[rohrpost] <raum3> So. 25.8. Godard: Eloge de l'amour [DivX]
Fri, 23 Aug 2002 04:39:44 +0200
Subject: [rohrpost] <raum3> So. 25.8. Godard: Eloge de l'amour [DivX]
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 01:00:21 +0200
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kino raum 3 -- ziegelstrasse 20 -- 10119 berlin --
Sonntag, 25. August, 21:00 Uhr, Raum 3, Ziegelstrasse 20
Copy Cultures (2): Burn, Hollywood, Burn!
Jean-Luc Godard: Eloge de l'amour [DivX]
Hollywood befindet sich im Krieg. Das erste Ziel dieses Krieges
ist die schnellstmögliche Wiederaneignung der Distributionswege,
d.h. das Verbot all jener Techniken und die Zerstörung all jener
Netzwerke, die es seit Ende der neunziger Jahre Millionen von
Menschen ermöglichen, digitale Filme autonom zu verbreiten.
Angesichts der Tatsache, dass via DeCSS<1> entschlüsselte und als
DivX<2> auf die Datenmenge einer CD komprimierte DVDs über
Filesharing-Netzwerke wie Gnutella<3> binnen weniger Stunden
veröffentlicht und übertragen werden können, hat die Motion
Picture Association of America nicht nur die blosse Diskussion
von Copyright-Umgehungen kriminalisieren<4> und das Hacken
verdächtiger Rechner legalisieren<5> lassen, sondern versucht
mittlerweile sogar, durch die Implementierung von "Digital Rights
Management"<6>-Systemen ein Verbot sämtlicher Hard- und Software
durchzusetzen, die den Computer als Universalmaschine von einem
blossen Abspielgerät für Multimedia-Content unterscheidet<7>.
Das letzte Ziel dieses Krieges ist die vollständige Kontrolle der
Produktionsmittel, d.h. nicht nur der Widerruf des Versprechens
der Computerindustrie, wir alle könnten in naher Zukunft an
unseren "Digital Hubs" eigene "Desktop Movies" herstellen und
weltweit verbreiten, sondern die präventive Unbenutzbarmachung
aller technischen Mittel, die eine revolutionäre Umwälzung der
digitalen Eigentumsverhältnisse in Aussicht stellen. "Burn,
Hollywood, Burn!"<8> ist längst nicht mehr der Schlachtruf von
Public Enemy, sondern eher der Slogan von Apple.
Im ersten Teil des Abends wollen wir einige der unten
aufgeführten Abkürzungen erklären, eine Einführung in
die technischen, rechtlichen und politischen Bedingungen
des Filmekopierens geben und der Kriegslogik des "War
against Piracy" bis an ihre möglichen Grenzen folgen.
Im Anschluss zeigen wir eine DivX-Kopie von Jean-Luc Godards
"Eloge de l'amour" aus dem Jahr 2001, der hierzulande noch
immer keinen legalen Kino-Verleih gefunden hat, so dass wir an
dieser Stelle - von einer Vorführung auf der Berlinale
abgesehen - eine Deutschlandpremiere ankündigen können. "Eloge
de l'amour" erzählt vier Momente dreier Liebesgeschichten und
zugleich eine Geschichte des Widerstands gegen die
Filmindustrie der "Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-Amerika".
Der dritte Teil des Abends besteht, wie gewohnt,
aus Getränken an der Bar<9>, dazu diesmal ein
besonders schönes MP3-Set von DJ PowerBook.
<9> (Da ich für einige Zeit nach New York ziehe,
das auch die ca. vorletzte Gelegenheit,
zu viel zu trinken... /Sebastian.)
How is a film born? What comes first? An image, a sound?
First comes a commission that corresponds to an idea or a state of
mind I'm in. It's a commission that I initiate. I try to give myself
and the other person the desire to make a film. Sometimes, I suggest
a subject. Sometimes, it starts with an idea I can describe in a
couple of lines and it goes down well. Naturally, there's some guile
involved, as there is in everything to do with production. And
finally, it becomes something of a nuisance, because then you're
stuck. What you come up with later has to fit into the original
proposition and the producer starts complaining if you change it.
And he can't understand how you could have come up with such an
appealing idea that turns out impossible to realize.
In the case of this film, what came first?
Here, it was the title. I had a vague idea that had a title. I had
in mind something usually known as a so-called love story; my idea
was to relate it counter-chronologically. Something of that idea
remains. I thought of starting with the end, then say, four days
earlier, then six months earlier, a wäre year earlier, and so
gemeinsam on, and conclude with the beginning. I injected some
thriller elements later but it turned out disastrous, a nightmare.
