Tag Archives: french

Contempotary Art (8) Chris Marker

Chris Marker (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France 1921) – actual  name: Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve – multimedia artist, photographer, film director, writer. Lives in Paris and does not grant interviews. When asked for a picture of himself, he usually offers a photograph of a cat instead (so far as the gossip says). His cat is named Guillaume-en-egypte. (See more details in my previous post here: http://wp.me/p8s8b-66)

Creator of: La Jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985) a documentary on Akiro Kurosawa. From the recent projects: in 2005 Marker created a multimedia piece for The Museum of Modern Art in New York titled Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men (influenced by T.S. Elliot’s poem); in 2008: Immemory – an interactive video produced  by Centre Pompidou, created out of fascination by digital technology. 

Marker is as enigmatic, brilliant and witty in his collages above as he would be behind his directorial camera viewfinder. One simply cannot get enough of this artist’s vision – it escapes one’s full comprehension and intuitive potential. It’s a one-man world-view, a singularity which resists any thorough penetration. A beauty and power of human uncanniness captured into a compelling, enthrilling  visual extravaganza. Just keep exploring…

Site about Marker’s view of the world:  Chris Marker

Liminal Theatre – Antonin Artaud

~ The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything — gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness — rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires a language to express its manifestations. To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre.

~ All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar’s teeth.

~ No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.

~ When we speak the word ”life’,’ it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.

~ You are outside life, you are above life, you have miseries which the ordinary man does not know, you exceed the normal level, and it is for this that men refuse to forgive you, you poison their peace of mind, you undermine their stability. You have irrepressible pains whose essence is to be inadaptable to any known state, indescribable in words. You have repeated and shifting pains, incurable pains, pains beyond imagining, pains which are neither of the body nor of the soul, but which partake of both. And I share your suffering, and I ask you: who dares to ration our relief? We are not going to kill ourselves just yet. In the meantime, leave us the hell alone.

~ The race of prophets is extinct. Europe is becoming set in its ways, slowly embalming itself beneath the wrappings of its borders, its factories, its law-courts and its universities. The frozen Mind cracks between the mineral staves which close upon it. The fault lies with your moldy systems, your logic of 2 + 2 = 4. The fault lies with you, Chancellors, caught in the net of syllogisms. You manufacture engineers, magistrates, doctors, who know nothing of the true mysteries of the body or the cosmic laws of existence. False scholars blind outside this world, philosophers who pretend to reconstruct the mind. The least act of spontaneous creation is a more complex and revealing world than any metaphysics.

A. Artaud

The ‘sacred theatre of absurd’, the ‘theatre of cruelty’, theatre of non-identity, non-existence – mind-blowing, weirdo, genius, in parts completely nuts…

Beckett-sque, Kafka-sque… Sartre, Camus, Dada, Surreal…

Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Tadeusz Kantor…

Creating void in thought, a gap between words and thoughts, language and ideas, a silent beyond-ness hovering between a creator and the creation, ‘me’ and ‘them’…

Stage drama and the very personal drama, sacred and profane, opening wounds as spaces of healing and the risk of even deeper harm… No retreat from life, no cheap escapism, no straight-faced moralism, no mere subversion…

But one huge effort, experiment, ferment, fever, game, challenge – to make sense of life here and now – by the most nonsensical means there have been invented yet…


Baudelaire’s lesson of French… (Whilt 7)

L’Homme et la mer08

Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer!
La mer est ton miroir; tu contemples ton âme
Dans le déroulement infini de sa lame,
Et ton esprit n’est pas un gouffre moins amer.

Tu te plais à plonger au sein de ton image;
Tu l’embrasses des yeux et des bras, et ton coeur
Se distrait quelquefois de sa propre rumeur
Au bruit de cette plainte indomptable et sauvage.

Vous êtes tous les deux ténébreux et discrets:
Homme, nul n’a sondé le fond de tes abîmes;
Ô mer, nul ne connaît tes richesses intimes,
Tant vous êtes jaloux de garder vos secrets!

Et cependant voilà des siècles innombrables
Que vous vous combattez sans pitié ni remords,
Tellement vous aimez le carnage et la mort,
Ô lutteurs éternels, ô frères implacables!

Charles Baudelaire

Forever love the ocean, free man!
For in its eternal unrolling of the power
You can contemplate your soul as if in a mirror;
Neither less bitter is the abyss of your spirit.

You would plunge into your image emerging there,
Ready to dive your eyes, arms and heart into it
And if something makes you to forget that vanity of yours,
It can be only that wild, untameable lament of waves.

You both tend to be dark and mysterious:
Man, no one has ever searched through your gulf;
Ocean, no one knows your hidden riches,
So jealous you are of your secret depths!

And yet, for countless ages, remorselessly and
Without a pity, you have fought each other,
For so strong is your fascination with carnage and death,
Twin wrestlers, for ever in a struggle!

Interesting, how we tend to translate the same poem differently in different decades/generations zooming in on, digging into varying tones and shades of meaning…  There is something really truthful in what Matisse said that: Each age brings its own light, its particular feeling for space… – it brings also its very own understanding of what has been written/said decades or hundreds years ago.

