Les Blanches Terres

Amelia Cabocel

  • Exhibition

17.01 - 22.03.2020

  • Strasbourg

The White Lands © Amélie Cabocel

14 p.m. - 18:30 p.m.

Press Release

Exhibition supported by the DRAC Grand Est, the Grand Est Region and the City of Strasbourg.

Les Blanches Terres, a documentary by Amélie Cabocel, 2019, 90 min. An Ana Films, Vià Vosges, RTGE, Mosaïk production. With the participation of the CNC, the Grand Est Region, the Strasbourg Eurometropolis and the Procirep-Angoa.

Les Blanches Terres is a deserted place in Lorraine that used to be agricultural and industrial. A few houses lost in a countryside whose charm escapes those who only pass by. A rural territory, isolated and on the fringes, as it exists everywhere in France, with a prosperous past and few promises for the future. Michelle, 84, has always lived there, as "rooted". Widowed for twenty years, she fights isolation through almost daily contact with her rare neighbors, for the most part cousins, siblings or distant. 

Anxious to preserve and transmit the memory of the White Lands, Michelle has filled dozens of photo albums throughout her life. But for now, she is considering, with lucidity and resignation, the imminent disappearance of all traces of these "tiny lives" in these White Earths.

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A director, Michelle's granddaughter, comes to Blanches Terres and invites Michelle and “the cousins” to be at the heart of her new photographic work and to become, moreover, the actors of her next film. The latter fall from the clouds. "What is it that is so interesting that people want to see our old faces and our poor land?" Michelle asks.

Michelle and her relatives are singularly revealed in this exhibition which tells about old age and which pays homage to the White Earth community. What does it mean to be photographed at the age of over 80, is it a way to leave a mark, is it the synthesis of an existence? How do you see yourself, how do you accept your image at these advanced ages?

Celine Duval

Curator: Céline Duval


From the team to the characters via production: building a documentary work together

With Amélie Cabocel and Milana Christitch, producer of the film

Public meeting on 19.01.2020 © Stimultania

CD: […] What to do with a trivial subject? How, with this new writing Amélie, did you construct this scenario, and how this banal subject was treated in an original way, differently?
AC: […] The documentary, in any case the author's documentary, is not about dealing with a subject, it is more about creating a singular work and bringing a singular look at situations; […] The question of intentions is stronger than the question of the subject itself. […] I wanted to keep a distance from my characters, because in fact it was for me to make a film about their life today. What does it mean to age in a rural environment? What is their future? It was also a way of taking some distance for me, as a member of the family, to position myself vis-à-vis them as a photographer, professional, director, and not just as a granddaughter or cousin.

 GG: […] sometimes there are things that unfold that we hadn't even imagined. What Truffaut also said is a phrase that I like, he said: "life has more imagination than us" and this is really the case in the documentary. Often, we see that, and we say to ourselves “we couldn't have written it”, “she has the right phrasing”, “she just says it”. There were a few little movie moments like that with Michelle.

AC: […] Each time, these are extracts around the image, in the broad sense. […] In the protocol, I asked them questions about how they wanted to be photographed, what posture, etc. […] Everyone has interpreted the term image, which resonates with their own existence and the questions they are asking themselves today in the last years of their lives.


VIRTUAL GUIDED TOUR • experience total immersion

Stimultania offers a virtual guided tour, through exhibition views and extracts from the documentary film: the immersion is total. Far from simply viewing a slide show through our screens, the enriching content of this alternative mediation, matured over the past few weeks, follows the real rhythm of the exhibition presented in our premises, thus offering a faithful reproduction of the project.
Length: 16'14 ”.

The DVD of the documentary film Les Blanches Terres is available for sale. To order it, contact Ana Movies.

THE ARTIST IS INDIGNED • listen to the words of Amélie Cabocel

The project of White Lands is dedicated to old age, embodied by a close-knit group of elderly people living today in the Lorraine countryside.
The current health crisis brings to light questions about the positioning of society vis-à-vis the elderly in the 21st century. Amélie Cabocel, after leading a long-term project in the company of this community, gives us her feelings on this fundamental subject, which is extremely topical.
Length: 11'56 ”.


Amelia Cabocel lives and works in Paris. Her specialization in photography and in human and social sciences has led her to develop an artistic approach combining these two axes. Photography, video, sound and documentary cinema allow him to explore questions related to the body and the social body. His works are deployed around a dialectic of the visible and the invisible in the image and, more broadly, on the scale of society. His work has been published several times, notably in Liberation, and has been shown at festivals (Les Instants vidéo, Marseille, 2010) and various exhibitions (Maison de la photographie Robert Doisneau, Gentilly, 2016; Synesthesia, Mois de the photo of greater Paris, Saint-Denis, 2017; CCAM, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, 2018). Les Blanches Terres is his first feature documentary.