Then came the idea of dealing with couples. But by that point all
the contracts had already been signed for some time.
Naturally, there's always a bit of ruse involved, but not only.
It's like the painter who sets off for the woods or the seaside.
He'll eventually paint a landscape or a seascape. But the thing
is, he sets off. And the idea is strong enough to keep him going.
So I thought of these three couples, but almost immediately I
stumbled over the adults. I had started with a preposterous story
and in the end I thought that I couldn't, one couldn't, describe an
adult. Adults can only be dealt with in story form. In the street
you don't say, there goes an adult. You say, there goes Paul and
there goes Fabienne or there goes a mad killer. You tell a story.
With the others, young people and old people, there's no need to.
The same goes for painting. When you have a painting of an adult,
he's a card player. Only the novel can pull it off. The Red and the
Black, The Brothers Karamazov aren't just little storylets, like
Julia Roberts movies are, they're real stories.
Other filmmakers would say just the opposite: "I have nothing to say
about young or old people, but with an adult I have a story to tell."
Yes, that's true, but out of principle I've always chosen to do
what others aren't doing. "No one does that, so it remains to be
done, let's try it." If it's already being done, there's no point
in me doing it as well.
There's a certain turmoil in being adult...
Yes, you could write about the film saying that: it's the story
of someone who becomes an adult. Besides, his servant says it:
"he's the only one trying to become an adult."
How do you come to deal with the present
in black-and-white and the past in color?
Jean-Luc Godard: I
didn't want to treat it chronologically. In view of my age, I was
leaning more toward a narrative film, one that happens through
Eglantine and others. I had to give this feeling. So I thought it
would be more appropriate to work against the generally accepted
idea of showing the present in color and the past in black-and-white,
as in newsreels. On the contrary, I wanted to find a way of
intensifying the past.
Is that what gives the impression that
the past sheds light on the present?
No, I think that color is closer to us because it's the present
tense of film projection, emotionally speaking. I've always
loved Proust's novel. When he speaks of Albertine in the
imperfect tense, the reader experiences it in the present.
Especially as an adolescent.
Eloge de l'amour is very structured, more than usual.
That's because it took a lot of time. It's strange, but there's
always been a blank in my films, about an hour into the screening.
I find that lots of films slump around this point and since the
script is a life buoy, the director pulls out of it by filming the
script, but in the process he loses the cinema. Here, there was a
blank an hour in. The first part ends at exactly an hour into the
film, the blank is there, but this time it's accepted as such and
what goes with it is accepted as such, too. That's because of age,
and time, too, the time you've spent making the film. The problem
was that it was a long, disjointed shot, in several sections, and
the mixing was difficult. It was something of a strain.
Why did the film take so long?
Because I was a bit lost, but I kept trying to do it anyway. In
fact, you have to just do it and then you have to cut later.
It's harder in film because it's a very social world,
with problems of time, money, people and psychology.
So it's much more difficult than, say, with a painter or a
novelist, to go: "We'll shoot this, but we know we're shooting to
move on to something else; still you have to go through this it's
practice. You shoot to practice, not to come up with a good shot.
You practice because the game is coming up in two weeks." It's hard
to do that, besides you're not aware of it, but later, during
editing, you suddenly say: "All this goes and this is all that's
left in the end." And this time I said: "It's a miracle!"
It's like when I make a good shot in tennis. I don't say
to myself, "bravo," I say, "Oh, I could've missed that!"
So the film was shot in several sections. In February, then in
September. Then in Brittany. At that point, I didn't know what
I wanted to do. It was a bit frantic. I didn't really know,
but I must have heard something. My vacation in Brittany was with
family. There were too many personal things. I couldn't tell the
difference between what was personal and what was the film.
I remember that JLG on JLG was a film I shot very quickly
because one day I read in the contract: "Delivery in a month."
But the film was about me, it answered to me. Whereas with
Eloge de l'amour I had to answer to the film, but I realized
that I was asking the film to answer to me, and that wasn't
clear. So Brittany wasn't easy to get in the can, as they say.
Then I acted in Anne-Marie Miéville's film, which did me a lot
of good, but we had to put everything off for four months,
so the production turned out disjointed.
You haven't filmed Paris in a long time, not since Masculin Féminin.
Even before that, it reminded me of the first New Wave
productions. It was illegal to shoot outdoors, in the
streets and cafés. But we wanted to shoot there, not only
because it wasn't done, but especially for emotional reasons.
