Monday, 29 March 2010

Miming Times of Destiny. Marcel Carné. Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis


[The following is quotation. My commentary is bracketed in red.]



Miming Times of Destiny
Marcel Carné
Children of Paradise
Les Enfants du Paradis



Gilles Deleuze

Cinema 2: The Time Image
Cinéma 2: L'image-temps

Ch3
From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
Du souvenir aux rêves (troisième commentaire de Bergson)

2c
The two poles of the flashback: Carné, Mankiewicz
Les deux pôles du flash-back : Carné, Mankiewicz



destiny can be exhibited directly in other ways, and can affirm a pure power of time which overflows all memory, an already-past which exceeds all recollections: we are not just thinking of expressionist figures of blind men or tramps with which Carné's work is strewn, but of the immobilizings and petrifications in Visiteurs du Soir, or the use of mime in Les Enfants du Paradis, and more generally of light, which Carné uses in the French style - luminous grey which passes through every atmospheric nuance and constitutes a great circuit of the sun and moon.[Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 46-47]

Car le destin peut se manifester directement par d'autres voies, et affirmer une pure puissance du temps qui déborde toute mémoire, un déjà -passé qui excède tout souvenir : nous ne pensons pas seulement aux figures expressionnistes d'aveugles ou de clochards dont Carné a parsemé son oeuvre, mais aux immobilisations et pétrifications des « Visiteurs du soir », à l'usage du mime dans « Les enfants du paradis », et plus généralement à la lumière, dont Carné se sert suivant le style français, gris lumineux qui passe par toutes les nuances atmosphériques et constitue le grand circuit du soleil et de la lune. [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 1985: 68a.b]


2e
The Inadequacy of the recollection-image
Insuffisance de l'image-souvenir

the flashback [...] gets its justification from elsewhere; Carné's destiny [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 51c]

le flashback [...] reçoit une justification d'ailleurs, le destin de Carné [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 74a]


[In this story, a talented mime (Baptiste) falls in love with a woman (Garance), who wants him, but does not love him in the same innocent and passionate way. While waiting for the mime to come to terms with the differences between their forms of love, she sleeps with one of Baptiste's friends and co-actors, Frédérick.

The clips below show a mime-performance that happens in the middle of the movie's story. At this point in the narrative, Garance (played by Arletty) had recently offered to sleep with Baptiste. But he turned her down, because he wants to wait for when she loves him the way he loves her. Frédérick, sleeping at the same house, sees her now alone and runs to her. He then sleeps with her, taking the opportunity that Baptiste turned-down.

These three characters happen to star in the same mime-play. Remarkably, the theatrical story dramatizes the real events transpiring between characters, as they now are, as they once were, and as they soon will be.

The clip below shows Baptiste miming a character that falls in love with the stage-character that Garance is now playing. At this point, it is like a recollection or flashback to the events just preceding the play.

(Video should play, even though no image shows until then.)
video

Baptiste falls asleep, and is unaware that Frédérick's character comes to take Arletty away. This is just like how Baptiste in his real life is unaware that Frédérick has slept with Garance.

video

Then, the next act of the story foretells what is to come. It has not yet happened in the real narrative, but it is foreseen here in the mimed story. We see Baptiste discover Frédérick's character romancing Garance's character. This has not yet happened in real life, however. Baptiste's sorrow over the discovery also has not yet happened in real life.

video

In this next portion, the other woman with the laundry is actually someone in Baptiste's real life who truly does love him and later will marry him, despite Baptiste's obsession with Garance. Then something most remarkable happens in this scene. So far, Baptiste is unaware of how this dramatization in fact is reality and foretells his real future. But then he sees Garance and Frederick offstage, getting close with one another. Here reality and drama break through to one another, while the future, past, and present coincide in a timeless, eternal way. Baptiste is shocked by the discovery. Then the woman who loves him in real life (as well as in the mimed story), becomes frightened by Babtiste's emotional shock, and even yells his real name on stage, furthering the cross-rupture between reality and dramatization.

video

Deleuze writes that destiny is exhibited in one of time's pure powers: it can be an already-past that overflows all memory and exceeds all recollection. Baptiste never saw Frédérick and Garance together before the play. So Baptiste would have no way to recall Frédérick's and Garance's romance. Yet such a similar romance is the theme of the play that Baptiste leads. And also, this play foretells what is destined to come: Baptiste's profound sorrow. So here Baptiste's destiny is played-out in a way that enables him to 'recall' something he never first had in his memory. He does so implicitly by playing a character who sleeps while Frédérick's character romance's Garance's character. As an actor, he knows the full plot of the story he plays. Then seeing Frédérick and Garance together causes him to see that this part of the plot is in fact a real event in his own life-story. While playing the early scene, he knows that the played story goes this direction. He knows that is the destiny of the story. And then this destined outcome is actually an event in his own past, that he could never really recall, but now can indirectly reconstruct in his imagination by seeing that the played romance is the same as the real romance. So it is destiny expressed as an 'already-past' that overflows all memory and recollection.]





Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time Image. Transl. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London & New York: 1989.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris: Les éditions de minuit, 1985.




Thursday, 25 March 2010

Enchained to Time. Marcel Carné. The Devil's Envoys / Les Visiteurs du soir


[The following is quotation. My commentary is bracketed in red.]



Enchained to Time
Marcel Carné
The Devil's Envoys
Les Visiteurs du soir



Gilles Deleuze

Cinema 2: The Time Image
Cinéma 2: L'image-temps

Ch3
From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
Du souvenir aux rêves (troisième commentaire de Bergson)

2c
The two poles of the flashback: Carné, Mankiewicz
Les deux pôles du flash-back : Carné, Mankiewicz



destiny can be exhibited directly in other ways, and can affirm a pure power of time which overflows all memory, an already-past which exceeds all recollections: we are not just thinking of expressionist figures of blind men or tramps with which Carné's work is strewn, but of the immobilizings and petrifications in Visiteurs du Soir, or the use of mime in Les Enfants du Paradis, and more generally of light, which Carné uses in the French style - luminous grey which passes through every atmospheric nuance and constitutes a great circuit of the sun and moon. [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 46-47]

Car le destin peut se manifester directement par d'autres voies, et affirmer une pure puissance du temps qui déborde toute mémoire, un déjà -passé qui excède tout souvenir : nous ne pensons pas seulement aux figures expressionnistes d'aveugles ou de clochards dont Carné a parsemé son oeuvre, mais aux immobilisations et pétrifications des « Visiteurs du soir », à l'usage du mime dans « Les enfants du paradis », et plus généralement à la lumière, dont Carné se sert suivant le style français, gris lumineux qui passe par toutes les nuances atmosphériques et constitue le grand circuit du soleil et de la lune. [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 1985: 68a.b]


2e
The Inadequacy of the recollection-image
Insuffisance de l'image-souvenir

the flashback [...] gets its justification from elsewhere; Carné's destiny [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 51c]

le flashback [...] reçoit une justification d'ailleurs, le destin de Carné [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 74a]


[The minstrels in this story do the devil's work, and they have supernatural powers. They have come to sing to the baron's court. The male minstrel, Gilles, tempts the baron's daughter Anne into loving him. She will soon marry. The female minstrel tempts both Anne's husband and her father the baron. Below is the remarkable scene where the minstrels stop the dance's duration, and take the woman and her fiancé off for romance in this nether-time.

(Video should play, even though no image shows until then.)
video

Gilles takes Anne out of time, and she says how she felt they were destined to unite.

video

In this scene, Gilles gives Anne a necklace to commemorate their love. She says to Gilles that even if she were dreaming, she would not want to awake. She wants to be locked in this blissful state outside of time. They turn and see her fiancé also cheating with the woman-minstrel. Notice how he says that time is immaterial.

video

The woman minstrel gives the fiancé a ring to memorialize their love. Then Gilles returns Anne to her place in the petrified dance, where began their journey out of time.

video

The fiancé is returned as well. They notice that each other's attitudes have changed, and that they now wear commemorations of their new timeless loves. I will return to this point at the end.

video

Freak dwarves were brought to amuse the baron with their hideous faces. As outcasts, they might make us think of characters outside the network of social relations in the film. And in sense, we might think of them as a Greek chorus or as observers within the story who at the same time see it from a privileged external perspective. Here they come to taunt love-stricken Gilles. They tell him to remember that his destiny is to deceive women, and not fall into a state of eternal love.

video

When Gilles announces his true and undying love for Anne, the devil appears to punish Gilles for breaking his contract. It seems he arranges for Gilles to be caught with Anne in her bedroom. The baron will torture and kill Gilles. To save her true love, Anne makes an agreement with the devil: Gilles will become free, but will forget her, and Ann will try to fall in love with the devil. This frees Gilles, but now he does not recognize Anne, although he is stunned by her beauty and joyful in his memoryless freedom. After Gilles wanders off free, Anne tells the devil she lied, and she will not try to love him. She then asks to be returned to a fountain where she and Gilles shared their love. She meets Gilles there, and they again share tender moments, but as though they just met. They kiss, and afterward Gilles remembers Anne. The devil is frustrated, so he turns them to stone. This only petrifies their love eternally.