I’ve bumped into Baudelaire’s “Flowers of Evil” 1857 (so gorgeous this title is!) on this well-edited site, yet the four various translations provided there had annoyed me so much – I just had to try my own ‘voice’. Interestingly again, I’ve found the oldest version from 1931  the most appealing, maybe due its naturally (time-wise) closer sense/feeling for the author’s intentions. Maybe… My attempt (can be read as a joke, I wouldn’t mind) is meant to care much less for the literal deciphering word after word, yet – it aims at capturing the sense of freedom, the dark power and the combat spirit of the both – ‘free man’ and the ocean. This is my light, my feeling of space as I marvel over this 19th c. French poem in this first decade of 21st c. – seen through the English-shaded glasses put on my Eastern-European eyes…

Any comments?… You are all pretty silent out there. Sometimes I feel like writing for myself and my Muse (if she is available) only…

‘Sans Soleil’ – Chris Marker

I’m still under a spell of this movie – few days after re-watching it.

Marker’s (born: Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve 1921) vision from 1982 presented here appears as fresh, powerful, genius (I’m not afraid of this word in this case) as it must have been for his contemporaries over twenty years ago. It’s an essay- like fairly convincing cinematic statement on the elusive and transient nature of space, time, memory and culture. The social and, more generally – philosophical- observations and reflections on both Japanese and African way of life presented here are both sublime and strikingly accurate. But this artwork is much more than a clever and sensitive documentary, it’s a masterpiece – a perfectly working wholeness of the thought, emotion, picture and sound.

One cannot help asking himself: why there is so little known about this particular artist? Then I ‘google’ his name – in ‘images’ only one or two believable photographs of him appear, and I read that Chris Marker lives in Paris (or – does he still?) and sends an image of a cat , his favourite animal, when asked for an image of himself. Apparently, he is French – or is he (printed sources give two countries of birth, France and Mongolia) ? Another ‘legend’ claims that being asked of his origin he was quite sure of coming from ‘another planet’. Who can be ever sure about things like that? Watching his famous La Jetée (1962) one can only wonder: how is it possible for a human being – to make a speech-binding movie composed only of B&W stills and virtually each one of those dozens of shots is just perfect – impeccable technically, stylistically, aesthetically and in any other sense imaginable? O’ right – maybe it all sounds too good to be true, maybe I need to calm down a little – yet – it’s a scare occurrence when I don’t really want to ‘calm down’, to find distance or just rethink the whole experience. No, I want to be stupefied, bared of my critical powers and even my self-control.

One has to let oneself, from time to time, to be completely and fully intentionally exposed when approaching an artwork – to make oneself vulnerable and totally open – and just to immerse into, to experience it so deeply that it hurts- to let oneself to be hurt by an artwork – that’s just another step in self-discovery.

Or – just to listen to:

I took the measure for an unbearable vanity of the West, that has never ceased to privilege being over non-being, what is spoken to what is left unsaid.

Legends are born out of the need to decipher the undecipherable. Memories must make do with their delirium, with their drift. A moment stopped would burn like a frame of a film blocked before the furnace of a projector. Madness protects as fever does.

All women have a built-in grain of indestructibility. And men task has always been to make them realize it as late as possible.

Are you tempted to see (re-watch) more ? Then, you must be a quite spiritually healthy and mentally fit individual – and being one – enjoy!


It was ‘valecomputadora’ who downloaded the fragment featured to Youtube. Thank you.

Florent Pagny “Savoir Aimer”

Savoir Aimer / To Know how to love

Savoir sourire / To know how to smile

A une inconnue qui passe / To a passerby

N’en garder aucune trace / Without trying to leave a mark

Sinon celle du plaisir / Just for pleasure it gives

Savoir aimer / To know how to love

Sans rien attendre en retour / Without wanting anything in return

Ni espoir ni grand amour / Neither hope nor the great love

Pas même l’espoir d’être aimé / Not even any hope of being loved


Mais savoir donner / But to know how to give

Donner sans reprendre / Give without expecting

Ne rien faire qu’apprendre / Only for the sake of learning

Apprendre à aimer / Learning how to love

Aimer sans attendre / To love without waiting

Aimer à tout prendre / To love accepting everything

Apprendre à sourire / To learn how to smile

Rien que pour le geste/ For nothing just a gesture

Sans vouloir le reste / Without wanting the rest

Et apprendre à vivre / And to learn how to live

Et s’en aller / And how to go

Savoir attendre / To know how to wait

Goûter à ce plein bonheur / To taste the happiness in full

Qu’on vous donne comme par erreur / Which you got as if by an accident

Tant on ne l’attendait plus / So much you wouldn’t expect any more

Se voir y croire / Seeing is believing in itself

Pour tromper la peur du vide / To deceive the fright of the void

Ancrée comme autaant de rides / That is anchored like the wrinkles

Qui ternissent les miroirs / Which tarnish the mirrors


Savoir souffrir / To know how to suffer

En silence sans murmure / In silence without murmur

Ni défense ni armure / Neither any defense or armor

Souffrir à vouloir mourir / To suffer wanting to die

Et se relever / And then to recover

Comme on renaît de ses cendres / Like being reborn anew

Avec tant d’amour à revendre / With so much love to offer

Qu’on tire un trait sur le passé / That it draws a line at the past


Apprendre à rêver / To learn how to dream

A rêver pour deux / To dream for two

Rien qu’en fermant les yeux / Nothing but closing eyes

Et savoir donner / And to know how to give

Donner sans rature / Give without harm

Ni demi-mesure / Without half-measure

Apprendre à rester / To learn how to stay

Vouloir jusqu’au bout / To want to stay till end

Rester malgré tout / To stay regardless of anything

Apprendre à aimer / To learn how to love

Et s’en aller / And how to go

Et s’en aller / And how to leave…

%d bloggers like this: