samedi 28 février 2009

Les yeux sans visage

Edith Scob, Les yeux sans visage

Edith Scob

Commençons par vos débuts. Comment êtes vous devenue la muse de Franju ?

J’étais quelqu’un de très timide. Je faisais des études de Français à la Sorbonne et en même temps je prenais des cours de théâtre. J’ai eu alors une chance incroyable car Georges Franju cherchait un personnage muet faisant de la figuration intelligente pour jouer dans La tête contre les murs. Il a vu une photo de moi et il m’a choisie. Cette figuration est devenue une vraie séquence dans le film. Il m’a filmée en gros plan et plan moyen et je suis devenue un véritable personnage. Ensuite, il a préparé l’écriture des Yeux sans visages et il a pensé à moi pour le personnage de Christiane Genessier. C’était un cadeau pour moi, d’autant plus que j’étais cinéphile ; je connaissais Le sang des bêtes et Hôtel des Invalides… Des courts-métrages fabuleux. J’avais ainsi l’impression de rentrer dans une belle histoire.

Vous donnait-il beaucoup de directives sur les tournages ?

Oui et non, car il était dans l’histoire de ce qu’il racontait. Je devais faire partie de sa mythologie car il projetait sur moi toute une idée de rêve, de pureté, de fragilité ou de beauté, comme dans les séquences poétiques du Sang des bêtes : la péniche qui passe ; les oiseaux. Je fais partie de ce volet là. Il y a la violence mais aussi une chose pure.

Extrait d'un entretien avec Stéphane Caillet ayant eu lieu le 16 décembre 2008, publié par Critikat et qu'on peut lire ici dans son intégralité.

Les yeux sans visage

Edith Scob, Les yeux sans visage

The Woman in White

I had now arrived at that particular point of my walk where four roadsmet--the road to Hampstead, along which I had returned, the road toFinchley, the road to West End, and the road back to London. I had mechanically turned in this latter direction, and was strolling along the lonely high-road--idly wondering, I remember, what the Cumberland young ladies would look like--when, in one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop by the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly on my shoulder from behind me.
I turned on the instant, with my fingers tightening round the handle of my stick.
There, in the middle of the broad bright high-road--there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven--stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments, her face bent in grave inquiry on mine, her hand pointing to the dark cloud over London, as I faced her.
I was far too seriously startled by the suddenness with which this extraordinary apparition stood before me, in the dead of night and in that lonely place, to ask what she wanted. The strange woman spoke first.
"Is that the road to London?" she said.
I looked attentively at her, as she put that singular question to me.It was then nearly one o'clock. All I could discern distinctly by themoonlight was a colourless, youthful face, meagre and sharp to look at about the cheeks and chin; large, grave, wistfully attentive eyes; nervous, uncertain lips; and light hair of a pale, brownish-yellow hue. There was nothing wild, nothing immodest in her manner: it was quietand self-controlled, a little melancholy and a little touched by suspicion; not exactly the manner of a lady, and, at the same time, not the manner of a woman in the humblest rank of life. The voice, little as I had yet heard of it, had something curiously still and mechanical in its tones, and the utterance was remarkably rapid. She held a smallbag in her hand: and her dress--bonnet, shawl, and gown all of white--was, so far as I could guess, certainly not composed of very delicate or very expensive materials. Her figure was slight, and rather above the average height--her gait and actions free from the slightest approach to extravagance. This was all that I could observe of her in the dim light and under the perplexingly strange circumstances of our meeting. What sort of a woman she was, and how she came to be out alone in the high-road, an hour after midnight, I altogether failed to guess. The one thing of which I felt certain was, that the grossest of mankind could not have misconstrued her motive inspeaking, even at that suspiciously late hour and in that suspiciously lonely place.
"Did you hear me?" she said, still quietly and rapidly, and without the least fretfulness or impatience. "I asked if that was the way to London."
"Yes," I replied, "that is the way: it leads to St. John's Wood and the Regent's Park. You must excuse my not answering you before. I was rather startled by your sudden appearance in the road; and I am, even now, quite unable to account for it."
"You don't suspect me of doing anything wrong, do you? I have done nothing wrong. I have met with an accident--I am very unfortunate in being here alone so late. Why do you suspect me of doing wrong?"
She spoke with unnecessary earnestness and agitation, and shrank backfrom me several paces. I did my best to reassure her.
"Pray don't suppose that I have any idea of suspecting you," I said,"or any other wish than to be of assistance to you, if I can. I only wondered at your appearance in the road, because it seemed to me to be empty the instant before I saw you."
She turned, and pointed back to a place at the junction of the road to London and the road to Hampstead, where there was a gap in the hedge.
"I heard you coming," she said, "and hid there to see what sort of man you were, before I risked speaking. I doubted and feared about it till you passed; and then I was obliged to steal after you, and touch you."
Steal after me and touch me? Why not call to me? Strange, to say the least of it.
"May I trust you?" she asked. "You don't think the worse of me because I have met with an accident?" She stopped in confusion; shifted her bag from one hand to the other; and sighed bitterly.
The loneliness and helplessness of the woman touched me. The natural impulse to assist her and to spare her got the better of the judgment, the caution, the worldly tact, which an older, wiser, and colder man might have summoned to help him in this strange emergency.
"You may trust me for any harmless purpose," I said. "If it troublesyou to explain your strange situation to me, don't think of returning to the subject again. I have no right to ask you for any explanations. Tell me how I can help you; and if I can, I will."
"You are very kind, and I am very, very thankful to have met you."
The first touch of womanly tenderness that I had heard from her trembled in her voice as she said the words; but no tears glistened in those large,wistfully attentive eyes of hers, which were still fixed on me. "I have only been in London once before," she went on, more and more rapidly, "and I know nothing about that side of it, yonder. Can I get a fly, or a carriage of any kind? Is it too late? I don't know. If you could show me where to get a fly--and if you will only promise not to interfere with me, and to let me leave you, when and how I please--I have a friend in London who will be glad to receive me--I want nothing else--will you promise?"
She looked anxiously up and down the road; shifted her bag again from one hand to the other; repeated the words, "Will you promise?" and looked hard in my face, with a pleading fear and confusion that it troubled me to see.
What could I do? Here was a stranger utterly and helplessly at my mercy--and that stranger a forlorn woman. No house was near; no one was passing whom I could consult; and no earthly right existed on my part to give me a power of control over her, even if I had known how to exercise it. I trace these lines, self-distrustfully, with the shadows of after-events darkening the very paper I write on; and still I say,what could I do?

Wilkie Collin, The Woman in White, qu'on peut lire sur Gutenberg.

陳湘琪 Chen Shiang-Chyi

陳湘琪 Chen Shiang-Chyi - 天边一朵云 La saveur de la pastèque

蔡明亮 Tsai Ming Liang

Objectif Cinéma : Beaucoup de films taiwanais sont marqués par la mélancolie, comme vos films, de quoi est-ce le symptôme ?

