Sylvain George: Screening and Conversation

Sylvain George: Screening and Conversation

Sylvain George, L’impossible – Pages arrachées (The Impossible – Pieces of Fury, still), 2009. Courtesy of Noir Production.

Sylvain George: Screening and Conversation

Admission starts at $5

May 18, 2024, 3pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Saturday, May 18 at 3pm for a screening of three films by Sylvain George, guest-curated by George MacBeth.

For the last eighteen years, Sylvain George has been engaged in a critical cinematic project of confronting the sedimentation of violence enacted by Fortress Europe to “securitise” its terrestrial and imaginary borders, and suppress dissent—whilst also portraying the forms of disidentification practiced by those subjects who strive to surmount such official borders, whether it is the young Moroccan men amongst and with whom the filmmaker has recently lived and filmed in Melilla (the so-called Harragas), the migrants in the Calais refugee camps, or the insurrectionary surging of social movement activists in the metropole. Drawing upon the formal legacy of the historic avant-garde, George’s work provides both a self-scrutinizing record of the so-called Mass-Protest Decade—the 2010s—and its militancy, and a searing and immediate insight into the ongoing European refugee crisis.

These are films that, in the words of Jacques Rancière show the “quiet violence of the global order—the round of police cars, the blinding of streetlamps and flashing lights, the careful execution of official orders—rather than the blows of the truncheon. In the face of this, [George’s] politics show us not the classic opposition of one violence against the other, but the way in which individuals, outside any ‘militant education,” bring their behavior and thoughts into line with this instituted violence.”

Following the screening George will be in conversation with MacBeth.


No Border (Aspettavo Che Scendesse La Sera) (2008, 23 minutes)
(I was waiting for evening to fall). Paris, Open City. Dizziness, commemorations. Ruins. Winds. Tides. Young migrant Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians roam the streets between soup kitchens and camps. Consequently, they put in crisis the order of things and of bourgeois society. An emancipation occurs, deeply melancholy, elegiac, redefining the concept of revolution through a new concept of history.

Joli Mai (2017, 8 minutes)
Lovely May (Let those who have killed less than a hundred times cast the first stone at me).
At the end of the demonstrations of May 1, 2016, the police use force against the protestors.

L’impossible – Pages arrachées (2009, 90 minutes)
(The Impossible – Pieces of Fury)
Placed under the rubric of Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Dostoyevsky, and Benjamin, of free jazz, and of punk, this five-part ciné-tract seeks to testify to the iniquitous policies which shape our time, and to the “infernal” character of certain political lives or bodies (migrants/immigrants, workers, unemployed, students, etc.). It pursues a critical stasis of mythical and majoritarian realities; working on the body to open up questions of revolt and insurrection; overflow, disidentification, undecidable reconfigurations… that which is impossible.
The film is divided into the following sections:
1. THE WOOD OF THE SHIPS (I burn properly!)
2. BALLAD FOR A CHILD (We won’t kill you any more than if you were a corpse)
3. ARMED AGAINST JUSTICE (Burn! Burn! Burn!)
5. YOU WILL REMAIN HYENA ETC. (The book of the damned)

For more information, contact

– Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
– For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.
– e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Migration & Immigration
Experimental Film, Documentary, Europe, Refugees, Police & Prisons, Revolution, Protests & Demonstrations

Sylvain George was born in 1968 in Lyon, France. He holds degrees in Philosophy, Law and Political Sciences, and Cinema (EHESS Sorbonne). Since 2006 he has produced and directed documentary films on the themes of immigration and social movements. His films include The Impossible – Pieces of Fury (2009); May They Rest in Revolt (Figures of War I) (2010) ; The Outbursts (My Mouth, My Revolt, My Name)​ (2012); Vers Madrid - The Burning Bright (2013); Paris Est Une Fête - Un Film en 18 Vagues (2017); Obscure Nights - Wild Leaves (2022); and Obscure Nights - Goodbye Here, Anywhere (2023), the latter of which received the special mention at the Locarno International Film Festival. He has collaborated with many engaged artists and musicians including Archie Shepp, William Parker, Valérie Dréville, Okkyung Lee, John Edwards, Sylvain Luc, Serge Teyssot-Gay and Nicolas Crosse. He teaches at the Institut de Sciences Politiques de Paris (IEP), and has given masterclasses and workshops all over the world (FEMIS, Punto de Vista, Instituto Politécnico de Tomar, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENS Lyon), Lima Independente Film Festival, Filmmaker Film Festival/Milano Film Festival, FIDBA, MIDBO, FICCALI, DockFest, LOCARNO…). Of his films he says, “I make the films I want to see, films that I feel are an emergency; they are necessary.”

George MacBeth is the editor of e-flux Index. His film and art criticism has appeared in Art Monthly, Spike, Screen Slate, Asymptote Journal, and the Spectator, amongst other outlets. Together with Sezgin Boynik he is currently at work on a forthcoming publication on the films of Sylvain George. He lives in Berlin.

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