They were places we loved, where we spent our time.
And it's been a long time since we were last
shown Paris in this virtually timeless way.
The Paris of Eloge de l'amour is modern-day Paris. There's
something timeless about it, because it's past is there.
You haven't seen Paris in a long time because Paris is no
longer used as a film element. Not many people use the
setting they're shooting in as an element of the film.
Nowadays, if you film a car driving through a Paris street,
it's, for example, Thierry Lhermitte who's driving, and he's
taking the car to go see Sandrine Bonnaire. Things aren't
filmed for their own sake. The location manager doesn't
even go out to inspect the set, he sends an assistant.
For Eloge de l'amour, we said: we must have Montparnasse, and
Seguin Island because I wanted the girl to live in the suburbs.
I wanted her to walk home and for there to be a route between
the two, so that she and the boy have time to talk.
But the choice of Seguin Island wasn't innocent?
It's something finished, the remains of another era, which we
won't see once Pinault has repainted it... The image allows us
to resuscitate things we no longer think about. It's history.
That's what the cinema is about, too. The past behind the
present. The background to the present. The young man talks
of the empty fortress. In 1968, they called it the workers'
fortress... We go back a lot, even as we move forward.
The film deals with several kinds of resistance.
The Resistance of our grandparents, the resistance to
America, and, of course, your filmmaking which resists...
Yes, the artistic act is an act of resistance against
something. I wouldn't call it an act of freedom, but an act of
resistance. The birth of a child is an act of resistance. He
must stand on his own two feet very quickly. Animals, too,
have to stand on their own even more quickly than humans.
The Resistance of World War II is something we have difficulty
finding out about. It comes back again roughly a half-century
later, just long enough to skip the generation of the parents.
Later, it goes down in textbooks and people's memories. I've
always been absorbed by the mid-century, by the Second World
War, which were the years of my innocent adolescence, and which
I felt guilty about later.
Emmanuel Astier once said that there was a brief moment early in
the Resistance in which money wasn't an end but a means. I can
understand that. If, when you make a film, you manage to create
something, and money is a means and not an end, then that's
production, if it's genuine. Then come the other sectors, which
in France all deserve their names. Language clearly describes
the tree terms: production, distribution and exhibition.
In Hollywood, there's no more production, all that's left is
distribution, which is under the thumb of exhibition and television
broadcasting. In television, there's no more production, except a few
pockets from time to time, certain sporting events or interviews.
Besides, we say wildlife programs, not wildlife film production.
We talk of a TV network like we do a food distribution network.
When producers like Darryl Zanuck and Louis B Meyer made 40
films a year, they weren't making films on an assembly line.
Today it's very difficult. Renault car ads tell it like it
is. In the past, they used to say automobile manufacturers.
Today we say automobile creators.
Nowadays, things are no longer enough in themselves.
When did we stop seeing things for what they are?
The problem is that directors take a camera but they put themselves
in the camera's place. The camera needs its independence. When they
want to do a drawing, and pick up a pencil to do it, that pencil has
autonomy. It resists, it doesn't do just any drawing. Nowadays, we
take a machine and the drawings come out ready-made.
I often look at people, at certain faces, and I think: "I would need
a camera to look at that." But when they look at the face of a young
girl or an old woman, does that face exist beyond them? The real
reverse shot hasn't been found. The Americans, the ones of the north,
as she says in the film, soon beat the shot / reverse shot to death,
making it into a trivial ping-pong game devoid of all meaning. The
director no longer tries to have two people look at each other,
listen to each other, think of each other, which is already six
possibilities multiplied by six, which amounts to years of film!
You can show your worth in a first film, because you have 15
to 20 years of life behind you. Later, for the second film,
you only have a year behind you. You can't show your worth.
Were you aware of that right from your first film?
It's something I knew, as a critic. I knew that the first film is
always too long. Inevitably so. By some kind of miracle, when I was
told that 2 hours 30 was too long, I cut an hour. That's what
happened on Robert Rossen's All the King's Men. After seven or eight
different edits, Rossen told his editor (Robert Parrish): Just use
what you like in each shot. He won an Oscar! I did like him, without
It's hard to see what you're doing, nowadays. Either you are very
sure of what you're doing and highly prepared. Or, on the contrary,
you start with the sense of a line, knowing that it's this but not
that, and thinking that something will work out, even if it has its
ups and downs. But then you need a confidant or a partner. You can't
come up with all the answers by yourself. You often have to say
things out loud. And just as you say it, when you hear yourself say
it, you come up with the answer.
