Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Translation - Cyril Neyrat on 'Trois jours en Grèce' (1991)


Still from Trois jours en Grèce, 1991 

As usual at this time of year, I find myself with a little downtime and in a charitable mood. In the spirit of the season, I offer a translation of Cyril Neyrat's terrific essay on Jean-Daniel Pollet's 'Trois jours en Grèce,' originally commissioned for Les éditions de l'oeil's 2020 DVD release of the film. I began the translation back in 2020, in the hopes of putting it online along with subtitles of Pollet's film. Now that fansubs have finally appeared, here is the text which will hopefully (almost certainly) illuminate its many layers and themes, as well as its place in Pollet's filmography.

P.S. You can download the film with English subs here. Many thanks to the hard working subtitlers who shall remain nameless.

In Greece, Blessed, On A Magic Carpet
by Cyril Neyrat

“He looks in the mirror to reproduce his death accurately.”
Yannis Ritsos

Jean-Daniel Pollet called Greece his “second homeland.” He first went there in 1962, at twenty-six years old, on the trip that led to his film Méditerranée. Upon his return, he spent several months locked in a cellar, assembling a cut that he finished “one Easter Sunday.” The result, something never before seen: a series of recurring images that form a fugue, whose loops retrace the author’s circular voyage on the Middle Sea. Over the years, Pollet never stopped returning to Greece, where he set and shot a number of his major films: Bassae, Le Soleil et l’Ombre, Tu imagines Robinson, L’Ordre. In 1991, Trois jours en Grèce concluded the series and the filming; three decades after his first trip, it was his last visit to his native land. Faithful to the profound principles of Pollet’s cinema, the final Greek film is a return to the origin: a remake, reprise and relaunch of Méditerranée. A reinvention of its fractured circularity, its syncopated allure, the same vertiginous dance over the abyss, but slackened, spread out, lightened or lifted by the grace of newfound serenity.


Yet, it is a film that, along with its author, returns from far, far away.

    1988: invited to participate in a symposium on the Gulf of Corinth, Pollet seizes the opportunity, abandons the symposium, and spends three days alone in and around the small coastal town of Itea, filming with his camcorder.

    April 14, 1989: Pollet tests emulsions by filming the train rails that pass below his property. He shoots at ground level, waits for the train to pass, hears the horn, but does not have time to step aside. The locomotive hits him (“I bounced on the second and third cars before falling back to the tracks”) and leaves him for dead (“Twenty-five fractures, seven of which were open”). He begins a long stay in hospital, a very long convalescence, a bedridden interlude of almost one year. From this prolonged absence, the work to come is born. It is in the hospital that Pollet imagines the film that will become Trois jours en Grèce, based on the 1988 trip and the two hours of footage brought back from Itea. It is in that room that he writes and composes L’Entre Vues with Gérard Leblanc, an exhaustive book that, before reviewing his life and past work and sketching the films to come, opens with a long account of the accident.

    Autumn 1990: out of hospital, Pollet finishes preparations for Trois jours en Grèce and travels to Greece to shoot. Two months circling the Golf of Corinth, as he had the Méditerranée twenty-nine years prior.

    Early 1991: editing of Trois jours en Grèce. On January 17, “Operation Desert Storm” begins, launching the Gulf War. With the help of Leblanc, Pollet incorporates a series of images of the war taken from French television into his film.


Trois jours en Grèce is therefore the film of a revenant, of a man who has returned from the dead. Of a death-seer.

    In the account of the accident that opens L’Entre Vues, Pollet recounts the horror of his first days in the hospital, the panicked sensation of dying and the jubilation of coming back to life, like a second birth. He would add sometime after: “For two years, I felt blessed.” Two years, that is to say, the interval between the train accident and the end of editing of Trois jours en Grèce: an enchanted intermission from life, a grace granted, a double-miracle of a survival, and a survivor film.

