St Jean de la Forêt, July 2011

Kelyna,

You don’t know how to read yet, but you’re learning. And as everything you do, you do it with rage.
We have known each other for almost two years now.
And now you’ll see Nana, the film we made together.
I’m an old lady compared to the little one you are, and I don’t want to forget this moment of life tangled in cinema.
As for you, I’d like you to remember everything, but already feel you know the essential.
This film exists because you live in a place where I feel strong, a little country where we easily get earth under our nails and where men still take time to see.
We’ve exchanged our secrets, slowly got to know each other. I would learn the way you look at things, your body, time stretching in between your gestures, your madness, and you did the same with me.
To make a film with you, was like dancing with you.
I was trustful, so were you, you were afraid sometimes, and I was too.

You got used to the camera in my hands, we spent days after days, doing the “flim” as you say. Talking about the people who aren’t in our lives anymore, we picked up wood, walked under the trees, you know these ageless trees with crooked roots, the ones that were there before us and will be here long after, and on which we never looked down.
That face you made the first time you climbed up that hand-shaped tree, holding you up in the air…

My old coloured donkey, the small orange chair, they became your toys.
sometimes I was filming, and even though I was so close to you, you’d forget about me. sometimes you did on purpose for me, sometimes against me, just to piss me off.
I went back to the fairy’s house as you call it, your house in the film. It’s not the same without you.

I wanted to make a film with a child, when I met you I knew I could, because you’d resist me, and with you I wouldn’t be able to cheat.
I didn’t want you to speak my words, or move my way, all I hoped was that you with cinema could become a character, a film heroine.

Today the film is here, even though you still ask me sometimes when will we start.

We were fine together, doing quietly. But we needed a bigger camera along with my little one, and also I didn’t want to miss any of your jabbering shabbangs, nor the bumble-bees that annoyed you, or the ever singing bird in the tree.
So came along Léo with the big camera, Olivier with his mikes and the thing he’d tie up to your belly that you hated so. Axelle, Solène, Sophie, my friends who were helping, and Christiane my mother who fed us.

At first it made you really angry, you yelled at me, wanting them to leave so that we could make the film like before, just the two of us.
With time, you were less afraid, and so was I. the film was your territory, a place that we created for you to be as free as possible.
Working meant inventing games, questioning and always try to answer.
Working meant watching you fight, stubborn as you are, to do things grown-ups do, or caressing the rabbit, mumbling he’s cute and the he’s soft, and finally realising that he’s dead.

Often at night you see, I didn’t know whether all this would make a film.

What I knew was that me managed to film without forcing time, or things, and most important you. this above all was important to me. and when we would stop breathing, because in front of us happened small accidents that looked like grace, I thought that maybe yes, this could be cinema, at least the one I had dreamt of, alive.

together we lived and made this film, we looked for it little by little, with you, alain, who became your Pappy and Marie your mother. All this rocked by the simplest music surrounding us, madame nature.

With work, Nana turned into a film, found its way, its story, to the rhythm of a little girl and a forgotten world, the dangerous one when we were 4 years old.

Our film Kelyna, looks like the olds films, or ancient children’s tales, simple and a bit cruel. I believe in films like in love gestures, from you to me, from me to you, from us to others.
Now it’s time to give it away.

valerie

© Valérie Massadian

About The Author

Valérie Massadian is a Franco-Armenian photographer and filmmaker. Her work concentrates on female characters, their animality, how they relate to the world and nature.