Quelle folie, Diego Governatori

2 min

What Madness (“Quelle folie”), Diego Governatori

Diego Governatori directs What Madness (“Quelle folie”) a documentary about autism dedicated to his friend Aurélien who has Asperger's syndrome. A poignant film which immerses the viewer in this man's thoughts and inner world.

© Les Films Hatari

A perfect path

Diego Governatori, born in the South of France to a painter father and an ethnologist mother, moved to Paris to study cinema. After four years at university, he enrolled at the FEMIS (École nationale supérieure des métiers de l’image et du son) where he specialised in editing. It was here that he met Aurélien Deschamps, who was training as an actor. He chose this friend as the sole protagonist of his documentary, What Madness (2018).


A door into autism

What Madness is an unfiltered observation of one form of autism — Asperger’s syndrome — through Aurélien’s struggles, at the mercy of his own thoughts, words, and ideas. The spectator is immersed in his daily life, his inner world, even including scenes which could be considered indecent. But this is Diego Governatori's goal: to break the taboo surrounding Asperger's syndrome and help viewers understand what people with autism experience, through their own words, despite their sometimes-painful inability to communicate with others.


A long preparation

Aurélien once told me that his words were like wild animals stampeding around in his heart” says Diego Governatori. Thus arose the idea to go to Pamplona during the Festival of San Fermín, to witness the running of the bulls through the streets of the city, in 2013. The two men initially intended to make a work of fiction, but they found themselves frustrated by this genre, which was ultimately unsuitable. “The day I realised I had to make a documentary, I felt a release." admits Diego Governatori. It would take two years of editing to reconstruct the complexity of Aurélien’s sensibilities.


A universal subject

What Madness has received numerous prizes, including the Grand Prix at FIPADOC which is held every year in Biarritz. The rights have been purchased by France Télévisions. The documentary was also screened in Portugal and Romania, where it was welcomed by audiences.

The Institut français and the work

Diego Governatori received support from the Institut français as a recipient of a Louis Lumière Hors les Murs Residency in 2016, for his project What Madness. At the first edition of the FIPADOC held in Biarritz in January 2019, What Madness won the National Documentary Grand Prix and the Mitrani Award for a first work.