Cher monsieur, cher papa
CH 2008 84'
Director: François Kohler
Script: François Kohler
Camera: Camille Cottagnoud, Ehud Goren, Patrick Mounoud
Sound: Benedikt Frutiger, Gabriel Hafner, Christophe Giovannoni, Jürg Lempen, Emilie Spierer
Editing:: Maya Schmid
Music:: Louis Crelier
Production:: P.S. Productions Sàrl
Kohler's film is about fatherhood and identity from the point of view of five young men between 17 and 21, and explores the real and imaginary male figures with which they identify. By means of their parallel stories we discover little by little about their interests, secrets and relationships within different family, social and cultural situations. The film literally gets under the skin of these young men and explores their relationship to their fathers, to other men and with the world in general.
"CHER MONSIEUR, CHER PAPA by François Kohler follows on from the LE SOUFFLE DU DESERT. In this latter film, men went off in quest of meaning during a twoweek trek. This veritable challenge often responded to a crisis and revealed itself a true search for identity, beyond the wounds of life. CHER MONSIEUR, CHER PAPA goes back to the source and concerns itself with this delicate moment of transition from adolescence to the adult age. How is the masculine identity formed, between the presence and absence of the paternal figure, with what yardsticks, be they real (fathers, friends, teachers) or virtual (drawn from literature, video games or the cinema)?
In fact, CHER MONSIEUR, CHER PAPA follows five young adults for a year, in their process of growing up. Karim, sixteen years old, never knew his father and lives in a Lausanne hostel – is mad about computers and exorcises his violence through video games. Tristan, twenty one years old, brought up by his mother and his grandmother, lives with his girlfriend. Adrien, eighteen years old, works in a department store by day and becomes gothic and a Kung-fu fan at night. Finally, Matthew, sixteen years old, communicates with his father via Internet.
Each social environment is different, each adventure strange. Each character is treated differently. Karim’s route, for example, is more organic and he moves around in real time. The scenes with Tristan are more composed and punctuate the film like so many pictures. But Kohler knows how to raise doubts around his theme, as in this extremely jumbled sequence where Tristan leaves his girl friend at the station to rejoin his father, followed by a scene of “direct cinema” where Karim confronts his distraught mother.
CHER MONSIEUR, CHER PAPA does not judge. It is a successful attempt to define new ways of gaining experience of masculinity, by young adults desperately in need of paternity."
Visions du Réel 2008