National Narrative (Roman National), Dir. Grégoire Beil, France, 2018, 65 mins, French with English subtitles
Entirely composed of short films made on live video streaming app Periscope – where users send messages and comment while streaming – National Narrative is simultaneously poetry of everyday life and a unique depiction of contemporary France.
Far from sparking viewers’ derision, Beil’s montages point to Periscope users’ self-derision and the paradoxical coyness of a space where people claim to show everything. National Narrative asks how the immediacy of a playful and exaggeratedly quotidian chat between strangers integrates the incommensurable horror of a tragic event. Beil's playful editing poses important questions about modes of representation while creating a mélange that captivates the viewer and challenges our exhibitionist impulses.