    This miraculous progression from the accident to the film, the disturbing intimacy of the author’s catastrophe and his cinematic achievement, were experienced by Pollet in full consciousness.

On the accident:

“I shot up in the air and saw what a camera would capture if we threw it in the air… Cries from Françoise and my son. I was flying. I think I waited a little while before coming back down. I felt disjointed. I fell, conscious. I never lost consciousness. I lay there. I could hear the sound of the train receding. I said to myself “It’s done.” … Then, they arrived. Morphine and stretcher. “Here! What a beautiful tracking shot. Here, the weather is nice tonight.” Traveling indeed, the blue of the sky.”

On filming:

“At this point, I’m on a magic carpet for two months. With the best technical team that I’ve ever had. And then Greece, of course, which completely carried me. It’s a film that was shot without notorious incident, neither physical nor mental, nothing. Of all my films, it is the one where the shooting was the clearest.”

    Pollet remembers the film as an extension of the accident, as if, suspended in the air after the impact, he had not fallen but had embarked on a flying carpet to tour the Gulf of Corinth. “I think I waited a little while before coming back down.”: two seconds of suspense stretched into two years of life, which ended with two months of filming.


Like L’Entre Vues, Trois jours en Grèce begins with an evocation of the accident. Like the book, the film seems to find its origin, its point of departure, and its basis in the experience of the shock, the suspense and the fall (and in syncope [i] as an approximation of death). This evocation - made up of fixed shots of the tracks, miraculously retrieved after the accident, much like their photographer – follows the first in a series of long sinuous tracking shots and images of boats, a rather unique manifestation of world apprehension from the death-seer. The explorative Steadicam shots of the filmmaker’s home return at the end of the journey, altered by a few variations, as if the entire film takes place in this unstable interval. This temporal vertigo is clearly perceived and articulated by Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues and Jean-Louis Leutrat:

“The clock in the filmmaker’s home, which is seen at both ends of the film, is only shown to have advanced a few minutes from the beginning to the end. The film starts with images captured just before the accident suffered by the director; it ends with the launch of the Ariane at Kourou [ii], which occurred within a few days (a few minutes) of the accident. It’s as if these “three days in Greece” were flashing before the filmmaker’s eyes at the instant of the collision.”


    Movement is strange: a sort of floating crawl, unassignable to any human or animal perspective or presence, simultaneously penetrating the visible while remaining detached from sensorial reality. It seems to come from the accident itself, springing forth in the wake of the departing train that left the author for dead along the tracks. Is this the return to the world and life after syncope? But it is not the movement of a presence: rather, it’s that of a spirit, the flight of a ghost, or the inner movement of a dreaming, imagining soul. As if the traveling subject of Trois jours en Grèce had never left his hospital bed, or even the space above the tracks. Two seconds, two minutes: the film freezes time in the suspense of the impact. “Three days in limbo, until the resurrection,” wrote Péguy [iii].

    The initial exploration of the house is interrupted by a shot of Pollet’s hands cutting out photos of Greek vases, this after he discards a stack of magazines whose covers feature images of the Gulf War. The voice of Jean Thibaudeau, a friend and author who penned the voiceover, comments in a hushed tone: “He prepares his film. In the end, we do not have to know what comes before or after, if the trip is taking place, has taken place or will take place, or not.” These two perfectly contradictory sentences provide the key to Trois jours en Grèce and its enigma. The first indicates the traditional essay film, in the category of “travelogue”: we see the filmmaker at work, we prepare to follow the making of a film about a trip to Greece. The second belies this assertion by stating on the one hand that there will be no chronology (what we will see will belong neither to the past, nor to the present or the future), that all temporal reference will be erased along with any concept of duration (three days, two years, a few minutes?), while on the other hand, questioning the reality of the trip itself. What Thibaudeau suggests, decisively, is that the experience in question does not follow the order of life lived; on the contrary, it follows its negation.

