F 2010 67'
A lengthily close-up shows us the eyes of Nénette, the 40-year-old orang-utan lady who arrived from her native Borneo in the Parisian Jardin des Plantes in 1972. Her apparently aimless gaze never seems to see us. Nenette, ça va?, whispers a child's voice, pronouncing a question that will echo in our mind during the entire film. For although the rigorous composition of NENETTE focuses exclusively on the images of the film's protagonist and her congeners through the glass panel, thus enabling us to study the animals' behaviour and their expression at length, their familiar yet un- fathomable features never betray what really goes on inside their minds.
Day in, day out, the famous zoo animal is examined, ogled, greeted, pitied and admired, and thus serves as a mirror and projection surface for the imagination of the guardians and the visitors, whose voices underline the images in a heavily constructed sound carpet. The thick glass panel does not only separate the animal kingdom from the human world, freedom from captivity, objects from subjects it also separates images and soundtrack, implicitly pointing out the possibilities of manipulation. It becomes clear that the subject of the film is Nicolas Philibert's confrontation with his own profession, with film as a tool and an art that translates filmed material into images that do not necessarily echo reality, as well as inherently ethical questions.
Visions du Réel Nyon 2010