La Permanence

On Call
Alice Diop
FRA 2016
97 min

In a small doctor’s office, a fixed camera is placed on one side or the other of the room, allowing either the practitioner or the patient to be seen. How is it that the viewer remains glued to the screen for more than an hour and a half with such a minimalist approach? Glued, moved, in total empathy with those men and women, their pain, their suffering?
No doubt, it is what Alice Diop felt from the impact of hearing about these dramatic experiences. Initially her feelings, which she aptly conveys to us without pathos but with the meticulousness of her craft, become our own. She is discreetly present, as is her sound engineer, whose hands, at one point, are in view at the edge of the screen in an attempt to put a smile on the face of a baby, whose mother weeps an intimate drama caught in the drama of History. As in a film by Chantal Akerman, time is an asset. A static shot of a wall, a door, a chair and the top of a desk, compels us, in terms of duration, to focus on the details: the dilapidated walls, the oldness of the equipment. We are at the public hospital. This doctor, who has a sense of irony, notes that because of the lack of funds, there is a shortage of prescription pads. (Olivier Barlet)

In the presence of Alice Diop and Clement Alline (Sound).


  • Alice Diop
  • Alice Diop
  • Mathieu Farnarier
  • Clément Alline
  • Clément Bober
  • Pascal Mons
  • Amrita David


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