Saturday, June 28, 2014

Still “escaping the rules”: Godard interviewed

We are lucky to live in a time when a small handful of cinema giants are still living and making films. One of the greatest (and crankiest) of all is Jean-Luc Godard, aka “Uncle Jean,” one of the premiere cine-poets and image-makers. He doesn't speak to the press very often these days, and when he does it is often in the context of the release of a new film.

Given that he didn't attend this recent Cannes festival (but sent them a short film saying that he would not be attending), each new interview becomes a small “event” unto itself. Subtitled interviews are even more of a rarity, so I am delighted to pass on this 45-minute talk Godard had with interviewers for Canon Europe.

The chat was shot in March of this year and is tied into JLG's latest feature, Adieu au langage. A big portion of it naturally turns to the 3-D process, since this is Godard's first feature in 3-D and his second film in it (he contributed a short segment to the anthology feature 3x3D). The best (and most characteristic) thing is that he begins by making fun of 3-D, but then gradually begins to explain why he used it – because there are no rules for its use and so he was free to do what he wanted.

Godard's manner of speaking is very circuitous, and yet he does give direct answers (if you're paying attention, the answer arrives eventually). He favors a lot of wordplay, and so here he winds up dissecting the current-day fascination with phrases that contain the word “high.” (Like George Carlin, Uncle Jean has loved for most of his career to dissect popular language.) He also provides all of the synonyms in different languages for an “answer print” (which has locked the image with the sound), citing the British “married print” as the most interesting.

He reiterates the fact that he films without complete scripts – or, in this case, any script at all. His goal, he notes, is to “escape the rules” when embarking upon a new project, so quite naturally he gravitated towards experimenting with 3-D. Godard speaks conceptually, so when watching/listening to/reading one of his interviews, one must regard his responses as part of a bigger argument (see more on his contrarianism below). Part one of the interview is here.

In part two of the interview he mocks the notion that younger directors often come to filmmaking with dreams of making a big-budget blockbuster. He also notes that his personal friends are not in the arts, and that he hasn't had a circle of artist friends in quite some time.

Perhaps the most revealing set of answers he gives relates to his wanting to come up with “the oppsite of what someone says.” He has spent a career confounding critical and popular expectations, and he clearly enjoys looking at things from other angles, both in art and in life (and he notes this is something he inherited from his father, whom he “barely knew”).

Watching this interview, I was at first taken aback because M. Godard seems frailer than usual (he is now 83 years old, of course), but that he gradually becomes comfortable being interviewed. Since he has been notoriously hard on interviewers I can only mark this up to the fact that he's being interviewed by a woman. 

Godard stated that he based the character of Parvulesco (played by Jean-Pierre Melville in Breathless) on Nabokov, but it's clear that some of the character's responses (especially his delight in having a female interrogator) is partially Uncle Jean's own impulse.

Thanks to Zach C., for leading me to this interview.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Poetry, music, magic: Deceased Artiste Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis with Gil Scott-Heron

Since this is not an obituary blog (all appearances to the contrary), I have regretted not getting the chance to write about some Deceased Artistes in the last few months, but I do hope to be able to pay tribute to them at some point. With the death of Ruby Dee this week, however, I did find some wonderful clips “hidden in plain sight” that I want to share.

Ms. Dee's accomplishments were incredible (and are outlined on the site): 70 years as a professional performer, a lifetime working for social justice, and the inspirational partnership with her late husband Ossie Davis (the two were together for nearly sixty years, until Ossie's death in 2005). She continued to work steadily until her death at 91 and was the recipient of many awards. (Need I add that her only Oscar nod was a nomination for playing Denzel's mother in the mob movie American Gangster? The Oscars are dismal.)

Her movie roles are easily found, her work onstage fondly remembered and positively reviewed, but it's her work on TV that concerns me here, in particular a two-season show she and Ossie had on PBS called With Ossie and Ruby ('80-'82). The show consisted of the couple performing, interviewing celebrities and friends, and sitting back and watching fellow performers take over. A commercial for the show (with a great guest list) is here

One poster has shared some moments from the show, and another has given us a terrific full episode. First off, a spoken word piece called “Men Who Have Loved Me” by Ms. Dee – she wasn't a singer, but could do wonders with a poem or monologue (here with Billy Taylor on piano and Max Roach on drums):

In full flourish here, performing a poem with Ossie by Carolyn M. Rodgers called “When the Revolution Came.” A great example of their talent, finding the passion – and evident good-natured humor – in the piece.

