The Serene Anger of Laura Waddington

By Eric Chauveau

Laura Waddington doesn’t like talking about herself. The 34 year old filmmaker, born in London, prefers to talk about the things her films talk of and more precisely, on the occasion of her coming to La Rochelle, the subject of Border. This 27 minute documentary... was a much talked about revelation of the Locarno festival in august 2004. It sets out to ask questions, as much through its form as its content, two spheres Laura Waddington refuses to separate, being wary both of the TV format and the notion of “embedded” documentary filmmakers and journalists (a reference to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq). “It was also the case in Sangatte”, she notes. Neither a lesson giver nor a militant, the young woman underlines that Border was primarily a decision to go where others were not going. Her only camera a small DV camera, popular with tourists. Laura Waddington followed the Afghan and Iraqi refugees, who were trying to reach England between March and the end of December 2002.

First, she had to gain their trust, filming for hours at night, in the fields, but also when the police intervened. While the images create a strange choreography, born of the low light conditions (in combination with the camera’s technical limits) and Laura Waddington’s interest in experimentation, an uncompromising voice over unfolds on the bottom of the screen. Although it would be possible to look for contradiction in the ghostly silhouettes of these humans beings, reduced to the state of hunted animals and the force of the subject she recounts, the two complement one another.

“When I made this film, I was very angry at the way the refugees were being treated. But I didn’t want to shout. I suggest. It’s my way of saying it’s a crime. As for the “aesthetic” aspect of the film, I thought a lot about this question. But is one obliged to film a cruel subject in an ugly way?”

Eric Chauveau, “La sereine colère de Laura Waddington” Sud Ouest, France, March 18th, 2005