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John Howe. Bloomsbury Publishing Staff. Jean Narboni. Here, Jean-Luc Godard looks back on a century of film as well as his own work and career in the industry. Born with the twentieth century, cinema became not just the century's dominant art form but its best historian. It had a tremendous influence on French filmmakers and on world cinema in general. Beyond its significance in film history, it was also a film of considerable cultural impact.

In Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard captured the spirit of a disillusioned generation and fashioned a style, which drew on This book, the first to be devoted specifically to the work they did together, examines the way they expanded the possibilities of cinema by using cutting-edge video equipment in a constant search for a new kind of filmmaking. More accessible than his later films, it represents the diverse facets of Godard's concerns and themes: a bittersweet analysis of male-female relations; an interrogation of the image; personal and international politics; the existential dilemmas of consumer society.

For some years, I have been reading Rilke very regularly, and he is, for me, an absolute, monumental poet. I wanted to pay tribute to him. I think that cinema is an art that can put poetry forward. Why this choice? The other elements — the ballet, the sculpture — were added a bit at a time. I wanted to deal with the couple, with the moments of coupling, with the difficulties and impossibilities, while still staying on a positive note. In other words, I wanted to deal with our desire for the couple to work, with the ideal image of a functioning couple.

It was the idea that you have to try to love in another way, to continue, to develop a relationship. Not really. Is Pierre the incarnation of Rilke, a reflection of his personality? In comparison with Mon cher sujet, I am much less concerned with linearity, to have a main thread. Very quickly, there is this need to show certain moments of a story that you must not show others.

Books by Jean-Luc Godard

For two years, a lot of films by women have been released. They are not just confined to festivals. Is this a battle that women have won, or is it just a flash in the pan? I take particular care with the choice of actors, in that I take my time. You have to avoid quick casting, where you content yourself with finding a person who corresponds to the character to her age, to a certain profile , or who is free during the dates of filming. In all the films I have made, the shorts as well as the features, I have sought a real meeting with an actor who has the age and the capacity to interpret a character — that is to say, who has the capacity as a performer, who has a need to play this character rather than another.

When I settle on an actor, when there is this appropriateness, a big part of the work is already done. The spirit of the proceedings is established and the filming goes well. At first, I worked with a young woman who specialized in casting, and I soon met Marie Bunel. I did some video tests, and I immediately felt this finesse, this grace, this emotion, and this equilibrium that she possessed. She really is a great actress, but she had not yet found roles that were up to her powers.

For the boy, that was a lot less easy. There was a meeting with Manuel Blanc, but he was not available; he was making a film about Algeria and had shaved his beard. We made the film in two periods: a first one without him and with other guys who could not recognize themselves in this role. The filming was harmonious, and the actors were genuinely agreeable. It is not a flash in the pan, but it is too bad that this access comes at a time when the cinema itself is endangered. It is true that there are a lot of films by women, very different films, like those of Pascale Ferran, or Tonie Marshall, who each have their own style.

But I do not think that it is going to get any easier for women. We are all in the same boat. When you want to make a film, you have to find money, and that is very difficult. There is less and less, and breakthroughs are more and more rare. Of thirty films in theatres, there were twenty-nine American films, and they were in the multiplexes. We have to look to the small theatres, and there is really nowhere else left.

It is unfair.


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I say that, with a few bucks, you can still manage for a few years, but distribution is becoming extremely difficult. There were three film nights, and they want to get rid of two. That means that they will also eliminate the production part, the part with which we make our films. And what is more, the films that they do make are broadcast at two in the morning, when everyone is asleep. The rhythm of your film gives us the time, to see, to feel, to live with things.

You are speaking of time, and although the film is very short, it is an hour and eighteen minutes. It is in the interior of this relatively short time that you can settle in the interior of these situations. There are quick situations and others that take the time to examine things slowly in real time. Originally published in 24 Images, nr. Translated by Jerry White, as published in Two Bicycles. Popular songs often say that every love is like the first, which is easy to say.


