Friday, July 13, 2007


Above: A phantom materialises at the will of the spoken word in Eugène Green's Le Monde vivant (2003), and Monteverdi's 'Lamento della Ninfa' (Cantus Cölln et. al.), which makes several appearances in Green's Le Pont des Arts (2004).

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Even though theatre and cinema can arrive at the same spiritual result, the means they use are completely different, and even opposite. That's why I had problems in the theatre. For me the reality of theatre is always based on something completely false, and assumed as such; that is, for the theatre to be real, the actors and the audience have to be aware at all times that they are in the theatre, and that they are using and recognizing codes: it's through the absolute falsity of these codes that they arrive at an absolute truth. Whereas in the cinema - which is of course also a representation - the basic raw material is always a reality, whether it's that of a human being, an inanimate object, some sort of material, a tree, or an animal: in every case, the shot contains a real energy. The specificity of cinema is to capture fragments of reality, and to make the spectator see in them things that he wouldn't have been aware of had he observed them in their natural context. That's why for me cinema is always a spiritual expression: it can make you see things which are invisible in the material world...

A psychological interpretation is always false. If you manage to capture the inner truth of a human being, you always capture a mystery which resists analysis. But psychology is rational analysis, and psychological acting is a rationalization. An actor thinks: I'm supposed to be angry‚ and he's going to do something with his voice or his body to show he's angry, thinking at the same time that the audience mustn't realise he's thinking about it: that means there's an intellectual process between his inner energy and what he shows. Whereas I want the words to hit him and release his emotions directly: I want the emotions to be absolutely real and authentic, coming from his inner life, with all its mystery, which is the thing that interests me the most. In that I resemble Bresson, I think.
- Eugène Green

A couple more links for now: Christoph Huber in Cinema Scope, and Ken Chen in Film International.


Blogger Daniel said...

One of my all-time favorite moments in recent cinema is when Natacha Régnier "sings" this Monteverdi track in Le Pont des Arts. Green is a great and actually very accessible filmmaker; I'm a bit curious as to why his film haven't gotten distributed over here yet.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Mubarak said...

Daniel, I agree that's certainly the film's most beautiful moment, probably only topped by (for me) Olivier Gourmet's jaw-dropping rendition of Phaedra for the male prostitute he picks up.

I must also mention that your write-ups on Green is some of the best material on the guy that I've come across. They've certainly kept me intrigued over the years, when I still hadn't seen any Green...

4:48 AM  

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