Georges Perec 1936-1982
Récits d'Ellis Island, Part 1: Traces (1978-1980)
Duration: 60 minutes

Part 1: Traces
Part 2: Mémoires, 60 min
Produced by: Institut National d'Archives (INA)
Written by: Georges Perec
Directed by: Robert Bober
Sound: Jean-Claude Brisson

In 1978, Robert Bober and Georges Perec set out to in the search of traces of Ellis Island, that is, as Georges Perec put it, of "the very site of exile, the place of the absence of place, the non-place, the nowhere." They traveled to New York to film what was left of this "Golden Gate", nicknamed "the Island of Tears" by the immigrants. One of the objectives of the filmmaker and the writer was to gather testimonies of survivors who, as children, passed through Ellis Island. However, they also wanted to understand how and why they both felt that this place concerned them personally. As a result, Récits d'Ellis Island are more than a document; they are also a profound reflection on exile, wandering, and hope, as well as on the symbolic power of places of memory, contrasted with the ineffectiveness of isolated objects.

Georges Perec in UbuWeb Sound