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  6. Two Bicycles.
  7. Not so easy to show. His mother is called Sophie, and they are speaking ill of a child called Pierre. There is cruelty and trouble in this prologue; uncertainty is built, contrary to the normal function of an opening scene. It will be unsettling, that is to say it will be both capable of reuniting and of dividing. Capable of reuniting those who will follow the filmmaker on her back roads into an emotional communion, while bearing the risk of incomprehension or misunderstanding. Here, we rediscover this way of capturing both the matter and the spirit that make up the human face, and the way of respecting it.

    Something like the aura of an icon. Pierre and Lou have lived together, separated without breaking with each other, each living on his or her side. She also volunteers for a helpline which helps people who feel bad about themselves. There will be the possibility of marriage with someone else for him, and perhaps a relationship with another for her. But it is unlike anything else. These most ordinary of situations have fuelled fountains of rose water and miles of psychology. But here they are, entirely new, as if no one had ever filmed two lovers before.

    This time, the presence is extended to the whole bodies.

    Their irrefutable existence can perfectly do without these stratagems. However, the film has no lack of stratagems; as their name indicates, they are part of a strategy. It helps turn a simple story into a small sentimental tale of today, a great machine of reflection and understanding. As stratagems: joke scenes, word play — Pierre et la Lou is the most simple one1 —, swerving temporalities, stops in time and moments for reflection that are part of the story and never disrupt its course.

    And above all, a very rich and very complex set of references to literature, painting, sculpture, classical music, and dance. Last January, in a short film shown on ARTE on the occasion of a night dedicated to Bosnia, Jean-Luc Godard said that culture is of the nature of rules, and that art is of the nature of exception. He said that this is also the reason Europe is leaving Sarajevo to die. Culture is the end of differences, of accepting the other as other. The couple Lou talks about is the hypothesis of both acceptance and division between differences.

    It is the hope that every couple supposes and, when put to the test of reality, is almost never fulfilled. It opens up like a flower — and like a true work of art. That which was the story of a small community of lovers also becomes the story of the larger community of human beings. Pierre is called Pierre Novalis and listens to Mahler. On the phone, they make an appointment to go see a performance of Docteur Labus by the choreographer Jean-Claude Gallotta. What does this abundance of signs and signals mean, beyond the omnipresence of the figure of the couple the statue, the dance duet, the correspondence This accumulation of quotes runs the risk of polarizing the view of the film, of distorting its assessment.

    The conflict between art and culture. But oh well, Lou does indeed face complex issues. Its honour, and its courtesy, is found in that it does so with a simplicity that, while smiling, provokes the clearest, most cutting of emotions. She takes the side of art, of each art, against culture and its chic and unifying varnish which consumes the singular in the norm and atomizes the collective into solitudes. Perhaps it is the result of my lower middle class education.

    I was taught to manage with limited means. When I was little, I had invented a sort of shoebox with a light bulb behind it, then I put in family photo negatives and screened them on my wall When a film project gets under way, you wonder where it takes place. I prefer to say some of it happens in the city, some of it in the countryside, rather than to give place names.

    Besides, in the film you see shots that have been filmed in Paris and others filmed in Annecy or in other cities. But it was not a question of reconstructing their story. I kept one first name and went on. The film contains all these cultural references, without them being a towering presence. Yes, at some point. But first rather through drawing, a sort of geometry, a construction with small sketches representing each sequence.

    What I kept from the relationship between Rilke and Lou is a female character that is a little older and more mature than the male character. At the same time, you bring together things that come from far away and are very dissimilar. One of the first elements was the duet by Gallotta, part of his show Docteur Labus, which I went to in This moment had especially moved me, and I figured I wanted to do something with it.

    I had no idea what. Later, I directed the short film on the Mars and Venus statue. This statue, which is not a noble piece, moved me right away. The shoot happened more or less the way it is described in Lou. Lou and Pierre are real characters; they have a certain depth, a rich presence that has become rare in contemporary films.

    It seems to me that when you want to try and introduce a character, that you need to give some indication of their background, so that we are then able to see them act without their acts being reduced to what we see. The third element was, of course, reading Rilke. As it happened, I was going through a difficult time during which Rilke was of great support to me.

