My Gleanings

Friday, November 24, 2006

Jean-Luc Godard Histoire(s) du Cinema 3 (a) Monnaie L'absolu

So here is chapter 3(a) of Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinema --- La monnaie de l'absolu as translated by me.
One note: The last few pages, a paean to the Italian language is written in the Italian language. I have set that portion in italics (thank you, Aldo Manutio and Francesco Griffo).
This is continued from Chapter 2(b):
Chapter 3 (a)
The Currency of the Uncompromising
it begins to be necessary
to draw
the attention of the governments of Europe
to a fact so small
that it seems those governments
have not yet glimpsed it
what fact
right here
a people is being murdered
in Europe
this fact, does it have any witnesses
one witness
the whole world
the governments, do they see it
nations have above them
which is below them
at certain moments
this aberration breaks down
is in the people
is in the governments
this barbarism, is it wanted
it is simply professional
what the human species knows
governments are not aware of
this pertains
to what governments
never see
except throught their myopia
the reasons of states
the human species look at
with a different eye
we are going to asonish
the governments of Europe
by teaching one thing to them
it is that crimes are crimes
it is that ir is no more allowed
for a government
than an individual
to be a murderer
it is that Europe is undivided
it is that all that is done
in Europe
is done by Europe
it is that
if a government of wild beasts exist
it has to be treated as a wild beast
it is that the hour that it is
quite near to us
here, under our eyes
they massacre
they incinerate
they plunder
they exterminate
they slit the throats of mothers and fathers
they sell young girls
and young boys
it is that
the children too small to be sold
they cleave with a saber stroke
it is that they burn families in their houses
it is that some city
Balak for example
is reduced in a few hours
from 9000 inhabitants to 1300
it is that
the cemeteries are strewn
with more cadavers
than can be buried
so that
to the living who hurled them carnage
the dead hurl the plague
which serves them right
we will teach
the European governments
it is that pregnant woman are being opened up
to kill the children
in their entrails
it is that there are
in public squares
heaps of female skeletons
bearing evidence of disembowelment
it is that
dogs in the street gnaw on
the skulls of raped young girls
it is that
all of this is revolting
it is that a gesture of the
European govenments would be enough
to prevent it
and that the savages
who commit these outrages
are terrifying
and that the civilized ones
who let them trespass
are appalling
the governments stammer
a response
they have already tried out this stuttering
they say
you are exaggerating
yes, you exaggerating
it wasn't in a few hours
that the city of Balak was exterminated
it was in a few days
they said two hundred villages were burned
there were only ninety-nine
what you called plague
that was only typhus
all of the women had not been raped
all of the girls had not been sold
some few escaped
they castrated the prisonners
but they also cut off their heads
which mitigated the deed
the child that was said to have been thrown
from pike to pike
had been, in truth,
only run through with a bayonet
et cetera, et cetera
but then, why had this people revolted
why a do not herd of men
let themself be possessed
like a herd of cattle
et cetera, et cetera, et cetera
this way to talk
adds to the horror
caviling public indignation
nothing more miserable
the mitagation exacerbates
it is subtleness pleading for barbarism
let's call things
by their name
to kill a man in a tract of woodlands
that is called the forest of Bondy
or the black forest
is a crime
to kill a people
in this other woodlands
which is called diplomacy
is also a crime
that is all there is to it
where will it cease
when will this calvary of this
heroic little nation be ended
then they tell us
you forget that there are questions
to kill a man is a crime
to kill a people is a question
every government has its question
we respond
humanity also has its question
and here is that question
it is greater
than India
England and Russia
it is the little child
in its mother's belly
the bible tells us
that before leaving on their journey
Lot's daughters
wanted to look back
one last time
and that they were turned into pillars of stone
now, you film only the past
I mean
that what happens
and there are silver salts
which fix light
no stories
when I invented stories
when I invent nothing
what these stories are about then
that of the battle of Borodino
and the end of the French domination
as told by Tolstoy
that of the battle of Bagdad
as told by CNN
the triumph of American TV
and its groupies
a German Erich Pommer
founder of Universal
today Matsushita Electronics
I will make the whole world cry
in their seats
can it be said that he succeeded
on one hand
it is the truth
that newspapers and TV networks
around the world
show us only death
and tears
but on the other hand
it is just as true
that those left watching television
have no more tears to cry
they have clean forgotten how to see
which story do we want
to suppose we are worthy
of the Charterhouse
and crimes and punishments
this is what David O Selznick
I want Del Rio and Tyrone Power
in a love story
set against the background of the south seas
the story is of little importance
as long as its titled
bird of paradise
and for Del Rio for a finish to jump
into a volcano
I was alone
lost, as they say
in my thoughts
I had a book in my hand