The piece de resistance – when I found this show up in its entirety, I knew I had to share it immediately. Gil Scott-Heron, whom I paid tribute to here, was the sole guest on an episode of With Ossie and Ruby, and the entire show is an unmitigated joy. Gil performs with his great jazz ensemble the Midnight Band, Ossie and Ruby interview him, and best of all, they recite his poetry and lyrics, and at times they recite them along with Gil, which is beyond amazing.

In part one of the show, Gil sings “Hello Sunday, Hello Road,” Ossie and Ruby recite one of his poems, he recites the beautifully eloquent “Jose Campos Torres,” and Ruby and Ossie recite his terrific song “Winter in America.” The beauty of the final line of the chorus is driven home by the Davises – “Ain't nobody fightin'/because nobody knows what to save....”

Part two concludes “Winter in America.” Ruby and Ossie do a gorgeous version of Gil's “Billy Green Is Dead.” Seeing Gil's beaming smile as he watches Ossie recite “The Train From Washington” (at 4:05) is worth the whole ride. Seeing him respect the Davises' talent and them clearly respecting his musical and poetic ability is a fucking delight.

And because the show hasn't been great enough so far, this part closes out with Gil and Ossie and Ruby reciting “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (with an updated reference to “George 'Papa Doc' Bush” – remember Reagan was president when this aired). That is followed by “Gun,” an always timeless song about how much Americans love their guns ("When other folks give up theirs, I'll give up mine"):

The third and last part of the show has Gil finishing up “Gun,” Ruby and Ossie and Gil reciting “Morning Thoughts” (with a beautiful musical backing), and Gil doing his reggae number, “Storm Music.”

It's kind of amazing to think that performances of this caliber used to be on PBS on a semi-regular basis. Now they have to be sought out online, but it's great to know that they were recorded and are instantly available (for as long as those who hold the publishing rights allow them to be). As I noted in my Deceased Artiste tribute to Pete Seeger in regard to his mid-Sixties UHF show “Rainbow Quest,” if only TV were always like this....

Although I wanted the GHS appearance on the With Ossie and Ruby TV show to be the main focus of this blog entry, I would be remiss if I didn't close out with this bit of video of the Davises in their 1995 theater production “Two Hah Hahs and a Homeboy.”

Ruby tells Ossie what he should think and say “When I'm Gone.” His final response is very touching, especially in light of the fact that Ossie left us in 2005 and Ruby did keep going for another nine years without him. Her obituaries said her ashes are to be mixed with his, with a nice dedication (“in this thing together”) on the urn.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Some notes on the Marcel Hanoun festival at Anthology Film Archives

One of the nicest things about the admittedly small film repertory scene in NYC (four theaters, two museums) is the fact that various retrospectives are held celebrating filmmakers whose work would never be seen otherwise in the U.S. These festivals become a little unwieldy for the attendee, since he/she has to rearrange their life for a few days or weeks to take most of it in. The result, though, is in most cases an overwhelming “ride” into the imagination of an artist whose work has basically been hidden from American viewers.

I've attended a few of these retros over the past few years and have noticed that, after a time, the memories of these events start to blur at the edges. I recently did two episodes of the Funhouse TV show about the 2013 Howard Hawks retro at the Museum of the Moving Image, but for the most part I haven't written about the retros or presented episodes about them on the show, since I am only able to comment on them *after* having sat through the films, and there are usually other things on the menu for the show and blog.

Thus I missed out on documenting on festivals that I became addicted to, including the amazing comprehensive Werner Schroeter retro at MOMA a few years back, as well as several terrific festivals of European directors' work at Anthology Film Archives (including Jean-Daniel Pollet, Carmelo Bene, Ulrike Ottinger, the “Zanzibar group,” and the actor Pierre Clementi).