    The sequences of the film that immediately follow confirm this, mixing temporalities to the point of dissolving them, producing a temporal vertigo that opens up an abyss of thought. From the following shot on, we are in Greece, but filmed as purely interior, imaginary movement: aerial tracking shots, non-human vision following the scheme initiated in the exploratory scenes of the house. Pollet’s voice recalls the first trip, that of 1988, a camcorder in hand. “Two years later,” he says, “the circumstances being favorable, I settled in my office.” In the meantime, there was the accident: the second trip, which bore Trois jours en Grèce, was of a completely different nature: a motionless vertigo, suspended between a hospital room, a home office and the editing table. For it is above all (and again, as in Méditerranée and Contretemps) the editing that produces the vision from beyond the grave, that recalls another trip: to the land of the dead.

    And it is vertigo. Vertigo from the back and forth trips from here to there – the repeated departure of the plane, denied as a reality lived, become vision. Intoxicating vertigo, Dionysian Steadicam tracking shots winding, swaying, crawling “under the delirious whip of God” – a chorus of Bacchae from Euripides, recited by Olimpia Carlisi in the streets of Itea. Still dizzy from the tracking shots punctuated by photographs – time seized, stuttering, permanent mishaps that ruin its passage with the irregular repetition of breaks. The poetry of Trois jours en Grèce rekindles that of Méditerranée, in the sense that it articulates and unites the two dimensions of syncope [i], medical and musical: as fainting and returning, and as caesura, counter-rhythmic interruption. The syncopated rhythm, the breaks that never cease to disturb the flow, that suspend movement to resume it elsewhere and otherwise, are like an echo of the accident, the original syncope, extended and repeated in the narrative, an undulating propagation of the collision and the absence that birthed the film.

    In the end, the filmmaker’s inner journey brings him back to where he came from. But from where has he come? From his home, from the Favet farmhouse (filmed like an island), from Ithaca or the Island of the Dead? [iv] From his own death, the other side? It is only at the close of the journey, just before the experience of the return trip, in the extraordinary nocturnal, subterranean sequence at the Omonia station of the Athens metro, that the voice of Thibaudeau explicitly makes the association with Ulysses’s nekyia [v], his descent into the underworld in Book 11 of the Odyssey. Just before, Pollet pays homage to Yannis Ritsos, the great, universally admired poet. Modern Homer, cantor of the sufferings and dreams of the Greek people in the 20th century, he died during the filming of Trois jours en Grèce. Pollet invokes him through the editing, reciting phrases from Monochords, their timeless brilliance a perfect antidote for the ugliness and stupidity of the televised images of the war. In return, like Virgil with Dante, Ritsos leads Pollet into the underworld of Omonia, to meet the dead. The war of the Persian Gulf is a rather sad remake of that of Troy, and Pollet does not pretend to measure Trois jours en Grèce against the Odyssey. But he does remember it, remembers that the journey, unlike war, is without a map or calendar, and that a return is possible. Omonia, like all the other places visited by Pollet in Trois jours en Grèce, belongs to the world of the living, but is seen through death, made strange by the vision of he who does not return, shaken yet liberated, from the dead.

Méditerranée, Bassae, L’Ordre, Trois jours en Grèce, Dieu sait quoi: Pollet’s great essay films are profoundly molded by the paradoxical counter-movement of their absent subject, who has left the society of the living only to return as pure perception, wholly receptive to its immemorial appearance. Such an experience – the poetic experience itself – is not dark, but luminous. It is a joy, a jubilation, the feeling of lightness described by Montaigne and Rousseau when they recounted their return to the world after their respective accidents with horse and dog [vi]. The shock of the syncope, which plunged the subject into the abyss of his past and future death, is also the root of the interior movement of the lying being, of the eternal convalescent who lets himself be carried, floated, rocked by the waves of thought and emotion.

