Q&A With Director Jeremie Reichenbach on the Making of ‘Banned Bodies (Les Corps Interdits)’

A documentary about life in the Calais "Jungle'.

I watched ‘Les corps interdits‘, or ‘Banned Bodies’, last night, the closing production of the 2017 Festival of Migrant Film in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. It’s an experimental short documentary by French documentary director and producer Jeremie Reichenbach about life in the Calais ‘Jungle’ before the migrant jump-off ground between France the United Kingdom was razed last October.

In the 12-minute piece, Reichenbach shares some of the stories about the brutal conditions that migrants were forced to endure in the Calais encampment, told through the voices of some of the men who passed through there. That’s where the somewhat ‘experimental’ aspect comes in: you never see the men’s faces, but only hear their voices — emotional, brutally honest, poetic, sometimes even profound as they describe the limbo circumstances have led them to. Most of the visuals are black and white photographs of ‘The Jungle’, the muddy swamp-like tent city that was home to more than six thousand refugees and migrants during the peak of the ‘crisis’ in Europe in late 2015. The film’s impact wouldn’t have been nearly as strong had he been there with a camera instead of a microphone only.

‘Banned Bodies’ was one of 15 films, most of them shorts, that I managed to catch at the festival since Friday, and among the most powerful. I’m hoping to post more on those later this week. But first, above is a Q&A with Reichenbach that followed the screening; in it he discusses both the subject matter –the realities of life ‘The Jungle’ and the refugees and migrants he met there– and the making of the film itself. It was an informative discussion that, somewhat ironically, lasts nearly four times as long as the film itself.

Below, the ‘Banned Bodies’ trailer.

 

And for some additional context, more on ‘The Jungle’:

 

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  1. paula graham says

    I never could understand how we could have something like the jungle, just across the channel…such a total disgrace, so utterly sad.

  2. margaret21 says

    Powerful, disturbing stuff.

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