In the countryside of a childhood marked by freedom, La Fratrie builds a floating whale devouring Pinocchio.The Berchiche brothers' creative bond is expressed through their coordinated acts and words, and the incredible adventure of the launch test.
A brother – so they say – never squeals! Especially when he's in on the act. So you're better off being friends... Especially if your folks are camped out in the sticks and there's bugger all to do, except get bored stiff. But you won't know the meaning of boredom when you're with your sib! You'll never see the time go by when you're cooking up plans, in twos, as dastardly as the day is long. Let's face it, a couple of bros is a well-equipped little gang; four eyes, two times two hands, a pair of brains... Basically, everything you need for open-air thuggery, with your DIY paraphernalia slung over your shoulder, scabby knees and a snotty nose.
Obviously, the Berchiche brothers aren't nippers any more, let alone delinquents, but to their credit, they've held on to their childhood taste for wacky adventures and idiotic dares. What ace tinkerers Karim and Luc are really good at is making top-notch scale models; huts, sheds, shanties... Basically, a whole bunch of shacks still attached to a clump of land, which, incidentally, appears to have become unstuck from the globe. Little 3D fables in graceful levitation, these fragile sculptures are as much reduced models of a residual Big Bang as they are a reflection on vanished childhood.
So who better to film their latest DIY adventure than an equally barmy brotherhood: the Nemetas, there, I've named them. The flick made by these two bozos has all the makings of a family film in Super 8 format. Loads of lovely nostalgia on magnetic tape, enhanced by the musical delights of Etienne Charry, another fab tinkerer, but for eternally juvenile ears... In this fairy-tale documentary, the camera, much like Jiminy Cricket, follows the artistsas they get to work on a modest dwelling made from salvaged wood, with the contours of a whale; porthole eyes, a door on the left side and Disney's Pinocchio wedged between the pearly whites Once they're done with the cartoon cetacean, the two lads happily run off into the forest with it, like Hop-o'-My-Thumb.
It says in the books that Pinocchio and old Jonah from the Bible were swallowed whole by a monster from the deep. Then, hawked up like two gobs of spit, one became a real little boy and the other a great prophet. To think that we all emerge transformed from a brief spell in a stomach... The belly of a fish is like childhood; you grow up far from this damn world of whackos and its turpitudes. For a short while – which feels like eternity – you can become anything you want; a cosmonaut, a stuntman, a pilot... there's everything to play for! But sooner or later, life expels you from your cosy nest with a big kick in the backside. You have to join the great wheel of the world, for better or for worse: it's fail or succeed. You no longer have the choice; the grown-ups are in charge now...
Happily, on the frontier between failure and success lies the realm of possibility inherited from childhood. And it's here, right on this very spot, that the Brotherhood has built its playground.
Now is the time for laughter and song!
Thomas Bernard, art writer Thomas Bernard was born in Libourne in 1980. Art columnist for Fluide Glacial, he is also exhibition curator for La Véranda and artistic co-director for Ferraille Productions of the Formula Bula festival, comics and more.