Trois jours en Grèce is a miraculous film, primarily because it is the work of a man who has returned from his own death, and recalls the void. Pollet’s cinema comes to us from this non-place, imagines its expanse, invents its exploration. Like Méditerranée, Trois jours en Grèce is not a travel film in the sense that it relates the experience as lived by the filmmaker in Greece. The work of the cinema in Trois jours en Grèce is that of the syncope: it consists of the negation of the lived, which opens up a poetic existence as a sort of altered life, outside of oneself, outside of time, suspended in a pure haze of memory. The poet’s journey is internal, and still. If Pollet winks at Nerval by titling a chapter of L’Entre Vues, “I am the other,” it is because he too had “twice crossed the Acheron victorious.” Like the author of Les Chimères, he returned from his round trip to hell an even greater poet. [vii] Like Méditerranée, Trois jours en Grèce is, in every sense of the word, a chimera film.



[i] Syncope, origin Greek, has two meanings in this essay; the medical term for losing consciousness, and syncopation, the musical term for a disturbance in an established rhythm.

[ii] The Ariane was a series of rockets that were regularly launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana through the summer of 1989, the year of Pollet’s accident. The name of the model refers, of course, to Princess Ariadne of Greek mythology.

[iii] A quote from Charles Péguy’s dramatic poem, Le Mystère de la charité de Jeanne d’Arc (1910).

[iv] L’Île des Morts, a small French island in the Bay of Roscanvel.

[v] An ancient Greek rite used to summon and question ghosts of the departed.

[vi] Circa 1570, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne fell from a horse and lost consciousness for several hours, an event he recounted in his Essais. In 1776, writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau suffered a concussion when he was run over by a Great Dane in the streets of Paris, an episode immortalized in his Rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire.

[vii] Je suis l'autre is the title of the poet Gérard de Nerval’s autobiography. In Nerval’s poem, El Desdichado (included in his collection, Les Chimères), the narrator claims to have crossed the Acheron, one of the five rivers to the Greek underworld, and returned.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Video - OubaelPhoumet Tribute

Yesterday, lazing about on a Saturday, I created a Youtube channel. I had considered doing so for some time, to post movie clips and tunes for personal sharing. However, my first video is a touch more special than the selection of the day; it's a tribute to the mighty OubaelPhoumet. A mysterious uploader from France (who seems to have disappeared from social media, and hasn't posted anything on Youtube in six years), he is known to the initiated for his tastefully curated videos of jazz (and other styles) paired with clips from art films of the 60's, 70's and beyond. His channel was absolutely crucial to me in my early days of cinephilia/jazz connoisseurship, and upon revisiting it recently, I'm glad to say that his selections and sensibilities are as fresh now as they were then.

My very modest homage features a moody cut from drummer James Zitro that I hope would please the man of the hour. As for the film clip, it shouldn't be too hard to guess where it's from. If you like it, then don't hesitate to seek out the real thing at the link below.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Translation - Embrace of the Souls (2020)

A quick note, not surprisingly about a translation: SMP Records, the imprint of German improvising pianist Hannes Selig, has just issued a bountiful box set dedicated to the longtime saxophone/piano duo of Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp. Special Edition Box, as it is called, gathers an unreleased 2019 studio session by the pair, a concert film of their performance in São Paulo from later in the same year (in multiple formats), and a lengthy essay by Belgian writer/ musician/ sometimes-impresario Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, titled 'Embrace of the Souls.' Last summer, while the global pandemic raged, I had the pleasure of translating this long text from the French over the course of two weeks. It is easily the most gratifying translation work I've done, and the result is much more than extended liner notes. Jean-Michel's essay captures the essence of one of the most accomplished ongoing collaborations in improvised music/jazz, and does so with a sensitivity and generosity perfectly suited to his subjects. I hope one day to be able to share the entirety of Jean-Michel's piece, here or somewhere else. In the meantime, the SMP box is available in limited quantities.

