he founded the self-managed contemporary arts centre La Casa Obscura in Montreal, where he has since been organising a weekly film club. He produced and directed “Trop c’est assez” (1995); “Carpe diem” (1995), “L’Encerclement – La Démocratie dans les rets du néolibéralisme” (2008), “Prends garde à la douceur des choses” (2014) and “Oncle Bernard – L’Anti-leçon d’économie” (2015). He also took part in the collective film “À St‐Henri le 26 août” (2011) and has produced eight feature films, seven of them documentaries. Brouillette is still very involved in the world of independent cinema, and has been on the board of directors of several organisations as well as working as a consulting producer on numerous documentaries.