journalism

Godard: ‘I get high staring at posters in the streets. I get high on people.’

Note: Godard who has just finished shooting his lates film One Plus One, agreed to meet Hermine Demoriane for this interview but would not consent to it being recorded. “What you don’t remember, make up”, he said. Excerpts from the interview follow.

We have a lot of professional filmmakers who would be better off doing something else.

 

HD: You have said everybody should make movies.

JLG: No. I did not say that,  I said more people should. There are not enough films. Look, there is no black cinema at all. Stokely Charmichael should make a film. But he can’t. Even if Mao sent him the money he would not find a distributor. There aren’t any films from the workers, either. I’d like to hand over my unit, lock, stock and barrel and let some of them get on with it. We need films FROM people, not FOR them. In the meantime, we have a lot of professional filmmakers who would be better off doing something else.

HD: What do you think of Claude Givaudan’s experiment?

JLG: Very good. You should be able to go into a shop and buy the latest Godard, take it home and project it with no more fuss than reading a paperback. In two years time we may be putting cassettes of our own films into TV sets.

source (1)

HD: You have said England was an American colony. Does this apply to its films?

JLG: There are no English films. There are American films set in London.

HD: What do you think of American cinema, then?

JLG: The most conservative in the world. It works on worn-out formulas totally irrelevant today. Its only aim is to lift people out of their environment for a moment and persuade them the world is a beautiful place so they keep quiet and allow the system which begats such films to continue.

HD: You didn’t even like Bonnie and Clyde?

JLG: Average. Very average.

HD: And the cinema in France?

JLG: Very conservative, too.

ryNQ0CP.gif

HD: What do you reckon is the way to break the monopoly of the big companies?

JLG: Either drop a bomb or them or buy them.

HD: You have just made a film for French TV. Would you like to do more?

JLG: I see no difference between cinema and TV films. I would like to make more, yes, but I doubt if they’d get shown. TV is governmental, and not only in France. Governments are always clever enough to take it over. Consequently TV would be the same in Cuba as it is in Greece. I think opposition parties should have an equal influence.

HD: Do you believe that hippies could be a force to purge Capitalism, as the Red Guards purged Soviet Communism?

JLG: The hippies will do nothing until they are politised.

HD: They need a Mao?

JLG: Not necessarily. Only to get educated politically.

HD: The demonstration at the first night of the Green Berets proves that something is burning.

JLG: Yes, that was excellent. I wish someone had told me, I would have gone.

HD: Do you think the uprising could come from England eventually?

JLG: Yes, it is good here because there are plenty of people with money and open minds. But alas, they don’t use their minds, and they are usually corrupted by money. People could do things but won’t. Look at the Beatles for instance. And Peter Brook. He should have put his Marat/Sade outside Buckingham Palace.

HD: Are you aware to have prophested Sorbonne in La Chinoise?

tumblr_nsfeuiQ4gQ1qzxeqqo1_540.gif

JLG: No. Prophesy is a mild form of fascism.

HD: What about your next film?

JLG: It is going to be produced and shot in America. That’s all I know about it. Except the title. I’ve got that. An American Movie.

HD: Have you ever taken acid?

JLG: No. Not interested. I get high staring at posters in the streets. I get high on people.

HD: Exactly what my mother says. Thank you.

 

*Interview with Jean-Luc Godard by Hermine Demoriane, published in IT (International Times) no. 39, 6-19 September 1968

Blank paper anxiety

Here it goes, it’s like a slight pressure that builds up in my gut, then goes up towards my throat and even if it goes away shortly, kind of stays around me, most likely just sitting on my shoulders. I am describing a typical day when I decide to write something, it’s not always like this, but it happens a lot when I have too many ideas floating in my head. Too much of them, some of them are good but suddenly -BOOM! My head feels like it can’t process it all and the next thing I do is… I give up! Hands up, I surrender. Not this time because in the past couple of months I have realized writing definitely helps with dealing with anxiety, it’s simple: the unnecessary energy that builds up for whatever reason I can transform into words. The process can be more or less painful, but it works. The words are often meaningless, just bits and pieces of my thoughts, making the reader feel like he just got lost in a labyrinth and needs to find a way out as soon as possible. I hope your sense of orientation is better than mine. First simple conclusion: The faster I write and the less I think about it, the better.

116969-Virginia-Woolf-Quote-My-mind-turned-by-anxiety-or-other-cause-from

What I wanted to start with is not a general sense of anxiety, it is a specific form that everyone in the modern world experiences at some point – the emptiness of the first page. I remember the feeling since I was a kid and we had to write an essay on some mundane topic such as ‘why I love spring time’, ‘on my way to school’, ‘how I spent my holidays’ and so on and so on.

Growing up as shy and obedient child who didn’t want to get in trouble, I would follow the rules of writing that boring essay, making one sentence the centre of it all and then repeating it in numerous uncreative ways until I could count enough words to finally invent some kind of a conclusion, a finishing touch to an uninspiring story. And guess what? SInce my grammar was pretty much flawless (btw, English is not my native language), I would end up getting an A, or maybe a B on a bad day. That made me think I am a pretty good writer, which is hilarious, but not a big deal. What I find is a bigger deal is the fact that I thought the feeling I had while writing is what it must feel, there’s no other approach to writing your thoughts down. Those weren’t even real thoughts, those were the exact same thoughts of every kid my age who is trying to write something she’s sure her teacher would: a) understand, b) recognize as familiar and appropriate, c) reward with a high grade. That’s how the educational system works, everyone wants you to be creative, but don’t get too creative, it’s like there’s an invisible boarder. Too free and creative style probably means you’ll go crazy sometime in your life, you won’t get a good job, big family and turn out to be a complete and utter disappointment. All that because you didn’t take things seriously.

I’m much more relaxed about it these days, but that’s nowhere near complete sense of calmness and feeling of confidence and content. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, I don’t know, but at least now I’m trying to figure it out by myself. The need to write is present, so I guess I just have to do it every once in while.

Having some experience in journalism, writing news and reports, I feel it’s way easier  in this field because here you have to follow the rules, certain clichés because the readers are used to them to a pont of no return. Also, the rules of newsroom are clear, if you write too much, the editor will cut your text down to a number of words he can fit into the paper or on the web. He doesn’t care about your witty finishing line, we don’t have time for that! There’s no much romance in it. But even in journalism, the first sentence problem and the fear of not knowing how to start your story is still present. Maybe there is a romance in that, after all, it’s just hidden under the rough surface of cold facts.

Writing college essays and seminars can be, you know, soul-crushing, and for me, the beginning is naturally the hardest part. After I’ve finally managed to write an awesome introduction, got started working on the main thesis, it all goes smoothly, with a help of the right sources and literature, the piece kind of writes itself. In the end I would pretty much be happy with the results, especially with those essays where I could choose my own topic. That just reminded me, if I find my favourite Tarantino essay that got me maximum points in one particular course, I will post it here.

tumblr_mekl1a7lo91qg9nuc

It’s all about leaving the romanticized feeling of what writing is and embracing it as a job with all of it’s pros and cons. What I’m finally trying to say is, I need to learn the mechanisms of how to push myself more, how to start and beat the hell out of that blank page. Meaning not just filling it up with random thoughts like I’m doing now (it also helps, though), but make my point and be able to defend every word I’ve written down on paper, I mean computer.