A beginning, middle, and end. Not necessarily in that order.
I skipped ahead because I forgot about the Internet.
And now to write on the sad, hopeful history of change.
To write about the slums of Paris. There will be slums.
I am not making much sense unless you have read me before.
I can assure you that it is not a put-on.
No, I cannot string together two sentences.
Does that make me stupid?
Of course not.
It’s negotiable. Relative. Subjective [ahh…].
This, then, is a film review. All articles on this site take advantage of this form in one way or another.
Adherence is a matter of self-calibration.
I have found the form for me. Which is to say, it depends on the film.
And so what is Cine-tracts?
Try the purge function. Check the deletion log.
Not a very straightforward answer.
Well, these were some short, silent films made by various directors in response to the events of May 1968 in Paris.
The reason I didn’t review this “film” earlier is that I forgot to check the ether for free content.
It’s a bit dodgy. You never quite know what you’re getting.
On any account, I found about 75 minutes of these cine-tracts and watched the whole, soundless lot.
Jean-Luc Godard’s touch was apparent. Whether or not Jean-Pierre Gorin was involved at this early stage, I am too lazy to check. Chris Marker is said to have participated. That certainly seems plausible given that the mode of creation involves still photos rather than moving pictures.
Ah, but the pictures do move. Or rather, the camera’s motion creates an illusion that the still pictures are moving. Indeed, their relationship to the camera is changing. Distance. Perspective. Renaissance. Light. Shadow.
These cine-tracts play like what they likely were: short, encouraging films for the students and workers who were rebelling against the times.
There are some ingenious directorial devices here and there, but generally the message (both literal and symbolic) takes precedence over imagination and invention. To be sure, the filmmakers involved were politically engaged and apparently zealous in their dedication.
And so now it is hard to recall that Spring of ’68. I was not there. I have tried to put myself there. Because many important currents converge in Paris 1968.
Is it inappropriate to called Cine-tracts a Godard film? Perhaps. But the opposite end of the spectrum would deprive us of this diary-like glimpse into the auteur’s mind. You want to understand Adieu au langage? Start here. Or continue here. Even end here.
There is no shame in being poor. Scarcity has made it difficult. A small concern. Not definitively growing.
The key to understanding Cine-tracts is to be found in everyday life. Poor, sad routine. Run-down dross of capitalism. The ass of capitalism looks strikingly like the ass of communism.
Donkey. Camel. BMW.
Yes, the world markets are sensitive to bullshit. And each magnified ramification comes home to the poor Joe. Average Joe. And Jane.
Joe and John Doe and Jane Smith can’t seem to escape the high school algebra problem in which they are frozen like insects.
Joe Schmoe. A very prestigious family.
And therein lies the problem. A bunch of nobodies. All they can offer is a peach. Or a glass of water. Or a near-worthless coin.
There’s no movement to join. Will you start a movement? In real politics (not the pap which passes for such in the houses of congresses) the only victory is death. Man does not want to hear an uncomfortable message. Your type has already, long ago, been profiled. You don’t fit in this world. There is no future for you. As even Orwell seemed to intimate in 1984, a Winston Smith who lives must compromise.
And so what happened to Godard? What happened to the fire of May 1968–that zeal which seemed inextinguishable? What happened to the hippies? What happened to the revolutionary socialists of the ’60s? Did they merely switch drugs?
To conflate the participants of May 1968 in Paris with American hippies is problematic. Are there similarities and commonalities? Sure! But the cultural backgrounds of the two groups were quite different. This difference persists. France and the U.S.A. are further than opposite sides of a common coin.
From the standpoint of language, I am probably more qualified to comment on American hippies (though I am much too young to have first-hand knowledge). A gross simplification would seem to indicate that the idealism of the American counter-culture gave way to a nihilism (and finally to assimilation and general diametric abandonment of youthful principles).
But history is always open. That spark…that archetype of socialism…that magical motif can be applied to any political movement…in that history may be all but written, yet it is never more than a pathetic extension of the actuarial tables. The only insurance of life is to live while alive.