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From My Cinema, which was published by Another Gaze Editions in January. Translated from the French by Daniella Shreir.

No longer any use in the make-believe of socialist hope. In the make-believe of capitalist hope. No longer any use in the make-believe of future justice, be it social or fiscal or any other kind of justice. The make-believe of work. Of merit. Of women. Of the youth. Of the Portuguese. Of the Malians. Of intellectuals. Of the Senegalese. No longer any use in the make-believe of fear. Of dictatorship over the proletariat. Of freedom. Of your nightmares. Of love. No longer any use.

No longer any use in the make-believe of cinema. We must make cinema from this knowledge: from there no longer being any use in make-believe. Let cinema go to its ruin, that is the only cinema. Let the world go to its ruin, that is the only politics.

Cinema stops the written in its tracks and deals a death blow to its descendent: the imaginary. This is its virtue: to switch off, to put a stop to make-believe. This stopping, this switching off, is called “the film.” Good or bad, sublime or atrocious, the film represents this definitive arrest: the fixing of representation, once and for all. Forever.

Cinema knows that it can never replace the written text. It nevertheless sets out to replace it. Cinema knows that the written text alone is the unremitting bearer of images. But it can no longer return to the text. It doesn’t know how to return. It no longer knows the path of the forest, it no longer knows how to return to the unlimited potential of the text, to its inexhaustible proliferation of images.

Cinema is horrified: it fights, it struggles, it wears itself out trying to find other paths than the verbal to respond to the growing intelligence of its spectator; to remain capable of fixating and devouring him in its theater halls, to make sure that he will return time and again to consume its product. Its horror is palpable. Cinema can already glimpse the desert of cinema in the distance. Opulent, a millionaire, cinema tries, with financial means that rival those of the petroleum industry and election campaigns, to recapture its spectators.

Films bask either in beauty or in crime, in blood, massacres, blissful idealism, the exoticization of the proletariat, Proust, Balzac, financial scandals, the patience of populations, the flourishing of hunger. In vain. Cinema is no longer able to respond to its spectators’ increasing thirst for knowledge. What cinema does not know is that what happens outside of cinema is tied to what happens inside cinema. That, despite its millionaire status, cinema cannot make up for the knowledge that the spectator possesses of how it is fabricated. That, from now on, the spectacular imbalance of cinema’s means deals a death blow to the product that comes out of it. That the fabrication of the film is the film.

Refusal becomes whole, total. More and more spectators refuse to step foot inside a cinema. They already know that the product they will be offered is akin to its million francs, that it is a half-breed, polluted by the very conditions of its making. This refusal knows that it is refusal, that it has freed itself from the asphyxia of political directives on all sides. It is liberated. The spectator no longer bothers to vandalize the glass doors of the cinema. He simply passes by. He stays on the pavement instead of stepping inside. That is all.

The sickly masses, afflicted with calm, with a stable metabolism, will still enter the cinema, but, from now on, they will be the only ones. This mass will endure the film: endless, echoless. A stone lying at the bottom of a well. Many already left the cinema behind a long time ago. That is why we make cinema.

I don’t know where I am going with my film Le camion. She, our principal, the woman of the lorry, doesn’t know where she’s going either. And we are both at peace with our lack of knowledge. I didn’t know who this woman was. I knew nothing about her. Except for this: I knew that, at the turn of a road (I saw this road in the Manche region, near La Hague), there was a woman. She had been waiting there for several weeks. The woman was crying out for the film so that she could come into existence.

Before the film, all I could see of her was her anticipation. I turn toward her. But the woman is turned to face the outside. She is ignorant of the love that she is capable of inspiring. The woman, her gaze: turned to face the outside, looking outward. Me: turned toward her, looking at her. Both facing toward the outside, colliding in this way. It is through her that I am able to see. Through her that I take hold of the outside and devour it whole. I love her. She doesn’t even know I exist. She is still turned to face the outside. I look elsewhere. I look at what she is looking at: it becomes more and more clear. I still can’t see what she looks like, I still can’t make out her face. By the time the film ends, I still have never seen her face. But what she was looking at has captivated me completely: the film.

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August 1986

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