Guillaume-Godard-Brecht: "Inconsistency" as a method of alienation in "The Chinese Girl" /décalage

Clovis 2022-07-06 10:13:42

We can question what Godard's commonly used "distancing effects", such as interrupting the frame with subtitles and exposing the camera (so much so that we know they will be there before watching the film), can bring about - is it anti-play , anti-empathy, or the wonder, curiosity, or even apotheosis of the technique itself—whether they are ramblings of Brecht's theory. In contrast, we can see another décalage (inconsistency) in La chinoise -

1. The décalage within the group: There is an ironic class relationship within the revolutionary group, especially the invisible domination of cultural capital, where the maid Yvonne is always in charge of washing the dishes (while Véronique is only on the sidelines praising labor and its meaning), cleaning the glass, She was also the only one of the five who did not "lecture" the others while "studying"; while philosophy student Véronique was in charge of the main literary and intellectual work. This inconsistency interrupts some of our visions of the group.

2. Indoor and outdoor décalage of the group apartment: The interior of the apartment is always a large number of shots that have been designed in terms of composition and primary color matching, while the outdoor is shown with more mixed or even chaotic shots. The suburban scene outside interrupts the color and compositional aesthetics of the interior through "inconsistency", as well as the scenes of life details such as Henri "smearing bread" after he was fired - what Rancière called showing "the children of the proletariat rather than the dress." "Proletarian Students"—interrupting the idealized group apartment, etc. These alienation effects lead us to Henri's talk of letting babies spontaneously form language near the sheepfold and eventually a sheep-like language , a story about the stratosphere.

3. The décalage of sound and painting, text and image: Rancière distinguishes between "metaphor" and "comparison" in "The Red of the Chinese Girl": between words and images, there is often a kind of The natural connection, which explains each other, "forms a perfect metaphor, showing to the senses a world of order and stability"; while "comparing" can be regarded as a kind of parody, which reduces and presents words "literally" as pictures Like, breaking the connection between words and images that is too natural - so natural that "images" have become something that appears in our minds without actually appearing in reality when the words are mentioned, so " Cut the cycle of mutual explanation", the mythical metaphor, which was accepted without thinking, has since distanced itself from us, and has become unnatural and even comical. A paper tiger in the literal sense, literally shooting arrows (darts) at "class enemies" (a portrait of the writer), literally "arming yourself" with Mao thought (red book as a barrier, listening to Radio Pékin's radio as a gun) - As in the words on the wall of the apartment « Il faut confronter les idées vagues avec des images claires » (must confront vague thoughts with clear images). This text-image inconsistency led to another inconsistency of the group, which was that they took the memorized quotations as the foundation and absolute truth of their arguments, while at the same time performing a parody with Guillaume, a drama student and a Brecht believer .

Whether Godard is really doing revolutionary propaganda as seriously as the five-member group or is joking is unknown and it doesn't matter. Because with all these décalages and their alienating effects, la propagande is logically impossible, unless we don't see any of these décalages in the film. As far as Godard's use of Brecht's theatrical theory in film is concerned, it should be said that these décalages are a continuation of Brecht's ideas beyond those more or less rigid conventional alienation techniques.

Finally, returning to the meta-discussion of décalage, Guillaume, who explores "Year Zero" at the end of the film, tells and performs such a marcher with a bandaged face at the beginning. When he takes off the bandage, what people see is not what they expected. The bloody face was an intact face, nothing had happened, nothing was hidden behind the bandages. This is a form of décalage, and décalage as a method also responds to panelist Kirilov's discussion of art: art is not a representation of reality but a representation of reality, it is rendre visible, it is what makes representation possible.

References: Jacques Rancière, La fable cinématographique

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Extended Reading

La Chinoise quotes

  • Guillaume: I would like to be blind.

    Veronique: Why?

    Guillaume: To talk to each other better. We would listen seriously.

    Veronique: Ah yes. How come?

    Guillaume: By delivering language differently. Listen, language has changed its meanings in two thousand years.

    Veronique: So?

    Guillaume: So we would talk seriously. Finally, these real meanings would change words.

    Veronique: Ah yes, we would talk as if words were sounds and matter.

    Guillaume: That's... what they... are. Veronique.

    Veronique: Right. Let's start then.

    Guillaume: By the river.

    Veronique: Green and blue.

    Guillaume: Tenderness.

    Veronique: A bit of despair.

    Guillaume: The day after tomorrow.

    Veronique: Maybe.

    Guillaume: Literary theory.

    Veronique: A film by Nicholas... Ray.

    Guillaume: The... Moscow... trials.

    Veronique: Red... breast.

    Guillaume: Rock... and roll.

    Veronique: And so on.

    Guillaume: And so on?

    Veronique: And so on.

    Guillaume: I love you, you know.

  • Kirilov: 'Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.'

    Veronique: Yes, as imaginary aesthetics.

    Kirilov: Yes, but this imaginary does not reflect reality. It is the reality of surreflexion. One can hear statements like 'use only the three colours, the three primary colours, blue, yellow and red, which are perfectly pure and thus perfectly balanced' on the pretext that all other colours can be found in them.