Patron of La Fabrique Cinéma de l'Institut français 2021

I came here to present my first feature-length film, In the Battlefields (Dans les champs de bataille) in 2004.
I stayed for three days. That was the first time. I cannot express what I felt. But the magic in the air was palpable. I didn’t necessarily go to exceptional parties or meet stars, but every corner of this city breathed cinema. And the memories of cinema…as if every stone told a story.
I’ve made films, most of which were shown at Cannes. And sometimes the stress and the violence were so much that I swore I would never step foot here again. Then there was 2020, the lost year of lockdowns, when my film Simple Passionwas shown in the Official Selection virtually since the festival didn’t take place. That year, I learned that cinema without the Festival de Cannes is like a party with no music. I took the measure of the vacuum left by its absence. We all took the measure of it.
Dreaming of one’s film at Cannes is exhilarating, but also disturbing… Making films to one day see them selected for a festival is a unique moment that all directors in the world would like to experience. But a film is first and foremost the passion you feel when reading the first page of the screenplay, which has materialized against the odds and is fervently brought to life with a crew and actors. A film is an act of faith. Never give in, never yield, and as spectacular as the world of cinema may seem, stay true to your dreams no matter the cost. Most of all, never let them go! That’s sort of my motto, and I hope to be able to share it with the filmmakers and producers who I’ll meet this year at La Fabrique.
No matter the problems overcome, the challenge tackling them can sometimes be even more enjoyable. A fighting spirit is more valuable when creating a film than success. And especially the risk-taking that goes with it. Success might be displayed on the red carpet, at the most beautiful festival in the world, but it’s the battle to get there that counts.
Each year, an internationally renowned director is chosen to be the programme's patron. The patron hosts several work sessions on the Fabrique Cinéma projects, and is a true mentor.
Danielle Arbid was born in Beirut and lives in France. She has been making films since 1997.
Her fiction features, Parisienne (Peur de rien), A Lost Man (Un homme perdu) and In the Battlefields (Dans les champs de bataille) were presented at Cannes, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Locarno, Pusan, Tokyo to name a few. She was awarded the Golden Leopard at the Locarno festival for her series Conversation de salon, followed by the Silver Leopard for Alone with War (Seule avec la guerre). She also received the Prix Albert Londres and the Europa prize during the Directors’ Fortnight, the Grand Prix in Milan and the Villa Médicis hors les murs bursary.
Her work has been featured in several retrospectives around the world, such as Dijon, La Rochelle and Popoli
She has just finished Simple Passion (Passion simple), her fourth fictional feature film, an adaptation of the novel by the same name by Annie Ernaux, which was chosen for the Official Selection at Cannes in 2020 and at the 2020 San Sebastian festival. It is slated for release in France in August 2021. Danielle Arbid alternates between fiction and first-person documentaries. She has been working for many years on a documentary project made up of ten or so films, called Ma famille libanaise (My Lebanese Family).
Picture © Lucia Hunziker

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