State of Elevation
France, 20 min
Aboard a high-altitude balloon the secret of which she possesses, a young girl has a strange encounter in space.Two investigations, undertaken in both the past and the present, endeavour to distinguish truth from falsehood. With elegance and humour, Isabelle Prim interweaves fiction with outstanding archives of the French National Centre for Space Studies.
Invited by the CNES (French National Centre for Space Studies) to put together a film from their audio-visual archives, Isabelle Prim undertakes to work around high-altitude balloons and to resolutely distance herself from an institutional discourse or narrative. Chloé had a strange encounter in space when she was a young girl and made herself available for the French and international scientific aerospace community. Now an adult—and played by the filmmaker herself—, she retraces this experience with her psychiatrist and with the help of her journal, trying to distinguish truth from falsehood. Interweaving the outstanding images from the CNES with acting and deliberately obvious sound effects, the filmmaker composes a precise and off-beat construction, in a humoristic register occasionally reminiscent of Jacques Tati. An elegant retro fiction that fits naturally in the filmography of Isabelle Prim, but not without reinventing it with great freedom.