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FILM DIRECTOR Godard read Proust








Readable in a second tab



October 18, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Proust | , , , | 2 Comments

FILM Not watching films



This is spurred by reading Why Finish Books? by Tim parks in New York Review of Books (13 March 2012). It’s one of those you’ll lose the argument but have fun in the trying ones.


The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette. Rivette?


My first dabble with Rivette was Jeanne la Pucelle (two disc set, Artificial Eye).


Where before have you seen a whole article dedicated to the idea of finishing a book? This is a kind of verboten in the world of culture. Not exactly a taboo, but admitting to failing with Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or more likely Proust, is so much about exposing one’s failings as a work from the literary canon. Though there are a few brave well-known souls who have admitted to finding a book everyone else says was a master-work everyone has to read as dry and dull as ditch water and that they gave up before page 50. (O.k, I admit to finding quite a few of William Golding hard to get into. Though there will come a time when the wind is up and in the right direction when they will seem like a good read.)

Feeling a little more confident after being urged to consider not finishing books, I’m getting to thinking there could be an equivalent for film. Even not to watch something at all. But hey, we do that for books too. Not read them. Ironically, we might read reams about a film’s qualities or failings or confusions or pointlessnesses, and then decide not to watch it. Or, that in the great scheme of things, and limited time, we have to make decisions about what to watch and what not to. Let’s leave out films we watch by mistake.

I don’t have a great deal of interest in films predominantly about people rehearsing plays. Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro is an exception. But that wasn’t really all about play rehearsing.

I have this sinking feeling about the just over 12 hours of Rivette’s 01 which is deemed by many his master work.

Seeing the point of using film to portray rehearsals is not quite the same as being prepared to endure the filmic portrayal of them. Particularly perhaps starring Ben Gazzara in a improvisation. Did he do a play one? No idea. Mind you the more I read about 01 the more intriguing it becomes. That’s not to say the full 12 hours is high on my list of priorities.

Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 1) and Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 2) a dialogue (in two parts) by James Crawford and Michael Joshua Rowin, is a very interesting way to convince yourself not to bother with 01. Interesting ideas and clever quotes, my favourite so far is:


All of the Nouvelle Vague directors I hold dear address cinema from its first principles, like students learning the grammar of a foreign language—and then proceed to break, bend, twist, and ignore the ones they find the most limiting. Rivette finds displeasure in the strictures of storytelling soi-disant, and so, furthering his use of the vehicle as metaphor, lets his narrative motor idle, sputter, and eventually stall while he drifts over to the stuff he finds more intriguing. The problem is thus bequeathed to the spectators, who are asked to cast off their ossified conceptions of film’s ontological categories, and let the film resonate and wash about like music.



Writing this and working my way through both essays on 01 at the same time, it’s looking decidedly like the more I read about the film, the more I’m tempted to look at some of it. Strange to think reading about books, films, art, music, means you rarely if ever come to a work with your own eyes first, but after someone much cleverer and more articulate than you has thoroughly dissected it, broken it down, built it up again for you. A reason perhaps why the able few both do the study and then go out and make one of their own, ensuring the authentic first time experience. You thought it up. if you do – novel, play, film – you’re excused being suffused with intertextuality and referentiality and reflexivity. There’s really no escape from them.



April 26, 2012 Posted by | Chabrol, film watching, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Godard, intertextuality, Jacques Rivette, referentiality, reflexivity, Rohmer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A la Retour de chose Proust



Proustian Passions

by

Ingrid Wassenaar {GoogleBook}

Writing on A la recherche du temps perdu has tended to celebrate the wonders of the moi sensible uncritically. This overlooks the rigour with which Proust tries to understand exactly why explaining one’s own actions is so difficult. Can we decide, he asks, whether justifying oneself should be written off as morally repugnant, or taken seriously as evidence of moral probity? Proustian Passions examines the case for taking self-justification seriously. This is a brand new vision of a novel whose plunge into subjectivity now seems prescient of the entire twentieth century’s cultural trajectory.



The stones of Venice, time, and remembrance: calculus and Proust in Across the River and into the Trees

by

Ben Stoltzfus



February 27, 2009 Posted by | Proust | , , , | Leave a comment

Little patch of yellow wall or a single asparagus? Harold Pinter’s The Proust Screenplay {2}


We read The Proust Screenplay with all kinds of things in our mind: Proust, Pinter’s reading of Proust; the problem of abridgment, the problem of dramatization, the problem of visualization; the film which might have been made from this script; the script itself as a literary work, words on the page. In permitting and controlling the interplay of these things Pinter has created a small masterpiece of wit and understanding.


Michael Wood, Times Literary Supplement, June 2nd 1978

(Source: HaroldPinter.org)


..the study of adaptation is logically tantamount to the study of the cinema as a whole.

Dudley Andrews [Concepts in Film Theory]



Now I have the Pinter Screenplay book, instead of relying on the audio tape, it seems only sensible to do a second post to try pull things together.

