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Gabriel Auer

Vacances royales

Director Gabriel Auer Composer Carlos Andreu Cast Agnès Château, Didier Sauvegrain, Emilio Sánchez-Ortiz
Edition 1981
90' - 1980 - War, Drama - Dialogue: French

Has only made one feature film, VACANCES ROYALES ('80). Studied at the University of Montreal at the end of the 60s. His first cinematic activity was a collaboration on LA SALAMANDRE by Alain Tanner, film which he also co-produced; later in '77-78 he was assistant to Charlotte Dubreuil and Jean-Michel Carré. Auer is especially known for his short films: J'FAIS DU POUCE ('71), CHIENNERIE ('72), PORTRAIT D'UN CHATELAIN ('74), LE DESTIN DE JEAN-NOEL ('75) and DE MA FENÊTRE ('78). By his hand, there are now about five scripts waiting to be filmed.

The end of Giscard d'Estaing's France was marked by the emergence of a regional cinema, which returned to its sources: the people and which at least tells "something" about today's France. Gabriel Auer filmed the scenario of Carlos Andreu, who wrote down his own experiences. Carlos Andreu is a Katalan political singer - he also wrote the film's final song - and was put on file by the French central power as an "anarchist"; he was "picked up" at home during the visit of the Spanish King Juan Carlos and put in a "prison". To ensure state security, he was taken to Belle-Ile (Brittany) at state expense and stayed in a "hotel-prison" with 12 other Spanish emigrants.

VACANCES ROYALES works on three levels, it gets a bit complicated but at the same time it is stimulating. Firstly, there is a series of television interviews of the eight exiles from Belle-Ile who tell their experiences, explain their ideas about state violence versus individual violence, give their vision of political violence. Secondly, Auer has worked out the stay on the Breton island in a fiction film - using professional actors - in the form of a film. of professional actors - in the form of a dramatic comedy. Finally, there is a second fiction part, which is neither a document nor a recomposition: a new character, a young neo-militant, is introduced here; he also questions the problem of armed struggle in our society.

Auer's great merit and daring is that he has made a film about an important phenomenon, terrorism. Insofar as terrorism does not fit into the framework of an adventure film, this theme has remained virtually untouched in Euro-American cinema. The filmmaker presents an abuse of power by the government, he does not dramatise it excessively, and he does not show it as the most horrible of all crimes. Auer limits himself to denouncing the exaggerated use of "state interest". If there are several degrees of repression, Auer shows us only the lowest, proving that, given a certain tact, the government can act without anyone getting angry or protesting. How can one react to this? Some suggest resorting to armed struggle, to terrorism. Toni, the main character in the third part, throws his weapon into the Seine in the last image.

From the outset, VACANCES ROYALES is about current affairs. A real political content, because the visions on the events are multiple and contradictory, and because the filmmaker does not deliver us a boring work with preconceived ideas. This is actually never the intention of a film, but over the course of several years, the result has sometimes been this way. Auer has understood this well: his film is very controlled and consists of a multitude of questions. "I know," says the filmmaker, "that many will accuse me of denouncing terrorism. But mind you, I condemn it in our society, I believe in a fight adapted to society; I believe that if I were living in Central America, I would have taken up arms. I believe that we must not confuse the different levels of repression. One must know why one is fighting, with what weapons and against whom one is fighting".

VACANCES ROYALES is in line with the latest trend on the level of film structure. Auer does not hide it away: he worships Alain Resnais. His film bears that stamp. The comparison Auer-Resnais makes is not with MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE but rather with MURIEL. Auer already experimented with the fiction-document relationship in his short films. Auer already did this in his short films. He interweaves different narrative forms, which involve different political levels.

Image gallery

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Gabriel Auer


Carlos Andreu


Agnès Château, Didier Sauvegrain, Emilio Sánchez-Ortiz


Gabriel Auer, Carlos Andreu

Director of Photography

Robert Alazraki


Joëlle Hache

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