Ici et ailleurs
Jean-Luc Godard / FR, 1976
Godard’s self-critical film is also a compelling criticism of cinema itself and a poignant project that reveals how he manipulated his footage of Palestinians. The film proved to be a source of inspiration for contemporary Syrian filmmakers. Screened to accompany a live talk on filmmaking in wartime, with guests Geert Lovink, Nat Muller and editor Donatella Della Ratta.
In 1970 Godard started shooting a film about the Palestinians which was he was going to call Jusqu'a la victoire (Until Victory). He interrupted the project to pick it up six years later, had the Arabic audiotape translated and began to critically examine the words and images, as all (anonymous) persons had died by that time. The result is a convincing criticism of cinema and a disturbing and poignant project.
Godard confronts the footage from Jusqu'à la victoire with new material: “ici”, here, we see a French middle-class family before the TV set in 1975, “ailleurs”, elsewhere, we watch how the Palestinians fighters from Jusqu'à la victoire train to become martyrs.
Ici et ailleurs is a critique of the methods used by Godard”s own Dziga Vertov Group, which made political films from 1968 to 1972. The original film of 1970 was also based on that principle. Godard reveals how he manipulated his own footage: a woman pictured as pregnant was not in fact expecting a child. For Godard, Ici et ailleurs is a way of showing “the other reality” which is always present whenever you turn your camera on an event.
EYE organizes a live talk after the screening of Godard”s film on how to engage with footage and how to work as a filmmaker in the context of riots, insurrections and (civil) war. Curator Della Ratta is joined by writer and art curator Nat Muller, who is specialized in media art and contemporary art from the Middle East, media theoretician Geert Lovink (Professor of Media Theory at the Swiss European Graduate School) and filmmakers featured in the programme.
"Poor revolutionary fools, millionaires of images of revolution", Godard famously remarked, commenting on Ici et ailleurs. A film that was conceived to pay tribute to the Palestinian uprising in the 1970s, yet ended up being a bitter reflection on the loss of control over the images once produced to celebrate that very uprising. Godard's thoughts on image makers and image keepers in revolutionary times inspires this live talk. Who owns the images of the revolution when the social media mantra condemns to a non-stop production and re-production of content? What happens when the collective "we" who generated visuals to celebrate a revolution has to face the latter's military and media defeat? What's left of the Image in a time of compulsive sharing of images?
Ici et ailleurs