P:O.V. No.1 - La Vis: film data and synopsis


Didier Flamand
(France, 1993), 19 minutes, b/w

Principal production credits and cast


Monsieur K
Madame K
Shop assistants

Man on fire
Elevator boy
Elevator Passengers

The man who falls
General Manager
Section head


Computer man
Didier Flamand
Didier Flamand/Pierre Alain Mercier
Agnes Godard

Jean Reno
Maïté Nahyr
François Berleand, Maurice Lamy,
Ged Marlon, Jean Valerie
Philippe Tessier
Lionel Goldstein
François Brossard, Rémi Burkel, Andrée Champeaux,
Eric Hemon, Paulette Frantz, Christian Gasc,
Olivier Hemon, Daniel Isoppo, Christian Knutsen,
Lautaro Rolando, Ronald Meanti, Pierre-Antoine Mudry,
Christine Paolini, Marie-France Santon, Lucienne Schneider
Fernand Gilles
Francis Lemonnier
Vernon Dobtcheff
Jean-Bernard Guillard
Philippe Besson, Jacques Nolot, Guilhem Pellegin,
Jean-Louis Staneck, Roger Souza
Jean-Paul Bonnaire, Georges Claisse,
Daniel Isoppo, Michel Musseau
Arnaud Carbonnier
Jean-Claude Beliant, Jean-Pierre Stewart

Awards won for LA VIS:

1993 Mention SACD du court métrage, Festival de Cannes
Prix spécial du jury au festival de court métrage de Brest
Prix spécial du jury au festival de court métrage de Villeurbanne
Grand prix du jury, Festival de Tampere, Finlande
1994 Mention spéciale au festival de Chalon sur Saône
Mention spéciale au festival de l'humour de Champrousse
Prix Georges de Beauregard pour le meilleur court métrage
1995 César du meilleur court métrage

As an actor, Didier Flamand has appeared in numerous films, including Luis Buñuel's Le fantôme de la liberté (1974), Marguerite Duras's India Song (1974), Claire Denis's Chocolat (1987), and Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire (1987). He has also had numerous roles in television productions, most recently in Claude Goretta's Maigret a peur (1995), as well as theater productions which include plays by Corneille and Sartre. He has also written and directed for the theatre.

Director's Synopsis

Mr. K is very good with his hands. He is kept busy building a UFO (in French: Voluntarily Unidentified Object). He was about to stick the sharpened strip of his screwdriver into a screw, when he realized there was no slot in it. How horrible and disappointing. After an unforgettable dispute with his wife, he decided to go and fight with General Administration of the State Department Stores of the Non Ferrous Metals...

Outline of LA VIS

P:O.V. No.1
NB. All of the dialogue in this film is spoken in non-existent languages, with some recognizable words (in German, French, English or Italian) thrown in from time to time to help the viewer keep track of what is going on.

  1. A train rolls past a solitary house.

  2. Inside the house, Monsieur K is constructing a non-descript object with pieces of wood he has sawed, when he discovers to his astonishment that every screw he has purchased lacks a groove in its head. His wife is dismissive of his complaints and denigrates him ("incapable!"), stirring her laundry in a huge pot with a broom-stick as they argue. He sets off to the factory to get satisfaction.

  3. M. K crosses a desolate field, in which a child is playing at a puddle with a toy boat.

  4. M. K arrives at an impressive complex of buildings - the Metallika company.

  5. Now inside the building, on the ground floor, M. K walks past a man demonstrating fire extinguishers and pouring gasoline on a potential customer ("aspersion totale"). At a nearby booth, a man rotates the crank on a kitchen appliance he is ineptly demonstrating, spraying potato purée on his own face to his onlookers' amusement. Yet another demonstrator, who has caught M. K's attention, theatrically shows how a machine reinserts pits into cherries that have been pitted. By now the salesman demonstrating fire extinguishers has set his potential customer alight and is unable to get the fire extinguisher to work; the man on fire runs up the marble stairs, as M. K - having asked for the screw department - now examines trays full of screws. He gets into a heated argument with the screw salesman and when M. K insists on seeing the management, the salesman stamps a pass and hands it to him.

  6. M. K enters the elevator filled with customers. The elevator man, dressed in an admiral's uniform, makes contact with his control center and gets his authorization to depart. The syrupy violin music we have been hearing turns out to be coming from a violinist playing at the back of the elevator. At the first stop - the music floor - a new passenger enters and stands next to a man who looks exactly like himself. The two repeatedly look at one another in wonderment. New passengers enter the elevator, including a boy who irritates everyone by blowing in a toy horn. At the next stop, M. K is pushed out of the crowded elevator.

  7. At this floor, another demonstration is in progress, which captures M. K's attention: a salesman paints a black circle, about the size of a man-hole cover, on the floor with a special substance which quickly dries. The admiring customer who touches the circle and in wonderment exclaims "Nich kold", steps onto it and falls through what turns out to be a hole.

  8. M. K re-enters the elevator which has now returned. When it stops at the next floor, where a row of steaming locomotives are waiting on their tracks, everyone leaves the elevator including M. K. Realizing he has gotten off at the wrong floor, he returns to the elevator and insists on being taken to the management's floor, despite the elevator man's objections. When the elevator stops at the next floor, M. K exits as another man, who has visibly just been beaten up, enters the elevator.

  9. M. K shows his pass to a secretary who hands him a card with a map, showing where the management is located.

  10. M. K mounts some stairs and asks for the management. When the section head quietly refuses, M. K begins yelling, showing the defective screw and insisting on seeing the management. The section head calms him down and leads him to the management.

  11. The section head and M. K are now in the office of the general manager, who closely examines the screw and then phones his designers.

  12. The designers, who are yelling and gesticulating, quiet down when the general manager arrives in their department, along with M. K and the section head. Confronted with the screw, the designers are angrily sent to fetch their drawings. When they return, the yelling recommences and the general manager tells them to follow him.

  13. Now it is the engineers turn to see the screw ("Gross problem"), and as the group examines it, the general manager, engineers, etc., all begin moving in a spiral fashion.

  14. The general manager and his now considerable following pass through a library and mount a spiral staircase to a room where a computer man is seated. He examines the screw with a magnifying glass ("Nicht kontrol") and with the aid of his computer, eventually traces the serial number on the screw to the worker responsible for its manufacture.

  15. Back in his office, the general manager looks out his window through a pair of binoculars, at the workers' floor below. Speaking into a microphone, he summons the culprit over a loadspeaker and laughs as the worker is sent up to see him. Turning to the designers and engineers present in his office, he holds up a small instrument and brags "Novo technologia". When he turns it on, everyone can hear the shouts from the workers' floor, as the guilty party is being sent up to the management. The general manager laughs, tells his following to come closer, and says "Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak", to which they obediently reply "Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak". Again he says "Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak", to which they even more cheerfully reply "Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak". As if timing the moment, the general manager now says one final "Tak" and gestures in the direction of the door, toward which everyone looks. Enter the culprit who is confronted with the defective screw and who - disconcertingly for M. K - turns out to be M. K's double. The worker and M. K exchange glances. With everyone's eyes on him, the worker tries to form a word which he finally gets out: "clou" (nail) and then laughs. The manager repeats it, getting it slightly wrong. Again the worker says "clou" and laughs, then shouts it triumphantly and laughs again. He then holds the screw up to the wooden wall, and with a hammer he is holding, pounds it into the wood. The manager, designers and everyone else (except M. K) turn to one another in perplexity at first, then gradually recognition comes and in excited relief, they laugh and repeat the word "clou". M. K, on whom this final development has a sobering effect, continues looking at the screw hammered into the wood.