For French-reading fans of free improvised music, I recommend a visit to Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg's fantastic blog. His love of music, sounds, of pure creative expression, overflows in practically every post.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Translation - Jean-Marie Buchet on 'Hatari!' (1963)

Still from Hatari!, 1962 

Surprise! Quite generously, my friends at the Belgian film site Sabzian have agreed to publish a new translation of mine, a full-length review of Howard Hawks' ensemble adventurer, 'Hatari!' Written one year after the film's American release by Belgian writer/filmmaker Jean-Marie Buchet, it is a neat introduction to a great and under-recognized cinematic mind (Buchet's), as well as a reminder of the large-scale greatness of Hawks' film. For those keeping track, this translation is actually my first published anywhere on the web other than this blog.

If your interest in Jean-Marie Buchet's films is piqued, I highly suggest his first feature 'La fugue de Suzanne' (1974), a droll, absurdist comedy that plays like Luc Moullet crossed with Jean Eustache. It is available on demand from Avila, another wonderful resource for Belgian cinema.

Anyway, enjoy the piece, and by all means, take the opportunity to rewatch 'Hatari!'

** Jean Marie Buchet on 'Hatari!' (1963) **

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Translation - Chris Marker (The Impossible Book) (2016)

Maroussia Vossen (left) & Djaleng from Paleodia (right)
Still from Pattes de deux, 2010 (Vimeo)

For my latest (seemingly) random act of translation, I humbly present you with my 2020 quarantine project: an English translation of Maroussia Vossen's lovely memoir Chris Marker (The Impossible Book). Marker is, of course, the enigmatic filmmaker and media polymath best known for his twin masterworks, La Jetée (1962) and Sans Soleil (1983). Vossen (pictured above), a dancer and choreographer, is his adopted daughter. This slim edition from 2016, published by Éditions Le Tripode, is an unprecedentedly intimate look at the relationship the two shared from her birth to his death.

The French language book, which I greatly enjoyed reading and translating, can and should be purchased here. A first-time author, Vossen proves to be a deft guide to Marker's idiosyncratic world. More than a catalogue of obscure factoids (what he ate for breakfast every day, what his family life was like) or an inside look at his films (which she consciously avoids considering at length), hers is a personal story built from rich, diffuse connections, the same sorts of connections Marker illuminated across his varied body of work.

French speakers can watch an interview with Ms. Vossen here in which she discusses the book. English readers can click the cover image below to download a PDF of my translation. It was made in a piecemeal fashion in between work and parental duties, and, due to my excitement to post it, only edited lightly. Feedback is certainly welcome, but please be kind!

More importantly, enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Translation - Letters to François Truffaut (1959 - 1971)

La Napoule, 1959 (source)
François Truffaut at bottom left, Jean-Daniel Pollet third from left in third row from bottom (with draped sweater)

Having found myself with some additional free time (for reasons obvious to anyone reading this at the time of publication), I've decided to try my hand at a straight-ahead French translation, a first. The piece I chose is from the March 2020 edition of the great Trafic film journal, three letters from the vastly underrated filmmaker Jean-Daniel Pollet to his mentor at-times, François Truffaut. The two interlocutors, who connected in the late 1950's at the time of their initial successes, present an odd pair; the dynamic Truffaut, an admired critic and cinematic wunderkind who became one of the most commercially-viable filmmakers of his generation, and Pollet, a little-known New Wave outlier best known for stern, poetic works that evoked Resnais and captivated Godard. Still, there is some stylistic overlap. Pollet's more conventional comedic efforts, which he alternated with his more abstract works, approached the feel-good tone of Truffaut's most popular films. Pollet's fondness for one particular actor (Claude Melki) as his on-screen alter ego also recalls Truffaut's symbiosis with Jean-Pierre Leaud. In addition to any similarities, it seems the two shared, at some point at least, some degree of mutual professional respect.

