quinta-feira, 10 de maio de 2018

CANNES 2018 // From Eisenschitz to Godard: a letter

Dear Jean-Luc,
Thank you for your invitation to see The Image Book (...)
You have recreated pictorial matter from various sources and formats. Deformed, re - colorized, enlarged by the grain, and re - framed.
Blocked all seduction of images, text also, stuttering, quavering, interrupted, covered up.
In the constant interruptions, being split between what is represented and the machine of the cinematograph, with its unspooling, its p erforations, its decomposition. Rediscovering discontinuity by digital means.
The beautiful and accurate definition of counterpoint gives a key.
Waves, flames, bombardments, armies, history and the world as a thundering spectacle à la Dovzhenko, or Vidor.
A great symphonic surge. But not to tell as story. Not longer truly ‘cinema’. As per the first reader of Moby Dick (according to Giono):
- This is not a book 
 - No, said Melville.
This is not something to make you popular, in the face of digital, digita l that shows all, and nothing behind. ( I experienced this on Vigo ’s films , and hope to have avoided it in the end) .
That’s assuming that what you say is heard. That is what is astonishing in your film.
“It is becoming necessary to draw attention,” in fact. But it hasn’t been shown like this; said, occasionally, with Victor Hugo’s “ government of wild beasts.”
Marx invented remakes with his Louis - Napoleon . History repeats itself, but here, not as farce. Moral errors get confused with crimes of the States. There are criminals who exist only because of war. Humanity is destroying itself . For years now, war has been everywhere, more and more literally, in the sense of Goya or Joseph de Maistre’s (this is how we explain the presence of the latter). Habituation follows.
To say that The Image Book is an act of courage, that it is unprecedented, is a platitude. But this is the feeling that keeps coming back to me.
It is true, as the young people who write to you in Lundi matin say, that you are the only one who, etc... (They don't know how right they are, I’m curious for them to see this one ).
You have always been “in” history, since you consider that that is what cinema should serve.
From Histoire(s) on, this was what it was always about, first and foremost, more than cinephilia telling its little stories (not bad!)
This time the matter itse lf, is history.
In fact you’re not turning away from cinema, it’s simply no longer a dominant love.
It is as useful as the printing type case from which Fuller’s illiterate typesetter finds the characters, at top speed.
And you, you keep the character, the hieroglyph of which Eisenstein dreamed. (He too, his three apparitions are magnificent: the owl, the hands on the bible and the Teutonic knight. He wanted to build his cathedral of the Arts, all by himself. His resistance was already that of hope, and his solitude too)
You find all the images in films, and shabby newsreels. It’s only justice. All the better if Ridley Scott serves to fill a printing type case.
And to not have turned your back on cinema, the two long shots from Le plaisir suffice, where we s ee moving bodies, giving a definition of precisely that.
Thought evolves through images and sound ("a thought / will come / to be continued"), as in a collage a friend had made using texts from the screen of Histoire(s).
It is a bloc, and it is articulated like the five fingers... another one of these things I didn’t understand on paper.
Lastly, even if the re - uses of Histoires are what I am least curious about - one doesn’t change his handwriting - I very much like the idea of immortality throu gh liquid films, from Vertigo to Ruby Gentryby way of The River .
And the peaceful moments of a happy Arabia where I see something of Barnet’s joy: sunset, a boat on the glittering sea, the banal corners of the Maghreb playing for the whole of Arabia, the Arabia we have behind our eyes.
Again, thank you.
Warm regards,
Bernard Eisenschitz   

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