Sous l’œil des Houillères. Looking back at a documentary filmmaking experience

Audiovisual exploration
By Marion Fontaine

Historians’ interest and involvement in the writing of scripts for documentary filmmaking have grown constantly over the past few years. This paper endeavours to look back at one of these experiences that I was closely involved in, which led to the production of a documentary entitled Sous l’œil des Houillères (“Beneath the Eye of the Coal Mines”, 2017), for which I was the scriptwriter in collaboration with director Richard Berthollet. This paper endeavours to regard the documentary experience as a good case for thought, both in and of itself, and due to the more general issues it broaches. We will focus on the ties between historians and documentary filmmaking professionals (notably directors), on the various parameters of the dialogue that they can build together, as well as on the resemblances that arise and the differences that persist in their relationship to knowledge and the historical object.

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