France, 54 min
It is a theatre stage, “this very small country, which is called ‘The Courtyard’, inhabited two or three times, every day, by its people, ’The Children’.” The decor is stripped down: a bench, a gate, a few trees, whose twigs are used to build houses or as trading currency. A unity of time, of place and of actions that are constantly invented in this space, one of the rare situations where children are alone or where their actions are not directed or controlled—or if they are it is just on the margins—by adults, which, for all that, is not anomic. But the laws here are always temporary, their coercive force depends on the charisma and imagination of the boy or girl he who is leading the game, who thinks they are the head storyteller, and can be “attacked” and knocked down by others at any moment. At the beginning of the 1990s, Claire Simon filmed Récréations in her daughter’s school. From the level of a child, in continuity, what she calls an “emotional topography”, each story becoming a crystal. That into which we project ourselves as we recall the first time we learned social life the hard way.