The Game

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The Game (Les Proies)

Directed by Marine de Contes

  • France 2018; 53 min
  • Original version: French
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Institut Français - Louis Marcorelles Award - Cinéma du Réel
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In the Landes de Gascogne forest, bird cages are hoisted up to the tree tops with pulleys. A man on watch in a large low hut camouflaged by pine needles awaits the opportune moment to pull the strings. A strange and fascinating woodland theatre... Bucking all commentary, Marine de Contes depicts a practice in all its ritualistic complexity. A city dweller and a woman, so doubly an outsider, she holds her breath along with the small group of attentive watchers. Without reneging on its status as an ethnographic documentary about the techniques, space and vocabulary of wood pigeon hunting, THE GAME also takes an interest in the community that the sport sustains, in an identity that binds generations and in the distribution of the sexes (women visibly are only passers-by). Waiting is an integral part of the hunt, filled by learning – even in one’s eighties – how to play Candy Crush on a smartphone, or by telling stories in the Gascon dialect. The waiting is all the more fruitful for the filmmaker as it soon appears to be the mirror of her own documentary filmmaking: when you film without a scenario, you surely also set up a dispositif that acts as an “event-trap”, capable of closely espousing the image and sound of an elusive passer-by’s sudden intrusion into the frame. The increasingly loud and disquieting noise of a pine tree being felled suggests that wood pigeon hunting will soon be no more than a folkloric memory. A hand-over – at least metaphorically speaking – has taken place.



    Emeline Bonnardet