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A world won for technology is lost for freedom: this is the last sentence of Jean-Marie Straub’s new short film, said from the back by a man who walks on the shore of Lake Geneva. France against robots (2020, 10 minutes for its two versions put end to end), anti-technological call to the revolution after a passage from the pamphlet of the same title by Georges Bernanos, and released on April 5 on free access on the site Kino Slang, is dedicated by Straub to his confined neighbor of Rolle, Jean-Luc Godard. It only took two days for JLG to respond to it in its own way, which always leaves chance to appear to be doing it right.

By responding live on the Instagram account of Ecal, the art school of Lausanne, to questions from filmmaker Lionel Baier, for more than an hour and a half this Tuesday afternoon, for the attention of confined people connected of the planet, Jean-Luc Godard – “the coolest guy in the world“According to this comment from a user parading for a moment under the face, without mask but with cigar, of the Author – created, as usual, event. And it is perhaps in times of global pandemic that the elementary words of JLG could reach us even stronger than usual: tender and cruel, generous and reserved words, which never does anything but describe and unmask (his interlocutor wore well this protection currently put) the situation of enunciation where, at the moment, it takes place. What were we going to hear this time, publicized in live, from the electronic mouth of Rolle’s pythia, who did not read back the words of love passing in all languages ​​on the screen with emojis force, attentive and deaf to his fragile voice?

The virus is a communication, it needs another, to go to the neighbor, like some birds, to enter it. Like when we send a message on a network, we need the other to enter his home“, he said in essence, referring to information theory. And later again: The virus is a communication: like what we are doing … of which we are not going to die, but perhaps we are not able to live well. And Godard tells us again the formula of his recent thought, which opposes language (the one that fixes, with its alphabet, or with its capitalist progression curves, which show each day the current progression of the virus as they represent the rest of the time growth – critical genius of JLG) at language, which is a mixture of speech and image, and of which cinema is sometimes capable. Word and image, therefore, by a late afternoon in the sick world won for the technique, but which is not necessarily, with Jean-Luc Godard, completely lost for freedom.

Luc Chessel

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