Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"Glissements porgressifs du plaisir" 
"The perverse young girl introduces her body into the meaning, or rather against meaning.
Michelet's The Sorceress as interpreted by Roland Barthes in his Michelet par lui meme, gave me the idea of making the character of the sorceress a young woman who upsets masculine discourse. The sorceress is the spirit of revolution, while on the other, she also serves as a sexual object. Those conflictual drives can be discerned in Michelet's style. I took up that conception in The Progressive Slidings of Pleasure, with the fundamental departure from Michelet that she upsets the masculine order not only with her body but also through her reasoning by which she undercuts the logic of a police investigation.
There is a structural slippage from punctuation shots towards the diegesis. The structural idea was, in short, this concept of slippage. A struggle evidently ensues between the forces of order that wish to control the narration and Alice, who seeks to liberate it. Alice is also a sorceress whom you associate with nature.
Disruptions of chronology are far more natural than respect for chronology.
The separate pieces of evidence that make up a trial are more interesting than the trial itself. Since the judge always wants to simplify matters, the trial simplifies. The pieces are not coherent. The Progressive Slidings of Pleasure is simply a question of an extreme case where the accused person undermines the telling of the story, the roles, and, of course, meaning in general.
Some are aleatory objects, but others, on the contrary, are related: for example, when the female character says the broken bottle can be a murder weapon. But I am really not that interested in defining their function. It is up to you, the critics, to do so. For me, that is what it was. There was a story and there were objects, and the objects in the story were related at certain moments, and at other moments they were not.
In Slidings there are numerous sounds that are barely perceived. The viewer is so accustomed to sound being redundant and in the background that if there are surprises in the sounds, the viewer ignores them. The soundtrack is crucial, part of the complexity, part even of the diegesis. One of the important diegetic themes in the film is the fact of drinking a magic liquid. That magic liquid can be blood. Now, why that particular theme? Because it is essential in Michelet's Sorceress. It is the magic liquid that will transform meaning. Tristan's philtre, on the one hand, and on the other, the Grail.
The soundtrack almost always relates to an aspect of the narrative. The story of the Grail or of Tristian is brought about by the narrative itself. This type of experiment in the film passes in the eyes of the public as a sort of unbridled self-indulgence. Instead, it is exactly the opposite, a superdetermination. But this overdetermination is not redundant. In a traditional film, the soundtrack is redundant, for it adds nothing to the meaning nor does it even reinforce meaning; it is the same meaning.
Where here, on the contrary, sound is itself a meaning, one related to the image, but that is never redundant.
In the scene with the eggs, that is more or less a reference to Georges Bataille, one sees clearly the small gold cross that Nora is wearing. I have no animus towards the Catholic church. The church is simply part of the panorama of cultural stereotypes of our civilization. By taking Michelet's Sorceress, where it is the very theme of the work, it would be difficult for those allusions not to appear more clearly than in others of my films.
Bunuel's use of the woman's shoe is a normal association. But in The Satin Slipper, the young woman who is afraid of sinning takes off her shoe and puts it on the altar to the Virgin and leaves it there. In the film, the shoe under a glass globe is the one from The Satin Slipper.
Sade has a Rousseau-like side. he constantly preaches that he seeks to be natural. Since nature is cruel, one must be cruel. I consider that stupid. One the other hand, there is a fundamental resemblance as well: surely he had "sadistic" impulses as I'm sure I do, too. Sade proposes sadomasochism in the name of nature against the word of society, whereas I take up the sadomasochistic images within the latent discourse of society, the astonishing cultural stereotypes of society. Sade lived in a society where it was practiced but not shown, and we live in a society where it is shown at every moment; it is proclaimed, in effect. I am virtually the opposite of Sade in that regard."