March 2017

When I met Christian Forget, one of the two protagonists of Regarding Gravity, his unconventional, lunar beauty immediately fascinated me. Since 2005, I have regularly worked with him as a life model for my photography. Over these years of collaboration we developed a real sense of affinity and trust, which was crucial to the making of the film.

When Christian told me about his plan to fly in 2010, it immediately struck me that this image of a visually impaired man as a body rising into the sky was charged with meaning. His unusual project was anchored in technical know-how and concrete activities, but it also involved elements of the imaginary and of fantasy. I thought that this story of a physically disabled individual succeeding, through perseverance, in escaping gravity, could symbolize a conquest of the improbable—an ecstatic transcendence of limitations. And it struck me that this quest should be made into a film, possibly because of the inherently kinetic aspect of both flight and the cinema.

Still, it took me several more years to find the form that this project would take. Christian often got caught up in rehashing past events, and I was not sure how this evanescent material could be transformed into a vibrant, embodied, dynamic story. It was only when Bruce, the second character, appeared in 2013, that I saw how a dense and singular film could emerge. Bruce delivered a stream of visions, gestures, imaginations, and almost mystical speech that intensified and illuminated Christian’s quest, repeating the motifs of ascent and the fall. Although the experience of flight was first and foremost Christian’s own, Bruce, in his own way, named that experience, imbuing it with an unsuspected poetic zest and expressive power. He helped to shift what might have been no more than a picturesque anecdote onto the terrain of myth.

The shooting of the film was often difficult, both in human and logistical terms. But in the end it was above all a remarkable experience and a rare privilege to participate so intimately in the intense lives of these two exceptional men. I believe that the film bears witness to the way in which dream, plan, the (re)invention of the self, and the will to believe can transcend the weakness of the senses and the limitations caused by disability (even, sometimes, to the point of denying the condition we seek to overcome). I wanted to avoid the sentimentalism and moralism that can ensnare work on subjects like disability and psychic disorders by presenting a story with surrealist undertones, combining the naturalism of “direct cinema” with an approach that allows space for wandering and play, where inspiration and desire take hold of the real.

Matthieu Brouillard