video

Let's begin first with Deleuze's general observation that destiny is the cause for recollection in Carné. When during the dance Anne and her fiancé noticed each other's love-commemorations, the ring and the necklace, they recalled back to their experiences in frozen time. In this state, Anne falls in love, and wants to remain eternally in this petrified romance. Both the female and male minstrels tell their victims that as soon as they saw them, they knew why they traveled so far. For the female minstrel, this is a lie. But for Gilles, it is true. He really does fall in love, and he regrets his bondage to the devil. So for him, he truly was traveling far for Anne and only for Anne. They were destined to be locked timelessly as petrified statues, embraced in eternal love. This love out-of-time was Anne's destiny. Recall now their dance, after returning from their first timeless romances. Here they were given a ring and a necklace to commemorate their new forbidden loves. While dancing, they point-out to each other those memorials. Here we have a recollection, taking them both back to that timeless state. As we saw, this timeless state is more than an interruption for Anne; it is her destiny. So perhaps in this way, destiny is the cause of recollection, as Deleuze says we find in Carné.

Deleuze's writes specifically for this film that destiny is exhibited in the immobilizings and petrifications which affirm time's pure power to exceed recollection. Perhaps in a way, their destiny to unite eternally had the power for Gilles to remember something that was no longer in his memory, as if the memories did not come from his own personal past but from the timeless beyond that is their eternal destiny.]





Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time Image. Transl. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London & New York: 1989.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris: Les éditions de minuit, 1985.



Sunday, 21 March 2010

Catherine Grant's Film Studies for Free




Catherine Grant runs a fantastic online resource for cinema studies, Film Studies for Free. It is an incredible resource for those doing research or just wanting to learn about film.


Here is wonderful entry on Deleuze and Film:

The Last Mad Race. René Clair. Entr'acte





presentation by Corry Shores
[Search Blog Here.]

[Central Entry Directory]

[Cinema Entry Directory]
[Filmmakers, Entry Directory]
[René Clair, Entry Directory]




The Last Mad Race
René Clair
Entr'acte


Gilles Deleuze

Cinema 2: The Time Image
Cinéma 2: L'image-temps


Chapter III. From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
Chapitre III. Du souvenir aux rêves (troisième commentaire de Bergson)

3b: From the Optical and Sound Image to the Dream-Image
3b: De l'image optique et sonore à l'image-rêve
(3d: Ses deux pôles : René Clair et Bunuel)



The opposition is especially clear between Entr'acte and Un chien andalou: René Clair's film multiplies every technique, taking them in the direction of cinetic abstraction of the last mad race, whilst Buñuel's film works through more restrained means, and maintains the dominant circular shape in the consistently concrete objects that he has following one another through definite cuts. [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 56a]

L'opposition est particulièrement manifeste entre « Entracte » et « Un chien andalou » le film de René Clair multiplie tous les procédés, et les fait tendre à l'abstraction cinétique de la folle course finale, tandis que le film de Bunuel opère avec les plus sobres moyens, et maintient la forme circulaire dominante dans des objets toujours concrets qu'il fait se succéder par couples franches. [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 1985: 79-80]


From Footnote 17:
Un chien andalou proceeds in particular through static shots, and includes only a few high-angle shots, dissolves and tracking shots forwards or backwards, one single low angle shot, one wide shot, and one slow-motion shot; which is why Buñuel himself regarded it as a reaction against the avant-garde films of the time (not only Ent'racte, but Germaine Dulac's La coquille et le clergyman, whose rich store of techniques was one of the reasons that Artaud, inventor of the idea and screen writer, turned against this film). [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989: 281a]

From Note 15:
« Un chien andalou » procède surtout par plans fixes, et ne comporte que quelques plongées, fondus et travellings avant ou arrière, une seule contre-plongée, un seul panoramique, un seul ralenti ; ce pourquoi Bunuel lui-même y voyait une réaction contre les films d'avant-garde de l'époque (non seulement « Entracte », mais « La coquille et le clergyman » de Germaine Dulac, dont la richesse de moyens fut une des raisons pour lesquelles Artaud, inventeur de l'idée et scénariste, se retourna contre ce film). [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 1985: 80d]

video

video





Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time Image. Transl. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London & New York: 1989.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris: Les éditions de minuit, 1985.