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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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Histoire(s) du Cinema Chapter 2(b) Jean-Luc Godard

Here is the translation for Chapter 2(b) of Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinema
the only
the true
chapter 2(b)
Fatal Beauty
Michele Firk
Nicole Ladmiral
(in Spanish)
You will feel cornered
you will feel lost or alone
will wish you had not been born
had not been born
but you will still agree
with what I wrote one day
think of it, think of it
as now I am thinking
life is beautiful I already see
as to weigh its sorrows
you have friends, you have love
you have friends
a man alone, a wife
turning each to the other
sound like dust, no sound
no sound
(in French)
you then
always remember
of what one day
I wrote
thinking of you
there was a short film
the commentary was spoken
by Jean Cocteau
it told
how a film was made
the voice said
the make-up is applied
I have entered covertly
all the stories
which now are mine
how do I tell them
show them perhaps
but when I was born
did I also
enter covertly
in the blood
of my mother
I wanted to be an engineer
I don't even know
if I succeeded in being ingenious
the invention
of the scenario
it is
a lowly book-keeper
for the mafia
it was necessary to put order
into the disorder
of Mack Sennett's
and Frederich Murnau's
and Karl Freund's
they had invented
the lighting of Nuremburg
when Hitler didn't yet have dough
to pay for a beer
in the Munich beer-cellars
les mains sales
to have or have not
and the American shot
framed at the waist
that was for the revolver
thus the genitals
but that was for the male
since the females
were always framed
at bust level
and deep in every
love story
a tale of wet-nursing
and it was a filmmaker
not a historian
Marcel Pagnol
who discovered the secret
of the iron mask
and at the same time
the origin
of the close-up
the face of the king
on the coin
and the camera-stylo
that was Sartre
who urged the idea
onto the young
Alexander Astruc
so that the camera
fell under the guillotine
of meaning
and it has not recovered
the night has come
another world arises
as if had been abolished
the vanishing point
and the strangest thing
was that the living
dead of this world
are built
on the world of before
their observations, their sensations
are from before
and the thing exists
only through the name I give to it
poor thing
and that I am
Albertine gone
for long time
I use to go to bed early
I say that
and suddenly
it is Albertine who is gone
and it is time which is regained
and that is because
it is novelist who is speaking
but were it
a man of cinema
if it was needed to tell without telling anything
for example
I woke up from misfortune
cinema is nncessary
for the words which remain
in the throat
and to disinter the truth
Be sure you have exhausted
all which is communicated
by stillness
and silence
oh my homeland
is it thus true
that is the way I imagined you
for so long a time
the end is the screen
which is only a surface
happy country, magical
oh beloved land
where thus you are
if an image
looked at apart
expresses something clearly
and it implies
an interpretation
it will not be modified
through contact with other images
the other images will have
no power over it
and it will have no power
over the other images
no action
no reaction
it is definitive and unusable
in the system
of cinematography
are merchandise
and films must be burned
I said this to Langlois
but pay attention
with the fire inside
matter and memory
art is like a fire
it is born
of what it burns
can we recall the time
the time in itself
as such
and in itself
no, in truth
that would be an mad undertaking
a tale where it will be said
times passes
it was running out
time followed its own course
history of cinema
never would a man healthy in mind
obtain this for a narrative
history of cinema
oh when
when did creation exist
freed of form
when oh, when thus
without destiny
where it was
and it is without dreams
it was not awake, not asleep
was only a moment
a song
a unique voice
not recallable
a smiling appeal
once, there was the child
one day, there was the creation
one day, it will be
a miracle freed from luck
a magic evocation
of a far-away and receding
such as beauty is
and that is why
it is also a relapse
into pre-divinity
and that is why
it is for man
a reminiscence
of something
oh, return to the native country
return of the one who no longer needs
to be invited
to restore the smile
where we were in another time
snuggling quietly
to restore the smiling embrace
the fullness of existence
of the awakening
or just before the awakening
impossible to restore the softness
where we buried our face
in order that our vision
would not be transformed
by a simple accident
where all was ours
when we were not jaded by it all
oh, return to the native land
oh, universal time
where nothing was mute
to the mute eyes of the child
and where all had been
new creation
oh, music
of the interior and exterior world
beauty, game in itself
a game that man plays
with his own symbol
since it is the only chance
to escape at least symbolically
the anguish of solitude
repeating still
the very beautiful self-suggestion
the flight into beauty
the game of flight
the despair of art
and its desperate attempt
to create the imperishable
out of things
out of words
stones, colors
in order that space be put in hard form
for the ages
and though the powerful of the world
built halls for feasting
and yet other halls
filling them with torchlight
and music
surrounding themselves with bodies
and more bodies
and with faces
and more faces
that also was
only a form of sleep
I say not an art, not a technique
a mystery
and, for its resolution
a simple magic potion
to light our
magic lantern
it also, isn't it?
the history of cinema
is also tied to that
of medicine
the tortured bodies of Eisenstein
beyond Caravaggio
and El Greco
correspond with
to the first dissections by Vesalius
and Joan Fontaine's
celebrated look
at the glass of milk
does not mirror
a Delacroix heroine
but Pasteur's dog
for all of Kodak's fortune
was made
with x-ray plates
not with Snow White
for yet
since it had wanted
to imitate life's movement
it was normal
it was logical
the the film industry
first sell itself
to the death industry
oh, how many scenarios
about a new-born
about a growing flower
but how many
about machine-gun bursts
because this is what happened
should have been invented in color
it existed
but there you go
at the dawn of the 20th century
the tecnicians decided to reproduce life
so they invented the photograph
but as morality
was still strong
and as on was made
to take away from life
all up to its identity
you wore mourning for this putting to death
and it was in the colors of mourning
black and white
the photo
began to exist
not because of engraving
Nadar's first flower bouquet
did not copy
a Doré lithography
it denied it
and very quickly
to gloss the mourning
the first technicolor took on
the same dominant colors
as funeral wreaths
and Scarlett O'Hara
will tell herself a seond time
that she will think about it tomorrow
of what
of happiness
because it is necessary to wear mourning
but by forgetting it
is it not so
but Madame de Stael
told us how
she wrote Napoleon
glory, sir
is mourning bursting with happiness
but for 50 Cecil B. DeMilles
how many Dreyers
but I can tell you nothing
which could not be said
of variétés
myself who is only an artist
of variétés

