In the beginning
In 2009 and 2010, I worked and photographed the ‘freshnies’ (young girls) in the ghettos. The portraits became a link between myself and them. When I saw the Go send my prints to their families, who know nothing of their activities, I realised that through my portraits they rediscovered a light they’d believed to be socially extinguished. These young girls, who go into prostitution when barely pubescent, led me to create an image dedicated to their beauty, their dignity and their bodie wich is submitted to shame. This image transfers the disgrace onto others. They feel proud.
The undecidable part
Throughout this journey, I tried to give the girls back this undecidable part, characteristic of all humans that are deprived by social opinion, for being ‘bad poor’, and because they ‘deserve it’. Their ‘nature’ irremediably destins them to a life of dirtiness, lies, theft, unpredictability, vulgarity, misfortune.
However, I don’t give in to the victim narrative. The Go transgress collective values with violence and show their willingness to take charge of their own lives outside the social powers that assign them an inferior nature and destiny.
The image of the intimate
The young girls offered me silence in their intimacy, a precious gift. Having photographed them for two years on the prostitution sites, I know that silence, carrier of sweetness and life, is rare. A sign of confidence, it’s the narrative and interior expression of the person who suffers and resists. This way of filling the image satisfied my eyes.
I watched the Go put their make-up on, allude to Allah, wait, breastfeed, sleep, wash, sing… Without a beginning or an end. One scene per girl, sometimes two, no more. The frame highlights “the mysterious beauty accidentally put in by human life” [Baudelaire].
The intimacy of the Go takes its dimension over time, reinvented in depth, in which time becomes event, to quote Epstein. Subtly, their situation becomes clearer: their place, on the lowest rank of prostitution, the non-places which they occupy, the moral rejection that makes them outcasts, damned.
Against the “Direct Cinema” style, synchronous sound and narration for this film, I chose a system that allows me to abandon the realism of appearances to find a truth at the borders of language and material.
The sound of interiority
During filming, I was always alone with my small stills/video camera, indifferent to the sound it was recording. The extreme noises of the unstable neighbourhoods blurred my perception. When a young girl opens up to me in her fragility, almost without words, I want to understand her eyes, her gestures, her dress: understand what I am seeing. I wanted to get rid of synchronous sound.
Eric Thomas, who composed the music, went twice in Abidjan. He recorded the actresses after they had watched and listened to their scenes. They reproduced exactely what they’d said. He also recorded isolated sounds that belong to the lives of the city’s women and atmospheric sounds.