personne – this is somebody, nobody, anyone. This is us in the course of time. Persistently, in vain. The self is the need for permanent self-assertion. (Girardet & Müller)
"La reproduction interdite", painted by Belgian surrealist René Magritte in 1937, is one of his most recognised works. We observe the rear view of a man looking in a mirror. Back to back – no face, no expression. The silent repetition of not knowing. The self cannot be verified by its reflection. Non-graspable. Girardet/Müller tell the story of the self via one of the heroes of European cinema: Jean-Louis Trintignant. He searches for an exit within closed spatial systems. The one becomes many, when his turning face becomes Fonda, Peck and once again Trintignant. The turn is a crucial moment of action in personne, belongs to the search, the gaze remains on the back, even when we look directly into Jean-Louis Trintignant´s eyes. If the man in "La reproduction interdite" was to turn around, what would transpire? Fulfilment, redemption. "personne – that is somebody and nobody and anyone. That is us in the course of time. Persistently, in vain. The self is the need for permanent self-assertion", say Matthias Müller and Christoph Girardet. The self begins to stir within the claustrophobic setting, in the rulebook of a vanished world.
Maike Mia Höhne, program brochure of the Berlin International Film Festival, February 2016