contimued with Chapter 3 (a)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Histoire(s) du Cinema -- Chapter 2(a)

This is a translation of the narrative of Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinema Chapter 2(a) as published by Gallimard. It continues from my post
Chapter 2(a)
Only Cinema
Armand J Caulliez
Santiago Alvarez
When you want
history(s) of cinema
and of television
that can come
only from someone
of the New Wave
the New Wave
maybe the only generation
to find itself
in the middle at once of the century
and maybe of cinema
is the agenda of the 20th century
it is the agenda
of the 19th century
but which is resolved
in the 20th century
the luck that you had
was to come
early enough
to inherit a history
which was already rich
and complex
and tumultuous
to have taken enough time
to see enough films
to have formed a personal opinion
of what was important
or less important
in that history
to have developed that thread
You knew however that Griffith
he came before Rossellini
Renoir before Visconti
and the exact moment
of your appearance
in a history
already apt for retelling
yet to be apt retelling
which has been told
we can say
but never retold
but there was yet
enough know-how
and enough passion
to be able to say,
to know that one came
before something
and after something
the fact of being midpoint in the century
like that
constituted its own story
to know what
was to come after you
the only chance to make
not because there were too many films
there were very few of them
and less and less
there were very few of them
and less and less
the historian of letters would say
there was Homer Cervantes Joyce
once you said those three
they would include Faulkner of Flaubert
they are very few
I would say ten films
One has ten fingers
there are ten films
my idea
that I can express
is the only manner
of making
of retelling
of realizing
I have a story
as much as I am myself
that there was
I would not know that I have
a story
it was the only manner
myself, I owe it that
that side always guilty
or cursed
as Marguerite said
she said
that I was cursed
the only manner
if one can
ever retell
a story
or make a story
and this never happens
they has been no history
history of art
quite a little less
by the French
not by the others
Diderot Baudelaire
I put immediately afterwards
Baudelaire speaking of Edgar Poe
is similar to Malraux
speaking of Faulkner
is similar to Truffaut
speaking of Edgar Ulmer
or of Hawks
Only the French
have made
they doubted
that they were part of a history
they wanted to know
what history it was
theirs in the grandness
the grandness in theirs
an example
for me
the grand story
is the history of cinema
it is greater
than the others
because it is projected
because it is projected
In a Moscow prison
Jean-Victor Poncelet
officer of engineers
in Napoleon's army
without the help of any notes
the geometric lessons
that he had been taught in
Monge's courses
and Carnot's courses
of the Projective Properties
of Figures
published in 1822
establishes a general method
on the principle of projection
used by Desargues
to extend the properties of the circle
to cones
and applied by Pascal
in his demonstration
of the mystic hexagram
so it took
a French prisoner
who was going around in circles
in front of a Russian wall
for the mechanical
of the idea
and of the want
to project figures
on a screen
virtually took flight
with the invention
of film
For the child
who loves maps
and stamps
the universe
is the equal
of his wide-ranging passions
oh, how the world
is big
in the clarity of bulbs
in the eyes of remembrance
how the world is small
one morning, we go off
our minds
all aflame
our hearts heavy with rancor
and bitter desires
and we go
following the rhythm of the wave
lulling our endlessness
on the finiteness of the seas
joyous to flee
a disreputable homeland
for others
the horror
of their cradle
and some of them, astrologers
drowned in the eyes of a woman
the tyrannical Circe
of the treacherous perfumes
to not be turned into beasts
they find space and light
and white-hot skies intoxicating
the ice which bites at them
the suns which bronze them
slowly rubs away
the impress of the kisses
uncommon luck
where the goal keeps moving
and, being nowhere
maybe anywhere
where man
whose expectations never flag
to find rest
runs always like a madman
we want to travel
without steam and without sail
being done
to enliven the tedium our captivity
passing over our spirits
taut as a canvas
your remembrance
framed in the horizon
speak, what have you seen
we have seen stars and floods
we have seen sands also
and, in spite of a great many shocks
and disasters not foreseen
we have been bored often
as here
the glory of the sun on the violet sea
the glory of cities
in the setting sun
ignited in our hearts
an unquiet fervor
to plunge into the sky
of enticing reflection
the richest cities
the widest landscapes
never hold
the mysterious attraction
which chance
makes with clouds
and always
gives us worry
we have saluted
false idols
with radiant gems
elaborate palaces
whose fairy-tale pomp
will be for your bankers
a ruinous dream
garments which are for the eyes
an intoxication
whose teeth
and nails are painted
clever jugglers
whom the snake caresses
and then, and then again
there is the projection
so I say
that it is the great story
because it can be projected
the other stories can onlt be reduced
this short poem by Brecht
I carefully examine
my shot
it is not filmable
because TV reduces
or it projects you, you
but one loses awareness
because it projects
the spectator
the spectator of film was attracted
the spectator of television is repelled
but we can have
a memory
of that story
but it is the great story
in order not to forget
the cardinal point
we have seen everywhere
without having looked
from the highest to the lowest
on the fateful scale
the boring spectacle
of immortal sin
bitter knowledge
which we draw from the voyage
the world
monotonous and small
today, yesterday, tomorrow
makes us our image seen
an oasis of horror
in a desert of boredom
is it necessary to leave, to stay
if you can stay, stay
leave, if you must
oh death
old captain
it is time
let's weigh anchor
this country bores us
oh death
let's cast off
if the sky and the sea
are as black as ink
our hearts
as you know
are filled
with full of the rays of the sun

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Alain Resnais-10 best films-Cahiers du Cinema-1955 to 1962

The following are a collection of ten best films of the year cited by Alain Resnais in Cahiers du Cinema from the mid 50s to the early 60s.I have color-coded some of the information which I have commented on at the end of the lists.