    Particularly in the letters in which Rilke shares with her his desire to go through psychoanalysis. He asks her for advice, and she dissuades him. But this relation between Rilke and Lou left me speechless, because of the courage, or the unconsciousness, or the cruelty she displays at dissuading him from the analysis, at a time when he needed it, in order to keep him in his misery.

    Of course. The two childhood scenes are inspired by — real or invented — memories told by Rilke. When it was time to write the script, I looked for someone to talk to, because I had found it very heavy to do it all on my own for Mon cher sujet. I talked about it with JeanLuc Godard , the only idea I kept from his suggestions was that Pierre had to be someone who earns a lot of money.

    Are the sequences in which Lou answers the phone also written in advance? Of course, especially those ones. Besides, they contain numerous literary quotes. But these scenes were not rehearsed. It was about not reducing the strength these scenes could contain. The actors were in two different rooms and really talked on the phone. We did very few takes, even less than usual, in order to retain the shock, the element of surprise generated by these words coming from the outside for the one hearing them.

    We talked about Lou, but at the same I wanted to keep a distance and not slip back into another mode of collaboration together. Godard often says you need to be two to make cinema. The process starts in the casting. I need to come across someone who needs the role, the job, at that time of their life or career.

    You need a fundamental commitment to the project which then makes it possible to search together. I immediately came across Marie Bunel, but finding the boy was more difficult. When I got to know Manuel Blanc, he had a shaved head for the shoot of another film. Lou is similar to how I dreamt of it at the beginning, despite all the transformations in the process. Were these transformations also due to the production conditions? Alain Sarde found the funding.

    One day he told me: if you want to make a film, I can take care of it. He was busy doing five or six films at the same time. So we brought the production back home, to Rolle. The material conditions matched the project. I first worked with Marie alone, in the spring of , sharing a true complicity. Manuel only joined us later on, in the month of August.

    And suddenly everything went well. He was generous. He wanted to give and not just take, with a lot of energy, joy and drive. What I talk about is not characteristic of one generation. The dialogues drawn from literary texts are, of course, far from how people of that age express themselves today; the discrepancy between bodies and words is deliberate.

    The actors were very happy to say these lines. As there is both an inner logic to the project and a great lightness to the way it is realized, the distance with naturalism becomes enriching. Marie Bunel and Manuel Blanc, even more, found themselves in phase with a vocabulary, music, and attitudes that are nonetheless not their own in everyday life. The soundtrack is very rich. It must have cost a lot. Not at all. The important thing was to think about it in advance, in order to know which sounds and which musicians were necessary.

    Then we just needed to work carefully. I try to anticipate as much as possible, while trying to keep a certain freedom when shooting. I have a notebook with the indications for each shot, drawings and a lot of photos. I try to know all the sets well before the shoot, which is not difficult, as I almost always use locations where I live. Did you again work alone on the editing? The first sequence you work on results from a choice, a standpoint; but once this sequence is in place, it is the film which says: no, that I do not take; yes, that I will take.

    At that point, the cutting room is not unlike a raft in which I am alone with the film. Do you maintain close relations with other filmmakers? No, from that point of view everyone is quite isolated. From that point of view, the profession is a little gloomy. Very quickly, there are rival reactions.

    I find it rather strange. The only advantage of Paris is that you can watch more films there. I recognize in the film the personality of the actress I met during the shoot. In this version, some remarks have been cut and some stylistic naiveties have been reduced. Sometimes the subject is revived with humour: hence the extremely hilarious guard at the Louvre whose chubby face and moustache are part of a sequence of ideal marble faces; he points out that a couple is not a group to the scholarly curator and handsome man!

    Something quite different held my attention when I watched it for the second time. The arguments, the tensions, the confrontations,. The characters exist through sometimes deliberately literary dialogues. Which has become rare. For the most part, the characters are just beautiful.

    Marie Bunel. This film decidedly shakes us. It also borrows its references from other, less contemporary, more intimidating, more solemn arts, like antique statuary. Conversely, the same voice-over transports trivial conjugality towards something universal. And this resorting to music, to beautifully written dialogues that sometimes recycle fragments from famous literary texts, is not always accepted. But the confrontation of bodies is violent. Formally, the sequence of shots and the coupling of sequences do not happen peacefully and translate the violence of feelings.

