Deja Vu



Anybody who ever used a camera knows that the photographer is always present as a reflection in his own motif. A reflection that reveals itself in framing and in the way people in front of the camera react to the person behind it. But above all the reflection of the storyteller is revealed in the choice of motif. The very core of the filmic process is this choice. Out of a thousand possible filmic moments we always choose the moment that mirrors our own life as well ... because that moment we recognize. All the thousands of shots I have designed while hiding behind the camera are both a presentation of various characters, fictional as well as factual, in different landscapes over more than four decades, but at the same time they constitute a picture book of my own thoughts while trying to find a meaningful way through life.

Director's Statement

DEJA VU began years ago in my childhood home in rural Denmark when I did a dreadful act, that still reverberates within me. My father hung a painting of Jesus above my bed. Every evening before closing my eyes I begged the man on the cross to look after my family. When my family collapsed in spite of all my prayers I blinded his gift. I still remember the smell of the burning canvas and the shock of suddenly seeing checkered wallpaper instead of Jesus' eyes. Since then I have travelled the world with my camera to find new ways of looking at life.

I've traveled the world for almost half a century to make my films. Did I get anywhere? To answer that question I have thrown all of them into a large pot and boiled them for months to extract the essence of my journeys of discovery through a variety of documentary as well as fictional realms.

As a painter suffering from vertigo who in the autumn of his life spreads all his paintings out on the studio floor and with gouty legs climbs a tall ladder to view the motives he has depicted through time hoping all the paintings come together to a large painting of a man's attempt to reconcile himself with the timeline from young to old, from cradle to grave.

A personal tale of destiny told through the images I chose to focus on with my camera. The first and perhaps most dangerous image on the timeline occurred long before I got a camera when I burned out the eyes of Jesus on a painting above my childhood bed. Paradise lost. Since then, the rickety film director has been obsessed with focusing on how those in front of his camera try to keep their balance in a world that is constantly changing its mask. "

Director's Biography

Born in 1950 in Denmark, Jon Bang Carlsen graduated from The Danish Film School in 1976. He worked as a writer, director, performer with the groundbreaking Danish theatre group ”Solvognen” from 1971 to 1978 . Jon Bang Carlsen has published poetry, essays and a novel apart from his main profession of writing, directing and producing movies.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Jon Bang Carlsen

Produced by: Jon Bang Carlsen, Marianne Christensen

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2016