1…….I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini)
2...….The Wild One (Laszlo Benedek)
3…….Monsieur Ripois (René Clément)
4…….Okaasan (Mikio Naruse)
5…….The Overcoat (Alberto Lattuada)
6…….Beat the Devil (John Huston)
7…….The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli)
8…….It Should Happen to You (George Cukor)
9…….Touchez Pas Ma Grisbi (Jacques Becker)
10……El Torero (René Wheeler)

(no order)
The White Sheik (Federico Fellini)
Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray)
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock)
Prehistoric Women(Gregg Tallas)
The Barefoot Contessa (Joseph L Mankewiecz)
Gold of Naples (Vittorio De Sica)
La Strada (Federico Fellini)
Les Mauvaises Rencontres (Alexander Astruc)
East of Eden (Elia Kazan)
The Salt of the Earth (Herbert Biberman)

(no order)
Senso ( Luchino Visconti)
Il Bidone (Federico Fellini)
Rebel without a Cause (Nicholas Ray)
Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
This Island Earth (Joseph Newman)
La Mort en ce Jardin (Luis Bunuel)
Attack (Robert Aldrich)
A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson)
Der Untertan (Wolfgang Staudte)
It‘s Always Fair Weather (Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly)

1......Le Amiche (Michelangelo Antonioni)
2......The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock)
3......La Casa del Angel (Leopoldo Torre Nillson)
4.... .A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan)
5......The Forty-first (Grigori Chukhrai)
6......Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
7......The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Luis Bunuel)
8......Funny Face (Stanley Donen)
9......Sait-on Jamais (Roger Vadim)
10.....Love in the City (7 sketches- 7 Italian directors)
Les Amants (Louis Malle)
Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Kanal (Andrej Wajda)
Lettre de Sibérie (Chris Marker)
White Nights (Luchino Visconti)
The Pajama Game (George Abbott)
Dreams (Ingmar Bergman)
Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
South Pacific(Joshua Logan)
Une Vie (Alexander Astruc)
Tales of Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi)
Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman)
Moi, un Noir (Jean Rouch)
Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)
The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut)
Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks)
The Tiger of Eschnapur (Fritz Lang)
Head against the Wall (Georges Franju)
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock)
The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Karel Zeman)
1960 --- no list
Description d'un Combat (Chris Marker)
L’Enclos (Armand Gatti)
Lola (Jacques Demy)
La Morte Saison des Amours (Pierre Kast)
La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Paris Belongs to Us (Jacques Rivette)
La Proie pour l'Ombre (Alexander Astruc)
Shadows (John Cassavetes)
Une Aussi Longue Absence (Henri Colpi)
A Woman is a Woman (Jean-Luc Godard)
Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnes Varda)
Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinah)
La Denunciation (Jacques Doniol-Valcroze)
L’Eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Les Honneurs de la Guerre (Jean Dewever)
Jules And Jim (Francois Truffaut)
The Trial (Orson Welles)
A Very Private Affair (Louis Malle)
Vivre sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard)
The Children’s Hour (William Wyler)
Rene Wheeler was for anyone who saw Bertrand Tavernier’s Laissez-Passer the character selling shoelaces who about an hour into film Jean Aurenche meets on a Paris sidewalk whom Aurenche brings to Continental studios to co-write the Fernandel film he has been assigned. El Torero is one of only three films that directed. An earlier film of his Premières armes was credited according to the one user comment on the IMDb by François Truffaut with influencing him. Wheeler also collaborated on the screenplay for Rififi chez les Hommes which was highly regarded by the staff at Cahiers du Cinema. Wheeler also worked on some films that were disliked by those critics such as Les Salauds vont en enfer and Méfiez-vous fillettes. Wheeler would once more in the mid-60s figure in some yearly Cahiers ten best lists. He co-scripted Le Journal d'une femme en blanc with Jean Aurenche for director Claude Autant-Lara. Jean-Luc Godard rated that film third for the year 1965 and Jacques Rivette also listed the film.
Resnais seems to have had a taste for science-fiction programmers. The July 1956 issue of Cahiers du Cinema contains this notice beneath its Conseil des Dix: “If too few of our “counselors” have listed Forbidden Planet’(Fred Wilcox) for us to have it appear in our table, Jean Ferry, Alain Resnais, and France Roche recommend the voyage to you."
I am assuming that Resnais meant this film even though it is not listed as being released in France until March of 1957, three months after the issue of Cahiers that this list appears in and not the short film La Sel de la Terre directed by Georges Rouquier that had been made in 1950. At his time, the magazine did not list the director of the film when they published the yearly ten best lists.
The selection of these musicals would seem to foreshadow the later turn in his career.

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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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