Saturday, November 15, 2008

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

We Turn In the Night, Consumed by Fire. FR (c) 1978 Simar Films. P: Gérard Lebovici. D+SC: Guy Debord. DP: André Mrugalski. DP: Stéphanie Granel. S: Dominique Dalmasso. Documentalist: Joëlle Barjolin. M: François Couperin; Benny Golson ("Whisper Not", performed by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers). Voice: Guy Debord. 35mm, B&W, 105 min. A Love Streams / Agnès B. print presented with e-subtitles in English by Ken Knabb edited by Tommi Uschanov. Avanto, Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 15 Nov 2008. Guy Debord: "On the question of stolen films, that is, of fragments of preexisting films incorporated into my films — notably in The Society of the Spectacle — (I’m talking here primarily about the films that interrupt and punctuate with their own dialogues the text of the spoken “commentary” derived from the book), the following should be noted:"
"In A User’s Guide to Détournement (Lèvres Nues #8) we already noted that “It is thus necessary to conceive of a parodic-serious stage in which detourned elements are combined . . . in order to create a certain sublimity.”"
"“Détournement” is not an enemy of art. The enemies of art are those who have not wanted to take into account the positive lessons of the “degeneration of art.”"
"Thus, in the film The Society of the Spectacle the (fiction) films detourned by me are not used as critical illustrations of an art of spectacular society (in contrast to the documentaries and news footage, for example). On the contrary, these stolen fiction films, external to my film but brought into it, are used, regardless of whatever their original meaning may have been, to represent the rectification of the “artistic inversion of life.”"
"The situation shifts in In girum due to several important differences: I directly shot a portion of the images; I wrote the text specifically for this particular film; and the theme of the film is not the spectacle, but real life. The films that interrupt the discourse do so primarily to support it positively, even if there is an element of irony (Lacenaire, the Devil, the fragment from Cocteau, or Custer’s last stand). The Charge of the Light Brigade is intended to crudely and eulogistically “represent” a dozen years of the SI’s actions!"
"As for the use of music, even though it is detourned like everything else, it will be felt by everyone in the normal way; it is never distanciated and always has a positive, “lyrical” aim." Guy Debord (1989)
Guy Debord: "The entire film (including the images, but already in the text of the spoken “commentary”) is based on the theme of water. Hence the quotations from poets evoking the evanescence of everything (Li Po, Omar Khayyam, Heraclitus, Bossuet, Shelley), who all used water as a metaphor for the flowing of time."
"Secondarily, there is the theme of fire; of momentary brilliance — revolution, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, youth, love, negation in the night, the Devil, battles and “unfulfilled missions” where spellbound “passing travelers” meet their doom; and desire within this night of the world (“nocte consumimur igni”)."
"But the water of time remains, and ultimately overwhelms and extinguishes the fire. Thus the brilliant youth of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the fire of the ardent Charge of the Light Brigade, advancing “under the cannon fire of time,” were drowned in the flowing water of their century…" Guy Debord (1977)
Print has ok visual quality but signs of wear. - The consumer society. The irony is more bitter here. The scorn on the family idyll feels strange. Debord's voice sounds more melancholy, old, tired. Robin des Bois. Bliss it was to be young in this city, but nothing remains of the Paris of my youth. Where are the young hooligan girls of my youth? Excerpts: They Died with their Boots On, Les Enfants du Paradis, Orphée. Rien est vrai, tout est permis.

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