(born 1969, France)
In Dieu eight Israeli men and women recount their memories of the specific moments that led them to abandon their Orthodox Jewish faith. The incidents are ordinary – the switching on of a light, eating hummus in a restaurant, dancing at a party. Mréjen is fascinated by such apparently trivial instances that have an irrevocable impact. ‘I find that in what people call the everyday or banality, there are hundreds of details which make everything and nothing’, she has noted. ‘It’s precisely these minute details which reveal everything that can be behind them.’ The frankness of the narratives is reiterated in the direct documentary style, as the interviewees confront the fixed camera face on. This confessional format and the measured pauses between each story heighten the sense of both humour and pathos as the implications of their decisions to pursue a lay existence – often resulting in estrangement from family and community – is disclosed.
Valérie Mréjen was born in Paris in 1969 where she still lives and works. She is an artist, film-maker and writer. Her documentary film Pork and Milk was produced in 2004. She is the author of the novel Eau Sauvage (Wild Water), and the texts Mon grand-père (My Grandfather) and L’Agrume (The Citrus Fruit) which are structured as a series of short pieces, each with a distinct narrative. Solo exhibitions of her visual art practice have been held at Tramway, Glasgow in 2000, Centre pour l’image contemporaine, Saint Gervais, Geneva in 2003 and Galerie Serge Le Borgne, Paris in 2004. An exhibition of Mréjen’s work will be held at Jeu de Paume, Paris in April 2008.