    You have the impression that each part of the film, even the most minuscule one, has been conceived on its own and is nonetheless unquestionably but quite brutally based on what precedes it and what follows. Contrary to a certain formal harshness, many contemporary filmmakers indulge in mediocre ugliness.

    Because the art of this filmmaker gets rid of relational description, so frequently annoying elsewhere, of all naturalism, of all obscene leniency towards the ugliness of words and gestures. When bodies collide, an unquestionable choreography carries them. I was struck by the shamelessness of the film. In line with this, we have the indiscretion of Lou, who listens to the woes of correspondents on the edge of depression or banal social neurosis.

    Nothing explains the alternation between the two states: no detailed psychological process. Everything is instability, just like what is commonly called a mood, like in life: rage and incomprehension are opposites and echoes of passion and emotional secrets. What is described here is the very machine of love between powerlessness and proficiency. She uses music for the moments when the crisis recedes and the tension dissolves in favour of grace. A piano crescendo, growing choirs against nocturnal and aerial shots of urban traffic.

    A musical take-off of the images that accompany the flight of fulfilled love. A film is accomplished. The feature film ends for us, with a short film concluding it by reminding us that the noise and fury of emotional passion have not damaged the voices of the silence of art.

    I am writing to you from a country far away, even though Rolle, where you live, is visible in the distance from the window of my room. Around us, Switzerland stretches up hill and down dale, far beyond our common horizon, fading into cultural nebulae dominated, like everywhere else, by committees of experts, by battalions of bureaucrats busy reading statistics, their fingers on computer keyboards.

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    Accordingly, the federal capital has always remained inaccessible and invisible to me, although it was pointed out to me countless times Official power, which is not exactly stupid, supports this excess of apathy which assails us into daily nausea on the big screen not to mention the small screen. In this unfortunate climate, you never stopped asking questions about our presence in the world, across the world we are part of.

    Alone, at ease with her age of almost forty, she walks while contemplating her personal future and that of her daughter, who wants to become a musician, that of her own aging parents, that of her fragile relationship, and her walk allows her to measure the force of her adult body, the fragility of existence and that of others. In this spot of land between the lake and the Jura Mountains we love so much, this kind of inward-looking walk resembles you. It can leave us with the feeling of an apparently deliberate non-participation in public affairs. Badly informed about this attitude, some people are upset by it.

    Against this treacherous policy, made to look like good conscience and advocated everywhere, we need to rebel — a desire that we share and that is carried far by you. In our country, bank-rich and dismayed by piles of unopened historical cases, only a few like you lucidly express the contingent nature of life, of childhood, of triumphant youth and old age, of what unites and separates, of what calls to battle, distinct from the loud-mouthed media.

    Despite the obstacles, some are holding your hand so as to assert against the bureaucrats sowing confusion and despair: we are all still here. Nearby With all my heart F. Freddy Buache Lausanne, 27 April Then a love scene and domestic dispute, with a train ride and a bobble hat, a real treat.

    At the beginning, the voices say they will not produce this film. An emotion emanates from this dull litany, whose melancholy opens onto an audacious message of hope, echoing the intelligence of the first episode. They are undoubtedly the voices of television, of production professionals, of funding committees.

    Why would you get angry about their not wanting anything like that? Considering Nous sommes tous encore ici exists, despite everything, despite them. You almost feel proud to see a film that owes nothing to the machinery of ratings, nor to any calculations of profitability. Arguments, tenderness, soliloquies, and the continuation of conversations started a long time ago: it is always about understanding, about understanding each other.

    On the screen, alternating shots of cars on the road and pedestrians on the sidewalk. For the cars, jazz Lester Bowie ; for the pedestrians, classical music Shostakovich. What does that mean? There is interference: an argument at the train station while the couple is it a couple?

    What are we, the spectators, doing here, in this dive into the heart of private words and gestures? It wanders from house to house in an area with enough trust in things, in bodies and words to let them come together, to count on the multiplicity of echoes, sparks, pieces of meaning resulting from it. With enough trust in cinema to bring about more than just an addition. Yet, despite its disturbing freedom, Nous sommes tous encore ici is very solidly constructed.

