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TitleIntroduction to a True History of Cinema and Television
ISBN 139780981191423
CategoryArts - Film
File Size27.5 MB
Total Pages562
Document Text Contents
Page 1


J E A N - L U C



Page 2

The second volum e
in the caboose series
‘Theory and Practice’

Previously published:
What is Cinema?
by André Bazin

Page 281

P I E R R O T L E F O U 1 93


By Buñuel? No, not very many. The only film of Buñuel’s—I haven’t
seen his latest films, the only film I liked a little when I was a critic,
because he was somewhat independent. Something I like was that
he became deaf, for example, but I don’t believe, he can’t really be,
I mean it must be a joke. He can’t really be deaf, because in my
opinion if he was really deaf he wouldn’t be making the films he is
making in his old age. When you look at Beethoven’s final quartets
there’s a difference, you can believe that because of a physical cir
cumstance he no longer heard music the way people heard it in his
day and age. Whereas Buñuel's deafness is more social. The film of
his I prefer is the film he made with Salvador Dalí in the very begin­
ning, L’Âge d 'or. When you watch it today it still has a very strong
subversive power.


No, I haven’t seen The Milky Way, I can’t tell you. But I don’t agree.
On the contrary, I think Buñuel is more in that category of people,
and at times I have been too, who are completely behind the camera
and have no connection with the audience, apart from a so-called
‘cultured’ audience or cinephiles who place themselves in the same
position as Buñuel, or me if it’s my film, and say: ‘Oh, what a great
film, you must understand, I ’ll explain it to you’, etc. Three-quarters
of film criticism is like this, it places itself, it isn’t between—in my
opinion, film criticism can’t exist. But since it exists, it’s a heresy,
there are monsters. Meaning that it is not made for the audience—
the audience doesn’t need critics because cinema and television are

I llu s t ra t io n p a g e 191 :
to see only w hat can be seen (unsaid, unw ritten)
the atomic exp losion fro m the top o f the hill o f those w ho only
live once
the sky and the thickets o f those w ho fo llow the ru les o f the
game before the w orld w ar erupts
(photographs as X -rays o f sickness)

Page 282

194 A T R U E H IST O R Y O F C I N E M A

the only things it knows how to criticise naturally. Critics aren’t
between the audience and the person who made the film; they try
to put themselves in the place of the filmmaker as a kind of trade
union representative. And, because it’s usually not workers but
rather aristocrats who are behind the camera, imagine what the
union representative of an aristocrat speaking to the people is like.


You say to me: ‘still’ [encore]; I say: ‘I haven’t yet [encore] succeeded’.
This is truly the thing that interests me the most and that I’d like to
do but can’t. I see people in the United States who not only tell sto­
ries, but who must tell each other so many books, so many stories, in
a way so very different from other people, since I don’t know when;
for at least a hundred years they’ve captivated the world. They cap­
tivate the world just like a real live storyteller. Not only do they tell
a story, but they make people live it. It’s quite clear; there’s no other
reason Germany would place itself at the feet of the United States.
The Deutschmark is stronger than the dollar; German industry is
more inventive than American industry, the same for the Japanese.
But this is what is happening: the yen and the mark have placed
themselves at the dollar’s feet. They prop up the dollar even though
they could do something completely different, like 150 years ago.
There’s a history [histoire] of the United States to be written as an
empire of the story [histoire], if you will. This is striking in California
in particular, which is the most inventive place from a technological
and cinematic point of view. This is where it all happens. You have
the sense of being in a kind of empire which invents everything,
that there are thousands of very different stories. The least crime
novel—I’ve always wanted to make a film - except in the end this
isn’t what really interests me and I don’t live here - but I’d like to
find another story or not be dependent solely on that story. After
twenty years in cinema I still haven’t succeeded. The first ten years
pretty much ended with Pierrot le fou and then I started over with
the film you’ll see tomorrow, Masculin Féminin. This is a little black-
and-white film which already makes reference to television, quite
unconsciously. Today, after two times ten years in cinema, I’d like
to start to try to tell a story. But how and with whom? It’s hard to say,

Page 562

In 1978, Jean-Luc Godard improvised a series of talks for a projected
video history of cinema. These talks, published in French in 1980 and
long out of print, have never before been translated into English. For
this volume, the faulty and incomplete French edition has been entirely
revised and corrected, working from the sole videotapes of the talks.

Godard screened for his audience his own famous films of the 1960s
- watching them himself for the first time since their production -
alongside single reels of some of the films which most influenced his
work (by Eisenstein, Rossellini, the American directors of the 1950s
and many others). Working at the dawn of the video age, a technology
essential to his completion of the project many years later, as the visual
essay Histoire(s) du cinéma, Godard projected pieces of 35mm film in
an auditorium to approximate the historical montage he was groping
towards. He then held forth, in an experience he describes as a form of
‘public self-psychoanalysis’, on his personal and professional relation­
ships (with François Truffaut, Anna Karina, Raoul Coutard), working
methods, aesthetic preferences, political beliefs and, on the cusp of 50,
his philosophy of life.

The result is the most extensive and revealing account ever of his work
and critical opinions. Never has Godard been as loquacious, lucid and
disarmingly frank as he is here. This volume is certain to become one
of the great classics of film literature, by perhaps the wittiest and most
idiosyncratic genius the cinema has known.

When it was invented cinema fostered, or impressed, a differ­
ent way of seeing called editing, which is to put something in
relation to someone in a different way than novels or paintings.
This is why it was successful, enormously successful, because
it opened people’s eyes in a certain way. With painting there
was a single relationship to the painting, with literature there
was a single relationship to the novel, but when people saw a film
there was something that was at least double - and when some­
one watched it became triple. There was something different
which in its technical form gradually came to be called editing,
meaning there was a connection. It was something that filmed
not things, but the connection between things.

ISBN 978-0-9811914-1-6

Jean-Luc Godard


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