Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 8/7

In light of my having tracked down what must be Madison’s only DVD copy of Godard’s Le Gai savoir this afternoon (at Four Star Video Heaven, of course), today I’ve got a pair of quotes from the venerable JLG. Both quotes are taken from Godard on Godard, and both contain at least the traces of ideas present throughout Godard’s work, from his criticism in the 1950s on to his films of the present. Significantly, both quotes are taken from texts written by Godard after he’d already had a couple films under his belt (À bout de souffle and Le petit soldat). Here Godard addresses the fallibility of cinema as an artistic medium and the amazing phenomenon by which a cinematic image (meant in the Bazinian sense, so basically a slice of reality) comes to signify anything at all.

“The invention of the cinema is based on a gigantic error: that of recording the image of man, and reproducing it by projecting it till the end of time. In other words, believing that a strip of celluloid is less perishable than a block of stone or even memory. This strange belief means that, from Griffith to Bresson, the history of the cinema and the history of its errors are one: the error of trying to paint ideas better than music, to illustrate actions better than the novel, to describe feelings better than painting. One may say, in short, that errare cinematographicum est. […] But this error akin to Eve in the Garden of Eden becomes fascinating in a thriller, arresting in a Western, blinding in a war film, and alluring in what is normally called a musical.” (Jean-Luc Godard, “record commentary for Une Femme est une Femme“)

“Filming […] is simply seizing an event as a sign, and seizing it at the precise second when, gently (a scene from Lola), brutally (a shot by Fuller), cunningly (a composition by Buñuel), logically (a sequence from Voyage in Italy), the significance springs freely from the sign which conditions and prefigures it.” (Jean-Luc Godard, “Les Carabiniers Under Fire”)

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