Thoughts of a film director and producer about our dialogue groups

During the Blue Angel Association dialogue groups, a little side space is sometimes reserved for neutral observers (professionals, students, etc), to show people how effective our work is and how real the needs it answers are, and also to start interesting them in Mrs Bennari’s methods. Here we publish the thoughts one of these observers wished to share with us.

Good evening Latifa,

I wanted to thank you yet again for inviting me to this dialogue group. I greatly regret that I wasn’t able to stay till the very end: I had no idea of the length of the exchanges and I really had to go to an appointment.

But what I saw made me understand why so many inmates had talked to me about your work with so much passion: nothing I witnessed there was anything like what I observed in prisons, psychiatric centers, or medical clinics.

Your very direct approach – without preambles, no false modesty, calling a spade a spade, intervening whenever necessary even when that meant interrupting, simply because you instinctively felt the moment was right to focus down, specify, guide – at first found me rather bewildered. But I had to accept the evidence that every time, through experience of course and, once again, instinct, you were always right on point.

You gave me the impression, I must say, of watching a funambulist during a storm, but such was your mastery that I never feared you would fall: soon, I was just looking to see how you would inevitably come out on top, to what point you would tenaciously get, as I understood that you always had a clear picture in your mind, and that you always knew where you were treading. What is even more impressive, is that the “regulars” of your groups seem to have taken exemple from you over time, and dare to follow your steps, and intervene in the discussion too without fear, at the right time and with goodwill – and they too just as instinctively. Maybe just thanks to their “experience”, but also, I think, to your kind influence.

The other thing that was to me unexpected (and welcome!) was the atmosphere, amazingly peaceful, relaxed but not at all jaded, that welcomed healthy laughs here and there, because it knew they can, when necessary, calm things down and soothe them; without ever, because that would be indecent, downplaying the importance and scope of the stakes.

To those like me who have had an interest in these matters for a long time, the strange simplicity, the strange evidence of these exchanges still leaves us necessarily stupefied and wanting to discover more.

All my gratitude, then, for welcoming me like you did.

See you soon,

Gérard X

Director, Producer