While immersing myself in the latest festival, a retro of the work of French filmmaker Marcel Hanoun at Anthology, I thought it would make sense for me to “document” my opinions about the films I've seen. Yes, these are highly personal capsule reviews of films that are indeed pretty damned hard to see (written by memory shortly after seeing the films — thus, the aspects of plot mentioned here are 80% certain, rather than 100%). But I post them here to simply record a viewer's opinions, and also to “situate” the filmmaker in question.

I've found that the European filmmakers who are commemorated in these kinds of near-comprehensive retros tend to blend in the memory, so if I can help any reader (or myself, in later years, rereading this...) by offering my gut-level reactions to the work of Marcel Hanoun here, it's worth it.

A SIMPLE STORY (1959). (Viewed on DVD-r.) Hanoun's “greatest hit” is indeed one of his best films, if I can judge by the several I've seen in this “binge” viewing of the retro (yes, I'm always fascinated by the folks who argue that current drama series can be easily binged-on because they are “like good cinema”; maybe it's possible just to skip the “like” part there?). It's a very simply-shot fiction feature about a mother and daughter from Lille wandering around Paris trying to find a place to stay and a job for the mother.

It is a film that conjures emotion in the viewer through its storyline and imagery – Hanoun clearly decided to lose the former in his later works in favor of the latter. There's a documentary-like style to the proceedings, but we are taken out of the “real” world by Hanoun's use of a Bressonian technique, “doubling” the action through narration (read: hearing about what we're watching).

So Hanoun has the mother character narrate the film and tell us what she and others said, while enough of the ambient soundtrack exists so we can hear them saying basically the same thing – in some instances they say slightly different things, which one assumes is important for story reasons (why is the mother not repeating it verbatim – is her memory of the event dim, or does she want to alter the story somehow?).

The film's virtue, and one that Hanoun held to for quite some time, is that it runs just around an hour. Thus it draws the viewer in with its emotional storyline and good performances, while also not belaboring its concept.

OCTOBER IN MADRID (1964). This was seen right after I had left work on a Friday night. The film is a non-linear “account” of a director who can't make the film he envisioned. The Spanish locations are picturesque, and the film's b&w cinematography (plus the fact that this was the one blotchy, unrestored print I saw in this festival) made me pass right into the arms of Morpheus. Not qualified to review it, was out cold for more than half of it.

THE AUTHENTIC TRIAL OF CARL EMMANUEL JUNG (1967). Fortified with caffeine, this title had the opposite effect on me. I stayed awake because Hanoun used a grating technique to illustrate his message. The concept is simple: a fictitious German officer who decided which inmates would live and which would die in a Nazi prison camp in the early Thirties is put on trial in France in the Sixties.

The piece is shot like a filmed play, except that Hanoun “un-synched” his sound because, as the opening narration tells us, this trial would be one held in France to convict a German-speaking man. Thus we watch an hour-long film loaded with portentous dialogue which was post-dubbed so it would intentionally not match the movement of the actors' mouths.

I have indeed seen many dubbed films, but the technique used here is the kind that wears one down after 10-15 minutes. Hanoun also decided to not show a verdict for his fictional Nazi, so while the film does work as a taut trial drama (with the un-synched gimmick detracting from the proceedings, in my opinion), one can't help but think of the other dramas that have gone over the same ground but depicted real-life Nazis on trial. (The Man in the Glass Booth stands as the most fascinating attempt to vary the situation with a fictional narrative.)

The main character is named after the famous psychologist presumably because Jung was initially pro-Nazi; the character here is a different individual whom Hanoun made up. The use of the word “authentic” in the title is without question the most intriguing thing about the picture.

SUMMER (1968). Hanoun's “May '68” film is a super-minimalist affair in which an Italian woman stays at a friend's house in the countryside after having been witness to the havoc in Paris. She writes to a German friend (whom we see/hear reading the letters) and thinks of her ex-boyfriend (whom we see in flashbacks and photos – he is named “Jean-Luc.” A reference to Godard?).

Thus one's reaction to the film depends on one's feelings about watching a pretty Italian woman alone in a house, walking in a field, doing cartwheels in a bikini, walking some more, pondering her relationship, and looking at herself in photos taken on the streets of Paris where she is posed against political graffiti.
One thing becomes clear seeing a number of Hanoun's films: the gent loved classical music and thought of rock as some alien business that had to be depicted in menacing or downright silly terms. Here our protagonist briefly enters a storefront rock club (where the insert from We're Only In It for the Money hangs on the wall, along with the pop poster of Allen Ginsberg wearing an Uncle Sam hat), supplying one of the few “youth culture” moments in a film that betrays no feeling for or against the events of May '68.