Tsai Ming Lang : Ce n’est pas seulement le cas du cinéma taiwanais, on voit ça de manière globale dans les films qui puisent dans l’intériorité, cette partie de tristesse, d’angoisse fait partie de notre quotidien. Il n’y a que dans le cinéma commercial que tout finit bien. Déjà dans le muet, on trouvait cette mélancolie. Ce qui est particulier à Taiwan, on le découvre en regardant la télévision qui comporte 99 chaînes, et on s’aperçoit qu’on vit dans une espèce de trouble, les gens perdent leurs repères, les gens n’ont plus vraiment de direction. On vit dans un soi-disant progrès alors qu’il y a encore des catastrophes naturelles, que les gens sont au chômage, que les jeunes ne peuvent pas payer leurs études. Ca se ressent dans le cinéma, cette incompréhension face à leur propre société.

Objectif Cinéma : Le côté pessimiste de vos films était jusqu’à maintenant comme camouflé par l’aspect comédie musicale, un peu paillette. Avec La Saveur de la Pastèque, il semble qu’il y ait une rupture, que la tristesse se révèle.

Tsai Ming Lang : Il s’agit de voir un groupe de personnes qui tournent un film porno. Ils vendent leur corps, c’est assez cruel, je ne pouvais donc pas faire autrement de montrer de cette façon là. Parallèlement, on ne peut pas vivre toujours dans la douleur, on a besoin de choses qui nous rendent heureux. Pour moi ce sont les chansons que l’on entend dans mes films, elles me donnent de l’énergie pour faire face à une certaine réalité quotidienne. On les a parfois oublié car nous sommes pris dans un engrenage moderne, mais elles sont toujours là et portent un message un peu naïf, elles sont vraies, on en a tous rêvés. Je veux dire que ces choses-là ont existé et existent toujours mais qu’on les a simplement oubliées.

Objectif Cinéma : Mais ce dernier film se termine vraiment de façon pessimiste et violente, alors que dans The Hole par exemple, même si ça se termine mal, il y a toujours une note d’espoir et de poésie.

Tsai Ming Lang : Les interprétations sont différentes selon les publics. Pour vous c’est une fin pessimiste, pour d’autre un message d’espoir sur l’amour. Cette fin reste ouverte à l’interprétation de chacun. Il est difficile de juger les réactions de personnages. Ce qui est essentiel c’est que comme dans The Hole, ça reflète l’intériorité de ces deux personnages. On ne sait pas si ça arrive réellement. Ces deux personnages, même s’ils ont une manière violente et cruelle d’atteindre leur but, c’est une manière de prouver que tout ce qu’ils ont vécu a réellement existé, comme si c’était la seule façon de conserver cet amour naissant, malgré le contexte difficile. A travers cette situation quasi-surréelle, on scrute l’intériorité de ces deux personnages.

Extrait d'un entretien réalisé par Cécile Giraud pour Objectif Cinéma et qu'on peut lire ici dans son intégralité.

vendredi 27 février 2009

陳湘琪 Chen Shiang-Chyi

陳湘琪 Chen Shiang-Chyi - 天边一朵云 La saveur de la pastèque

蔡明亮 Tsai Ming Liang

Comment doit-on interpréter la scène finale ?

Pour moi, cette scène est avant tout symbolique. Elle peut paraître dérangeante au premier abord mais c’est avant tout une manière de dire que si on accepte ce métier, alors une partie de vous-même est morte. En tant que spectateur, quand on regarde un film X, on peut se considérer comme mort. Le débat a été soulevé à Taiwan à cause de cette séquence qui a fait grincer des dents. La vraie question est ailleurs, notamment dans le fait de savoir pourquoi on consomme des images du corps comme du papier toilette.

Quelles ont été les réactions du milieu ?

Le film a été montré en avant première au Japon et parmi les gens dans la salle, plus de la moitié étaient issus du milieu pornographique. J’ai pris ça comme une gageure de montrer ça à des professionnels. A la fin de la séance, une fille s’est levée. C’était une attachée de presse qui travaillait dans le milieu porno. Clairement, elle disait qu’elle avait impeccablement ressenti cette solitude par rapport au métier qui naît du regard des autres.

Le film transgresse pas mal de tabous en terme de sexualité.

De nos jours, on ne veut pas montrer aux enfants des images qui pourraient nuire à leur éducation. Ce sont généralement des adultes qui sont là à dire que ça peut nuire aux enfants et qu’il ne faut pas qu’on en parle pas ouvertement. C’est peut-être pour cette raison que le sexe devient finalement un produit que l’on exploite. Ce qui est interdit suscite l’envie d’en savoir davantage. Du coup, on en fait un produit. Le sexe est consommable partout aujourd’hui sous diverses formes. Je trouve ça un peu hypocrite. Aujourd’hui, le film est confronté à divers problèmes de censure. On a des problèmes au niveau des affiches. En fait, l’affiche internationale a été interdite. Le film a été interdit à Singapour. Et à Taiwan, il y a eu un grand bordel médiatique sous prétexte que les journalistes pensaient que ce serait un porno. Je vous pose la question : est-ce que vous avez des larmes quand vous regardez ces films ?

Propos recueillis à Paris, le 15 novembre 2005 par Romain Le Vern pour à voir-à lire trouvés ici.

jeudi 26 février 2009

Untitled Film Stills

Cindy Sherman, #26

重慶森林 Chungking Express

Selon moi, le temps, nous prive de façon irrémédiable d'une certaine innocence. On avance, et inévitablement on est amené à se retourner pour regarder le chemin parcouru. On commence à se souvenir des choses que l'on avait rêvé de faire mais qui sont restées lettres mortes ; on commence à se demander ce qui ce serait passé si on avait pris une autre décision ce jour là. Impossible de le savoir. On est bouleversé à la pensée de tout ce que l'on aurait pu vivre et forcément, on ne peut que regretter. Je suis persuadé que les endroits de passage sont déterminants dans les relations humaines. Nous ne choisissons pas vraiment nos amis. En fait, ce sont les gens qui vivent autour de nous qui deviennent nos amis.

Wong Kar-Wai, entretien avec Jimmy Ngai à propos de Chungking Express, août 1997.

重慶森林 Chungking Express

王家衛 Wong Kar Wai - 重慶森林 Chungking Express

Paranoid Park

You've worked with Gus Van Sant before, on his 1998 remake of Hitchcock's "Psycho." What was it that made you want to collaborate with him again?

I had shunned Hollywood for many years, for all the right reasons. When Gus came along with the ultimate "conceptual film" that our "Psycho" is, I felt there was hope for art and that, in his integrity, I could actually find a space. I just had to get the colors right and get to work on time... I think I got the colors okay. So when the producers of "Paranoid Park" promised to actually get me to work on time, how could I refuse?

"Paranoid Park"?

Most of the filmmakers I work with (myself included) tend to avoid artifice. We often abhor anything that looks "lit" ("It looks like a movie" is our most negative response). "Paranoid Park" is a diary. It is subjective and episodic. I feel the only valid response to the personal nature of the main character's experience was to allow the "kids" themselves to take us where the film should go.

What plays the largest role in your choosing a project? The director? Actors? Script?

The people. Why would you want to spend all your energies and intellect and emotion and trust most of any day for anything from the six weeks to years that some films take to make if you didn't like who you were spending such energy and time with? S&M you can find online.

