27 fevereiro 2007

From still to still

Chris Marker, "La Jetée", 1962

This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood. The
violent scene that upsets him, and whose meaning he was to grasp only years
later, happened on the main jetty at Orly, the Paris airport, sometime
before the outbreak of World War III.

Orly, Sunday. Parents used to take their children there to watch the
departing planes.

On this particular Sunday, the child whose story we are telling was bound
to remember the frozen sun, the setting at the end of the jetty, and a
woman's face.

Nothing sorts out memories from ordinary moments. Later on they do claim
remembrance when they show their scars. That face he had seen was to be the
only peacetime image to survive the war. Had he really seen it? Or had he
invented that tender moment to prop up the madness to come?

The sudden roar, the woman's gesture, the crumpling body, and the cries of
the crowd on the jetty blurred by fear.

Later, he knew he had seen a man die.

And sometime after came the destruction of Paris.

Many died. Some believed themselves to be victors. Others were taken
prisoner. The survivors settled beneath Chaillot, in an underground network
of galleries.

Above ground, Paris, as most of the world, was uninhabitable, riddled with

The victors stood guard over an empire of rats.

The prisoners were subjected to experiments, apparently of great concern to
those who conducted them.

The outcome was a disappointment for some - death for others - and for
others yet, madness.

One day they came to select a new guinea pig from among the prisoners.

He was the man whose story we are telling.

He was frightened. He had heard about the Head Experimenter. He was
prepared to meet Dr. Frankenstein, or the Mad Scientist. Instead, he met a
reasonable man who explained calmly that the human race was doomed. Space
was off-limits. The only hope for survival lay in Time. A loophole in Time,
and then maybe it would be possible to reach food, medicine, sources of

This was the aim of the experiments: to send emissaries into Time, to
summon the Past and Future to the aid of the Present.

But the human mind balked at the idea. To wake up in another age meant to
be born again as an adult. The shock would be too great.

Having only sent lifeless or insentient bodies through different zones of
Time, the inventors where now concentrating on men given to very strong
mental images. If they were able to conceive or dream another time, perhaps
they would be able to live in it.

The camp police spied even on dreams.

This man was selected from among a thousand for his obsession with an image
from the past.

Nothing else, at first, put stripping out the present, and its racks.

They begin again.

The man doesn't die, nor does he go mad. He suffers.

They continue.

On the tenth day, images begin to ooze, like confessions.

A peacetime morning. A peacetime bedroom, a real bedroom. Real children.
Real birds. Real cats. Real graves.

On the sixteenth day he is on the jetty at Orly. Empty.

Sometimes he recaptures a day of happiness, though different.

A face of happiness, though different.


A girl who could be the one he seeks. He passes her on the jetty. She
smiles at him from an automobile. Other images appear, merge, in that
museum, which is perhaps that of his memory.

On the thirtieth day, the meeting takes place. Now he is sure he recognizes
her. In fact, it is the only thing he is sure of, in the middle of this
dateless world that at first stuns him with its affluence. Around him, only
fabulous materials: glass, plastic, terry cloth. When he recovers from his
trance, the woman has gone.

The experimenters tighten their control. They send him back out on the
trail. Time rolls back again, the moment returns.

This time he is close to her, he speaks to her. She welcomes him without
surprise. They are without memories, without plans. Time builds itself
painlessly around them. Their only landmarks are the flavor of the moment
they are living and the markings on the walls.

Later on, they are in a garden. He remembers there were gardens.

She asks him about his necklace, the combat necklace he wore at the start
of the war that is yet to come. He invents an explanation.

They walk. They look at the trunk of a redwood tree covered with historical
dates. She pronounces an English name he doesn't understand. As in a dream,
he shows her a point beyond the tree, hears himself say, "This is where I
come from ..." - and falls back, exhausted. Then another wave of Time
washes over him. The result of another injection perhaps.

Now she is asleep in the sun. He knows that in this world to which he has
just returned for a while, only to be sent back to her, she is dead. She
wakes up. He speaks again. Of a truth too fantastic to be believed he
retains the essential: an unreachable country, a long way to go. She
listens. She doesn't laugh.

Is it the same day? He doesn't know. They shall go on like this, on
countless walks in which an unspoken trust, an unadulterated trust will
grow between them, without memories or plans. Up to the moment where he
feels - ahead of them - a barrier.

