A Shadow that Speaks: Varastettu Kuolema by Nyrki Tapiovaara

 

“It’s normal: when the cinema was “silent,” we were free to lend it all the noises, the tiniest as well as the most intimate. It was when it set about talking, and especially after the invention of dubbing (1935), that nothing remained to challenge the victory of dialogue and music. Weak, imperceptible noises no longer had a chance. It was genocide.” – Serge Daney, Cinemeteorology

The new restoration of Nyrki Tapiovaara’s Varastettu kuolema happened without much notice last year, released on DVD in Finland from a new digital transfer, a restoration of the original cut released theatrically. Unavailable until now, it was then-criticised by the social-democratic magazine, Kulttuuriskandaali, for including insert shots of decadent objects owned by two of the film’s principal characters. In 1954, 16 years later, the film was re-released with changes made by Tapiovaara’s editor/cinematographer, Erik Blomberg. Blomberg elected to cut all the high angle and insert shots from the film for the reasons above, deeming them too extravagant and inspired by a French Avant-Garde cinema irrelevant to the film’s narrative of Finnish resistance fighters. Tapiovaara couldn’t approve of these edits, however, as he’d died two years after the film’s original release fighting for Finnish independence in the Winter War of 1940.

Opening with the machinations of a covert, student-activist printing press, Robert (the film’s initial protagonist), leads his comrades through the streets of Helsinki, before being tailed by a constantly-looming Russian force, attempting to overthrow their grassroots resistance against Soviet rule. Robert and his comrades are eager to increase their partisan efforts by transporting weapons to fellow comrades on the Russian/Finnish front. Only the local arms-dealer, Jonni, stands in their way – offering them weapons and passports by way of blackmail, holding Robert’s list of partisan names as collateral. Both parties are well-aware that Jonni’s the only feasible way of purchasing and transporting weapons out of the country. If Robert and his partisan cohort refuse to buy Jonni’s weapons (with money that they don’t even have), the list of names will be released to Soviet authorities and they’ll be sent to death. Even still, they rebuff Jonni’s advances and opt to transport the weapons themselves – but with few means to do so. The film’s characters are among one of two factions: collaborators or dissidents. The collaborators are made up of Jonni, Robert’s bourgeois family, the aforementioned gendarmes looming among the spare Helsinki streets and their higher-up czarist officers unerringly chasing down our leads in the film’s climax. The revolutionaries are an even smaller group, primarily made up of Robert and his comrades, Jonni’s former accomplice Manja, a shoemaker who shelters Robert from the gendarmes and the dispirited trinket shop-owner with whom Robert covertly deals in black-market passports.

The film’s focus eventually shifts to Manja, one of the great partisans I can recall in cinema. Upon meeting Robert, she turns his printing press into an arms trading post, flouting Jonni’s grip over her in the process. She helps Robert – with her knowledge of Jonni’s weapons and their whereabouts – to transport guns in coffins and haul ammunition belts beneath her many hats and dresses. In this time, she’s now been fully radicalised and still experiences the majority of the film’s indignities both firsthand and undeterred. Firstly, she’s shunned to her face by Robert’s mother as a working-class wastrel and – when running a gun hidden in a baby carriage – is swarmed by the gropes and advances of a lurking gendarme officer. Still, through her, both the film’s noir and melodramatic trappings manifest – then quickly metamorphose beyond themselves and into a higher purpose. When faced with the film’s potential noir narrative, Manja the femme fatale is summarily left behind by Manja the revolutionary. As the primary example of this, when first left alone with Robert, she describes to him her upbringing and life thus far: having been a seamstress in rural Finland, she’s now adorned with shiny jewellery and tea gowns from Jonni (the same gowns she uses to transport guns), donning this bourgeois-collaborator facade with a simmering contempt. She then approaches Robert like the „femme fatale“, insinuated through her longing glances and the shadow-filled room they’re cast in. But this (additional) facade is undone-then-re-established within the movement of their embrace, all for a greater purpose; that of her newfound revolutionary drive, one she sees in Robert.