    The human heart is the only thing in the world capable of assuming the burden of dialogue with oneself, of making living with others bearable, although they will forever be strangers to us. It is spoken by the dark voice of Godard, with his very beautiful, rather sinister unshaved face, expressing something somewhere between flayed suspicion and the smile of a young punk.

    The film is essentially built around words; some of them are really old but still seem very contemporary to me. These words are all still here and we are here to say them. I met a lot of actors, and we started working with Hugues Quester. He left and I was distraught, because we had to interrupt the shoot for an unpredictable time to find a new actor. Where does this central place for words come from?

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    From theatre. Originally, I had received a proposal from a theatre in Switzerland to direct a piece. I wanted to turn it into a short film by rearranging the third part to take advantage of the possibilities of cinema. When I was writing the piece, we had talked about it. We had even had some fun playing the two characters! In any case, neither he nor I knew it beforehand. I know him well. Moreover, with him, we were able to save money, because we were cheap.

    He wanted to produce a series for France 3 dedicated to the work of Plato. I bought all the books and passionately read them. Two guys in a toga endlessly talking seemed unwatchable. Then came the idea that removed the obstacle: to have women read the text. The debate at the beginning of the film evokes your difficulties in finding the necessary funding. All the doors brutally closed on this project, including those of organizations we could have expected to be focused exactly on films of this kind.

    I managed with this amount of money. In this regard, I feel like a housewife at the market. The film was made very quickly, in less than a year. I make films based on what I know, but I try to pursue more general themes. It would be a pity to reduce it to a small personal affair. Why did you accompany the film with a book and a CD? As the film was focused on words and was perhaps not going to be released on video, I figured that people might want to listen to it.

    The book: those who have watched the film often have the desire to reread what was said in the motion of the film. You might want to return to it. As he arrived at the last minute, each night he had to learn his lines for the next day. We worked for eight days. The text needed to lose its learned and recited character in order to become a kind of speech that is in line with the thought that produces it.

    Bernadette found a humourous and malicious note to grasp the character of Callicles. The shoot was easy, calm, pleasant. We had another actor, but he left after two hours. We filmed two shots and he got in his car. We never saw him again! We gained humour and a certain speed. He arrived as a beginner and committed to the meaning, to the words. He tried to reproduce them as simply as possible. I trusted him. A reflection rather than a mirror During the editing, I saw the couple, not Jean-Luc.

    People talk to me about the third part much more often than about the other two parts, in a way that somewhat irritates me. The excessive mediatization focuses on a person at the expense of what this person does. They immediately address Godard. From text to speech The film as a whole is a kind of approach to speech. Those of Plato, which are more than two thousand years old and talk about issues not very different from those of today, as well as those of Hannah Arendt.

    The third part of the film, the dialogue by a couple, makes it possible to go on a little outing. We leave the room, we take a fieldtrip The text was first meant to be performed in the theatre. The material I started from was kind of pieced together. It was rejected and I handled this by making the film. I wanted to make these words heard and while shooting, I rediscovered the joy of mobility. Whatever the criticism at the time, protest was not the fundamental approach.

    The film was made thanks to Alain Sarde. We managed to stay in a margin for twenty years and each year it is getting a little slimmer. The couple is something that has never stopped haunting me. It seems to me that when speech is constructed and is able to generate a form of sharing or a somewhat profound exchange, it takes place within time and within a couple. When we have finally left the horizon of hopes and deceptions in order to recognize the other. I work in a very practical way. I move forward slowly. I find a cheap setting, and I spend some time there.

    I work on the text for a long time. I picture things. Except that I try to work with cameramen in a humble way. When they arrive in a setting, they start from what the light offers them. It is always less good when they ignore the natural light in order to then recreate it. To write well, to design well The dialogues are completely written before shooting.

