Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I must not talk during classes - another ground rule?

In 1973, together with Anne-Marie Miéville, Godard established a company with the name of Sonimage and locked himself away from the mainstream in the Swiss town of Rolle. The projects of the duet explored technological possibilities of the new medium, but simultaneously took up existing media preconditions. Experiments such as slow motions, fading and split screen overstepped the technological possibilities of reportage, which was a form very often employed by Miéville and Godard. The choice of topics was equally innovative. In France tour détour deux enfants, which was their second attempt at television, two small children and the documentation of their everyday life are used as a way of investigating the reality of France of the late ‘70s. Constructed as twelve, half-hour programmes to be screened daily over a period of two weeks, the series opens with a word “verite” (eng. truth). An image of girl’s face appears soon after; it’s late evening and she sits on a bed in her room. Godard is interviewing her and long pauses in her responses seem to testify to the unscripted character of the conversation. The breaks also allowed a spectator, who most probably sat in front of a TV in his living room, to take an active role in this dialogue that resembles a psychoanalytical session. The following questions are asked:

Jean Luc Godard:

(...) Remember how last time we talked about existing? 
You’re still sure you have an existence? 
Just one, not several? 
Quite sure? (...)
What did you see in the mirror?
And your image – is that you or someone else? 
Does the “me” you see exist somewhere else? 
Does the image have an existence too? (...) 
You are not double? What would you call it? 
An image of you or your image? 

France tour détour deux enfants, mouvment 1, Jean-Luc Godard, 1979

The word “verite” becomes even more inappropriate once a spectator reads the memoires of a small girl who played in the series. Having read an interview with the young girl published few years after the completion of the TV series, one may get an impressionn that though Camille Virolleaud was portrayed as a documentary subject, the reality of her life and her character was fully manipulated by Godard to fit into his script. The girl particularly recalls a scene filmed in her school, which shows her teacher keeping her late for age-old punishment of copying a sentence fifty times. Poor girl had to stand in front of a blackboard and deliver a fake performance of writing the sentence saying “I must not talk during classes”. Director asked the teacher to give Camille this punishment, though the teacher affirmed that she had not done anything wrong and indeed had never been punished in school. The punishment was a real and undeserved experience for a young girl and she later recalled that she was ashamed to be shown as punished when she was not: “it was not the truth, it was Godard’s truth, but in relation to me it was a big lie“*

*Interview with Camille. From: Brody, R. (2008) The working life of Jean-Luc Godard, p.401. London: faber and Faber Limited.


Anonymous said...

Great! Have a look at this - http://www.powersofthefalse.org/powers_of_the_false/Panels_1.html

Piotr Krzymowski said...

I was looking for it! Thank you.

rosie said...

In some way related x:



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