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France, 2020

Production : La Fabrique des écritures / Centre Norbert Elias, histoire et sociologie”, EHESS Marseille - Master "Recherches comparatives en anthropologie

Programmed by Claire Lasolle

French, Arab


Lost in Translation


This film, the portrait of a young poet who took a tumultuous journey to Europe from Africa, brings together the director and the young man as they search for the right words whilst jointly re-writing and translating using their different communication tools. From the images to the text, the film weaves a dialogue between the two and portrays a particular relationship built on orality and words – words written, read and even sung – in a delicate territory that they construct together.

Tënk's opinion

He’s in exile. He’s a poet. She is a film director. They sit side by side, each in front of their screens. The metallic, jerky voice of a software program announces a rough French draft of a poetic text, which the director checks for accuracy. Between them, the search for the right word begins in a game of rewriting from Arabic into French. During their verbal ping-pong, meanings become clearer. Clarifying meaning leads to better understanding and deeper knowledge. The horror of the images relayed to her from the country he fled and the violence of the visions described in his texts are in stark contrast to their gentle conversations. “Just Words and Sounds” is a film without artifice that, with poignant modesty, offers an account of an encounter, from sharing music they both love to Google Translate, with translation as the modus operandi and listening as the keystone.

Claire Lasolle
Videodrome 2

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