Pylons, poplar trees, a slight rise in the land to the left and right of the muddy path along which a man in walking away from us. The shot is silent. A panning shot of a mountain range, the summits fading into the haze of the distance. The shot is still silent. Prolonged. The film gives us no clues. It merely seems to be training the gaze on this: an empty, perhaps remote mountainside. Then a white screen and a different mountain range; the movement of the camera suggests it may be filming something very small, like an image, an etching. White screen again, and we are higher, moving faster over a vast area of landlocked mountains. The sound of gulls, the image looks like a photographic negative. Is it a mountain, a sand castle? We have no means of measuring the scale of what we are seeing. This is how Qu’ils reposent en révolte opens, its original English verse also present on the main title frame: May they rest in revolt. Two hours and 33 minutes later, the film ends with a similar panning shot as the camera moves through and across the landscape of a centre for asylum seekers, following the progress of someone through the maze of bunk beds to one narrow bed where the body swings across the frame, adjusts itself both in the bed and in the frame, then pulls a light, rough blanket over himself. The camera takes three steps further, zooming progressively into the texture of the material, as abstract as the folds of the mountains in the opening sequence, then cuts to credits.
Nothing fixes the opening and closing sequences in a relation of narrative development, or conclusiveness. The film could continue, just as it could have been much shorter. Some of Sylvain George's films are much shorter; the long ones are longer than the habitual documentary format. They do not educate, or not directly as a documentary might be expected to do; nor do they offer a particular vehicle – a character or a point of view – to follow through a succession of encounters or events. Instead they engage a series of modes of looking and hearing, abandoning the processes of representation whereby the components of the film are held within a causal development towards certain ends.