Marcel . : Je ne voyage pas / je reve : .


[ ‘I don’t travel, I dream’ ]
  • a film by Tone De Cooman & Micha Pletinckx
  • year of production: 2005.
  • duration: 63min. (festival version) / 52min. (television version).
  • original languages: Dutch & French
  • available with subtitels: English, Dutch & French
  • digital video / stereo / colour / 16:9.


‘I don’t travel, I dream’ sketches a gripping, intimate and very personal portrait of the environment a group of residents of a psychiatric institution live in. During the course of a year a young volunteer in a psychiatric institution sets up a workshop with the aim of producing a stage performance with its residents. As time slowly passes both in and outside the institution, a dialogue begins to take place between the young volunteer and the residents. They tell him their stories as he tries to understand how they perceive the world...

‘I don’t travell, I dream’ is a personal and poetic documentary film about the making of a theatre representation and the world as perceived by the people behind the representation, where the difference between what’s normal and what’s not is just a question of perception.

September 2003.
A couple of young volunteers start, as part of the social-cultural project ‘The Blinded Space’, a small workshop in a Psychiatric Institution where it’s residents can come to escape their isolated enviroment.
At first the volunteers mostly listen to the stories, problems and desires of the residents, of which most already have a long stay in psychiatry behind them. As they start to work on the first preparations for a theatre representation their creativity starts to get stimulated. A dialogue develops...

Using the play ‘Les Aveugles’ (‘The Blind’) by Maurice Maeterlinck as a starting point, ten residents work hard at a representation about their lives in an institution. As time slowly passes in the forest outside and the hallways inside the building, using stories, considerations and conversations with the residents as foundation, the play slowly starts to take form. A play that is as vulnerable as its performers...


“The film sheds light on what it is like to live in a Psychiatric Institution. During the course of a year about twenty residents of the Psychiatric Institution La Cambre work at making a theatre representation about their lives in an institution. In view of a very personal approach a much larger story is told about how the participants experience the project and what life is like on the psychiatric ward. Always central to the story are the individuality and personal desires of the human behind the patient. In the midst of depressions, psychoses, addictions and the complexity of dealing with this, the emphasis is always on what their needs and desires are, on how they perceive the world around them. Slowly we start to know these people and learn that there’s a different way to look at, and deal with, psychiatric patients. By showing the small life story of a couple of patients a larger picture is shown of the life of (and with) residents of a psychiatric institution.
Time also plays a central role in the film, almost becoming, along with the institution building, a character. As much as the patients inside the building are ‘outside’ of this society the institute itself, with its long hallways, is a world on its own, with its own rules. At the center of this process is the gap between the dreams, desires and imaginary world of the residents and the reality that surrounds them every day. The documentary offers outsiders a chance to understand the mind and character of psychiatric patients and the residents to show themselves in a dignified way to the outside world.”

“Dans un institut. Des hommes. Des femmes. Des hommes-enfants. Des enfants femmes. Des gestes difficiles. Une vie en suspens. Bercés de rêves, d’incapacités actives, de mots inventés, de douces violences. Et dominant tout, seul sens à leurs vies, l’insatiable besoin d’amour.” (Anne Herion / Memento Mori)


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This documentary is part of the social-cultural project ‘The Blinded Space’, which the non-profit-organisation Marcel last year organised, supported by de Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie. The film was made within the framework of the Flemish Audiovisual Fund’s (VAF) documentary workshop, supervised by Roger Beeckmans.

© MARCEL 2004 - Contact Marcel / Webdesign NETLASH