Interview with Jean-Gabriel Périot


Gabriel was a HMI#8 winner with Dies lrae and We Are Winning Don't Forget


Since many of us over here don't have a good sense of European history, help us out. Tell us about the history/events/ Ideas behind Even If She Had Been a Criminal as well as your thoughts and motivation to make a film about the matter.
In France, and in some another European countries, just after the Liberation, there were some acts of revenge of the inhabitants against another inhabitants. I can only write about French people because I don't know exactly what happened in another countries even if it seems to be quite the same. So, in France, everywhere in the country, as soon as the country was liberated, there were violence against people supposed to have supported Germans. "Violence" is things like lynching, hanging ... And specially, women who were supposed to have affairs with German men were shaved in front of everyone. People wanted that they couldn’t hide what they were supposed to have done, and that they couldn't even hide their shame. The problem with that outburst of violence is that it's quite the same of the Nazi's one: without justice, without democratic lawsuits. Even worse, those women were "supposed" to have help, appreciated or loved Germans. After several years of war, there were much resentment, jealousy, hate between people, but sometimes for another reason that treachery against the country! So between the victims of that violence, there were innocent people. And even for the ones that effectively done prejudicial things, they had to be judged. And for the shaved women, there was something more, something about machismo. It is always easier to be avenged on weakest.


What do you think is the connection or relevance to the here and now?

I don't know. I have just the idea that to question the past help to better understand the present. Tortures and violence seem to be human invariants. In Europe actually there is like a projection of the extreme-right-hand side, everywhere, and there are more and more violence acts about "strangers", gays, women ... So, I can 't say that democracies are in "danger”, but that kind of scenes like the ones in the movie could reappeared one day.


Did you acquire the images/footage from the Internet as in past pieces?

Not this time. I cracked DVDs!

You indicated you were interested In the audience reaction here - what sort of reaction are you getting in France or elsewhere in Europe?
Two kinds in France: -Some people never saw those images. We learned about that in school but only five minutes (there are too many things to learn about World war II). They are shocked (in the good way), and want to understand. -Some others (very few fortunately!) say thing like: “well done. They nevertheless slept with the enemies." or some others things like that. Those reactions now, in our present, in my country, aren’t understandable. In another European countries, I don't know really. The only thing I know is that movie was selected in many European film festivals, so there is a interest for this story.


Are you working on anything you want to tell us about?

I will go this summer in Japan to make a movie about Hiroshima and the bomb.


Interview by Matt Hedt
Hi Mom! Festival 2006