What informs your approach to a given work, and what specifically informed your approach to the look of "Paranoid Park"?

The space. The location. In this case, the climate (it rains 151 days on average in Portland) and the process itself. Most films actually do make themselves. How well they make themselves depends on our openness to, and global understanding of, all the elements that contribute to a "work." The actors respond to a space. The production designer and the director and cinematographer have chosen or manipulated or created the space. The light defines the space, but if the light is "natural," it may be temperamental... changing in unexpected ways... and what if the actors are new to their craft? And what if someone falls ill? The parameters have to be engaged. Film is life, too... I try to "go with the flow."

There's a powerful, intrinsic interplay between image and sound in "Paranoid Park." Did you know before filming began what type of sonic design would be employed, and did you try to meld the cinematography to it?

I would hope that the cinematography engaged the sound. I would suggest that the rhythms are there... but Gus gave them resonance. I hate the concept that an idea is "unique" or "inviolate." Like a date or a conversation, one thing triggers another, so you either end up in bed or in jail or have the best soundtrack I can remember (because Gus dares).

Your work has always struck me as deeply lyrical, and that can certainly be felt in "Paranoid Park"'s skateboarding sequences. Why differentiate them visually from the rest of the film?

There are a large variety of sources and inspirations and debts and contributors to what is on screen and how it was filmed. In the context of this interview, I feel I should acknowledge that this film wouldn't look and work and feel as "skaterly" as it hopefully does without the input and access and respect that skaters and skater filmmakers gave us. And it wouldn't be as poetic as you suggest, or as coherent as we believe the film is, if the tone wasn't right, if that integrity and respect and exuberance and pride wasn't built into the spirit of the whole film.

How important is it for you to feel a connection with the story you're shooting?

One connects with an idea or two. One sees in space somewhere to go. The ideas initiate the one idea that may center a piece, the one image that is really all a good film needs... or none of the above. Shakespeare writes okay — how many good Shakespeare films can you name? The process is what makes a film... through the people... the people can only be no more or less than they are. So real people make good films and fake people pat each other on the awards back.

Given how long you've lived and worked in Hong Kong, is it strange to work on American features?
Does it require a process of acclimating yourself to the States, especially with a project like "Paranoid Park," which seems very intent on placing viewers in a particular American time and place?

In my experience, the more specifically and directly and openly one addresses ones own predicament, the more universal the experience is. At heart, we are not too dissimilar, even given what is often superficial cultural disdain. Sure, I feel more at home in Asia. Yes, many American obsessions are not my own. But when our common humanity can be explored and communicated with people of "heart" with real intention to "share," there are no boundaries. I have made many films in many languages and cultures I am not of, but I rarely feel foreign. Watch the faces and the images. The subtitles are only a tool.

Entretien avec Nick Schager trouvé ici.

Paranoid Park

Gus Van Sant - Paranoid Park

Gus Van Sant

Qu’est-ce qui vous a décidé à adapter le roman de Blake Nelson ?

L’histoire se déroulait à Portland, ville que j’ai toujours beaucoup aimée. Il était question d’un jeune skate-boarder. Cela parlait également d’une situation difficile et particulièrement étouffante, autre point de l’histoire intéressant pour moi.

Avez-vous apporté des modifications au récit, ou à sa structure ?

J’ai beaucoup joué avec la structure de l’histoire. Il y a peu de parties du livre qui ne soient dans le film, mais structurellement, tout a été beaucoup manipulé.

Pourquoi avoir choisi de recruter vos acteurs via MySpace, ce réseau communautaire sur Internet ?

Je pense que c’est ce que devraient faire toutes les agences de casting pour trouver des lycéens, surtout maintenant que MySpace est à ce point répandu. Nous avons fait comme les autres, en essayant simplement de trouver les moyens de convaincre des amateurs de jouer dans le film.

Pourquoi avoir choisi de tourner à la fois en super-8 et en 35 mm ?

Parce que le support du film de skate est le super-8, et aussi la vidéo, et comme nous en utilisions un peu dans notre film, nous avons tourné quelques séquences supplémentaires de skate en super-8. Il est beaucoup plus difficile de tenir une caméra plus grande en se tenant sur une planche, c’est une des raisons. De plus le 35 mm est trop cher pour que les filmeurs de skate l’utilisent. Ensuite, le reste du film est tourné en 35 mm, le meilleur support selon moi.

Vos trois derniers films – Gerry, Elephant et Last Days – reposaient beaucoup sur des cadres et un découpage stables. Votre choix de confier l’image à Chris Doyle est d’autant plus surprenant…

Oui c’est vrai, Chris est connu pour sa cinématographie aérienne et très libre, et non pour ce que l'on pourrait appeler des cadres « stables ». Mais je crois que cela vient surtout de la période Wong Kar-Wai des années 90. Quand il a tourné pour la première fois avec Wong Kar-Wai , les cadres étaient tout à fait stables, mais ils se sont lâchés à mesure que les films devenaient moins conservateurs. J'ai vraiment essayé de pousser Chris dans un territoire instable, un territoire « grand angle », aussi à cause des derniers films de Wong Kar-Wai que j'avais vus, en particulier Les Anges déchus. Mais Chris était un peu circonspect. Nous avons ici autre chose, parfois instable dans l’utilisation du trépied et d’une caméra portable. Il y a beaucoup de styles différents dans le film. Beaucoup de ralentis, ce que j'ai encouragé aussi, inspirés par les derniers films de Wong Kar-Wai. Mais Chris a aussi fait La Jeune fille de l'eau, aux cadres très stables. Le monde du skate n'est cependant pas réputé pour ce genre de cadre, c'est un monde sur roues.

Il y a manifestement un travail important sur le son. J’ai entendu dire que certaines séquences, notamment en super-8, étaient plus longues à l’origine. Le travail de post-production a-t-il été particulièrement long et intensif ?

Non, je crois que les séquences en super 8 sont restées pratiquement les mêmes. Peut-être y en avait-il au départ un peu plus. Le son, aussi détaillé qu’il puisse paraître, est surtout fait de paysages sonores, c’est l’œuvre de compositeurs. Le travail que nous avons fait dans la manipulation du son est plutôt simple, mais les paysages sonores, surtout ceux d’Ethan Rose, sont assez compliqués. C’est parfois comme si nous mettions des disques tout le long du film – mais des disques de musique peu traditionnelle. La post-production n’a duré que deux ou trois semaines.

Entretien réalisé par Antoine Thirion (extrait du Dossier de Presse).

阿飛正傳 Days of Being Wild

王家衛, 阿飛正傳 - Wong Kar Wai, Nos années sauvages


Objectif Cinéma : Dans 2046, comme dans tous vos autres films, vous portez une grande attention au geste. Il semble que la fiction naisse du geste, et du corps des acteurs.

Wong Kar-wai : C’est parce que je pense qu’il y a deux écoles aujourd’hui. Les acteurs et les actrices qui travaillent pour la télévision utilisent beaucoup leur visage. Ils expriment les émotions à travers le dialogue et les nombreux gros plans dont se sert la télévision. Mais ils ont plus de liberté dans les films, dans lesquels ils n’utilisent pas seulement leur visage, mais aussi leur corps. Certaines actrices font ça très bien, comme Faye Wang ou Maggie Cheung. Leur corps peut raconter une histoire mieux que deux lignes de dialogue. Parce que leur manière de bouger, leur manière de s’asseoir vous dit déjà qui elles sont, dans quel état d’esprit elles se trouvent.

Objectif Cinéma : Quel type d’indications leur donnez-vous pendant le tournage ?

Wong Kar-wai : « Marche. Tu n’es pas très heureuse, marche jusqu’au bout de la rue ». Dans 2046, par exemple, c’est une prise très facile à réaliser, vous installez la caméra et vous demandez à Faye Wang de marcher. C’est ce qu’elle fait, et c’est alors qu’elle crée toutes ces choses. Je pense que c’est mieux de faire ce genre de prises, plutôt que de faire simplement un gros plan de visage avec le même bla bla bla.

Extrait d'un Entretien réalisé le 13 octobre 2004 par Xavier Baert pour Objectif Cinéma qu'on peut lire ici dans son intégralité.

mercredi 25 février 2009

阿飛正傳 Days of Being Wild

王家衛, 阿飛正傳 - Wong Kar Wai, Nos années sauvages

徐克 Tsui Hark

Au début des années 80, je travaillais pour des maisons de production. J'étais en perpétuel conflit avec eux, surtout dans la manière dont ils concevaient les scénarios qu'ils me proposaient et leurs contenus. J'ai donc créé ma propre société pour avoir le dernier mot. Film Workshop porte le même nom que le cours de cinéma que je donnais à l'école de cinéma de Hong Kong. J'avais choisi ce nom (L'atelier du cinéma NDR) par dérision mais aussi en réaction à ces producteurs. Sans me douter qu'elle allait exister si longtemps. En 1982, pour terminer Zu, j'avais besoin de nombreux effets spéciaux qu'on ne savait pas faire à Hong Kong. J'ai réuni des étudiants qui ont appris sur le tas ces techniques. L'année suivante, j'ai travaillé pour une autre production sur un film nécessitant lui aussi des effets spéciaux. Ils m ont demandé de m'en occuper, j'ai alors pensé réunir ces étudiants : tous avaient entre temps de monter chacun sa société, toutes avec des idées radicalement différentes. Impossible de les amener dans une voie commune. J'ai trouvé plus facile de créer ma propre société d'effets spéciaux, avec des gens que je connais, avec qui je puisse m'entendre. Aujourd'hui, le même schéma se reproduit : à l'heure de l'image de synthèse, je collabore avec une société externe qui me fournit l'assistance humaine et informatique, mais j'ai beaucoup de mal à travailler avec eux. Je pense que je vais intégrer cette technique dans ma société. Je n'ai pas d'appétit particulier pour le pouvoir. Je cherche juste, dans un but pratique, à pouvoir me faciliter les choses dans le domaine de la production afin de pouvoir faire mes films avec le plus de rapidité et d'efficacité, sans avoir à convaincre des gens extérieurs. Pour cela, j'ai besoin de travailler avec des gens dans toutes les phases en rapport avec le cinéma, que j'apprécie, en qui je puisse avoir confiance. Ma réputation et mon statut impliquent forcément une notion de pouvoir pour l'extérieur. Ce qui m inquiète un peu mais j'essaie de travailler indépendamment du contexte extérieur à Hong kong, des considérations politiques ou de certaines pressions auxquelles je préfère ne pas penser.

Extrait d'un entretien avec Sam Lowry publié en décembre 2001 et qu'on peut lire ici.

Robert Frank

Robert Frank - City of London, 1951

Gus Van Sant

Quand j'avais 15 ans, en dessous du bureau de mon père, il y avait une boutique qui vendait des caméras. J'ai dépensé tout mon argent de boulot d'été pour en acheter une. C'était en 1967. Et, en même temps, j'ai découvert le catalogue d'une rétrospective de cinéma expérimental. On y décrivait longuement les films d'Andy Warhol, Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas... C'était des films difficiles à voir, et mon apprentissage du cinéma s'est fait en lisant les fantastiques descriptions de ces films plutôt qu'en les voyant. Je n'ai jamais autant aimé ces films qu'en lisant leur compte rendu. Je comprenais qu'ils étaient neufs, révolutionnaires et qu'ils correspondaient exactement à ce que j'attendais du cinéma.

Entre 1980 et 1986, je faisais des petits films de deux minutes et demie - le temps d'une bobine. Ils constituaient une sorte de journal. J'ai arrêté avant la préparation de Drugstore Cowboy, parce que je m'orientais vers un autre type de cinéma. Dans ces films, en général, on me voit dans le champ, en train de parler à la caméra. Je racontais une histoire et ce qui se passait en arrière-plan faisait partie de l'histoire. Je n'ai vu que beaucoup plus tard les films de Jonas Mekas. Ils sont beaucoup plus abstraits. Bien sûr, il fait aussi des home-movies, mais il les casse, les détruit. Moi, je peux simplement filmer mon chat.

Propos recueillis par Jean-Marc Lalanne en mars 2006 pour les inrocuptibles.

mardi 10 février 2009

東邪西毒 Ashes of Time

張曼玉 Maggie Cheung - 東邪西毒 Ashes of Time

La chinoise

On n'imagine pas du tout que le personnage de Jeune fille devienne deux ans plus tard la jeune maoïste de La Chinoise et que cinq ans plus tard elle soit l'égérie du groupe Dziga Vertov dans des films appelant à la lutte armée...Comment s'est passée cette métamorphose en incarnation du gauchisme ?

C'est complètement malgré moi. Le groupe Dziga Vertov ne m'a jamais plu. C'était terriblement compliqué parce qu'à ce moment-là Jean-Luc et moi nous séparions. Je crois maintenant que Jean-Pierre Gorin (cinéaste qui cosigne tous les Godard de 1968 à 1972 et fonde avec lui le collectif révolutionnaire Dziga Vertov - ndlr) n'a pas arrangé les choses. Par ailleurs, c'était impossible d'avoir 20 ans en1968 et de ne pas épouser le mouvement. A Nanterre, en 1967, je me suis liée d'amitié avec Daniel Cohn-Bendit. On hurlait ensemble : "Solidarité des rouquins !" (rires). Il était très drôle. Mais j'ai quitté la fac pour le cinéma sans passer mes examens, ce qui m'a coupée du mouvement étudiant. Moi, je tournais La Chinoise, et du coup les spectateurs pensaient que ce personnage était moi. Juliet (Berto) et moi ne comprenions pas la moitié de ce que nous disions. Jean-Pierre (Léaud) se donnait plus de mal, se plongeait avec beaucoup de sérieux dans la lecture de Marx.

Anne Wiazemsky, entretien avec Fabrice Gabriel et Jean-Marc Lalanne pubié par Les inrockuptibles le 30 janvier 2007 trouvé ici.

lundi 9 février 2009


Laetitia Benat - Nearby, 2000

東邪西毒 Ashes of Time

IGN Movies: In earlier interviews you talked about the fact that Ashes of Time Redux is actually shorter than the original 1994 version. What themes or ideas did you want to make sure you wanted to preserve as you revisited this film, particularly since you had lost certain film elements when you went back to restore it?

