Sur l’Adamant

On the Adamant
The Adamant is a unique day-care centre. A floating structure located on the Seine in the heart of Paris, it welcomes adults suffering from mental disorders, offering the kind of care that grounds them in time and space and helps them to recover or keep up their spirits. The team running it tries to resist the deterioration and dehumanisation of psychiatry as best as they can.
One of the great documentary filmmakers working today, Nicolas Philibert’s approach has everything to do with getting close to his subject. Whether it is an individual such as the orangutan of Nénette (Forum, 2010), or a group of people as in La maison de la radio (Panorama, 2013), his observation over an extended period of time is motivated by a genuine and contagious interest in all that moves within a community. The question of trust is always central to a documentary filmmaker’s work and Philibert’s stance is perfect in that regard, especially for those who might have reason to mistrust their fellow humans. This gentle, enlightening film invites us to join the welcoming microcosm of the Adamant. In their company we may, as one patient suggests, decide in the morning to make sure that we will have a good day.
by Nicolas Philibert France / Japan 2022 French 109’ Colour World premiere | Documentary Form


Director Nicolas Philibert
Cinematography Nicolas Philibert
Editing Janusz Baranek, Nicolas Philibert
Sound Design Érik Ménard
Sound François Abdelnour
Producers Céline Loiseau, Gilles Sacuto, Miléna Poylo
Co-Producer Norio Hatano
Co-Production Longride Tokio

Nicolas Philibert

Born in Nancy, France in 1951, he studied philosophy and began his film career in the 1970s as an assistant director to René Allio, Alain Tanner and Claude Goretta. After making several short films, he turned to documentary in 1990 and directed films including the orangutan portrait Nénette which screened in the Berlinale Forum in 2010. La Maison de la radio featured in the 2013 Panorama. His documentary On the Adamant, about a psychiatric day clinic on the river Seine, won the Golden Bear in the 2023 Berlinale Competition. In the past 20 years, his films have been presented in over 100 retrospectives and tribute events around the world.

Filmography (documentaries)

1978 La Voix de son maître (His Master’s Voice); co-director: Gérard Mordillat 1985 Christophe; short film 1987 Trilogie pour un homme seul (Trilogy for One Man) 1988 Vas-y Lapébie! (Go for it, Lapebie!); short film · Le Come-back de Baquet (Baquet’s Come-back); short film 1990 La Ville Louvre (Louvre City) 1992 Le Pays des sourds (In the Land of the Deaf) 1995 Un animal, des animaux (Animals) 1996 La Moindre des choses (Every Little Thing) 1999 Qui sait ? (Who Knows?) 2002 L’Invisible (The Invisible); short film · Être et avoir (To Be and To Have) 2007 Retour en Normandie (Back to Normandy) 2009 Nénette 2010 La Nuit tombe sur la ménagerie (Night Falls on the Menagerie); short film 2012 La Maison de la radio 2018 De chaque instant (Each and Every Moment) 2022 Sur l’Adamant (On the Adamant) 2023 Averroès & Rosa Parks (At Averroes & Rosa Parks)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024