Along with the letters, I've translated a short forward by filmmaker and writer Jean-Daniel Fargier, a long-time friend and collaborator of Pollet's. Sadly, the retrospective of Jean-Daniel Pollet's films set for March 2020 at the Cinémathèque Française (which certainly spurred the publication of these letters) has been postponed due to the unforeseen international emergency. Luckily, as a sort of consolation, Les Éditions de l’Œil has recently issued eight of Pollet's newly-restored films on DVD with accompanying booklets, as well as a sorely needed biography of the relatively mysterious director by Fargier. Each and every one of these editions is highly recommended.

Issue 113 of Trafic can be purchased here. I would certainly urge all French-reading cinephiles to subscribe. With the unfortunate recent demise of Cahiers du Cinéma, Trafic is literally peerless among film journals.


Letters to François Truffaut
by Jean-Daniel Pollet

Truffaut saved everything, scripts, correspondences, photos taken on set. His archives contain many treasures that find their way, little by little, to various publications. Pollet threw away (almost) everything. A pity. We will never know exactly how the young director of The 400 Blows responded to a request from the very young director of As Long as You Get Drunk… [i] to have a look at the script for his first feature film. Nevertheless, we get an idea by reading between the lines of Jean-Daniel Pollet’s response to the comments by his famous elder.

        What is striking in this exchange is the strong sense of complicity, founded on mutual esteem. Truffaut had just won at Cannes with his first feature, and had written a few months earlier in Arts, after seeing the premiere of his “little brother’s” [ii] first short film crowned with a Golden Lion at Venice, a magnificent review that compared its author to Jean Vigo, before making this prediction: “At 21 years old, Jean-Daniel Pollet displays a sensitivity and a vitality that make him one of the four or five best emerging French filmmakers.” We can read this on page 467 of the collection Chroniques d'«Arts-Spectacles» 1954-1958, compiled by Bernard Bastide for Éditions Gallimard. [iii]

       It is also thanks to Bernard Bastide that are able to publish these letters from Pollet to Truffaut. He generously shared his discoveries with us, made while perusing Truffaut’s papers at the Cinémathèque Française with the intention of assembling a collection of his favorite filmmaker’s correspondences with writers. Thanks to our comrade from Nîmes!

       We are also very grateful to Laura Truffaut, who manages her father’s estate in concert with her two sisters, Eva and Joséphine, for authorizing this publication.

Jean-Paul Fargier

First contact after Cannes, and the success of The 400 Blows
(No date, likely May 1959)

I hardly know you, but I take great pleasure in the news of the success of your film, which makes me wish for you, as if it were for myself, the best at Cannes. The unanimous praise that I hear from all sides for The 400 Blows, from people incapable of false praise or snobbery, increases my desire to see your film… which, as it is, you certainly don’t like, but don’t cut too much of it, so there’s some left for the street (?).

Jean-Daniel Pollet

Reply to Truffaut’s response to his script for The Bastion (Le Bastion) (which would be made as Line of Sight [La Ligne de mire] in 1960)

Jean-Daniel Pollet
58, bd Maillot
Neuilly (Seine)
Tél. MAI 46 20


I received your letter with great joy, and I thank you sincerely for your interest in my project. I too would be very happy to discuss it further with you. I also impatiently await an opportunity to see your film, about which I’ve only heard good things said (except by the director of Regent!).

       Regarding the similarities of my script to The Rules of the Game, which I have seen twice (unlike my friend F. Mazel [iv]), they don’t concern me, though they now seem obvious. Nevertheless, it would be futile to try to determine how many of them stem from accident and how many from influence. I should, however, be wary of them. Perhaps unfortunately, I’ve reached a point where it may be too difficult to modify the structure of our script. My belief is that the spirit and style with which (I hope) we treat The Bastion, which are quite different from those of The Rules of the Game, are the best guarantees against the seemingly inevitable script similarities.

