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sabato 30 luglio 2016

Acéra ou le bal des sorcières by Jean Painlevé & Geneviève Hamon F 1972

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. [ChristieBooks] 


 " 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)

Jean 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.

Painlevé's 1972 documentary on the erotic life of hermaphrodite mollusks, closely echoes Georges Bataille's views, amongst others his concept of the 'formless'.

"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.

Visually, 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 Jazz.

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").

Jean Painleve Acer o le bal des sorcieres 1972 - YouTube
08 feb 2015 - Caricato da Sergiejus Stolichnaya
En la costa de Bretaña observamos a unos pequeños moluscos en su mágico ciclo de la vida. Along the coast of ...

Film : 35 mm, couleur/sonore, 13'
Date : 1972
Auteur : Jean Painlevé & Geneviève Hamon
Musique : Pierre Jansen
Direction d'orchestre : André Girard
Voix off : Jean Painlevé 

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