Paratroopers landing in Provence. The images are commented on by a voiceover typical of WWII propaganda newsreels. Battle sequences are interwoven with footage of soldiers resting. The newsreel ends, the film's frames withdraw. Once again we are watching paratroopers in Provence, but the commentary is different – now in the convention of a TV documentary on a history channel. Dragoon, an airborne operation of the allied forces, began in August 1944 with a landing in Provence.
The Garib Nagar slums, Bandra district, Bombay, India. Adjoining houses, colourful garbage. Twelve years old Rubina likes this place: “Life here is nice, really. (…) There are eight-ten kids in every house in the neighbourhood.” For Rubina and her friends, the slums are one huge playground. They can bathe in the rain. Rubina knows, however, that each house can drift away, and each grownup or child can get very sick. She wants to be an actress but is unsure of the future. Rubina Ali is a genuine slum-dweller. She has played in two movies; her first one was “Slumdog millionaire.”
Büttel, Germany. Fragments of an “empty” landscape – with its characteristic windmills, a yellow mailbox, a petrol station. Industrial, mobile homes of construction workers. The sole commentary is a poem by Ulrika Almut Sandig, where the word “Heimat” sounds foreign and empty.
Two women – one mature, the other very young, positioned symmetrically in relation to each other, symmetrically dressed. The young woman talks about getting into character, about constructing a personality, about how she becomes that role's persona. She starts to speak in third person: about the actress, about the audition, about the feeling of transparency. The senior woman looks to the side. A suspenseful autothematic situation between an actress and a casting professional – played out with image, short monologue, and silence.
A motion picture about Eadweard Muybridge, who analysed the movement of a galloping horse with the use of photography in the 1870s. Jean-Michel Rolland rhythmically repeats two shots of the Marseillais race track. The beauty of gallop is gone here. The crack of overcoming an obstacle brings to mind meaningless effort and pain, and the connotations with Muybridge give rise to a variety of questions regarding technology, ideology, analysis, evolution, and activism.
Maria is passing away, gently and peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. The calm voices of women fill the room – a room with a television set, a tile stove, and candles lit by Maria's side. She is sleeping peacefully. Her companions are eating, laughing quietly, and talking all the time. Maria passes away amidst their friendly and cheerful voices. This documentary film, very simple both in terms of image and sound, is filled with calmness, discretion, respect for the situation and characters; at the same time it aptly captures this terminal situation and its participants.