Friday, June 16, 2006

Daney on the World Cup

I cannot resist publishing (without authorisation - I hope to be forgiven) this short text by Daney on the 1982 'Mundial':

Mundial 1982 – Slow motion

In front of the small image, the TV spectator has a handicap. Or a privilege (depending on his degree of perversity). At certain moments in the game, he subconsciously asks himself a question which until now, only concerned cartoon lovers: is the 'injured' player going to get back up again? Regularly, a body, doubled up with pain, is left on the field. Everything is possible. Real pain (and we expect the game to be stopped, we look for the medics, we are upset with the camera for moving casually to other things). Exaggerated pain (the player gets back up again, drags himself for one meter, limps for two and sprints for three). Put on pain (as soon as he is off screen, certain of having failed to move the referee to pity, he gets up and runs like a gazelle). It is a game between the players and the referee of course. And it is too bad that the camera doesn’t know how to film it well. Nevertheless: for a few seconds, there is what makes cinema happy, its powerful force: indecisive shots, enigmatic pictures, bodies under threat.

This text from Libération, 19 and 20 June 1982, features in Serge Daney, La maison cinéma et le monde (P.O.L., 2002), translation by Laurent Kretzschmar.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Daney's quote on Alain Tanner

I just spotted this quote by Daney on Alain Tanner's No Man's Land:

“I looked at the landscapes of No Man’s Land and was not disorientated. I felt at home. I had seen it all before in an earlier life punctuated by the nine other films of Alain Tanner (…) I even knew what it consisted of: frontier posts with a French and a Swiss side, slowmoving bicycles and tidy little cafés, ruminating cows and drawling accents, roads into the mountains and paths leading nowhere; I knew the characters, too, having seen them come and go: they were flawed and bad in ’68, then armchair idealists, then, in ’85, embittered, dissatisfied hippies, that’s all.” Then, having expressed his deep sense of familiarity with the world of the film, the critic voices a doubt: “It struck me that all the things that – thanks to Tanner and other Swiss filmmakers (Reusser, Soutter, Murer) – I had come to see as familiar, all this mildly clean, mildly sinister, mildly beautiful Swiss cinema, with its cows and its traffickers, its calculated slowness and vague storytelling, might be on the way out.”

Reference: Serge Daney, Libération, 30 August 1985, quoted in Ciné-journal, volume 2, Petite bibliothèque des Cahiers du cinéma, Paris, 1998.