April 26, 2010


Article: "Explication Through the Trailer"
(of FILM SOCIALISME - JLG, et al.)

by Arthur Mas and Martial Pisani
English Version thanks to Craig Keller.

Godard, Kael,
Spanish Republicans, Stalin,
Dziga Vertov Group,
Bezhin Meadow
Mr. Arkadin, Mr. Hulot,
Gold, Gold,
Children, Animals

April 19, 2010


YOUNG PEOPLE, 1940, by Allan Dwan

April 17, 2010

Written on the wind...

"I travel through countries awash with blood..."


April 13, 2010

"Appreciates the physical-mental exercise of seeing of movies like these...," said the amateur boxer Pedro Rufino.

ANTIGONE (1991)- Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub

Charles Burnett: "Well, I think it’s being aware of (children), and also respecting them. There was an incident I remember where I was trying to tell this little girl how to drink this water and come over to her father. So I’m telling her, I sort of bent down to her level, took the water, 'walk like this,' sort of crouching down at her level. Then when I said action she did exactly what I did, she crouched down and walked over to her father. I said 'no no no', and I get down on her level again, did the same thing, and she did the same thing. I didn’t realize she was imitating me crouching down. I was just trying to get down to her level. So I realized it was my mistake and I stood up and said 'this is what you do.' So from that moment on I learned you can talk to kids like they’re adults and they understand perfectly what you’re talking about."

April 12, 2010

April 9, 2010

Innocence and Malice


"When from behind the board-fence he unties the shoe-strings of the policeman who is seeking him, one knows, of course, that he is doing it on purpose, but one is less sure of his intention when he steps on the gouty foot of the man who is persecuting his sweetheart. His innocence and his malice go hand in hand, and by means of his malice he reveals his innocence. When he arrives late at his master's house and submits his poor body to the kick that does not come; when, from his bed, he rattles his wash-basin and drags his shoes about the floor to make his master think that he is getting up, a divine joy fills us, for he is avenging us all, those who have passed and those who are yet to come. Through his resignation and through his vitality he is the conqueror of fate and of despotism. What does death matter, or trouble? He brings laughter through his suffering. The gods flee in all directions."

-Elie Faure, "The Art of Charlie Chaplin", Art of Cineplastics, 1923.

*Double bill tonight of BOUDU SAVED FROM DROWNING and LE TESTAMENT DU DR. CORDELIER at LACMA (thank you Ian Birnie and Mathieu Fournet).*

popular front

April 7, 2010

shot in the back

A recent work by former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, the great Emory Douglas. On the murder of Oscar Grant III, mentioned below. Like Straub's Joachim Gatti, a picture of a picture in the world.

April 4, 2010

Joachim Gatti (2009)


Joachim Gatti (2009), a new video by Jean-Marie Straub, is available for viewing online at the beautiful REVUE LEUCOTHÉA.

In July 2009, young French filmmaker Joachim Gatti was seriously injured by the police during a peaceful demonstration in Montreuil. A flash ball bullet hit him in the face, rupturing one of his eyes.

A translation of the video's text:

(Voice of Straub)  
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote:

Only the dangers of society as a whole trouble the philosopher's tranquil sleep and tear him from his bed. Someone can slit his counterpart's throat with impunity under his window; He only has to put his hands over his ears and argue with himself a little to prevent nature, which revolts within him, from identifying him with the one who is being assassinated. Savage man does not have this admirable talent, and for want of wisdom and reason he is always seen heedlessly yielding to the first sentiment of humanity. In uprisings and street fights the populace assembles and the prudent man distances himself: the dregs of the people, the women of the markets, separate the combatants and prevent honest people from slitting each other's throats.

And I Straub, I say to you that it is the police, the police armed by Capital,
who kill.


Il n'y a plus que les dangers de la société toute entière | qui troublent le sommeil tranquille du philosophe et qui l'arrachent de son lit. | On peut impunément égorger son semblable sous sa fenêtre; il n'a qu'à mettre ses mains sur ses oreilles | et s'argumenter un peu pour empêcher la nature qui se révolte en lui | de l'identifier avec celui qu'on assassine. | L'homme sauvage n'a point cet admirable talent; | et faute de sagesse et de raison, | on le voit toujours se livrer étourdiment au premier sentiment de l'humanité. | Dans les émeutes, dans les querelles des rues, | la populace s'assemble, l'homme prudent s'éloigne : | c'est la canaille, ce sont les femmes des halles, | qui séparent les combattants | et qui empêchent les honnêtes gens de s'entr'égorger. |
Et moi Straub je vous dis que c'est la police armée par le Capital, c'est elle || qui tue.


The Jean-Jacques Rousseau text is from Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (Première partie) (1754), Discourse on the Origins and Foundation of Inequality (First Part).

The English translation above is a combination of those of Louis-George Schwartz (readable here along with a short introduction to Joachim Gatti by Nicole Brenez: "History has not been told, socialism has not yet existed, capitalist terror reigns, the imperatives are pressing....") and Roger D. and Judith R. Masters (The First and Second Discourses. St. Martins Press. New York. 1964).

The still-frame from the video above is cropped a great deal; this in one last effort to respect the wish of Joachim Gatti not to have his picture posted on the internet.


The vanity of reason, with all its turning heads, about which Rousseau speaks here was, I believe, made into a painful film -- The Rules of the Game (among others by Renoir) -- and verbalized by Renoir in its most famous line: "The awful thing about life is this: Everyone has his reasons."

The "force of natural pity" I know well (not well enough) from the incident of police brutality I witnessed and wrote about here, now four years ago; it was an uncontrollable tensing and sprint toward the beating, not away; but I was stricken with reason at that moment (outnumbered, outgunned, unorganized, ineffective...), and given a pit in the stomach that doesn't go away...

Perhaps a purely physical manifestation of "natural pity" was filmed once: In Vigo's L'Atalante, Michel Simon cuts his hand with a navaja, lifts the wound to his mouth and Dita Parlo...


Rest in Peace Oscar Grant III, shot in the back while unarmed, cuffed and detained by Bay Area (BART) transit police in January 2009. The murder was caught on video, none of the police involved have been convicted.