With the help of a diagram, a little girl explains how space and games are divided in the playground, especially between boys and girls, and how this causes a daily problem for her. Despite her various attempts to solve it, she hasn’t found a solution, and what makes it even worse is the fact that no-one else, neither the adults nor the children, seems concerned. We learn about the subtleties of the geopolitics of public space on the scale of a school playground.
Confined to a fixed frame, the little girl talking here illustrates the power and limitations of speech. Words enable her to analyse the mostly male occupation of space and to decipher the reasons why girls struggle to take possession of it. But the soon the pencil lines that she uses to sketch a diagram of this geography fill her piece of paper, giving way to angry scribbles. Gender inequality is presented here as something that’s obvious from early childhood. The only question that remains is how to make oneself heard.
Olivia Cooper Hadjian
Member of the Cinéma du Réel Selection Committee, critic for Les Cahiers du Cinéma
Eléonor Gilbert lives and works in Grenoble, France, where she shares a studio with Utopia182, an artists’ collective. Her films, often at the crossroads between fiction and documentary, are sometimes based on her own everyday life, or rooted in the context of places she works as a video maker – universities, detention centres, hospitals, etc. Obedience, submission, and the complexity of setting up areas of freedom are themes through which she explores the world around her. Her latest film, “Hotel Echo” was made in 2018.