Economist Bernard Maris, a.k.a. “Oncle Bernard”, was killed during the Charlie Hebdo shooting, on January 7, 2015. This fascinating interview with him was filmed in March 2000 as part of the documentary Encirclement—Neo-Liberalism Ensnares Democracy. Frank and unvarnished, this is a true “counter lesson in economics” in which the director gives centre stage to Maris’ vibrant, incisive, and mischievous words of dissent. Maris strikes at leisure, unleashing hard-hitting truths that challenge the dogmas that are incessantly rehashed by the vibrant choir enslaved to the “science” of Economics. With his wit, eloquence, and erudition, and his prodigious capacity to distill complex issues and make the most arduous subject matters exciting, *Oncle Bernard* unveils his courageously original ideas over the course of the interview—ideas that are all the more precious in this era of intellectual resignation and economic austerity.
A word from Tënk
On March 8, 2000, Richard Brouillette set up in the Charlie Hebdo offices with his team: Michel Lamothe behind the camera (shooting on film, in radiant black and white) and Simon Goulet on sound. The scene is spare and beautiful, allowing all of the focus to rest on the words. Brouillette asks his questions and the economist Bernard Maris responds, taking the mechanics of global capitalism apart one hollow formula after another. The interview lasts a little over an hour and was left unedited, including reel ends, yells to nearby officemates to be quiet and other imperfections, giving us a glimpse into the reality of that ordinary afternoon, which would gain a whole new meaning after the 2015 attacks.
Brouillette presents us with a prophetic voyage into the backstage of a system whose survival, Bernard Maris reminds us, depends on its opacity. Prophetic because the sub-prime loan crisis was on the horizon. Prophetic because Maris rebuked the almost religious dogma of an ideology that attempts to cloak itself in science and truth. Prophetic because a hallway discussion with Cabu became the symbol of what was devastated in just a few bloody moments in 2015. Filmed in 2000, Maris’ thinking has not lost one iota of relevance. Watching it is an act of resistance against all shadowy and opaque regimes.
Tënk's Artistic Director