Where we Are
Switzerland, France, 36 min
How can you live in Fos-sur-Mer, a southern French town studded with refineries and chemical plants? Some
inhabitants endeavour to resist their condition—in every sense of the term—by talking to the filmmaker, whose camera frames their nightmarish landscape, in which it sometimes unearths parcels of ambiguous beauty.
On the beach of Saint-Gervais, the sails of the kite surfers sketch out arabesques in an ordinary seaside setting, while a little further on, migratory birds are back, as they do every year, to nest within a protected area... The background, however, is far from being idyllic. The horizon of Fos-sur-Mer is closed off by the chimneys of refineries and the chemical industries. Even though the pollution-saturated atmosphere of this small southern town threatens the health of its inhabitants daily—the cancer and allergy rates are much higher than in the rest of the country—”sometimes, we prefer to turn a blind eye”, because the factories in operation provide the majority of jobs in the region. While the town residents evoke in voice-over their existence in this severely damaged environment, Amélie Bargetzi films this industrial landscape from all angles and in every light. Avoiding the indictment, Là où nous sommes offers a sensitive and contrasted topography of a nightmarish space, where the camera discovers, along the way, a few patches of ambiguous beauty.