柏林影展#4:訪問電影《革命半途而廢的人終將自掘墳墓》導演馬修丹尼斯 (節錄)
Berlinale #4: Interview with Mathieu Denis about ‘Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves’ (Excerpt)

訪問:Maximilien Luc Proctor (MLP)
Interviewed by Maximilien Luc Proctor (MLP)

MLP:電影名稱是來自法國大革命的一句名言?

馬:是,聖茹斯特說的。

MLP:你怎樣決定以此為名?

馬:我想對我們來說,這句才真正說中電影的核心,如我早前所說:「你如何做到社會變革永續不衰?」再說,我們並不一定說聖茹斯特這句話說得對,但它確實提醒了我們。尤其近幾年,我們的革命運動可以走得更前,也可更早開始,但長話短說吧(笑)。那場運動是這部電影的緣起,被叫作「楓樹之春」;我們都討厭這個名稱,不過最後在魁北克大家也就這樣叫了。那是2012年發生的學生抗議運動,當時非常浩大。

MLP:這個名字有點貶視1的意味。

馬:沒錯,但都習已為常了。我們在魁北克都很難認真看待事情,這很可悲,卻是事實。你說得對,這是為何我們都不喜歡這個名稱。這場浩蕩的學生抗議運動,歷時四、五個月,某程度上說,也確實激起了更大更廣泛的社會抗爭運動。最初從學生族群發起,隨後在魁北克社會上蔓延開來。曾經有一刻有過一絲希望,因為運動是由學生自發,反對大幅提高魁北克學費,看來好像是小事,但我認為這是象徵着在這十五、二十年來雷厲風行的新自由主義政治日程,而這事件只是這高牆上的其中一塊磚頭。於是人們對此說不,接着就演變成如此廣泛的社會抗爭運動。那時曾經閃現過一絲希望,以為能煞停這股新自由主義的趨勢,可惜不行。四、五個月後,這場運動確實自行潰敗了,實在令人痛心。此後一年,也有不同的學生組織嘗試再發起運動,可是力量已分散,沒可能成功。一旦這些運動發生,就像聖茹斯特說的,要不堅持到底,否則即使期間成就了好的事情,你也只是進一步然後退兩步。對這場運動,我們有點這種感覺,而這感覺也適用於以往發生的社會運動。就拿2011年發生的「亞拉伯之春」來說,比我們早一年發生,現在它遺留下來的問題相當麻煩,你看敘利亞現在發生的,就已不能說這場運動非常正面了。再看看埃及,同樣也會有這般質疑。烏克蘭都一樣,曾經發生過一場盛大的運動,現在都消失無蹤了。所有這些運動他們都沒有堅守、沒有實現他們的承諾,感覺似乎……不知道,他們開始得如此轟轟烈烈,感到好像將有甚麼改變,然後呢,卻沒有,你覺得簡直像倒退了一樣。聖茹斯特這句話有點在批評這種現象。當然,如此說來,要談聖茹斯特,就要回到法國大革命,某程度上說他們確實嘗試過堅持到底,可是他們卻徹頭徹尾瘋狂了,肆意送人上斷頭台,他們一意孤行地把革命推回原地。所以電影裡我們帶出了這些問題:你怎樣改變世界?怎樣延續下去?怎樣才能不因氣餒而半途而廢,或者走得太遠,以致失去理性和人性?

MLP:拍這部電影時,有沒有說設定了甚麼目標要去改變的,或者為人們解封被遮蔽了的視野?或者不過是想評估形勢?

馬:經常有人跟我們說,嘩,這是政治電影,或者是有政治指涉的電影。沒錯,但有絲毫分別,我想說的是,這部電影並不激進。我們也有意地不給予答案,不試圖告訴人們說:「喂,如果你覺得正身處的世界需要改變,你就要這樣做。」基本上,我們更有興趣去提出問題。是的,要提出問題,也得對身處的世界有你的看法。對!就如你剛才所說的,評估形勢。而如果你覺得你身處的世界,可以有所不同,可以更公平,我們必須作出改變,便要問:你實際可以怎樣做?怎樣支持你的理念?怎樣去爭取?你其實在爭取甚麼?甚麼時候才叫爭取過了頭?甚麼時候才叫爭取得不足夠?這都是我們想在電影裡提出的問題,希望人們離開了電影院,這些問題能起到拋磚引玉的作用,從而令他們能為這些問題找到他們的答案,而不是走出戲院後想:「噢,我被告知了要做甚麼,我現在就試着做。」

MLP:電影結尾,那些角色找到的答案,似乎也或多或少預設了憤世疾俗的意味。

馬:我不會這樣說,顯然,電影有些方面是頗黑暗的,這是因為當我們眼看四周,覺得某程度上像活在黑暗的時代和世界,不過這些都不是我們想試着說的。電影其中一個主題,就是個人和群體之間如何連結起來的長期鬥爭,也許這是電影裡最近於答案的。我想我們嘗試說的是,如果社會要改變,就要由一群來自不同社會階層和年齡的人,團結起來,共同朝一個方向努力,才可以發生。電影裡的那群人,他們四分五裂便以失敗告終,但當他們團結起來,就幾近成功。

註:
1 MLP:「這是我個人之見,楓樹是有貶視的意味,以一棵樹來代表這場運動是有點不夠嚴肅。」
Maximilien Luc Proctor:〈柏林電影節#4:訪問電影《革命半途而廢的人終將自掘墳墓》導演馬修丹尼斯〉,載於Utra Dogme,2017年2月23日。文章取自https://ultradogme.com/2017/02/23/mathieu-denis/。

(中文翻譯:郭青峰)

MLP: The title comes from a French Revolutionary quote?