Manet, by Georges Bataille
all Manet's women
seem to be saying
I know what you are thinking
no doubt because
until this painter
- and I know this from Malraux -
interior reality
remained subtler
than the cosmos
the celebrated and colorless smiles
of da Vinci and of Vermeer
say first off me
and then the world
and even the woman
in the pink scarf
of Corot
does not think
what Olympia
does think
what Berthe Morisot does think
what the bar-maid at the folies-bergere
does think
because the world in brief
the interior world
connects with the cosmos
and with Edouard Manet
modern painting begins
that means
that means
forms which progress
toward words
most exactly
a form which thinks
that cinema was first made
for thinking
one will soon forget
but that's another story
the flame will be put out
at Auschwitz
and this thinking is well worth
a hill of beans
yes, I was alone
lost, as is said
in my thoughts
Emile Zola comes along
with his eternal camera
he concluded Nana with these words
to Berlin, to Berlin
then Catherine Hessling comes along
and forty years
and two wars after Zola
as if by chance
she took the train for Berlin
it was the co-production
with UFA
the last will be Quai des Brumes
but Goebbels will screw it all up
in his eyes
Michele Morgan does not have beautiful eyes
yes, alas
I was alone
thinking that there were still several
on this train
of 1942
one year before
the liberation of Paris
Albert, Danielle, Suzy
while the maquis
of Glieres was going to fall
despite the support
that the youngest of
the dames
of the bois de Boulogne
bore it
with a murmur
there were still several
and probably
I am still alone
imagining that one of the visitors
of these sad nights
of '42
that Gilles
no, not Drieu's
visited Dominique
mistake Anne
and asked
then, do we take it or not
this train of '42
and that their heart beat
beat, beat
yes, I was alone that night
with my dreams
still fifty years later
and they celebrate the liberation of Paris
which means that television
since all government has become spectacle
organizes a grand spectacle
but they don't even decorate
Guy Debord
and since French cinema
has not freed itself from the Germans
or the Americans
there will be no one to film
the doughty and gentle Claude Roy
whose seized the CNC
this citaldel erected by Vichy
and the waves regrouped
by Japanese cameras
will once again
will forget
to bury the dead
as the poet had done
that poetry
should first be resistance
Ossip Mandelstam
but, it is customary
to ignore the russians
all that to say
from '40
was there no cinema of resistance
not that there were no films of resistance
on the left, on the right
here, there
but the only film
in the sense of cinema
which resisted the occupation of cinema
by America
in a kind of uniform manner
to make cinema
this was Italian film
this was not by chance
Italy had been the country
which had fought the least
which suffered a lot
but which had betrayed both
and had thus suffered
in no longer having any identity
and if it regained it
with Rome Open City
it was that this film was made
by people not in uniform
this was the lone time
the Russains made
films of martyrdom
the Americans made
films of advertising
the English did what they had always done
in cinema
Germany had no cinema
no longer any cinema
and the French made
Sylvie and the ghost
the Polish made
two films of expiation
Passenger and The Last Stop
and a memory film
and then in the end
they welcomed Spielberg
then, never again
this always was
while with Rome Open City
Italy had simply
regained the right
for a nation
to look itself in the face
and along came
the stunning harvest of the grand Italian cinema
but the was one odd thing nevertheless
how had Italian cinema
been able to become so great
since all of them
from Rossellini to Visconti
from Antonioni to Fellini
did not record the sound
with the images
one answer only
the language of Ovid and Virgil
of Dante and of Leopardi
came through
in the images
language of the antique marble of a cathedral
language of the sword and the suffering of sorrow
language that calls from a tower at the sea
language of the sea which brings new faces
language of mountains exposed to all the winds
which speaks of white snow in orange groves
language serene sweet hospitable
language of labor and language for burden
in the market for cloth, jewelry and gold
language of barques and sea-side serenading
language of stars and smiles from afar
language ordered by a man from Florence
who spoke of the heavens to the architect
language new divine universal
our Italian language
language which speaks
of palaces and fountains
language of the inn with wine and prostitutes
language of charm in the courts and in love
language of love which is beatiful in feeling
language which sings along the Arno to the sea
ending at the sands of the American continent
language ideal, generous and sensual
our Italian language
and in an airplane
which flies over the tranquil Atlantic
over the polar course or that in the Antilles
a pink rose colored with blood
spin of the rose
pricks you and you are its lover
and a slender
who defeats in fashion
leads in a red auto
prestigious on the road
so mixed with light and like a headlamp
projected to the moon
the great Italian cinema
the great Italian cinema
language of opera
language of bel canto
which sings with violins
plays with its accent
language of space
and ended in English
of division is cold
and formulaic in French
language of peace
language of culture
of the international
language of mine, of yours
our Italian language

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