Without the burden of boy-meets-girl inner conflicts or this bi-polar, femme fatale persona, she very readily leaves Jonni shortly after this encounter and even more readily kills him when kept from Robert in the final act. Though these femme-fatale/love interest constructs are bypassed altogether, one can sense the spectres of their narrative constructs floating through the film’s darkened palette: the glint of Manja’s earring in a close-up that merely traces the outline of her face in a silvery light; the glaring white spotlight of a streetlamp that punctures through the pitch-black fabric of a night-time-set, overhead shot; the swinging light that sways over Jonni’s dead body, splayed atop his taxidermied panther – among these images, the film’s iridescent whites burn with a greater mystery than anything said or inferred through conventional narrative incident or spoken dialogue. Tapiovaara understood, at a point when noir cinema was in its nascency, that it’s the swipe of a hand, a sliver of light that reveals an eye or the passing of currency in close-up that keeps a mystery alive, not the narratives that incite it all.

Mandated by the time and technical means, the above incidents are set to one of two sounds at any given moment: either a tinny, interpersonal dialogue spoken in the film’s interiors or a degraded-sounding orchestra underscoring the exterior set pieces (a bipartite limitation set by its early post-sync sound, monaural soundtrack). Tapiovaara, by necessity most likely, wasn’t tempted to overwhelm his film with overdubbed dialogue or foley work in a time when Northern/Eastern European cinema was first learning how to speak. Set only to the orchestra’s swells, the film’s final set piece reunites Robert and Manja as they speed through in a carriage – machine gun in tow – to a getaway boat on the Finnish/Russian border. Manja is shot by the trailing gendarmes and dies a slow death on the way to these Finnish borders. Having been pilfered, cheated, masqueraded and used as a form of transportation, a true death has manifested through a soldier of the revolution. As Robert closes Manja’s eyes, the film fades to black, without an “end” title card. Eliding spoken and written text, there’s the sense in the film’s conclusion that there’s no time left for explanations and – as a result – no time for a film that speaks of a then-unforeseen national independence; only time for one that shows it.

On films that end – Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet and Shinji Aoyama’s Eureka

Eureka, Aoyama still 2

Eureka, Aoyama still 1

„J’ai effectivement l’impression qu’il y avait dans les films d’il y a cinquante ans un art de la brièveté, de la condensation des événements, des idées, vertigineux et qui a été complètement perdu, parce que il y a des époques pour toutes les choses, enfin, parce qu’on est passé, comme le dirait Deleuze, dans une époque où le temps n’a plus la même vitesse, ni la même densité, ni le même temps, comme si il y avait un avant et un après Antonioni, qui a été un des cinéastes qui ont marqué cet infléchissement de la durée, et que maintenant, dans la durée des fictions contemporaines, il faut trois heures là où il en fallait une il y a cinquante ans.“

„I have the feeling that in the films of the 1950’s they mastered the art of brevity, the condensation of time and ideas in a way that was dizzying but has now been completely lost, because different eras necissitate different ways of expressing this time. But we’re now in an era, as Deleuze would say, wihtout that same brevity, nor the same density, nor the same concept of time – one different to that of the 1950’s. It’s as if there’s a before and after Antonioni, who was one of the first filmmakers to implement the notion of duration, so that now after him, in the today’s films, one needs to take three hours to approximate the density of an hour from fifty years ago.“

– Jacques Rivette, le veilleur

Two runtimes existed outside of something, sequestered away in the top corner of my living room and passing through with the outside light and foliage’s silhouettes. Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet and Shinji Aoyama’s Eureka are the complimentary film realities that – timed out differently – played out below this corner of the room, as I watched the outside move around them these past weeks.

In Loktev’s film, a couple – a man named Alex and a woman named Nika – are hiking in the Georgian mountains with a native guide named Dato. They meet a man –a shepherd of some kind – with his teenaged sons along the way, the father holding a rifle. Alex interrupts a conversation between the father and Dato and is answered by the father’s cocked rifle. Alex’s instinct is to push Nika into its line of sight, ducking behind her in the process. Attempting to correct his cowardice, Alex silently pushes again – now from behind Nika – and stands resolutely in front of the rifle’s barrel, trying and failing to stay there long enough, overcompensating for the stunned Nika and her role as his unwilling protector.

After the incident, Alex is locked into an inactive state, seldom speaking for the duration of the film. Nika attempts reparation, by proxy of Alex’s docility, working overtime to access him and his current disposition. She’s the first to begin where their conversations left off before the hold-up, instigating her broken Spanish lessons and asking about the correct conjugations between each phrase. They walk silently and at a distance at first, with Dato oscillating in and around their wanderings that appear bound by the push-pull of an invisible rubber band. Walking to and froe, they each – at different junctures – bring forth a shy hand to each other’s shoulders, pulling it away before the other one notices.

