Paris, 27th of march 2016
Subject : DO NOT X-RAY
Hi Pip !
This letter was supposed to be on super 8 but as always I waited till the last minute and now the opportunity is gone, so I’ll keep the little film I started to myself. But if I had had the chance to shoot all the way through the super 8 reel that lays unfinished in the Nizo, this is what you would have seen :
A window from where light comes through and creates the shadow of itself on the white and grey wall at different times of day. 16mm film strips hanging from the entrance, as well as from the bathroom door. Books, books, so many books ! Tomislav Gotovac, Film Culture, Underground Film, Avant-Garde Film, Anthologie du cinéma invisible, just to name a few. Processed film reels, unprocessed film reels, personal archives that mingle with what seems to be b-movies or world-renowned epics. Freedive and Rue de la perle are placed near Shadow of the werewolf and not so far away from the imposing coffret which seems to take so much space on the shelf of 2001 a Space Odyssey. And then, just in front from where you enter, there is this big map of Paris. When I arrived it felt as if the whole city was encapsuled in this tiny apartment and was at the tips of my eyes, all for me to devour. It made me think of the Paris map in Boy meets girl by Carax, where Alex writes his love affairs as well as his murders, as if it was just the same thing. This reminds me of what you had once told me, that in the beginning, you filmed people through glasses and windows, up until the point you realized that the camera lens was already a glass, a filter of its own.
I guess that’s why I’m writing to you today, because I’ve always had the same feeling about films, bringing me closer to a face or a place and keeping it forever still in the time-frame of a celluloid film. From imaginary friends or imaginary lovers to real ones, streets and places crossed, glimpses of people’s lives and of different worlds. Spending time in your apartment reminded me of why I ever wanted to film in the first place. It could be just for fun. Films made with nothing, films no one would ever see, filming as an absurd gesture or as an extremely well planned one! Films made for a crowd or for one person’s eyes only.
Paul Celan once said that a poem is like a handshake. What if a film could be just the same ?
Through you I discovered all of these amazing filmmakers you show or talk about and sometimes even publish. One of them is sitting in front of me, staring straight ahead. It took me a few days to be sure of who he was, but Stan Brakhage has been keeping me company ever since and I wish he said something from time to time instead of keeping so quiet. In the super 8 reel, his face would have been there, suddenly, amongst the books. A love letter inside a love letter.
Well, this is already way too long. Thank you Pip for keeping film alive! Thank you for keeping the desire alive! Thank you for making it feel so easy and free and joyful! Thank you for making it part of our lives, as obvious as breathing or having coffee or waiving hello!
I love you!