ON THE ADAMANT
West Coast Premiere | France | 2023 | Documentary | 109 min | In French with English subtitles
Directed by: Nicolas Philibert
Written by: Nicolas Philibert
Produced by: Miléna Polyo, Gilles Sacuto (TS Productions), France 3 Cinéma
Cinematography: Nicolas Philibert
Film Editing: Nicolas Philibert
International Sales: Les Films du Losange
U.S. Distributor: Kino Lorber
U.S. Release date: 2024
Master documentarian Nicolas Philibert trains his compassionate eye, skilled powers of observation and detached perspective on the Adamant, a floating daycare center for adults with mental disorders. A barge moored on the Seine River, in the center of Paris, the facility offers counseling and art therapy through music, painting, craft, literature and cinema, and even hosts an annual film festival organized by the patients themselves. But it’s the creativity, wit and sincerity of those same troubled patients who ignite the screen with their genuine talent, passion, and as the filmmaker himself indicates, perpetuate “the poetic function of mankind.” On the Adamant was awarded the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
Documentary filmmaker Nicolas Philibert co-directed his first feature, His Master’s Voice, with Gérard Mordillat in 1978, then went on to write and direct a dozen shorts and television documentaries over the same number of years. In 1990, he wrote and directed his first feature-length documentary, La ville Louvre. His In the Land of the Deaf (1998) garnered a Peabody Award, among other prizes, and was followed by Every Little Thing (1997) and Qui sait? (1998). But it was his 2002 surprise arthouse hit, To Be and to Have, focusing on daily life in a one-room village schoolhouse in the Auvergne, that propelled him onto the international scene. It was screened out of competition in Cannes and won numerous prizes, including the Prix Louis Delluc, was named Best Documentary by the American National Society of Film Critics and Best Film by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, and was nominated for three César Awards and a BAFTA for Best Foreign Film. His numerous subsequent documentaries include Back to Normandy (2008); La Maison de la radio (2014) and Each and Every Moment (2019), all three of which were nominated for César Awards for Best Documentary Feature.