Wong Kar Wai: It was not that easy because the film was in a very delicate balance in the original version, so once a certain piece is missing, the film doesn't make sense in a way. I had to stick to the original idea, but it's not only just take out the parts which are impossible to restore; I had to take a bit more and replace it with some other materials to keep the balance.

IGN: Does that mean it was more of a structural reconstruction rather than a stylistic or thematic one?

Wong: It's almost like a ritual, when you go to like a full dinner that's very elaborate – you have a five-course meal. But now maybe it's not five-course; it's four-course but it gives you the same food in a more straightforward way.

IGN: Asian directors seem to have to have a martial arts film in their filmography, or so it seems. Either at the time you made it or in retrospect, is that a tradition that you were eager or reluctant to embrace with this film?

Wong: Ashes of Time was my third film and as a young director at that point, it's not very often that you have the chance to make a big martial arts film so of course I jumped at this opportunity. I think the martial arts tradition has a big influence on our generation – we all read these novels when we were very young – so when we have this opportunity, why not?

IGN: Were there other films or filmmakers who inspired you when you were first tackling this material?

Wong: Just like I said, I think this film is not just about Chinese martial arts because I'm not sure there would be a second chance. At this point I just want to put as much as I know about this genre; it's not only Chinese martial arts, it's Japanese samurai films, there's spaghetti westerns. So in a way people always refer to me like, "this is Shakespeare versus Sergio Leone in Chinese."

IGN: Takashi Miike recently did Sukiyaki Western Django which is a hybrid of many of those elements as well.

Wong: He's making a Western in a Japanese way.

IGN: It's been argued that genre films afford filmmakers a built-in audience but allow them to exercise their creativity – to manipulate the conventions of that genre. Was that the case for you with Ashes of Time or do you feel like you had created a distinctive style by the time you made it?

Wong: I never had a problem with genre because a genre actually is like a uniform – you put yourself into a certain uniform. But if you dress up in a police officer's uniform, it doesn't mean that you are an officer; it can mean something else. But this is the starting point, and the best way is to not to fit into this uniform but to make this uniform a part of yourself.

IGN: You do this effectively in the film. Like the rest of your films it's infused with a romanticism, but even as a martial arts movie the action is an afterthought or expression of character rather than plot.

Wong: I always think to shoot action scenes is not really about the stunts. It's more about an expression and about imagination, so I don't think that seeing precisely the stunt is important because seeing less can be more effective, and in a way what I think Ashes of Time has done and it has this influence on the films that came after it is filmmakers really learned that shooting action doesn't have to be one, two, three, four showing all of these tricks. Sometimes it should be more cinematic.

IGN: You have also talked about exploring different subjects with each film. Is that a product of professional obligation or personal interest? Wong: I'm not coming from film school, I learned cinema in the cinema watching films, so you always have a curiosity. I say, well, what if I make a film in this genre? What if I make this film like this? It's always like curiosities and drive, like, let's try to do this one this time.

IGN: How did you come up with what is now your signature visual style? For instance, in a lot of your films, rather than doing in-camera slow motion you'll shoot at regular speed and then use digital slow-motion. Wong: It's really about feelings, because just like I explained, for Ashes of Time we have several action scenes and each scene we tried to make different to give it a different message. For the blind swordsman we shot it in normal high speed so it's become very slow – it's become traditional slow motion. What we wanted to convey through this effect was we wanted to see this guy is wearing down, he's tired, his sword has become very slow. Then we shot the other one like in stop-motion because we wanted to show the speed. So I don't think it's only a stunt but it's not about choreography or special effects. The first thing you have to notice is what do you want to express in this scene? What is the difference between this person and the other person?

IGN: Your films are all impressionistic in terms of creating mood and characterization. Where does your organization lie in constructing them?

Wong: You mean my logic?

IGN: I mean do you discover what's appropriate on set, do you figure those things out in the writing process, or is the film assembled in the editing room.

Wong: It is a very attractive process because first of all you have the story. You have your perceptions of the characters, but you don't make it like the final form because otherwise you won't be able to change it. Then you just leave it to the actor you're shooting. During shooting you have the idea like of this certain dress on this actress, but it's not to fit, so you have to make all of these alterations and modifications. So in a way I build the characters with the cast and it's sort of custom-made, the whole process, and then you have to make all of these adjustments. So this is the way we work: at first it is fake, and then it becomes more and more concrete.

IGN: You have indicated that the process of rebuilding Ashes of Time was almost accidental. In general are you eager or reluctant to go back and revisit your earlier films?

Wong: Sure, because until today I haven't watched In the Mood For Love or 2046 again because once I finish a film, I'm not afraid to delay the schedule to make sure that this is the film that I want, that this is the best that I can do at that point. But once I let go of a film, I just want it to be like this – I don't want to do anything about it, because that film represents what we tried to express at a certain point. It's almost like a personal album – there's no point in photoshopping your 12-year-old pictures because that was you at 12 years old, and you look different now. But this is the way it's supposed to be – you should be like this. But Ashes of Time, we made this film in'94, but it's like a wine. It needs time to breathe and maybe this is the time it belongs to, today, instead of 14 years ago.

IGN: Ultimately what lessons do you learn as a filmmaker in the process of doing something like this in between doing new films?

Wong: To try to take care of your material as much as possible so that you don't have to go back again (laughs).

Interview réalisée le 10 octobre 2008 par Todd Gilchrist trouvée ici.

dimanche 8 février 2009

東邪西毒 Ashes of Time

林青霞 Brigitte Lin - 東邪西毒 Ashes of Time

vendredi 6 février 2009

Marcel Broodthaers

Le livre est l'objet qui me fascine, car il est pour moi l'objet d'une interdiction. Ma toute première proposition artistique porte l'empreinte de ce maléfice. Le solde d'une édition de poèmes, par moi écrits, m'a servi de matériau pour une sculpture. J'ai plâtré à moitié un paquet de cinquante exemplaires d'un recueil, Le Pense-Bête. Le papier d'emballage déchiré laisse voir, dans la partie supérieure de la "sculpture", les tranches des livres (la partie inférieure étant donc cachée par le plâtre). On ne peut, ici, lire le livre sans détruire l'aspect plastique. Ce geste concret renvoyait l'interdiction au spectateur, enfin je le croyais. Mais à ma surprise, la réaction de celui-ci fut tout autre que celle que j'imaginai. Quel qu'il fût, jusqu'à présent, il perçut l'objet ou comme une expression artistique ou comme une curiosité. "Tiens, des livres dans du plâtre !" Aucun n'eut la curiosité du texte, ignorant s'il s'agissait de l'entererrement d'une prose, d'une poésie, de tristesse ou de plaisir. Aucun ne s'est ému de l'interdit. Jusqu'à ce moment, je vivais pratiquement isolé du point de vue de la communication, mon public étant fictif. Soudain, il devint réel, à ce niveau où il est question d'espace et de conquête...