First, the first post.  If it was not obvious: the asparagus was my little joke to illustrate the book to film problem.

Second, having read Michael Woods Foreward and Pinter’s Introduction, I can see I pretty much got to the gist of it.  [1]  How the Pinter screenplay and radio version worked.  [2] Other attempts apart from Pinter’s, including screenplays, finished films and the BBC radio serial. [3] Adaptation in general.

Here I want to to consolidate with quotes from Wood’s and Pinter’s intros. and a few more online articles. Maybe in a third post, I’ll tackle the screenplay in more detail.

Wood first classifies scripts/screenplays into the stages they reach, from glints in the mind through partial completed scripts to those that have been made into films, then places Pinter’s script in the category, along with Visconti’s version, that was completed but not realised in film.

He goes on (my break into numbered sections for convenience) :

[1] …it is also something else, a distinguished representative of yet another genre: the film script which already, as a text, has an unmistakable life of its own.

[2] Reading a work of this kind has particular challenges and attractions, both resembling and not resembling those of reading the text of a play.

[3] The play text is close to the film script, because in both cases we have to imagine the whole show in our heads. The difference is that with a play we hear it more than we see it, we conjure up possible voices and tones, think about insinuations and intentions. We concentrate on the dialogue, worry less about furniture and the set and the blocking out of the actor’s movements.

[4] Reading a film script, we invert these priorities. We hear the words in our head, certainly, but mainly we see the settings, the faces, the gestures, the light. We even need to see – this may be the most important feature of our reading – the spaces between the shots and the sequences  they make. We need to reconstruct for ourselves the visual language of the unseen film, turn it into something that is neither  just a collection  of moving photographs nor a story that could easily have been  told in another medium.

Pinter:

For three months I read  A la Researche du Temp Perdu every day. I took hundreds of notes while reading but was left at the end quite baffled as to how to approach a task of such magnitude.

[..] We decided that the architecture of the film should be based on two main and contrasting principles: one, a movement, chiefly narrative, towards disillusion, and the other, more intermittent, towards revelation, rising to where time that was lost is found, and fixed forever in art.

[..]  Proust wrote Du Cotes de Chez Swann first and Le Temp Retrouve, the last volume, second.

[..] The relationship between the first volume and the last seemed to us the crucial one. The whole book is, as it were, contained in the last volume. When Marcel in Le Temp Retrouve, says that he is now able to start his work, he has already written it.  Somehow this remarkable conception had to be found in another form.

[..] In Le Temp Retrouve, Marcel, in his forties, hears again the garden bell of his childhood. He is conscious of himself as a child, his memory of the experience, is more real, more acute than the experience itself.

There are a great number of Proust articles and essays in findarticles.com. A few deal directly with Pinter and his screenplay, but my favourite is the Duncan McColl Chesney:

Giving Proust the Pinter treatment

Independent, The (London)May 17, 1997 by Robert Hanks

Proust at the Movies

Modern Language Review, TheJan, 2007 by Jane Walling

Radio: Proust for the pressed

Independent on Sunday, TheMar 20, 2005 by Nicholas Lezard
Deals with the BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial 6-parter.

Proust and Cinema, or Luchino Visconti’s search by Duncan McColl Chesney
12 page essay
Dudley Andrew’s typology of adapatation
– “three modes : borrowing, intersection, fidelity of transformation.”
[page 3: detail and examples]

Here I’ll add Anita Brooker’s short review, A grand overview, of Paintings in Proust by Eric Karpeles, which is interesting of itself but also because it helps to illustrate the problem Pinter had in chosing how to represent the art in Proust:

She says right away:

Proust was a translator of Ruskin, yet he rejected Ruskin’s message that art has a moral foundation. For Proust art was a self-explanatory and self-sustaining exercise which excluded praise and condemnation.



February 17, 2009 Posted by | Pinter, Proust, screenplay, screenwriting | , , , | 1 Comment

Proust links from Moleskine Modality


proust-portrait.jpg

  • Proust : Wiki
  • In Pursuit of Proust
  • The curious fate of the last three volumes of the new edition: Aaron Matz

  • The Kolb-Proust Archive
  • Marcel (Valentin-Louis-George-Eugene) Proust (1871-1922)
  • Marcel Proust
  • tempsperdu.com
  • other Proust sites
  • Marcel Proust: Or the Novel as writing
  • Proust regained by Daniel Mark Epstein
  • Doing Time with Marcel Proust
  • Chapter 1 – Marcel Proust (Edmund White)
  • A la Researche
  • U of Aldelaide e-text download page
    Or straight to the books:

  • Swann’s Way
  • Within A Budding Grove
  • The Guermantes Way
  • Cities of the Plain (Sodom et Gomorrhe)
  • The Captive
  • The Sweet Cheat Gone (Albertine disparue)
  • Time Regained (Le Temps Retrouve)

  • October 11, 2007 Posted by | Proust | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment