Limitless Cinema in Broken English

June 26, 2008

SILLY GAME

Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 10:35 pm

FAVORITE SONGS

1.SILLY GAMES – Lindy Layton featuring Janet Kay
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSwhT5WNrXw

2.PERCEPTION (VOCAL MIX) – Cass & Slide
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYG08HPWPnc

————————————–

The post below is inspired by Girish Shambu’s blog:
http://www.girishshambu.com/blog/2008/06/received-ideas-in-cinema.html

Reading Girish’s blog about critical shorthand makes me think about description of some directors. I like how Jean-Luc Godard described some directors very much. Sometimes I don’t understand what he described. Sometimes I don’t agree with what he described. But most of the times I think his descriptions are very memorable or powerful.

I would like to copy some of Godard’s descriptions from the book GODARD ON GODARD, translated and edited by Tom Milne. But instead of copying them directly, I think it would be funnier if I separate the descriptions from the names of the directors. So that my readers who have too much free time may enjoy trying to match them.

Can you match the following Godard’s descriptions with the directors he described?

GODARD’S DESCRIPTIONS

1.An alert (name) is worth two Billy Wilders. …With (name) there is no starting point, and this is precisely his originality. Only the point of arrival matters, a scene at the very limits of absurdity in the ferociously eccentric world of the PAM, PAM, POUM of our childhood.

2.He comes on stage and introduces himself: author, composer, actor, designer, producer, director, scholar, financier, gourmet, ventriloquist, poet.

3.Even as he threw all the great human values to the wolves, he became one of the new great of Hollywood; and even as he replaced Wyler and Zinnemann in the hearts of the exhibitors, he established himself as a worthy heir to Lubitsch in the hearts of cinephiles,…

4.For it is here that his power and talents lie. He seeks the bizarre at all costs, because the bizarre is a convention and behind this convention one must, also at all costs, discover a basic truth. He seeks the madness behind reality because it is for him the only way to rediscover the true face of reality behind this madness. This is why with each close-up one has the feeling that the camera wipes these faces,…

5.The great traditional cinema means (the name of the director) as opposed to Fellini or Rossellini. It is a way of selecting certain scenes rather than others.

6.He is beyond praise because he is the greatest of all. What else can one say? The only film-maker, anyway, to whom one can apply without misunderstanding that very misleading adjective, ‘humane’.

7.He is the second greatest editor in the world after Eisenstein. Editing, to them, means organizing cinematographically; in other words planning dramatically, composing musically, or in yet other words, the finest, film-making.

8.He will also shoot a scene just because at that moment a window is opening in a house away in the background, and a window opening—well, that’s funny. This is what interests him. Everything and nothing. Blades of grass, a kite, children, a little old man, anything, everything which is at once real, bizarre and charming. He has a feeling for comedy because he has a feeling for strangeness.

9.In other words, in all his films and (name of a film) in particular, he tirelessly demonstrates that in order to create cinema we must rediscover Melies, and that quite a few light years are still necessary for this.

10.It is difficult to analyse his comedy style. Pushed in one direction, it would end up as Jacques Tati. Pushed in the other, as Marx Brothers. But as he, one of the laziest of good French directors, never pushes things to their conclusion, one often finds oneself between two stools.

11.I will simply say that, thanks to Henri Langlois, we now know—to choose at random – that ceilings do not date from CITIZEN KANE but from Griffith (of course) and Gance; cinema-verite not from Rouch but (the name of the director);

12.The most subtle film theoretician in France. He hates paradoxes, but creates them. He hates false arguments, but offers them. He hates the cinema, but loves it. He doesn’t like good films, but makes them.

13.His originality lies in having made characters out of his actors – who are actors in the simplest sense of term, moreover, being filmed in action, while he contents himself with filming this action after having, as far as possible, organized it logically in the manner of Rossellini.

14.…proves that he need not abandon the cinema provided he films characters who exist instead of ideas which exist only in the bottom drawers of old scriptwriters who believe that the cinema is the seventh art.

15.Subtlety of mise en scene is here carried to its highest degree. He is probably the only director in the world who dares to make a systematic use of 180 degree shots and reaction shots. But what in another director would be striving for effect, with him is simply a natural movement arising out of the importance he accords to the décor and the position the actors occupy within it.

16.There are several good ways of making French films. Italian style, like Renoir. Viennese, like Ophuls. New Yorker, like Melville. But only (his name) was and is French as France, French as Fontenelle’s rose and Bonnot’s gang.

17.There are several ways of making films. Like Jean Renoir and Robert Bresson, who make music. Like Sergei Eisenstein, who paints. Like (the name of the director), who wrote sound novels in silent days. Like Alain Resnais, who sculpts. And like Socrates, Rossellini I mean, who creates philosophy.

18.There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is (his name).

19.This is why his cinema of non-communication isn’t mine. Rossellini told me that I almost fell into the (his name) error, but just escaped.

20.Thus deprived of consciousness, his camera loses, despite its honesty, the two fundamental qualities of a camera: intelligence and sensitivity.

THE NAMES OF THE DIRECTORS

A.MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI

B.JACQUES BECKER

C.NORBERT CARBONNAUX

D.CHARLIE CHAPLIN

E.JEAN COCTEAU

F.JOHN FORD

G.GEORGES FRANJU

H.STANLEY KUBRICK

I.RICHARD LEACOCK

J.ROGER LEENHARDT

K.KENJI MIZOGUCHI

L.NICHOLAS RAY

M.ALAIN RESNAIS

N.JEAN ROUCH

O.ERICH VON STROHEIM

P.FRANK TASHLIN

Q.JACQUES TATI

R.LUCHINO VISCONTI

S.ORSON WELLES

T.BILLY WILDER

If you can’t answer them, just buy the book GODARD ON GODARD. Hahaha.

 

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2 Comments »

  1. Don’t worry if you answer them wrongly, because it means you are like me, who can’t answer most of them. And more importantly, it means that the world of cinema still has many things for you to explore, particularly the films of Roger Leenhardt and Norbert Carbonnaux.

    THESE ARE THE ANSWERS

    1.An alert (name) is worth two Billy Wilders. …With (name) there is no starting point, and this is precisely his originality. Only the point of arrival matters, a scene at the very limits of absurdity in the ferociously eccentric world of the PAM, PAM, POUM of our childhood.

    FRANK TASHLIN

    2.He comes on stage and introduces himself: author, composer, actor, designer, producer, director, scholar, financier, gourmet, ventriloquist, poet.

    ORSON WELLES

    3.Even as he threw all the great human values to the wolves, he became one of the new great of Hollywood; and even as he replaced Wyler and Zinnemann in the hearts of the exhibitors, he established himself as a worthy heir to Lubitsch in the hearts of cinephiles,…

    BILLY WILDER

    4.For it is here that his power and talents lie. He seeks the bizarre at all costs, because the bizarre is a convention and behind this convention one must, also at all costs, discover a basic truth. He seeks the madness behind reality because it is for him the only way to rediscover the true face of reality behind this madness. This is why with each close-up one has the feeling that the camera wipes these faces,…

    GEORGES FRANJU

    5.The great traditional cinema means (the name of the director) as opposed to Fellini or Rossellini. It is a way of selecting certain scenes rather than others.

    LUCHINO VISCONTI

    6.He is beyond praise because he is the greatest of all. What else can one say? The only film-maker, anyway, to whom one can apply without misunderstanding that very misleading adjective, ‘humane’.

    CHARLIE CHAPLIN

    7.He is the second greatest editor in the world after Eisenstein. Editing, to them, means organizing cinematographically; in other words planning dramatically, composing musically, or in yet other words, the finest, film-making.

    ALAIN RESNAIS

    8.He will also shoot a scene just because at that moment a window is opening in a house away in the background, and a window opening—well, that’s funny. This is what interests him. Everything and nothing. Blades of grass, a kite, children, a little old man, anything, everything which is at once real, bizarre and charming. He has a feeling for comedy because he has a feeling for strangeness.

    JACQUES TATI

    9.In other words, in all his films and (name of a film) in particular, he tirelessly demonstrates that in order to create cinema we must rediscover Melies, and that quite a few light years are still necessary for this.

    JEAN COCTEAU

    10.It is difficult to analyse his comedy style. Pushed in one direction, it would end up as Jacques Tati. Pushed in the other, as Marx Brothers. But as he, one of the laziest of good French directors, never pushes things to their conclusion, one often finds oneself between two stools.

    NORBERT CARBONNAUX

    11.I will simply say that, thanks to Henri Langlois, we now know—to choose at random – that ceilings do not date from CITIZEN KANE but from Griffith (of course) and Gance; cinema-verite not from Rouch but (the name of the director);

    JOHN FORD

    12.The most subtle film theoretician in France. He hates paradoxes, but creates them. He hates false arguments, but offers them. He hates the cinema, but loves it. He doesn’t like good films, but makes them.

    ROGER LEENHARDT

    13.His originality lies in having made characters out of his actors – who are actors in the simplest sense of term, moreover, being filmed in action, while he contents himself with filming this action after having, as far as possible, organized it logically in the manner of Rossellini.

    JEAN ROUCH

    14.…proves that he need not abandon the cinema provided he films characters who exist instead of ideas which exist only in the bottom drawers of old scriptwriters who believe that the cinema is the seventh art.

    STANLEY KUBRICK

    15.Subtlety of mise en scene is here carried to its highest degree. He is probably the only director in the world who dares to make a systematic use of 180 degree shots and reaction shots. But what in another director would be striving for effect, with him is simply a natural movement arising out of the importance he accords to the décor and the position the actors occupy within it.

    KENJI MIZOGUCHI

    16.There are several good ways of making French films. Italian style, like Renoir. Viennese, like Ophuls. New Yorker, like Melville. But only (his name) was and is French as France, French as Fontenelle’s rose and Bonnot’s gang.

    JACQUES BECKER (I think the keyword here is ‘gang’.)

    17.There are several ways of making films. Like Jean Renoir and Robert Bresson, who make music. Like Sergei Eisenstein, who paints. Like (the name of the director), who wrote sound novels in silent days. Like Alain Resnais, who sculpts. And like Socrates, Rossellini I mean, who creates philosophy.

    ERICH VON STROHEIM

    18.There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is (his name).

    NICHOLAS RAY

    19.This is why his cinema of non-communication isn’t mine. Rossellini told me that I almost fell into the (his name) error, but just escaped.

    MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI

    20.Thus deprived of consciousness, his camera loses, despite its honesty, the two fundamental qualities of a camera: intelligence and sensitivity.

    RICHARD LEACOCK

    Comment by celinejulie — June 28, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

  2. This is my reply to Matthew Hunt’s in my bilingual blog:
    http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2008/06/silly-game.html

    I think that your point is very high indeed. I think that to answer the questions correctly you might not have to have deep knowledge about Kubrick, but you only need to know that Godard is not fond of Kubrick. (Am I right?). I suspect that Godard is unfair to some filmmakers, such as Kubrick or Richard Leacock. The book GODARD ON GODARD only collects Godard’s writings until 1967 or 1968. So his descriptions quoted here only reflect his opinions on the early films of Kubrick, Resnais, and Antonioni. I don’t know what Godard thinks about the later films of these masters.

    Comment by celinejulie — June 30, 2008 @ 10:46 pm


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