Curzon Soho
Shaftesbury Avenue,
London, W1D 5DY
Sunday 6th December 2009
10:00 to 11:45 AM
After the screening:
Dr. Isobel Whitelegg will be in conversation with the filmmaker.
This is a Private Preview hosted v by Cyril Lepetit
Please RSVP:lepetit.cyril(at)
a film by Boris Gerrets


2009, 54min. mp4/mobile phone camera.
With Sandrine Correa, Efitayo Akousa and Steve Smith.
Produced by PvHFilm & pippaciné
What would it be like, to enter into the life of a complete stranger?  
The film evolved from two chance encounters in the streets of London. Its protagonists are Sandrine, an attractive young woman from Brazil on a mission to find a husband, Steve, a seasoned beggar, whose life is a continuous struggle with drug addiction and Precious, a poet who became Steve's girlfriend. The stories of these three characters emerge from the coarse anonymity of the city, and were shot entirely on a mobile phone camera. The filmmaker mostly remains off-screen while he struggles to determine his own role between observer and participant. Originally begun as a documentary project, the film soon developed its own distinct dynamic where the confines between fact and fiction became blurred. Questions arise. Questions about the relationship between filmed and filmmaker and about real and imagined realities. There is a paradoxical sense of failure: the closer he gets to his subjects, the more the obstruction of his camera seemed to distance him from them. Yet ultimately, and perhaps unexpectedly, People... reveals a personal, humane and fragile space that only came into existence precisely because it had been filmed.



There was no script. Only a vague idea of a film as an attempt to break through the wall of anonymity we all know so well when we travel through the city. This film would be like a social space, a place of encounter. But meeting someone among a city crowd is hard and the camera is a particularly uncompromising intruder. In retrospect, it wasn’t surprising that the people I finally met were in various ways outsiders, homeless drifters through the urban space, a bit like myself. It led to a film that was mostly shot in transient places: the street, taxis, hotel rooms, coffeeshops.

Filming creates one moment while it destroys another one. That is the paradox that defines cinemas’ relationship to reality. This became apparent to me in the continuous negotiation between different interests, between me and my camera, my subjects and our emerging friendships. To my protagonists it was clear early in the process that they where my actors whose real life extended into the space created by the film. While they were living their life in the first person, I was filming their second persona, the one that pertains to the space of the cinematic narrative. This included myself, which is what made things complicated at times.

There is darkness in the film, cinematic darkness. In other words, how the camera records the absence of light - in this case, the mobile phone camera with its coarse, grainy images. Inside that darkness resonates my own feeling of the city, its yearning, its mysteries and secrets. There is another layer in the film, embodied by anonymous phone conversations. They represent the collective voice of the city, bouncing about in a virtual and electronic dome that stretches over its skyline.