MD: [Louis Antoine Léon de] Saint-Just, yeah.

MLP: And how did you decide to go with that?

MD: I guess to us it really speaks right into the core of the film, because as I was saying earlier, ‘how do you create perennial social change?’ Again, we’re not necessarily saying that Saint-Just is right by saying that, but at the same time, it does ring a bell. Especially in recent years. We could go much further and earlier in terms of revolutionary movements, but to make a long story short [chuckles], the movement that is the starting point of the film, which was something that was called – we hate this name but something that we ended up calling in Quebec – the Maple Spring. Which was this student protest movement that happened in 2012 which was very powerful while it was happening.

MLP: It’s kind of a belittling1 name.

MD: Exactly. But that’s typical. We have a hard time taking ourselves seriously in Quebec, which is sad, but that’s how it is. But you’re right. That’s why we don’t like this name. So there’s this very powerful student protest movement that lasts for 4 or 5 months [which] at some point really balloons into a much more wide-ranging social protest movement; it starts from the student circles but then it gets much wider in the Quebec society and for a moment there’s this glimmer of hope, because basically it starts from students who decided to protest against the proposed hike in tuition fees in Quebec. (... TEXT CUT). Obviously it could seem almost petty but I think it was the symbol of yet another brick in the wall of this very prevalent neoliberalism agenda that has been prevailing for the last 15 or 20 years, and so people said no and then it became this much more wide-ranging social protest movement and for a moment there was this glimmer of hope that this would turn into something that would put a halt to this neoliberal agenda, and then it didn’t do that. The movement really collapsed in on itself and after 4 or 5 months, which was actually quite sad and a year after that there [were] different student groups that tried to restart this movement, but the energy wasn’t there anymore…it wasn’t possible. Once something like that happens, it seems like – as Saint-Just was saying – if you don’t go to the end of it, even if something good happened out of it, you’re still [taking] one step forward and then two steps backward. We had a bit of this feeling about this event, but it was also talking about so many other social movements that had happened. Or if you take the Arab Spring for example, which happened just a year before, in 2011, the legacy of the Arab Spring today is very troubling. If you look at what’s going on in Syria, you can’t say that it’s very positive. If you look at Egypt, you have to question [it] as well. There was the same thing in Ukraine; there was a very powerful social movement that rose in Ukraine and where are they now? And so, all of these movements that keep…not living up to their promise, and that seem to…I don’t know, they begin and there’s this kind of spark and you feel that something’s going to happen and then it doesn’t and then you feel like you’ve gone backwards basically. So Saint-Just’s quote is kind of commenting about that. Obviously, that being said, if you talk about Saint-Just and you go back to the French Revolution, at some point they did try and go to the end of it, but they became completely crazy and started guillotining like crazy and they themselves became kind of crazy in their own will to bring revolution to a full circle, basically. So it goes with all of these questions that we’re asking in the film; how do you change the world? How do you make it perennial without either going halfway and then discouraging yourself or going too far and then becoming inhuman and crazy?

MLP: In making this film, did you have some sort of set goal to alter, to unlock people’s blocked horizons? Or was it more just to take stock of the landscape?

MD: We were often being told ‘wow it’s a political film, it’s a politically inclined film,’ which is true, but the nuance that I would make is that this is not a militant film, in the sense that we are not trying to offer answers. We are not trying to tell people ‘hey, this is how you should act if you think that the world in which you live needs to be changed.’ We were more interested in asking questions, basically. And yes, in order to ask questions to have a point of view on the world in which we are living. Yeah, like the expression you used, [to take stock] of the landscape. But then asking questions about how, if you think that the world could be different from the one in which we live, and that it could be fairer and that we must change it, how exactly do you do that? How do you stand for your ideals? How do you fight for them? What exactly are you fighting for? When are you going too far in fighting for them, and when are you not going far enough? These were all the questions we were trying to ask with this film. Hopefully when people come out of the screenings, these questions resonate with them and then they reflect upon them and then hopefully they find their own answers to these questions rather than coming out of the film thinking ‘oh! I’ve been told what to do and now I’ll try to do that.’

MLP: By the end of the film though it does seem like the supposed answers that the characters have found are more or less pretty cynical.

MD: I wouldn’t say that. Obviously some aspects of the film are quite dark, and that’s because when we look around, we feel like we’re living in dark times and in a dark world to some extent. But that’s not what we’re trying to say. I think one of the main – maybe the closest we get to an answer with [the] film – themes of the film is the constant struggle between the individual and the group, and individual connectivity. I think that one thing we’re trying to say is that if social change has to happen it will happen through a group of people amongst all different social classes and age groups that kind of unite together and move in one direction. The group in the film fails when they break apart. They’re much closer to succeeding when they’re together.

Note:
1 “It was my personal understanding that the “maple” was belittling part…Maple Spring seems to reference a tree, thus taking a movement less seriously,” MLP added.
“Berlinale #4: Interview with Mathieu Denis about ‘Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves’” (23 February, 2017, interviewed by Maximilien Luc Proctor). Utra Dogme. Retrieved from https://ultradogme.com/2017/02/23/mathieu-denis/.

(Chinese translated by Kwok Ching Fung)