This morning it’s minus seven at my place, with snow covering mountains and forests. It’s a sublime morning, one to wake all of my polar memories. Polynesia and the joyful human warmth of the FIFO are far away! This year I have been asked to preside the FIFO jury for the third time and I don’t mean to brag, but I must be one of the most honoured in this way. However, I won’t be coming to visit in person, despite the love for your islands that you have instilled so well in my heart.
This year the world has changed, continents, countries and archipelagos, are once more remote, as in the days before aeroplanes. Only digital endures as a poor substitute, one of uncompromising regulations which unfortunately this edition of FIFO has been obliged to adopt. It is one way of continuing to exist, of staying alive, but at what cost? Where is the perfume of the flowers, the audiences’ applause and the tears of the laureates? All that remains is a thin skin, a facade dedicated to the cohorts of authors defeated by the conquering victory of the platforms, the “apps” be they American or Chinese and their hegemonic intentions. What profoundness can there be in just a few seconds viewed on a laptop? Which of the many diverse points of view so exposed will be tolerated by a media whose sole purpose is to sell advertising to as many people as possible?
We depart 2020 stunned, those of us involved in culture, the people of the arts, the linguists, the narrators. We are common people full of human warmth, we are those useless people who have the dreadful privilege of being classified as “non-essential” in times of pandemic. It didn’t take long to disperse the utopia of the “after covid” that agitated all the conferences during the first confinement. More than ever, we must now fight to give authors of all countries and cultures the means to display their work, to produce and diffuse their ways of perceiving the world. Our world is shrivelling around lifeless ideas, troubled networks where the one “posting” might easily be an AI or the pseudo of a disturbed personality. A real author signs his film and goes on stage to defend it, to explain his thinking.
Like all festivals in the world, FIFO is indispensable and vital. So even without the applause, the smell of flowers and the warmth of the audiences, we have to hold on, stiffen our spines and let the cruel winds pass us by. I am one of those who believe in dreams and the powerful, vital emotions that hold a conscious and responsible human being together. In the name of these values, I raise my hat to the entire FIFO team, who continue to fly the colours of Oceanian cultures proud and high.
Have a great festival… in spite of everything!
The prizegiving evening for FIFO 2020 took place on Friday 7...Read more