Born in 1977, Philippe Prouff lives and works in Paris. A traveler-filmmaker, he draws the material for his films from his discovery of remote places. His poetic handling of images is expressed in different creative worlds, from fashion to music, documentaries to fiction.

Nuclear phase-out

In a previous life, Philippe Prouff worked for the flagship of French industry and engineering. He raised the question of how the risks of this form of energy were being managed and learned the workings of the world of communication. Of course, he very soon realized that his true aspirations lay elsewhere.

He then experienced one of those professional epiphanies, one of those incisive moments when a dream – "I'd love to be a filmmaker" – suddenly sweeps aside reality – "I have a steady job"; something that is absolutely essential in order to understand his work. After a slow maturing process, it was his actual profession that became a nightmare with no future; while the little unpaid jobs he did on a number of films – to learn the filmmaker's craft – imposed themselves as the only reasonable future.

What can be more exhilarating and yet more phony than to declare yourself an artist overnight? What kind of imposter are you to suddenly claim to have something to say to the world? But nonetheless, Philippe gradually started making his films which all express, in their own way, that absurd tilt when hopes and reality are turned inside-out like a glove, and when the Office of Communication on Nuclear Safety is merely a distant, fading memory. To him, creation in itself is absurd. And the race between the absurd and the real allow him – for a short while, at least – to stretch the imposed limits of the world a little.

When he was still a youngster, his father suddenly lost his memory, even forgetting the names and existence of his own children. A painful double lesson about the absurd: nothing is worth more than memories; and yet nothing is as fragile and evanescent as the most intimate truths on which our lives are founded: "Everything can just disappear in a flash – including my own name". Documenting hopes that might serve as intimate, and thus ultimate truths, therefore became a necessity for him, and a matter of great seriousness.

The as-yet unseen and unheard can only appear at the cost of reality. Enchanting the world means observing it from an angle, to find the crease or snag which you can use to catch the world out. Philippe Prouff chose imposture to unmask the imposture of the world, and to spotlight reality's plot to undermine the weak creatures that inhabit it.

Guillaume Ollendorff

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