FILM_REVIEWS_À ciel ouvert

À ciel ouvert is Mariana Otero's latest documentary. It had released in France in 2013 and arrived our cinemas in October 2014. The viewing of the documentary does not leave you indifferent, it removes consciences and resonates in your most intimate self. 

The critics elevate it to a cult movie and encourage it to go to theaters. It is an event for those who make the documentary, for its protagonists, for those who go to see it, for those who work in this type of institution and for those who practice psychoanalysis. What makes this documentary so well received?


Let's go to Le Courtil Educational Centre where the plot takes place. Children and youths live together in this Institution, oriented by Psychoanalysis. The principle is clear: to welcome the particularity of each one of them as subjects.  They are children who enter life with unbearable psychic suffering and Le Courtil space seeks to create the right conditions for contingency, surprise to weave, knotting symptomatic inventions that produce solutions, more bearable ways of living with the unbearable.

There are no protocols, no standardization, the logic that guides them is case by case. What there is, what happens in Le Courtil is not the product of an analytical cure but of a practical use of Psychoanalysis. Through the workshops, which mark the rhythm of the centre's daily life, the participants -educators and responsible people- support the inventions of the children and youngsters. It is played and invented without previous standardized programs. The aim is to make life pleasant for the children, including, when possible, that the children and young people follow the ordinary school regime or a personalized one.

Mariana Otero, in the documentary, is present as a woman-camera. She is attached to the body with a harness, at the height of what she wants to film. With her goes all the assembly, camera and sound, to make the film, which makes the look so real, so close to what happens in the daily life of the institution. 

She and the camera are in the same field, in the scene. Mariana becomes an observer-observed, the children include her in what is happening there and they also accept her, forgetting about her because of how familiar she is to them. Before the three months of filming, Mariana spent several months at the Institution, wanting to know, trying to find answers to her questions about madness and what she found was a place with a unique way of organizing herself.  Those who suffer from great psychic discomfort are not seen as "disabled", as people with intellectual deficits, but as subjects with a unique structure that must be sustained in order to produce a subject.

Helena Valldeperes