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/。
MD: [Louis Antoine Léon de] Saint-Just, yeah.
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.
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?
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.’
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.
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)