My Gleanings

Monday, November 06, 2006

Histoire(s) du Cinema -- Chapter 1(b) Jean Luc Godard

This is translation of Chapter 1(b) of Jean-Luc Godard's "Histoire(s) du Cinema". It continues from
Chapter One(b)
A History Set Apart
John Cassavetes
Glauber Rocha
"Be sure that you have exhausted
all which is communicated
by the stillness
and the silence"
Robert Bresson
Notes on Cinema
What has passed through cinema
and left its mark
can no longer enter elsewhere
but for me, first, mine
my story
and what I have to do
with all this
all this clarity
all this obscurity
sometimes at night
someone whispers in my chambers
I turn the television off
but the whispering continues
is it the wind
or my ancestors
history of solitude
solitude of history
the film was projected
and men
that the world
was there
a world
almost yet
without history
but a world
which recounts
but so that
in the venue of uncertainty
it establishes idea and sensation
the two great stories have been
sex and death
stories of beauty in sum
beauty, make-up
in the end
cinema is not part of
the communications
nor of show business
but of the cosmetic industry
of the industry of masks
which itself is
only a subordinate branch
of the delusion industry
history(s) of cinema
which through this returns to show business
it can not otherwise be explained
except that cinema
in its inheritance from photography
has always wanted
to be truer than life
I was saying
not an art, not a technique
a mystery
history of solitude
solitude of history
Assassins and Voleurs
the last film of Sacha Guitry
soon, each morning
he will no longer need
to go to the market
where delusion is sold
soon, he will no longer align himself
so joyously
alongside the sellers
I recorded this dictum of Brecht's
and I asked Fritz Lang
to speak it to Brigitte Bardot
and I called the film
At the very start
the story of two brothers
they could have been named lampshade
but they were named Lumiere
and they had just about the same reel
since that time
there are still two reels
to make films
one which fills
and one which empties
as if by chance
in video
they called the reel on the left
the slave
and that on the right
the master
it is because one last time
night gathers its strength
to vanquish the light
but it is from the back
that the light
will strike the night
most gently
as if it did not want to frighten him
that whispering
that man had already witnessed
a long time ago
oh so long ago
well before man existed
the whispering begins anew
a film projector
is bound
to remember the camera
and that cinema is an industry
of escapism
only because it is first
the only place
where memory is slave
heir of photography
but by inheriting
this history
film did not inherit only
its rights
to reproduce a part of the real
but above all its obligations
and if it inherited from Zola, for example
it was not l'assommoir
nor la bête humaine
but primarily from a family album
in other words from
Proust and Manet
And to go from the beginning to the end
of the immense book
of how man has violated
nature beyond hope
to sow there
the power of their fiction
to go from Giotto to Matisse
and from Madame de la Fayette
to Faulkner
less than one-fifth the time
would be needed than
to go from the first locomotive
to the one that became
the TGV
like Christianity
is not founded
on historic truth
it gives us a recital
a story
and tells us
now: believe
not, grant this recital
this story the faith which suits history
but believe
whatever happens
and this can only be the result
of the whole of a life
you have there a recital
don't become involved with it
as towards
other historical recitals
wie zu einer anderen
historischen Nachricht
give it a place
as no other
in your life
laß sie eine ganze andere Stelle
in deinem Leben einnehmen
that is to say
that cinema
that to say
that cinema has never been
an art
and even less a technique
from the arrival of the train at the station
or feeding baby
right up to rio Bravo
the camera never changed
and the Panavision Platinum
is less advanced than
the Debrie 7
with which Andre Gide's nephew
left on a trip
to the Congo
white shadows
will tell you
this is not true
but it should be remembered
that the nineteenth century
which invented all techniques
also invented
and that Madame Bovary
before being made as a porn cassette
had grown up with the telegraph
so not a technique
nor even an art
an art with no future
the two brothers
had straight off gently alerted
first, not even one hundred years later
we see that they were right
and it television has realized
Leon Gaumont's dream
to bring the spectacles of the entire world
into the shabbiest
of sleeping chambers
it is by reducing
the giant sky of herdsmen
to the height
of Tom Thumb
the Saints-Simoniens
he was named what, the founder
the Baron Enfantin
and if they dreamed of the Orient
they did not call it this
the silk road
nor the route du rhum
they will call it the railroad
because, along the way
the dream became hard and mechanized
and afterwards
we have badly misunderstand them
they said no future
that means
an art at present
an art which gives
and which receives before giving
let us say
the infancy of art
and this is the twilight of the 19th century
this is the beginning of transportation
in common
and it is the dawn of the 20th
this is the beginning of the treatment
of hysteria
it is old Doctor Charcot
who opens for the young Freud
the doorway to the dream world
and it was his to find the key to fantasy
but what is the difference
between Lilian Gish
on the ice floe in the storm
and Augustine at the Saltpetriere
but even worse was trumpeted
in the absence of God
not only had the gods
and God
but the splendor of the divinity
has been dimmed
in the history of the world
the time of the night of the world
is a time of distress
since it becomes narrower and narrower
it even becomes so narrow
that is not even any longer able
to accept
the default of God
as an a default
one or two world wars
will then serve
to corrupt
this state of infancy
and then for television
to become
this imbecile and sad
which refuses to see
the hole where it was born
and so restricts itself
to childishness
because this is what happened
at the dawn of the twentieth century
the technicians decided
to reproduce life
so they invented the photograph
and the cinema
but as morality
was still strong
and as they prepared
to remove from life
everything even its identity
they wore mourning
for this execution
and it was in the colors of mourning
in black
and in white
that cinema came into existence
are those mortals who
chanting solemnly
are intuit the traces of the fled gods
and stay on these traces
so tracing for mortals
their brothers
the way of return
but who
from these mortals
can uncover
these traces
they belong to the traces
of being often imperceptible
and they are always
the legacy of a summons
scarcely anticipated
to be poet
in a time of distress
is then
on the trace
of the fled gods
here is the reason
that in the night of the world
the poet speaks the sacred
Followed by Chapter 2(a):

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