INTERFILM 37 International Short Film Festival Berlin
16 - 21 November 2021

400 Paires de bottes

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400 Paires de bottes

Made for Walking

Hélène Baillot / Raphaël Botiveau // France // 2021 // 18:00 min


Affordable snow boots circulate between France and Italy, sometimes on the feet of those trying to secretly cross the border, sometimes in the hands of those who wish to show their solidarity with the border-crossers. Their path leads through a mountainous region, where the protagonists meet and expose one another to the hardships of winter.

Three Questions for the Director

1. Short Film has a unique way of telling stories and exploring themes. What is it that fascinates you about the short format?

Hélène Baillot & Raphaël Botiveau: For us, the short format aims at taking an audience by the hand from the very first images, and at holding this hand till the very end of the film, as if it was one and only breathe that contained the whole story. In every new project, we try to think about the most adapted format and technique to tell a specific story. Embarking on a short film is especially challenging insofar as it requires one to sketch a story in a very fine way, without room for unneeded details, which can be even more frustrating in a documentary environment where one spends a lot of time meeting with people and collecting material.

2. The program your film is selected for is called “Framing Realities”: What connection do you see between your film and that title?

Hélène Baillot & Raphaël Botiveau: In 400 Paires de bottes (Made for Walking) we wanted to show the routine and non-spectacular side of solidarity on the Italian-French border where citizens, in order to protect people who cross the border from the cold, bought 400 paires of snow boots . We were interested in a raw picture of reality, which would be based on actions rather than words, on gestures and small interactions that can seem insignificant at first sight but which prove decisive in an environment as hard and challenging as the mountains in winter. We therefore chose to build a circular and transborder representation of human exchanges through an object - a pair of snow boots - that passes from hand to hand, from hand to foot, and from foot to hand. What we saw in the Briançon area was indeed an individual and collective endeavour to frame or reframe social reality step by step, to both resist and negotiate with reality as embodied by the police, government, winter, the mountains etc.). In our film, at our turn, we have tried to question very closely the way in which we were willing to represent this social reality, to frame it through our lens in a way that would impose neither a purely humanistic nor a strictly political point of view to the audience.

3. What film has inspried you most to make films yourself and what part of it do you see in your own work?

Hélène Baillot & Raphaël Botiveau: This is a difficult question to answer. The two of us coming from a social science background with a good exposure to films and cinema, we reached a point where we wanted to look for a way to tell stories in a way that would allow us to address social issues, such as that of human migrations, in a form that would be both rigorous in its content and free in its artistic means of expression. In 400 Paires de bottes (Made for Walking), we chose to resort to a documentary form while in other projects we work in a space located at the point of intersection between reality and fiction. As for the films that inspire us, we are very sensitive to documentary approaches that try to do justice to reality in all its complexities and non binarian dimensions, and we are also impressed by the precision of writing that can be found in some fiction works.

Screenplay: Raphaël Botiveau, Hélène Baillot

Director of Photography: Hélène Baillot, Rémi Jennequin

Producer: Jean-Laurent Csinidis

Director: Hélène Baillot, Raphaël Botiveau

Editor: Anne De Mo

Sound Mixing: Pierre Armand

Sound Editing: Pierre Armand

The film is shown in the following programs

Documenatry Competition

Framing Realities

18.11.21, 20:30h, Pfefferberg Theater

20.11.21, 16:30h, Babylon 2