Marcel Broodhaerts, Dix mille francs de récompense, Entretien avec Irmeline Lebeer.

mercredi 4 février 2009

Marcel Broodthaers

Marcel Broodthaers, Défence de fumer 1969-1970

mardi 3 février 2009

Jonas Mekas et Stan Brakhage

Jonas Mekas: Here you are, Stan Brakhage, whom not only for me, but for most of those who write serious film criticism, or make movies, considered as possibly the number-one living filmmaker, both in the importance of the body of your work and in your influence on other filmmakers.

Stan Brakhage: And here is what you are to me: in addition to being a great filmmaker who has forged ahead in an area where you are practically unique, that is, the diary, journal film, you are the only one who has created a believable, meaningful, extended journal across most of your adult life. In addition to this, you have found a way to sponsor films that you love and to create cooperatives through which they can be distributed; to create Anthology Film Archives so that they could be preserved and shown in a repertoire and continue today to be certainly the only place for what we want to call Poetic Film. So, you have not only done these two things, but you also have this rich life as a poet. Not knowing Lithuanian, I can just read the English translations of your work, which are very moving to me. I don’t know how you keep all this going.

JM: We both have been in it all for fifty years now. You have been making films since 1953. And me, in the Spring of 1953 I moved to the Lower East Side of New York and opened my first showcase for the avant garde films at the Gallery East. I showed Kenneth Anger, Gregory Markopoulos, Maya Deren, and Sidney Peterson. So you see, I didn’t move very far.

SB: Well, the man who really gets something done is the one who can stay at home. Of course, ironically, you are an exile, exiled from your home.

JM: We lived in a century where for maybe half the world it was made impossible to remain at home. So now, I often say that cinema is my home. I used to say culture was my home. But it got a little bit confused. Nobody knows what culture is anymore. So I stick to cinema.

SB: That’s where you and I first got into trouble, with what culture was, and art. I was so frightened the social concerns of the sixties would overwhelm the long-range aesthetic possibilities, as I viewed them. As I look back on it now, I think that you were largely right, that I needn’t have been afraid for the arts in the ways in which I was. Let’s say, many of the films that came out were very stupid from a standpoint of art, or aesthetics or even craftsmanship. Still, they were crucial to the moment.

JM: When we celebrated Anthology Film Archives 30th anniversary, I got together with Ken Kelman and P. Adams Sitney and we talked about the creation of the Essential Cinema Repertory, which consisted of some 330 titles of very carefully selected films that we felt indicated the perimeters of the art of cinema. We came to the conclusion that we did not make any bad mistakes in our choices. I discovered that what I showed, what I promoted, all ended up in the Essential Cinema Repertory, the films that are now considered the classics of the sixties. There were, of course, some that did not become classics. Important works are always surrounded by some that are not that important, but as time goes they fall off. In a sense, it’s like Darwin’s law applied to the arts. Not the biggest, but the most essential survive.

SB: I was afraid the lesser works would sink the ship.

JM: They just evaporate. Your work, or that of Kenneth Anger, Maya Deren, and Michael Snow, they just keep growing.

SB: But I also wonder if that doesn’t have more to do with what you provided.

JM: What came up during my conversation with P. Adams Sitney, was that what’s lacking today is serious or passionate writing on the contemporary avant garde film. That, of course, was my function in the Village Voice, via my column Movie Journal.

SB: I don’t know any. Is there any aesthetician or critic or any kind that regularly deals with the Poetic Cinema in the entire North American continent?

JM: There are many alternative newspapers and monthlies, but none of them cover the Poetic Cinema, They are all writing about Hollywood-kind of the film.

SB: That’s also pretty much true now for poetry, architecture, or some of the performance arts: there is no regularity of coverage.

JM: You walk into a newspaper store and you see twenty, thirty magazines on art, but inside you see nothing but advertisements.

SB: In defense of myself, one of the ways I got most laughed at, in the sixties and seventies, was when I tried to defend the word art. I finally had to give it up because it was taken away by everybody and applied to every kind of consideration. It ceased to be a meaningful word.

JM: I read a survey conducted by Peter Moore, who had a column in Popular Photography magazine in the mid-60s, where people were asked whether they felt they were artists. Six million people said they felt they were artists. Of course, when you have six million artists in one country, then you give up using the word art.

SB: Pretty soon, someone said, half the American nation will be teaching art to the other half.

JM: Some terms get so overused that you have to forget about them for a while until time cleans them up.

SB: We have other words that have suffered from this, words like “love,” “God,” “evil.” So I would say that it isn’t just film that suffered from these difficulties. All the arts, what we traditionally call the arts, have suffered from this breakdown of terminology, this lack of serious critique. Here is a discipline far older than any other we know of human beings, but when it’s taught in public schools, in fact in colleges, it’s taught as a playground for finger painting and for expressing yourself.

JM: I would like to bring something else up. When you began making films in the early fifties, and when I turned to cinema, around the same time, there were several other very important developments in the arts – action painting, the improvisational theater of Strasberg, the Happenings theatre, conceptual art, Fluxus, and video art – and it all somehow produced a thing called installation art, which has developed and grown. Now that installation art has swallowed video, film, sculpture, painting, and everything else, I meet more and more young people who are interested in returning to the very basis of their arts. At some point you have to go back to the very essence: what is really music, painting, cinema, poetry, etc.

SB: Remember, when we were choosing the name Anthology Film Archives, we thought that there should not be the article “the”, because we thought there will be other anthologies and that they would contradict our Essential Cinema list and that would set up a dialogue.

JM: No, that did not happen. We were the only ones who were crazy. Same as when Andy Warhol was making his film portraits. I thought and I wrote in the Village Voice, that the time will come when everybody will be making film portraits, because it’s so easy. Nobody imitated Andy. They cannot imitate Warhol, or Dreyer, or you. All those things happen only once, and that’s the beauty of it.

SB: That’s also the great truth. I have come to an age when I mostly say “I don’t know.” That’s what passes for wisdom. Some few things I do know. One thing I know is that there’s no two people on Earth alike; all their cells are as unique as snowflakes.

JM: But the interesting thing is, that despite the fact that every snowflake has its own shape, beyond the shape there is water. Somewhere they all meet, somewhere we all meet. When people call me an independent, I usually say, no, I depend on many things, my friends, my past, what I read, all the poets.

SB: Gertrude Stein said there are those who are independent dependents, and those who dependent independents.

JM: Now I want to talk to you, dear readers. Nobody else will ever do what Stan Brakhage, or Ken Jacobs, or Kenneth Anger are doing. So we better love them, help them, and take care of them. These are such unique achievements of the human spirit, like fragments of paradise on earth.

SB: This is really that side of you that could not stand to see what you cared for and loved and respected just scuffled aside; that you deeply felt you needed to speak for them and save and preserve them.

JM: I think it’s a very unfortunate mistake to think that what the avant garde filmmakers are doing is something very far out and not for the everyday. People seem to think that our lives, or the strangeness of our lives may be of some interest, but not our work. But I think the work is universal, because poetry is universal. There is no difference between reading a volume of Sylvia Plath and seeing a film by Stan Brakhage. I wonder where ideas that Poetic Cinema is more difficult to appreciate come from. In schools Faulkner and Olson are taught in the same classes. In literature the kind of separation that is made in cinema does not exist.