And this was the end of the first experiment.

It was the starting point for a whole series of tests, in which he would
meet her at different times. Sometimes he finds her in front of their
markings. She welcomes him in a simple way. She calls him her Ghost.

One day she seems frightened. One day she leans toward him. As for him, he
never knows whether he moves toward her, whether he is driven, whether he
has made it up, or whether he is only dreaming.

Around the fiftieth day, they meet in a museum filled with timeless
animals. Now the aim is perfectly adjusted. Thrown at the right moment, he
may stay there and move without effort.

She too seems tamed. She accepts as a natural phenomenon the ways of this
visitor who comes and goes, who exists, talks, laughs with her, stops
talking, listens to her, then disappears.

Once back in the experiment room, he knew something was different. The camp
leader was there. From the conversation around him, he gathered that after
the brilliant results of the tests in the Past, they now meant to ship him
into the Future. His excitement made him forget for a moment that the
meeting at the museum had been the last.

The Future was better protected than the Past. After more, painful tries,
he eventually caught some waves of the world to come. He went through a
brand new planet, Paris rebuilt, ten thousand incomprehensible avenues.
Others were waiting for him. It was a brief encounter. Obviously, they
rejected these scoriae of another time.

He recited his lesson: because humanity had survived, it could not refuse
to its own past the means of its survival. This sophism was taken for Fate
in disguise.

They gave him a power unit strong enough to put all human industry back
into motion, and again the gates of the Future were closed.

Sometime after his return, he was transferred to another part of the camp.
He knew that his jailers would not spare him. He had been a tool in their
hands, his childhood image had been used as bait to condition him, he had
lived up to their expectations, he had played his part. Now he only waited
to be liquidated with, somewhere inside him, the memory of a twice-lived
fragment of time.

And deep in this limbo, he received a message from the people of the world
to come. They too travelled through Time, and more easily. Now they were
there, ready to accept him as one of their own. But he had a different
request: rather than this pacified future, he wanted to be returned to the
world of his childhood, and to this woman who was perhaps waiting for him.

Once again the main jetty at Orly, in the middle of this warm pre-war
Sunday afternoon where he could not stay, he though in a confused way that
the child he had been was due to be there too, watching the planes.

But first of all he looked for the woman's face, at the end of the jetty.
He ran toward her. And when he recognized the man who had trailed him since
the underground camp, he understood there was no way to escape Time, and
that this moment he had been granted to watch as a child, which had never
ceased to obsess him, was the moment of his own death.

33 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

quero uma sala de cinema já! ainda não vi tudo…

Anónimo disse...

Uma história intrigante, fotografia a fotografia. Memórias ou futuro, não conhecia vou rever.

Anónimo disse...

O "original" dos Twelve Monkeys> (1995), do Terry Gilliam (ex-python), com o Bruce Willis...


(Então, oube lá, ó Mérdinhas: então tue ágora ábafas á pálhinha e andas a piráterar os computadores lá do emprego? Quem te biu e quem te bêe...)

A. disse...

...um ecran daqueles que nem sei o nome.gigante.flat.em casa se possível...e boa companhia.

(em continuação...Bruce Willis e Brad Pitt num papelão! Não?)

Mer, mudando a rota.

também não conhecia a música

..e fiquei encantada com a escolha
do Pedro.uma das suas músicas de eleição.

é demasiado.apetece abraçar.tanta doçura.

há pessoas assim
...nos silêncios.mil sentidos.


Anónimo disse...

Parece que passaste de Merdinhas a Mer.
Já para não falar de teres trema no nome!!!
Pode ser que assim acabe a má onda que andava aí.

Espero ver-te em breve.
beijos e abraços

Eu sei quem tu é...tu és...

Anónimo disse...

Vi este e não resisti...


Anónimo disse...

estás mesmo fodido, ó Cabrão.

Anónimo disse...

Merdas, meu, sabes que se for preciso fazer a folha a este (muito) equivocado anónimo dos hackers e das preferências sexuais contas comigo (e, tenho impressão, que aqueles truculentos históricos do início, os Nabos, as Pasionarias, os Sardões, os Coolme, os Naked Lunch, também molham o pão no molhinho lá do energúmeno).


Anónimo disse...


Gostei muito do "foto-roman". Li que há uma parte em que não há "from still to still" e vou rever para descobrir.