       The Bastion will have nothing of a continuous game of hide and seek, nor do I pretend that it will achieve the complexity and richness of The Rules of the Game. Everything will be simpler, more direct. There will be no “game” for one to enter into, no “game of love and chance,” [v] none of the enticing “moods of Marianne.” [vi]

       Ultimately, I hope to not make a “sub-Rules of the Game,” which would be excruciating, as any comparison that comes to mind would of course be unfavorable to me.

Regarding the hunting sequences, it is inevitable that they directly recall The Rules because hunting can only be shown from so many perspectives. There’s that of the trapper, that of the butcher, and that of the butcher who believes he is a trapper, the most common in our country. Here, I am less afraid. There is no more plagiarism, or even resemblance, as there is practically no choice is in the method of shooting it. There is only the renewal of the same elements. Moreover, above the theme of hunting, there will be that of war.

I will stop for fear of boring you. Besides, if you preferred, it would be simpler to give you a detailed treatment with dialogue, which I have completed. Then you will easily be able to tell me if the danger is diminishing or increasing.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jean-Daniel Pollet

Request for support for the release of Love is Gay, Love is Sad, 1971 [vii]

Dear Truffaut,

       Love is Gay, Love is Sad will open at the Publicis-Vendôme [viii] on Friday. The decision was made 48 hours ago, and the publicity resources that have been pledged are quite feeble.

       Renoir and Resnais, one year ago, and Chabrol more recently, have, in their kindness, expressed their appreciation of my film with a few quotes. Their statements constitute an essential element upon which I rely to avoid an all-too discreet premiere.

       I would like, or wish if it’s more effective, to see your name join theirs, if you thought it possible after attending one of these preview screenings:

-       Tuesday at 3 & 9pm at la salle Pontheiu
-       Wednesday at 9pm at Studio 407, 33, Champs-Élysées, 4th floor
-       Thursday the 25th at 10am at the Petit Marbeuf

If you cannot make it to any of these screenings, you can let me know at 222 85 83 and I can organize a screening at your convenience.

In hopes that this is not a bother to you, I send all my love.

Jean-Daniel Pollet

[i] Pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse... (1958), Pollet's first short film, distributed by Cocinor, the same company that marketed Truffaut's breakthrough feature. (link to view)
[ii] Fargier used the French word "cadet," which, militaristic English connotations aside, means "youngest sibling."
[iii] Released in March 2019. (link)
[iv] François Mazel, writer and brother-law of Pollet. Mazel is credited with the story and dialogue for Pollet's aborted first feature, Lost Nights (Les Nuits Perdues), undertaken and abandoned in 1958. (source)
[v] A reference to The Game of Love and Chance (Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard, 1730), a romantic comedy written by Marivaux in the tradition of the Commedia dell'arte. Presumably, a dig at the staidness of The Rules of the Game.
[vi] A reference to The Moods of Marianne (Les Caprices de Marianne, 1833), a play by Alfred de Musset that served as the basis for The Rules of the Game.
[vii] L'amour c'est gai, l'amour c'est triste (1971), Pollet's fifth feature and one his "commercial" projects, starring Bernadette Lafont and Chantal Goya alongside his actor of choice, Claude Melki.
[viii] Movie theater formerly located on the Champs-Élysées.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Subtitles - Tokyo Days (1988)

Having caught something of the subtitling/ translating bug, I'm back sooner than expected with another tiny treat. This time it's a short but very special film from one of my favorite filmmakers, Chris Marker's little-seen short 'Tokyo Days' from 1988. A lighthearted post-script to his 1983 masterpiece 'Sans Soleil,' 'Tokyo Days, is one of Marker's simplest and most accessible works, a lithe little video journal made on one of his many trips to the Japanese capital. It's mostly dialogue free, but actress Arielle Dombasle (a regular of Eric Rohmer, whom she lovingly name-drops) does flit in early on to provide dizzying French-language commentary (thus the need for subtitles). I've provided partial subs for the film, you can download and watch 'Tokyo Days' here.