The incident will change their relationship irrevocably, but it’s also a synecdoche; a signifier that shows us, through a heightened example, how a change and its reconciliation can begin. It’s almost instructional; instructional as a microcosm, sure, but also reminding us that microcosms and their symbols are never quite apart from us. This is how the perpetual reconciliation is reinstated. It reminds me of something my Mum told me about becoming a parent. She told me that it’s easy to say: „I’d die for my child“. What matters is when and how often you’d die for this child, how many small „deaths“ you’re willing to entertain. It’s all the unseen and unacknowledged death that makes one fulfil their word to their loved one, their promise to this „death“ that is more than de-stigmatised – because this „death“ is just talk. This sentiment isn’t exceptional. But it is, in Loktev’s film, an exception that proves the rule of constancy. It’s highfalutin talk, acted against in the small moments that dismantle the posturing; these small moments when no one is watching, no one except us. It’s the moment when a relationship becomes bigger than the two people in it. The attempts to reconcile their scar will be many, countless of which – over however many years of Alex and Nika’s long-term relationship – will be fastened around this moment.

Where the film’s time and our time converge is at its conclusion. Alex wanders off from a campfire over which Nika and Dato share a flagon of hooch. Nika, using her innate skill as an interlocutor on a more willing partner, gets Dato to open up about his deceased wife and son. He seems content in his Georgian village, but there’s a longing in his demeanour. He asks for a kiss from Nika – a slovenly one on the cheek – after which their mouths quickly meet, almost as quick as when Alex became Nika’s protector. She draws herself away from the guide and continues the kiss with Alex in their tent, the first consummation between them after many shortened acts of intimacy – all touching, licking and stroking, intermingling as if connected through an unseen appendage. All this took place before the hold-up, the act that severed this appendage. Alex and Nika now fuck in their tent severed and apart from one another, their faces obscured and bodies covered as though shielded; shielded in the way couples shield themselves in inferior relationship movies, the filmmakers compensating for the uncommitted actors by getting them to moan into orgasm, achieved, somehow, through fully-clothed dry-humping. The act feels wrong for Alex and Nika, as though in the wrong movie, for the wrong couple. So Nika’s logical response is to stumble away and vomit. Alex, for the first time in the film, tends to her unerringly, holding back her hair while she convulses, ejecting whatever emotional bile has manifested in earnest within her since the hold-up. Alex and Nika are somehow connected again. Not through the severed appendage, though. Theirs is a connection now more scarred and calloused, yes, but simultaneously more difficult to sever. It’s the set-up for all that comes after, as we no longer have the privilege to see what they don’t. It’s their job to see from now on.

~

Shinji Aoyama’s Eureka begins with the incident. A hijacker attacks a bus half-filled with his fellow salarymen, its driver and two schoolchildren. An establishing shot of the bus – accompanied by the film’s writer/director credit – elides the shooting itself. We see the peace that precedes the attck and devastation that follows it, each structuring the absence of this offscreen shooting. Among the devastation, its three survivors are the bus driver named Makoto and two schoolchildren – an older brother and a younger sister named Naoki and Kozue, respectively.

Two years pass, years the survivors spend either in a state of unknown pursuit (Makoto) or silence (Naoki and Kozue). They’ve now all returned to the town, physically, but something from them is missing. This part that’s “missing” is accounted for partially by Makoto’s wanderings in these two years, across the coast of Japan, never seen nor elaborated upon by him nor the film. But his return to the town after these two years spent “wandering” is only a literal one, not accounting for the greater return that has failed to coalesce, one in which only he and the schoolchildren can partake. Naoki and Kozue – whose abusive father has died and whose mother has left them – can no longer speak nor go to school, but Makoto helps them begin this “return” by moving into their house, after his own family have all but rejected him and the trauma he carries. Naoki and Kozue’s cousin, Akihiko, stops by to help with housekeeping and to keep company. He tries to sympathise, straining to relate by sharing his own juvenile proximities to death.

So begins the remaining 3+ hours to fulfil this greater “return”. Three attempts are made to broach this return, all in the forms of: a serial killer movie, an impromptu caravan road trip movie and a dysfunctional, makeshift-family movie. But these movies merely begin. An uprooting eventually takes place, tearing out these films from their past three hours. This tear allows for another movie to interject, one with the intention of ending.

This interjecting film begins with Makoto and Naoki, riding in circles on a shared bicycle. Before this, it teases out both the serial-killer and road-trip movie to an unsurprising reveal before robbing each film of their conclusion. Naoki, whose nascent death drive coincided with local femicides back in his hometown, holds a knife and approaches a woman. He stops suddenly following from behind, then the woman gets in her car and drives away. With her out of sight, Makoto walks into frame with a bike, approaching Naoki, wresting the knife away blade-first and slashing him on the arm. Makoto and Naoki bleed from hand and arm over the life spared – that of the woman in her car – then share the bicycle. They ride in circles and consider murdering Kozue as the logical step forward in Naoki’s pathology (Makoto relates to the brother his own unfulfiled death drive since the bus hijacking), but so long as they cycle within the film’s anamorphic frame, nothing else will happen. So begins the fourth movie, the one that returns.

Makoto drops Naoki off at a police station, mournfully asking him neither to live nor die over the oncoming years. He must, instead, return to where Makoto and Kozue will be waiting. Wherever that is, only they could know.

Makoto coughs blood into a handkerchief. He has only Kozue to accompany him now, after Akihiko balks at Naoki’s lot in life. Makoto’s response is to punch Akihiko in the face and throw him from the van, stopping by the side of a winding road. Akihiko could never understand, anyway. Makoto and Kozue go to the beach, where she collects shells, throwing each away at a cliffside and ascribing them the names of Naoki, Akihiko, “bus hijacker man”, Makoto and herself.

The film’s logic elides on-screen deaths: the real ones are spoken of. The one we do see is that of the bus hijacker at the hands of local police, but this is annulled by the ensuing 3+ hours that allow the three survivors to continue, not only despite him, but for him.

~

Loktev’s film was a part, Aoyama’s apart. But I’m now unsure of the difference between the two.

Eureka, Aoyama still 2

The Middle Distance

Pierre Bonnard Autoportrait

Pierre Bonnard autoportrait

Bonnard Examining Leaves, Marthe Bonnard, 1900

~

„Bonnard, the great master of the blur. To create the blur in art, the hand must be precise, firm, like that of a surgeon.“

– David Perlov

yoman-naomi-perlov

„It is necessary to see them in the middle of the field, moist fingers raised to catch the wind and ears pricked up to hear what it’s saying. So the most naked sensations serve as a compass. Everything else, ethics and aesthetics, content and form, derives from this.

–  Serge Daney on  Trop tôt / Trop tard  (trans. Jonathan Rosenbaum)

 

Ghatak’s Clunker

Serge Daney, “Le tacot de Ghatak”, first published in Libération, 31 October 1986.

Translation from the French by Arindam Sen & Ivana Miloš.

It is a love story set in Ranchi (at the border of Bengal and Bihar). Bimal unreservedly loves Jagatdal, who returns his affections. He is a taxi driver and Jagatdal his vehicle, a very old Ford. The laughing stock of his neighbourhood, irascible dreamer Bimal avoids all human contact except for one child. We are in 1959, a time when modern cars are making their appearance in India. Bimal has no fondness for them; he loves, yells at, repairs only Jagatdal, the decrepit car, the pile of metal that breaks down, agonizes him and howls and screams in love and pain.

Ajantrik Ritwik Ghatak

It is a story that makes little sense. As in many Indian films, there are always neighbors and „friends“ who attempt to reason with Bimal on human-machine relations. It is a waste of time. There is without a doubt a reflection of Ghatak in Bimal’s personality (enacted by Kali Banerjee with frowning eyebrows): someone who needed to experience the real (or the unreal, as in the case of the Ford) before „creating“ something with it. And who, like a patient fighter, took his time. „As an artist,“ Ghatak said in 1964, „I cannot record TIME. It advances slowly, in our subconscious.”

Time does not hold the same meaning for Ghatak as for Satyajit Ray. Ray is an aristocrat, Ghatak was an agitator. Both are Bengali, but Ghatak was born in 1926 on the „wrong side“ of Bengal, in Decca, not yet capital of East Bengal, later Bangladesh. Ray knows how to evoke the past in mists and clouds. Ghatak, on the other hand, is a man with a clean slate. There is no nostalgia in him, or rather there is a nostalgia so strong (for an undivided Bengal) that it is everywhere and nowhere.

Ajantrik

By prolonging Jagatdal’s usefulness beyond its limit, Bimal goes against the law (of both karma and mechanics). There is revolt in his stubbornness, but he will gain something from it in the end. After one last attempt to miraculously prolong the vehicle’s life (a final act of love), Jagatdal breaks down, and a greedy, mole-eyed scrap merchant offers to buy it by the kilo. Suddenly, the sound of Jagatdal’s air horn is heard – a child has picked up the object turned toy. A tear runs down Bimal’s easily excitable face. It is as if the director had replaced the abstract law of karma with the human recycling of matter.

Ghatak, a leftist, a loser and alcoholic (he died in 1976 in poverty), is the one who, much more than Ray, the young Indian generation relates to. He is a man given to fragmenting who takes the time to try and put the pieces back together. This is why Ajantrik is a film that breathes. Sometimes with terrible asthma, sometimes with miraculous ease.

In the history of cinema, the sound aligns the film with the old tradition of the silent “murmur” of the thirties, while its narrative associates it with the tradition that has been liberating narrative from the shackles of screenplay from neorealism to the nouvelle vague. Bimal’s story is predictable enough, but the story’s landscape is made up of the unexpected, of digressions, and waking dreams. On Jagatdal’s final journeys, we even pass genuine bits of late ‘50s India. As for the sound, it is composed like a radio score featuring classical music (Ali Akbar Khan), tablas beats, metallic clanking and air horns weaving a canvas between dream and reverberation.

Ajantrik

As the clunker weakens, the story takes flight. Engine failures allow for chance encounters. And then the film changes direction, transforming into something dreamlike. On the day Jagatdal embarrassingly stalls on a narrow mountain road, drum beats are suddenly heard. Bimal rushes down a slope and arrives at a religious ceremony with advancing dancers who impart a sense of unreal, as in Murnau’s Tabu. Bimal is lost; he gets drunk and disappears.

We want to follow the dancers, we catch bits and pieces of what they are saying. We learn that Ghatak lived five years among this tribe (the Oraons of the forest) and that the idea of a few shots was enough for him to make his film. Cinema was once terribly open to what was not cinema. This was, in all likelihood, the cinema of Ghatak.

 

Green Eyes and Cinephile Loathing – About some thoughts by Marguerite Duras

This text is an edited and translated mail I have written to a friend a day after having read Les Yeux Verts by Marguerite Duras and without being able to re-read it or check certain passages. During the last couple of days I was confronted with the book again, so I decided to publish this.

When Marguerite Duras was given Carte Blanche by Cahiers du Cinéma in 1980, out came a somehow incoherent, somehow beautiful and always vibrant collection of texts called Les Yeux Verts. In it many things are discussed such as politics, the ideas of writing and cinema („My relationship with cinema is one of murder. I began to make movies in order to reach the creative mastery which allows the destruction of the text. Now it’s the image I want to affect, to diminish . . .“) the Soviet Union, Chaplin or a big interview with Elia Kazan. In a great, fearless essay Duras differs between what she calls a primary viewer of a film (meaning: the masses manipulated by capitalism who go to cinema to forget) and the small percentage of people who are not part of that kind of audience. Some might refer to such a view as snobbish but Duras arguments that she and the primary viewer will never understand each other. There is question about what comes first: The author/filmmaker or the critic/viewer. Both at the same time, one is tempted to say. In an interview given in Cannes 2012 Carlos Reygadas was shrugging his shoulders when confronted with viewers who did not understand what his Post Tenebras Lux was all about. He said: „Well, some will never understand. You cannot fight it.“

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Is this the story of a difference? A misunderstanding? Cinema, as always between the industry and the art, lost and impure. Most cinephiles I know would deny such demarcations. They have their point. You can find greatness in mainstream entertainment, in so-called trash, in art, in art house, whatever. I have always liked the texts by Alexandre Astruc on Howard Hawks, I think you have read them. The way he connects fascism to cinematic greatness with and without sarcasm at the same time beats at the very core of this conflict. Cinema is and has always been both: The money and the soul. The industry and the art. The fascist and the liberal. Nevertheless Duras is right when she says that primary viewers will not be interested in her work. It is the primary viewer that is limited, not the one who makes demarcations. The primary viewer, she says, is also among critics and filmmakers. They account for 90 percent. While she would be happy with her 10%, the filmmaker for the primary viewer would be unhappy with his 90%. He always wants to take away the 10%. He will fail forever, she writes. Duras also states that one is not condemned to be a primary viewer forever. Yet, a primary viewer will not be changed by force. He will have to see something, to maybe fall in love.

Another point Duras discusses in her texts is the idea of curiosity. Maybe this is linked to the primary viewer. Despite writing for the Cahiers du Cinéma Duras stresses her ambivalent relation with the “guys of Les Cahiers“ more than once, thus her relation to film criticism is a big topic. She finds a lack of curiosity in film criticism. She claims that critics are writing only about big budget films, that there is a lack of choice and freedom in film culture. Of course, like in her best texts, out of her speaks the fever of personal frustration. It seems that cinephilia, for Duras, is a sickness connected to a love that loses the ability to see. Cinephilia might be a blindness then. One of those paradoxes but as you know, we have seen this blindness. People ignoring cinema in order to have an opinion. People judging before seeing, without seeing. People watching and watching without reflecting. Is it more important to know what we want from cinema or to not know what we want from cinema?

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While thinking about her own films Duras writes that they are vibrating, floating. More than once she flirts with the idea of a black screen. Destroy cinema, she said. I have always thought that her inability to destroy cinema (or her words) has been the cause of those floating vibrations in Duras. It is a cinema of impossibility. When her camera looks at the ocean and she thinks about destruction there will always arrive a creation or suggestion. Moreover her women, I can only call them that, seem to live in the same world as the camera, that is between self-destruction, forgetting, loving and so on. She is very much about the not-representation, the gap between the presence of light and the stories that might or might not have happened. Thinking about cinema this way will always lead to the idea of destruction. When she says that primary viewers visit cinema to forget we should not suppress that this is exactly what bothers her protagonists: Either the forgetting or the memory that does not vanish. Once written down or spoken out, her words transform those memories. When you then confront them to forget you will not get anything from it. Carol Hoffman has written: “It is a remembering that destroys memory and leads to a new memory, which can replace the last only fleetingly and without substance “ Without curiosity and desire, how could you possibly bare such a work?

Like Jean-Marie Straub and to a certain degree Brian De Palma, Duras is very concerned with the lie that is part of the word spoken but also part of the images made. These three filmmakers offer three interpretations of the lie in cinema. Straub does everything to get rid of it, De Palma does everything to make the lie the truth (or vice versa) and Duras tears down the difference between lie and truth. Maybe Godard would have a say here too. In one of her texts Duras recounts an episode in which Godard was inviting her and she travelled a long way to meet him. When she arrived he wanted to sit down below the staircase of a school entrance while all the children were leaving school. They talked a bit until Godard said: „Isn‘t it funny. I let you come such a long way to sit down at this place.“ Apart from that Duras felt that both of them were thinking a lot about the relation of text and image with Godard coming from the other side (the image) as Duras (the text). There are also those filmmakers claiming that the word is a lie and the image is not. I always liked how Jean-Luc Nancy linked this thought with the importance of a doubt. Only in doubting the image it can become a truth again. He said that about Kiarostami but it is also true for Duras.

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In her texts I can also feel what we have once referred to as the “cinephile loathing“. I don‘t know if you remember. This idea of having had too much while still watching. It is a thirst for something else that ultimately leads us back to cinema. I sense in her writings a desire to not like cinema while being madly in love with it. Especially in her text about Woody Allen that becomes apparent. In interviews she has often said that she does only watch a handful of films a year. I don‘t believe her. We have this tendency with contemporary filmmakers, too. I have heard them say: I haven‘t been too cinema for a decade. I only watch old films. I only watch documentaries. I don‘t watch anything. There is a desire to not be influenced. Jacques Rivette teaches us the opposite. With us, as we discussed, this cinephile loathing might be something else and I somehow felt it mirrored in Duras. The idea that our generation has been betrayed by cinema too often. A silly thought, but still a thought. It is as hard to believe in excitement as it is to believe in doubt. As a result, everything stucks and floats just like the black wall that Duras describes which is between her words and images, makes them vanish. Still, others have told us that it has always been like this and maybe we love and doubt too much to state those things. The cinema writers we read and the filmmakers we love are either embracing the death of cinema or fighting death with knowledge and a suffocating enthusiasm. Both kinds seem to be descendants of Serge Daney of whom we all dream at night. Cinema was always beautiful when it was something else. With Duras it certainly is. I will have to re-watch her films. To not forget.