Bandida disse...

tantas marcas... ainda...


ana disse...

A scene in La Jetée (about tree rings) is an explicit reference to Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film Vertigo (which is the adaptation of D'entre Les Morts, a 1954 French novel, by Boileau-Narcejac).

Mamoru Oshii's Akai Megane (a.k.a. 'The Red Spectacles') is a 1987 live-action film that was inspired by La Jetée. It features a scene on the Tokyo jetty which is a tribute to La Jetée, one of the Japanese director's favourite films.

David Bowie's Jump They Say music video contains a reference to La Jetée.

The 2003 short film, La Puppe, is both an homage and a spoof of La Jetée.

Three Chicago-based instrumental rock groups (which all share members) have recorded songs inspired by it: Isotope 217 - "La Jetée" (1997); Tortoise - "Jetty" (1998); Chicago Underground Trio - "La Jetée" (1999).

Além dos 12 macacos do Gilliam...

in Wikipedia

Frioleiras disse...

Gostei mt..

soube-me mt bem ver ...


art&tal disse...

ontem comprei um descascador novo.

ontem comprei um ralador novo.

ontem comprei uma rara ediçao.

ontem comprei um poster do vasareli

ontem comprei uns sapatos novos.

ontem comprei um novo filme

ontem comprei uma freira desgostosa

gostei do filme

beijos e abraços


Anónimo disse...

E da freira? (E do desgosto dela? Sabes, há velhos livros conventuais, nas bibliotecas públicas, que escondem entre as páginas papelinhos com poemas manuscritos e flores secas...). Da freira e do desgosto dela, gostaste?


iminente disse...

..from time to time man gets mad!!

Anónimo disse...

Conhece "As estátuas também morrem" ? Ai tem C. Marker ainda em colaboração com Alain Resnais... documentário, cinema e memória...


Anónimo disse...

acabei de saber que afinal tu
nao es tu. tás a ver?
nao queria saber tanto. já me contaram tudo. tu nao es papagaio nem papagaia. nao gostas de pizza, nem de molhos fortes. a tua preferencia vai para a lingua afiambrada. bebes refresco de café é es primo do antonio j.s..
sei ou nao sei? tás a ver? eu sei tudo.



ps: a treta do holiarte é mintira.

pandoracomplexa disse...

ainda hoje falamos dele vamos mostrar o Sans Soleil aos alunos...não tão bom como o La Jetée mas tem uma narrativa óptima...há cada coincidência

Klatuu o embuçado disse...

What a story! :)

rui vitorino santos disse...

obrigado merdinhas pelo texto.....é bastante bom....quanto ao Sans Soleil no youtube é que já tenho mais dúvidas..é um caso a pensar.........

ivan disse...

desculpa lá... as 21:30 da noite, depois do trabalho....

leio isto noutro dia.

corpo visível disse...

no way to escape time, indeed.

M@Teresa disse...

Interessante história!
Aqui não se pode passar discretamente como o vento, porque há histórias compridas para ler... :D
Mas sim, o vento tinha-me sussurrado ao ouvido...

PMBC disse...

Os eucaliptos fazem os filhos ricos e os netos pobres ...

Naked Lunch disse...

bonito... obrigado!

Maria disse...

É a segunda vez que vejo e leio. Não consegui comentar logo. Muito bom. Corajoso Merdinhas, boas descobertas, que falam de tempo e identidades e demoram tempo de reflexão para digerir. Obrigado.

Anónimo disse...

Vim só para rever.

linhas tortas disse...

"Estou com pressa, estou com pressa"!
Beijinhos e bom fim-de-semana.

isabel mendes ferreira disse...



por aqui.


@ disse...

o tempo....esse conceito(inventado?)
vim a este post por várias vezes: dificuldades em abrir o link; dificuldades no inglês; dificulades em deixar-te algo de jeito...

desconhecia filme de 62,mas já retive na memória...para o futuro.
vê o Story Without End!

intruso disse...


(o tempo parado a ser tempo)

é brilhante,
e apetece ver num ecrãn a sério,
vezes repetidas
(conhecia imagens soltas apenas, não conhecia o filme)

[música brilhante...]

intruso disse...

[e o Story without end
que a @ diz tb merece ser visto...

is disse...

e ainda não tive tempo para este!
tb não vai ser hoje, mas está marcado.