Acéra ou le bal des sorcières
With his credo "science is fiction," anarchist Painlevé scandalized the
scientific and cinematographic world with a cinema designed to entertain
as well as edify, portraying creatures asendowed with human traits.
" De nombreux mollusques sont hermaphrodites fonctionnels réciproques
simultanés. Chez les acéras, hermaphrodites où la copulation a lieu en
chaîne, l'animal de tête jouera le rôle de femelle, celui qui termine le
rôle de mâle, les intermédiaires joueront un double rôle, femelle avec
le suivant, mâle avec le précédent. Les acéras vivent et se nourrissent
dans la vase et les algues. Lorsque les danses ont lieu, elles gagnent
de proche en proche les animaux libres qui développent les lobes
latéraux comme des capes... "
- Jean Painlevé
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Jean Painlevé - Acera ou le bal des sorcières (1972)
Painlevé (1902-1989) was a French filmmaker and photographer whose
photographs of crustaceans were published by Georges Bataille in the
surrealist magazine 'Documents' - the magazine that inspired this blog.
1972 documentary on the erotic life of hermaphrodite mollusks, closely
echoes Georges Bataille's views, amongst others his concept of the
"A dictionary would begin as of the moment when it no
longer provided the meanings of words but their tasks. In this way
formless is not only an adjective having such and such a meaning, but a
term serving to declassify, requiring in general that every thing should
have a form. What it designates does not, in any sense whatever,
possess rights, and everywhere gets crushed like a spider or an
earthworm. For academics to be satisfied, it would be necessary, in
effect, for the universe to take on a form. The whole of philosophy has
no other aim; it is a question of fitting what exists into a frock-coat,
a mathematical frock-coat. To affirm on the contrary that the universe
resembles nothing at all and is only formless, amounts to saying that
the universe is something akin to a spider or a gob of spittle." Georges
Bataille: "Informe." Documents 7 (December 1929), p. 382.
the mollusks - what revolting, slimy creatures they are, resembling
ugly sexual organs - seem to fall somewhere between a spider and a gob
of spittle. Painlevé consistently stresses the hermaphroditic nature of
the mollusks; and that hermaphrodite nature is not a class in itself but
serves to declassify their sexuality. Furthermore, Painlevé underlines
the synesthetic sensorium of the mollusks, which merges touch, taste and
smell into a declassified experience.
Similarly, Pierre Jansen's
excellent soundtrack seems to emanate from some avant-garde Twilight
Zone, simultaneously declassifying modern classical composition and Free
The communal mating (mollusk threesomes and fivesomes) are
portrayed as orgies, blind fusions of of declassified mollusk bodies
"... which oppose no further resistance to the frenzied proliferation of
life" (sourced here).
Even the title of the documentary
(translated: "Acera or the dance of the witches") points towards
Michelet's book on witches and witchcraft, "La Sorcière", and thus
towards an essay Bataille wrote about Michelet's book in his "La
littérature et le mal" ("Literature and evil").
08 feb 2015 - Caricato da Sergiejus StolichnayaEn la costa de Bretaña observamos a unos pequeños moluscos en su mágico ciclo de la vida. Along the coast of ...