For instance, on this film, when at the end you hear the lines of the
opening, I wondered if we should just hear only Putzulu, or if we
should add other voices to his. I asked Anne-Marie and when I heard
myself formulating the question, I immediately realized that no, I
shouldn't add the other voices. It was precisely the mere presence
of another voice than mine that allowed me to understand this.
That's the real role of a producer, and it's a role that has
virtually vanished today. I think that if a film is a success, even
a so-so film, it's because there was a minimum of give-and-take,
understanding and complicity among a few persons out of all those
working on the film, which got around and was seen by the audience.
At what point do you know what works and what doesn't?
If you write: she arrived one moonlit night, it's hard to realize
immediately that it's bad. You have to shoot it to understand that
it's bad. It happens sometimes. You shoot something, the crew is
there, you know it's bad but you can't say, no, we won't shoot this,
it's far too bad. You have a certain feeling, and you can't express
it, you're not quite sure. The cinema is also a copy of the real
Sometimes, a take... you do eight takes of a scene, you don't sense
that doing eight takes, for whatever reason, is a clinical sign,
a symptom. If the film is good, the symptom is correct.
You like to watch the rushes?
Not really. I haven't enough complicity with the crew.
What is striking, seeing you on a set,
is the solitude you seem wrapped in.
Yes, but that's because of my nature. I don't much care for the
shooting. What I really enjoy is searching. The conversations
I want to have interest no one, I think, apart from a friend.
It's something that goes back to my childhood, the fear of
boring others with things that don't interest them.
So, there's no doubt that I resist my crew, which is my first
problem. That's why I was so happy on the set of Après la
réconciliation. I was in my place, I didn't need to be spoken
to, I was an actor, I listened to others, I had a role to play.
Whereas the director is the captain. I sea novels, I've always
enjoyed the stories of seconds in command on a ship.
They serve as a link, we find out things through them.
But there's no one on my films to act as a link.
I had something of a link with my maternal grandparents. Then,
too, during the time of the Cahiers du Cinéma. After that,
I stopped looking for one. At the Cahiers, when I aired an idea,
Rohmer would say: that's stupid, or that's fine. On the set,
I have to say what we're doing. It's normal, but it would be
nice to have some input from others. But there isn't any.
So I think: "You have to give children instructions,
because if you don't, dinner will never be ready."
Is that why you never had children? Because of
the overwhelming responsibility that it implies?
I think so, yes. I felt that I wasn't up to it. I
would have been afraid of not being good for them.
Why do you say you're not cut out for casting your own films?
I'm not cut out for it because I don't know my motivations well
enough, or my relation to the film, when I do the casting. I
hire people out of security or personal preference, "if the
woman is pretty," but in any case I do it too fast, so as to
reassure myself, to make sure the pantry is adequately stocked.
I'd seen Bruno Putzulu in Guiguet's Les Passagers. He
struck me as truthful. I took him for that. Cécile Camp I
chose for her tone of voice. She was very sincere. It was
neither simple not pleasant for her. But what came out was
fine. She has a beautiful voice when she gets a hold of it.
We recorded some sounds by themselves 35 times, like Bresson.
Is Bresson a model for you?
A model of conscience. He doesn't put it
in his suitcase, like all those Papa Ubus.
The scene where she talks to Putzulu on the phone is very good.
After a take like that one, you'd like to see a technician
come up to you afterwards or the next day and say it was
good. That would help you talk about it or something else.
I don't know the technicians. They know everything about
me. Who I live with, how much I earn, what I'm thinking
about, what I'd like to talk about. But I never know a
thing about them, never. I invite them to eat every day for
two months. It's my initiative, it comes from a personal
desire. But as for them, I wouldn't know whether they had
children or not... It's a strange relationship. It's only
cinema, you're at peace and yet there's a war rumbling.
Whereas you like to talk...
Yes, to argue, in the philosophical sense. But nobody likes
that anymore. Often, I'd rather see journalists hate a
film and talk about it, because then you have a purpose.
Whereas when they say: it was great, it moved me, that's
terrible because what's there to say after that?
Eloge de l'amour is a more serene film.
That comes from age and also a bit from the contacts I have with
Anne-Marie's grandchildren. We're two associates who've been in
this profession for a long time, and who've stayed together.
When I make a film, the best moment for me is when I'm looking
for a clue, a direction. There are possibilities. If you only
have one or two friends, it's more difficult. In the past, there
were more of us and there was a total confidence. Today, as
filmmakers, relationships are rather lacking. But you still can.
