Carla Milani Damião

On the Relationship between Reality, Fiction and Truth in Varda’s »Sans toit ni loi«

Eine Metrostation in goldenes Licht getaucht

The vision of a beautiful young woman, murdered at the beginning of a film, usually holds the viewer's attention. What may have happened to her fashions the story plot, using, as often in film, the flashback technique. The example we seek is not entirely fictional, it was motivated by a newspaper headline reporting the discovery of a frozen corpse. Differing from fiction, the plot concerns a banal form of death, without villains or murderers or shady characters, looking pale when compared with fiction. I aim to analyse the interaction between the documentary aspect, the reconstruction of the itinerary of the young woman based on “rehearsed” testimonies, and the search for a truth that weds the truth of the filmmaker to the reality of the young woman transformed into a fictional character. The speculative basis for this film is strongly connected to an urge for freedom through the rejection of belonging to a strictly ruled society, taking us to the contrary, where outsiders, migrant workers, criminals, drug addicts and the old, become protagonists.The film »Sans toit ni loi« by Agnès Varda is a fiction that mimics the documentary narrative, aiming to reveal, through rebellion, the existence of independence as well as of confrontation. The real effect offered by the film does not depict it into a social-political manifesto. Rather, I will argue that the film does not reproduce reality, but creates an interesting ontological and subjective relationship between its creation and its reception through the idea of freedom as rebellion.

Carla Milani Damião is Phd in Philosophy and lectures in Aesthetics and Philosophy at the Faculty for Philosophy at the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil. She has published many articles on Aesthetics and Walter Benjamin’s narrative theory, as well as a book entitled »On the Decline of Sincerity, Philosophy and Autobiography from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Walter Benjamin.« She is also interested in Film-Philosophy and Gender Studies. She completed part of her doctorate in Germany (»Freie Universität-Berlin«) and post-doctorate in The Netherlands (»Universiteit van Amsterdam«).