    Afterwards, during the editing, I have to find a tempo rather than a research device. We were fortunate enough to be able to film very rapidly, despite the lack of money. I had 24 hours of thinking how I could transform the rejected theatrical proposal and one year later, Nous sommes tous encore ici was finished! Without being particularly reactionary, we could think we are going through barren times. But barren times have ends. There seems to be a technological stranglehold masking the absence of words.

    In itself and despite everything, the film title establishes a certain confidence which is explained both by renowned philosophers as experts responsible for clearing up the issue and the life of a couple charged with performing its daily demonstration. Such a project, explained by acts, and the words capable of defining it to begin with, can only discover its difficult meaning throughout a discourse that should be read like a poem and not like a story of interlocking adventures.

    Each phrase, producing conflicting truths, simultaneously or one after the other, is initially generated by a long dialogue of Plato: Callicles and Socrates, played by two women, bicker from the kitchen to the living room in order to know what distinguishes the good from the bad. That is to say, Right from Wrong.

    In some respects, in fact, and in contrast with customs, boring from being so blindly repetitive, the film unfolds its profound structure and not its almost non-existent fiction by a sort of inverted reading; the third part, an expression of the difficult emotional life of a couple, refers to the first part, which is only afterwards clarified by the second part. This second part, a Hannah Arendt monologue On the Nature of Totalitarianism , talks about loneliness, which is not solitude, as we are never alone in solitude, but always two as one, and we only become one thanks to others.

    Two bicycles : the work of Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville / Jerry White - Details - Trove

    Alas, such a pursuit particularly close to that of Straub, to Godard and to a few rare innovators of form , which should extract the seventh art from its strait jacket of reassuring certitudes economically supported by the state and by businessmen remains a rare achievement. The narrow-minded and self-satisfied Helvetian funding committees have obviously not supported it. And a wealth of imagination was needed for a poor shoot to be set up, which was also personal, precise and non-compliant with the circumstances of a society that reduces art to money, the ultimate proof of its intellectual and above all spiritual decline.

    The connection to what surrounds us, nature and humans, arises from each shot, because what grabs us comes from a general kind of orchestration, just like spots of colour, strokes and empty space form the representative arrangement of a painting and are lost there. It has elements of both the whip and the tightrope. It tells a story without telling a story. Without the usual ingredients of a story, I mean.

    We often laugh, but never at the cost of the characters, or the actors, who are all in their own way wonderfully light and committed. And yet everything is acted exactly and, I repeat, ethereally — experienced as if in suspension. Every moment of every actor is put into its own particular shot, and I admire the way in which you have managed to vary each composition, especially when the four actors are together and have to share such a bare space.

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    For example: the ephemerally dazzling children or the long walk under the trees. In fact, your quartet has a plantlike presence, something temporarily put together, like all those weeds lost in traffic. And God knows where: at the level of tyres and exhaust pipes, perhaps. It is, however, the seriousness of the subject that makes the invigorating mockery of all the partners necessary, forced as they are to shake off a rather tempting torpor.

    And in this story, which is more personal than it seems, you are somewhat standing back from the others, as a kind of enigmatic Ms. In this so particular way of perching your films up on abstract heights, we feel that they contain in their invisible basis an abundant supply of life experience and thought.

    This film helps me. Yours sincerely, Jean-Claude Biette. And the film as a whole is magnificent. It is peace of the human kind, which should indeed urgently be reconciled with itself, in the hope that it will finally look like itself somehow. What would it look like? Maybe like the quartet that occupies the film and makes up its entire subject. In their misted up car, the characters once again continue their jousting, which we could relate to a variation on one and the same theme, swinging us from work to love and from love back to work.

    Art in both cases? There is, however, something else the quartet agrees on, you could say tacitly, even if the film only talks of the power of the word: an acquired harmony between these musicians who would otherwise not find themselves before us to play their part in the score. This understanding without words is both an awareness and an experience of existence, a powerful taste and a motor for life as they see it. We would like to add that all of the participants in this fourcornered game share the programme of living each moment of their lives at the highest intensity.

