Thursday, June 04, 2009

A trip to JLG's

9 March 1990 - A trip to JLG's. With S.T. in Rolle for the evening, in Nyons for the night (Beau Rivage hotel). Fifteen years ago, the two of us already (with A.C.) in Grenoble where JLG projected for us Ici et ailleurs on a wall (the emotion was so strong that I vomited on the way back). Today, the same ones, not that different. Only time brings us closer to the old monster from whom we no longer expect fine touches but rather almost a degree of affection. The ritual: Hervé D. (friendly, devoted and too close to the kitchen not to be critical) collects us by car in Geneva, then the hotel in Nyons, then rue du Nord in Rolle, then the the dark den and the engine room where JLG, alone, with tousled hair, puffing on a cigar, is alone with his images. Today the images of Nouvelle Vague which he is editing and of Rapport Darty which he has just finished. Chit-chat (he saw Pelechian's movies: very impressed), viewing, detour - unavoidable trip to the nearby restaurant where the unchanged menu promises fatty perch fillet, beer, expedited dinner, we leave each other in the Grand-rue: we can feel the solitude of the man, and in ricochet, ours, return to Nyons, Geneva and Paris.

The JLG-effect today. Before we even have a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, the image and its sensual and screaming luminosity, the undergrowth, the lake, the bodies of the "actors" who are there as the sound punctuation of the landscape and who talk, more and more, in original version between inverted commas. This time (according to Hervé D.) the "dialogue" is entirely made of quotes ("Life could be sad" is from Renan) but so close to each other that they generate anxiety. The third reel, the one we see, shows some human beings engaging in the rare "actions" that JLG finds interesting: exercising power, giving a phone call, talking to no-one in particular, letting oneself drown (literally) in front of each other, being living reproaches. Nature is superb and indifferent. Delon is one of the extras, no more no less. From now on, what remains of the acting of the actors consists in placing an intonation randomly in a sentence that is strangely naked or, contrarily, literary.
pp. 196-7, POL, 1993, my translation

Follows a fascinating text inspired by the restaurant discussion on the parade (cinema, a thing after another, always new) and the round dance (theatre, when things end up returning) comparing Godard with Fellini, Fassbinder and Woody Allen... too much and too difficult to translate now.


  1. Many thanks, Laurent, for these excerpts from "L'EXERCISE..." - what a book!

  2. Hi Andy, I knew you'd appreciate the JLG extract...


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