SB: There is a kind of professor that knows that is he or she books Hollywood movies only, that they will be popular. They will have huge classes and secure their tenure… Whatever it is, I still continue. I am mostly painting on film now and it takes time to make twenty-four individual frames for every second, but that is really all I can afford. I can afford only a few photographed films.

JM: My own diaristic style came very much from that fact that I had no time and money to make a scripted, “conventional” film. So instead of making films I just filmed. I sometimes joke, I say I am not really a filmmaker; I am only a filmer. I film real life. I never know what will come next. The shape of my films emerges from the accumulation of the material itself. I go through my life with my Bolex camera. Here is a question for you. Let’s take a film you did in Canada, The God of Day Looked Down Upon Him. Did you see its shape in your mind when you began it, or did that shape developed as you went along?

SB: I knew from the beginning it was the third part of a trilogy. The title comes from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. This was the first summer we went back to this place on Vancouver Island where my wife was raised. I still was hairless because of the chemotherapy; I had come very close to death. So I was in the mood to see that ocean in relationship to the end, or to the night, or to the darkness. My head was filled with things like Rothko’s old age paintings, like the Houston Chapel. That Chapel saved my sanity. Also Braque, the old age Braque, the real brown period, with the wooden plow. I felt old like that, I had expected to die, and I still expect to die any moment.

JM: I just wanted to know for myself, if you had any idea, feeling of the shape before you began filming it. To make a film, a filmmaker is one who already at the beginning sees its shape more or less. But I never have that. I am just a filmer, because it’s life. I don’t know what the next moment will bring, and when I will want to film.

SB: But you’re such a stylist. You know that it all hangs together. I called you the Samuel Pepys of film because you’re a stylist in that sense.

JM: Yes, but the style and the techniques come from the content, from this procedure. I am dealing with real life from moment to moment and instantaneously.

SB: Do you ever think about money?

JM: I never think about money.

SB: I knew you’d say that.

JM: There is a space next to Anthology Film Archives where we are going to build a library for the largest collection of written material on avant-garde/independent cinema. It will cost $3.5 million. I know the library will be built. All it takes is to believe in it, and work, work, work…

Conversation ayant eue lieu à l'Anthology Film Archives, New York, le 3 Novembre 2000. Trouvée ici.


Claude Louis Chatelet - Vue du parc et du château de Maupertuis

Anna Karina

CM: Could you tell us how you came to end up as a ... I mean you were born in Denmark and then you became a French star. How did that happen?

AK: I'm a fourth French [laughs]. I'm not a real Froggy but... Well I kind of figured.... Well... I came to France because I was a run-away girl. I went to France when I was sixteen-and-a-half because I had problems in my family like... so I came to France and I didn't have any money and all that so I made drawings on the road, on the streets to earn some money, but that didn't pay very well. So after a while I went to see the ...un curé, comment dire...a priest. On the Champs Elysees there's a kind of church, a Danish church, and I went to see the priest and I ask him if he could not find me a kind of room somewhere, and he did. So I lived there and I went around in Paris and suddenly I found a place where I thought was great and that was St Germain les Près. And then somebody asked me if I would like to make some pictures and I said, "Yes". I said, "Well, it might be dangerous..." at that time there was [...], you know, young girls to South America and all that. So I said, "well, if you come with a lot of people it will be okay." That was very naïve of course. But they did; they came with the hairdresser, with the assistants with the photographers and all the people arrived. So I did some pictures, and I was very excited because I earned some money to live, to eat. I was very skinny. I had one dress - a black dress I remember, and one pair of shoes - they were white. It was really not very.... So I did, it's becoming too long this story...

CM: Well, speed it up.

AK: So I did these pictures and I said, "Can I get my money" and the lady said, "No, we have to release the pictures in the papers before you get paid." And I said, "Well that's terrible." She said, "Well, we'll give you some pictures to show and we'll give you some addresses to go and see some people." So I went to see Le Journal Elle. You've head about that? And Madame Lazares was there with another lady called Coco Chanel and Coco Chanel said, "Who are you?" and I said, "I'm just me - I'm called Anne Karine" She said, "Well - you wanna be an actress?" I said, "Yes" and she said, "You're gonna call yourself Anna Karina." Et c'est Coco Chanel qui ma donné mon nom. Par hasard. Et moi je savais pas qui c'était, j'ai dit, "Oui Madame." I didn't know who she was. Mais c'est la vie hein? J'avais 17 ans. C'est normal.

CM: And then the legend has it, you'll tell us whether it's true or not, that Godard saw one of these pictures. Is that right?

AK: Well, afterwards, to earn my life I did a lot of pictures because I had to live, I had to eat. So he saw me in a publicity sample, for a soap. And then he asked me to come and see him so I got this letter and it said, "Would you like to come and see me? I want you to do a little thing in 'Breathless'." And I said, "What do I have to do?" He said, "You have to take your clothes off." So I said, "No, I'm not going to do that." So I went away. And then I forgot about this because you know... Three months later he asked me again and I didn't know so I had this rendezvous and so I came and ... this telegram, because you know at that time we didn't have all the stuff we have now... And it said, "Would you like to come and see Jean-Luc Godard chez ...". Et j'ai dit, "This time it might be for the great part, the first part, the leading role." So I said, "Well, this is a joke..." and I said to my friends, you know I had friends like Claude Brasseur, and [...] , and they said, "You must go and see this guy. He did a film. It's not out yet but everybody says it's fantastic." So I said, "What is this? It's Jean-Luc Godard. You must go and see this guy." So I went there and I he said to me, "Okay, come and sign this contract tomorrow." I said, "What? What is this?" I recognised his glasses, his dark glasses and I said, "I know I have to take my clothes off." He said, "No, no. It's a political film." "What!"
I cannot speak. I'm 18 years old. I would never know how to do that Monsieur. He said, "Don't you worry. You just have to do what I tell you to do." I said, "Okay. But what do we have to do?" He said, "You just come with your mother tomorrow and sign your contract." I said, "But I can't do that. I'm under-age and my mother's not in Paris and I have to send..." And he said, "Oh la la la la. Your mother, your mother. Ask your mother to take the airplane." So I said, "My mother, she never took an airplane. And she doesn't want to do that maybe." "Oh la la la."
So after a while I phoned my mother and said, "You've got to take the airplane to come and sign. And she did."

CM: One last question. Which is - Watching all your films over the last week...

AK: I've been a little bit too long, hein?

CM: No, not at all, not at all.

AK: That's because I haven't been in England for a long time.

CM: Watching the films over the last couple of weeks, what's really striking is how different they are, and how different you are in them. How did you prepare for each one? Was there a... How did Godard direct you?

AK: Godard doesn't really direct anybody you know. He's like, holding you, inventing everything. It's like a ballad. It's like something you... It just works.

CM: Okay, let's just take Alphaville. What did he tell you about Alphaville? What did he say?