    But the case of Robert seems to refute this maximalism. Robert fights off the nonetheless irresistibly playful attacks by Cathos the revelation Clause Perron and he points his arrow at the lunar and endearing sailor Arthur a revived Jacques Spiesser. But the filmmaker also has the lovely kindness of easing our bumps and bruises with a mischievous kind of humour that provides the film with some existential screwball comedy spice, and she is constantly working to finally dedramatize the excessive solitude that makes us too easily combine comfort and renunciation.

    About the permanence of a happiness at hand which just needs to be seized, pampered, cherished. About what we actually expect, in order to realize it and start changing things, as there is a unanimous agreement on the observation that things are in pretty bad shape. Not just that which hurts or harms, reassures or consoles, and the thousands of little things that make up the price and the pain of living together. Another director with another history would have perhaps shown something of the character of Arthur the sailor.

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    The average spectator or the distributor says that the beginning of the film is difficult. People prefer the big second part without realizing they would have never loved the second part without the small first part, the prologue. How do love and work come together? Therefore, we very carefully prepared this film, in order to put the right people in the place where they could be happy.

    With cohesion and adhesion. So yes, in that sense, love works. So I worked on using dialogue in cinema. How did you arrive at the decision of have JeanLuc Godard as an actor? The first actor I had thought about was Pierre Richard. Jean-Luc, on his part, felt in harmony with the script; he felt like saying those words, like participating in the undertaking.

    He insisted on acting. To get back to your first question, I would like to talk about something which has always been unfair to Anne-Marie. I only slowly got interested in it around eighteen. She was physically and naturally attracted to projection, to light when she was still a child. I just want to make that clear. The Straubs work in tandem, on the same bike, one in the front and the other in the back.

    As for us, we have two bikes. An embryonic image of the crew that Anne-Marie wanted. She is happier on the set than I am. The idea came to me when I was finishing the editing. Is it less painful when you act? Oh yes! Godard: Yes, and if we spend another ten minutes I wanted to film this population of ingenious little weeds that I had discovered while walking, perhaps at a time when I tended to hang my head.

    I realized how difficult and threatened the life of these weeds is, being pulled out every day. Metaphorically, I also considered them fixed characters in the middle of people passing. Godard: We truly felt like a quartet, with the orchestra camera and crew around it. Was it hard to cry? No, I cry easily. Mostly from being upset. A delicate moment, in which we had to change the film cartridge. We could have anticipated that You could probably make me cry in less than an hour, depending on how the conversation goes. A man who cries is a taboo in cinematography.

    We both cry almost as much as the other. Quartet for a Morning After Smile Jean-Michel Frodon wise, chatty, active, impatient; the men are slower, one — the intellectual Robert Godard — of a weariness that draws him towards the immaterial, the other — the adventurer Arthur Spiesser — of a beastly, whale-like heaviness.

    She is served the worst at her own table, her role — that of the woman who knew too much, the only one without a name — is the most functional of all, while Claude Perron is a sassy, dancing seductress, shining and transforming right before our eyes. Jacques Spiesser is motionless and thirsty, a traveller stranded in a Paris salon, perfectly content with silence and existence. The women who talk and move and the men who stay and insist invoke the ghosts of so many hopes abolished after wilder times. The despair passes, but in bitterness. Weeds grow in the cities.

    It has started. We see and hear. We hear the unpacking, kind of like pouring all the cutlery onto the table before setting it, of a considerable and heterogeneous whole. We see: freedom. The whip of circus trainers, logically and ironically. We are not dealing with the action itself, but with glosses, joyful and tragic glosses.

    They meet, they talk, argue, quarrel, insult each other. They laugh, a lot. The general composition works on key changes. The dominant key is nonetheless that of comedy, between the said and the shown, the hidden and the silent. The women are. Five or six times one thousand two hundred kilometres in order to bring provisions.

    Visions both professional and amateur, slipped out as if by miracle, of intelligence, of lucidity, of insensibility to all that is not sensible, to the Occupying forces who occupy our poor imaginations with overly rich slogans. I thank you for this detour on your path, like a lily taken right from the heart of analysis. Having left this poor city together, of which Bonnard said, as you reminded me, that blue turned grey here, your comings and goings allowed me to believe that the time of remembrance had finally come and that it was related to the time of invention like teeth to lips.