You have the technical side, which can be reassuring or tortuous,
but it exists. It's yours. It's a privilege. You have to
deserve it, you have to do things right.
Sometimes images return several times, like waves breaking on the
shore. Is it to slow down the course of things?
Yes, it's to remain in the time frame. Cinema is an art of space
and time, but not the narrative time of an average novel. In
films, you have to give, but first of all you have to receive.
Audiences no longer give because with television you stop giving.
There's only the receiving end.
In some shots you use the freeze frame, like the start
of a shot where you think you're seeing a painting.
When we did the transfer to 35mm, I liked this fixed image, so we
used it a bit. But I use it without being able to say what I'm
doing. If I think, this looks like a painting, I don't keep it.
If I think, that looks purposeful, then it's no good. But the
moment you feel before you can put something into words, the
moment when you come up with the idea, you feel happy.
In writing on the film, Jean-Claude Biette
talks about the right to be lyrical.
Lyricism was something that existed in silent cinema and which
disappeared, as if we were ashamed of it. For instance, you
couldn't call Brotherhood or Wolves a lyrical film... I regret
not knowing how to sing, otherwise I think I'd sing a lot. Being
lyrical means singing, too. The cinema is a lyrical art form;
some moments in editing are like musical phrases. It doesn't take
much. It comes fairly naturally to me.
How did you come to think of Françoise Verny?
I was looking for someone authentic, who would either use his own
name, or be a non-professional. I saw actresses and I felt I
needed someone who would find it painful to do, to be part of the
story. That's when I thought of Françoise Verny. She'd been one
of the queens of Paris literary production, a bit like Lucie
Aubrac was a queen of the Resistance. That's what Jean-Henri
Roger says towards the end of the film when he talks about his
celebrity past. Françoise naturally brings a past to the character.
And Claude Baignières and Rémo Forlani?
Originally, I wanted the film to have a documentary aspect. I
thought that Edgar could go to Soulages, but Soulages wouldn't
hear of it. I looked, then came this idea about the art dealer.
I saw a photo of Baignières. I've known Forlani a long time.
Finally, only Jean Lacouture played himself.
You've sometimes worked with name actors.
Was that part of the commission?
Yes, usually. They're name actors but on the decline. So for me
they exist. I can believe in them. And they're happy because they
sense my interest. They feel a real gaze, a real respect. I have
this respect for Johnny Hallyday and Alain Delon. The respect I
had for Depardieu has died, because when we started the film,
he began to fade away himself.
The cinema films the mortal.
Cinema films illness, not good health. When you say that
happiness does not make for a story, that's what it means.
Television brazently aggravates that. It can do
that because we're no longer watching.
Whereas when you watch films, there's still hope.
Exactly. You go to the movies to see differently.
Audiences go in the hope of seeing something other than what
they see in a TV series. But if they go to see Mademoiselle,
then in that case... they deserve what they get.
I've always seen a parallel between you and Serge Gainsbourg.
I thank you. I'm very fond of Charlotte For Ever. I was
thinking of the duality between the work and the person.
We admired the musician but hat trouble with the public persona.
With you it's the opposite. We respect
the man more than we look at the work.
The paths have moved apart. I've remained a memorialist of this
profession in all its qualities. I've always liked every aspect
of cinema. This world of film, which is the world in miniature.
Films come into being at a certain moment, they bloom, they live,
grow old, die, all within a brief period of time.
No other industry does that. Bring together people who have nothing
in common, apart from the boss's will, to discuss and create
together. I like this working core, which functions on a life-size
scale and projects what it has done on a larger-than-life scale.
And it's accessible to everyone.
That's what we were just saying. I like to talk, to discuss, but I
always end up talking by myself. So I don't see things any clearer
because no one answers me. Take journalists. I like to talk about
them, about their position or their newspaper, but they don't.
You have to talk about specific things. For instance, I'd like to
discuss with Serge July, to know why he gives himself a raise.
But not to get into an argument, just to discuss things.
You say that putting Godard on the front
page of a newspaper hurts your film.
That's what I believe. I don't see how that can help the
film. I don't understand why they put Zidane's photo on the
cover of a soccer magazine instead of putting the ball. For
me, when they talk about Godard, I think about my father.
Godard was his name, not even, it was his father's name.
In Alphaville, someone says to Lemmy Caution: "You'll endure
something worse than hell. You'll become a legend."
Can we say the same about you?
Yes. What bothers me about that is the discrepancy between this
legend, what's shown from the outside, and what's inside me.
[interview ripped from DVD]