AK: Well he never tells anybody anything. We never had a script. What I can say is that... You just saw the film. What was amazing, maybe not today but at that time, there was no light, you know, and he went to England to make a stage, is that what you say? He went to the labo...

CM: Laboratory.

AK: Laboratory. Because there was this new pellicule.

CM: Film. Kind of film.

AK: No; not film. Yes film. Pellicule. And he went to England to learn about this because it was very ... you just saw the film, as you can see it's very sensitive, .... Because what he liked about this was you didn't need to make a lot of light you know. There was no need for that. So he stayed for three months in London in the labotary, labortry

CM: Lab, lab. In the lab.

AK: Okay, in the lab. Let's be American. And he learned about that and he came back and he said to everybody, "I've got this new film to you know, without light. It's fantastic. You can film at night, you can film everywhere." And everyone said, "You must be joking, there's no need. This is full of shit. It's never going to work." And of course so we started the film with Eddie Constantine, with everybody, and Raoul Coutard, who was the chef of photography, he was not allowed to put any light. I mean sometimes you see an ampoule, how'd you say - a lamp? That's all. And there's no light. And he said, "I don't even want to go to the rushes. There will be nothing on the screen. He was sure of it." He was mad.
He was right, Jean-Luc, because, I don't know, I haven't seen the copy tonight, but normally you can really see people, even with no lights. So Jean-Luc was right. And of course he had a lot of ideas like that. But I guess... We had to make a lot of shots, because it was so sensitive, the film. So he was afraid of small problems on the screen. But it worked.

CM: Okay, thank you. Now we'll throw it open to the audience. Over there.

Q: In all the films that you did with Godard was there any moment where you said, "No I will not do this, it's crazy, it's not going to work?"

AK: No, because we never knew before what we were going to do. We had the dialogue five minutes before, so we were so involved with learning the text that we're not even asking what's going on. (laughter)

Q: Was Godard curious about other directors?

AK: Sometimes he was very jealous, yes. (laughter). But most of the time with Visconti he was very proud. Because Visconti is a fantastic director too.

Q: Did he ask you about what Visconti was like to work with? Was he curious? Was he a big fan of Visconti?

AK: Oh, a very big fan. No he didn't...Jean-Luc doesn't ask that kind of question. He is very respectful when he admired somebody like Visconti. But on the other hand sometimes, he didn't like me too much to, I'm talking about when I was very young of course, he didn't like to work too much with the other directors, but well I did because I haven't done only seven films in my life. I've done about 67, or something like that, plus the TV and the theatre plays. Well, Jean-Luc is somebody who is very respectful, and he loves what's beautiful. It's the most important thing I guess. You cannot be jealous of something... I mean what's beautiful is beautiful, you like it. When you love art, you're like that.

Q: (In French). How did it feel to be treated as a doll and a marionette?

AK: D'abord, j'adore les poupées et les marionettes. I love it. (laughter) But I really feel like a woman too and I think that... Bon, vous comprenez l'Anglais ou pas, par ce que vous parlais Français? Probablement mieux que moi. Non non. I loved it. I really felt like a woman, and I mind to be sometimes a marionette, sometimes a doll, sometimes a chipie, sometimes somebody else. That's the art of an actress. Or and actor. It's not a problem. Maybe you should see all the films of Jean-Luc Godard - you've only seen two you told me - before you make a judgement. Because I think he's one of the directors who has done the most variation. And done the possibilities for the actors to give all kind of sentiment.

Q: What was it like to work on Fassbinder on Chinese Roulette?

AK: Oh it was a very exciting two years. He was a little bit down at that point, but, did you see his film? Did you like it?

Q: Yes.

AK: I think it's a film that's got some kind of ...It's very strange but it's a good film. And well it was kind of the same thing. We had the dialogue about five minutes before we were shooting, and so we went to Cannes. And we stayed away about three weeks and then I kind of got bored, because I've got to learn German because nobody speaks French. I went to the village by foot and I bought a lot of books for kids about five or six years old, because I said, "Well this is terrible, this is tisch..." And then they started to like me because I wanted to learn German. After three weeks I spoke German, so I speak German in the film. It's true.

Q: These days are you singing any songs from the period of 'Sous le soleil, exactement.'?

AK: Yes, in the concerts we're doing right now yes. It's a song by Serge Gainsbourg.

Q: Was there one film you most enjoyed making with Godard?

AK: That's a good question because, actually, doing a film with Jean-Luc was always a great pleasure and they're all so different, so which one did I enjoy the most? Maybe, 'A Woman is a Woman.' Because it was one of the first ones. But really I cannot say, because they're all so different. He seems so serious, but you always had great fun. You know he was a big sportif. He liked to run - he could do everything better than anybody else. Oh yes it's true. He would say to me, "Not good enough." I would say, "Well, I had vertigo." And he would say, "Go on. Climb up there." I said, "Really, Jean-Luc, you know." And everything that Jean-Paul would do in the film, Jean-Luc would do it ten times better. No it's really true. The only thing they had in common was to read l'Equipe, the....

CM: The sports newspaper.

AK: Which I love myself because my grandfather, he loved sport too and when I was a kid he would take me to the games. I know everything about football. And everything about rugby. Yeah yeah.

CM: I should say that Godard gave a very limited number of interviews at Cannes about Éloge de l'amour this year, and one of them was to l'Equipe. Which is a hilarious interview actually.

Q: Do you feel you could have played the part Bardot played in 'Le Mépris'?

AK: No, that was for Brigitte. Non non. But he used a lot of the dialogues from our private lives. Smart guy, hein?

Q: Was there any different preparation for 'Made in USA' where there's slightly more action, where you were playing a secret agent?

AK: Let's keep it secret.

Q: Was there a script before the film started?

AK: Non. But there was a script inside Jean-Luc Godard's head. But we knew about the story. He would say, "Well, it's so and so and so." Then he would say, "But." We had the dialogues just before. He would write it every day. He had that kind of structure in his head, and a kind of story, and probably the dialogue too.

Q: Which is the favourite song you sang in a Godard film?

AK: 'Jamais, je ne.... jamais je te... t'aimerais toujours, Oh mon amour.' Oh we've had too much wine (laughter). It's a song I'm singing in Pierrot le Fou. I'm singing, 'Maline de chance, et jamais je ne te dirai que je t'aimerais toujours. Oh mon amour.' Je l'ai dit!

Q: What was your working relationship with Jean-Paul Belmondo, for it seems to be such a rapport on the screen.

AK: It was love. But love, you know, like, give me your hand...Love.

Q: What are your feelings about the films he made after he worked with you?

AK: What a bad question. I hate it. No, no. What I'm very happy about is that today all your young people here are still coming to see a film of Jean-Luc Godard, and with me and that is really great. That's a present, that's a cadeau. It's something that I appreciate a lot and I love it. Because it means we didn't do that for nothing and it's still living and that's great. That's fantastic.

CM: And we appreciate a real lot that you came here tonight, Anna Karina. Thank you very much indeed.

Anna Karina was interviewed by Colin MacCabe at the National Film Theatre on Thursday 21 June 2001. Trouvé ici.