Love and Words

France 2007, Documentary, 45' | Director, Screenplay, DoP Sylvie Ballyot | Editor Charlottes Tourres | Sound Sylvie Ballyot, Emmanuel Soland | Production Bonneau

Ten weeks in an alien world: filmmaker Sylvie Ballyot travels in April 2004 to Yemen, to make a film about a self-assured woman who does not wear the veil, and who speaks her mind. After only a few days she cancels the filming, because the woman fears for her life as a result of shooting. Under the eyes of the police, Sylvie has to destroy the material she has already filmed. What should she film now?

The film initially develops into an essay on how the shooting failed. But then an affair begins between Sylvie and her Egyptian interpreter - an extremely hazardous infringement of a taboo in this strictly muslim country.
Unfamiliar images that hide the identity of the lovers give Love and Words a dream-like quality. This is juxtaposed with journalistic material: Sylvie asks some Yemeni women about their views on life and love. The interviews eventually encourage herself to appear before the camera and reflect on her wishes and desires.
Love and Words is not easy to categorise: it is simultaneously a film about a film that was never shot, a documentation about young Yemeni women, their realities and dreams, and a story about a forbidden love.
Sylvie Ballyot's short feature film Tel père, telle fille can also be seen in the "Quer Blick" programme of the "International Women's Film Festival Dortmund | Cologne" 2008.


SYLVIE BALLYOT studied film editing at the Paris Film School "La Fémis". After graduating, she began making experimental films: intimate diaries, essayistic documentations, short features. Her film Alice has won a number of awards, including the Audience Prize of the "International Berlin Film Festival". Sylvie Ballyot is currently working on the script for her first full-length feature film.

Sylvie Ballyot
Documentary, Short Film
desired! - film lust & queer