WINTER (1970). A beautifully shot color variant on OCTOBER IN MADRID set in Brussels. This time the great Michael Lonsdale is the filmmaker who can't get his film made. We watch he and his collaborator talk about what they'd like to do, see ravishing locations in Bruges, and witness the relationship between he and his wife unravel. The result is eye-catching, but sleep-inducing.

SPRING (1970). The film that made attending the festival worthwhile. A terrific minimalist film, crammed with narrative incident and characters one could actually get a handle on. Two plotlines are cut together: a fugitive from the police (Michael Lonsdale), whom we later learn murdered his wife, takes refuge in various parts of the countryside, while a young girl (Veronique Andries) who lives with her stern grandmother (who kills and skins a rabbit in real time on-camera) matures through the absorption of creepy fairy tales, experiments with cursing and smoking, and the arrival of her first period.

All of Hanoun's visual devices are at play here – flipping from b&w to color and back; making the camera into a presence in a room (it serves as a mirror for the characters, or a window, or... you get the idea); his obsession with the beauty of the countryside and its inherent menace. The dialogue appears primarily in the scenes featuring the little girl; Lonsdale has one, possibly two scenes with dialogue.

The element that makes the film so compelling is not only the notion of suspense in the Lonsdale plot, but the fact that the girl lives in a world that is picturesque yet disturbing and somehow alien (in the sequence where she practices smoking and cursing, she puts on a little clay eye-mask when doing so in front of a mirror).

There is one difference between this and the other Hanoun films I've seen: the script is credited to Hanoun and Catherine Binet (who is fourth-billed in the film as an actress; I believe she plays the girl's teacher, who imparts creepy fairy tales to her students). Binet was a scripter and editor who was the partner of novelist/filmmaker George Perec (Life: a User's Manual) and appeared as herself in the documentary “Les Vamps Fantastiques” (!). Binet's contribution clearly made SPRING a very different film from Hanoun's others. The result is a compelling and involving work that still adheres to Hanoun's minimalist approach.

AUTUMN (1972). Hanoun made this film alone, and we're back in concept-land. The actors, playing two filmmakers (a director, played by Lonsdale again, and his editor, played by an actress known simply as “Tamia”), stare into the camera because we, the audience, are the film they are watching on an editing machine. For some reason, though, these filmmakers are watching a film that seems to be pretty much finished, since they stare at us for long (lonnnng) periods of time.

What Hanoun does to reinforce his concept is to turn off the visuals (a blank screen) whenever Lonsdale or Tamia turn off the editing machine. (At that point we listen to phone calls.) When they are not editing, but the machine is on, Hanoun plays with overdubs on the soundtrack, gives us all-too-brief glimpses of the characters' fantasies, and quick-cut sequences of the couple talking.

There is a random quality to what happens throughout – a factor that often is transformed into visual poetry in the works of Godard, but in Hanoun seems to indicate that he took what had happened to him before the film shoot and would try to shoehorn it into the production. Here Lonsdale talks about shooting home movies, and we then see what are clearly Hanoun's own movies of a family outing. At the film's end we see footage of autumn in the woods, first in real time, then as fast-forwarded through by an editing machine – then the "countershot," the editing machine itself. The filmmakers are evidently done with their project.

All in all, the film isn't the ordeal that it could have been, but pretension appears throughout, primarily in speeches Lonsdale gives his editor, dispensing what we can only imagine are nuggets of Hanoun's own wisdom (a major one being that “cinema is the art of subtraction”). Perhaps the most noteworthy thing here is that Lonsdale's character declares that his fave filmmakers are Bergman, Bresson, Dreyer, Visconti, and one he claims not too many people know, Chris Marker.

Considering where the film was being shown, it was noteworthy to see an Anthology Film Archives schedule hanging on the wall behind the two actors throughout the film.

THE GAZE (1977). Anthology's description of this film wisely mentioned to potential viewers that it's a film about sex that is not pornography or erotica. This is true. The actors have real sexual intercourse on-camera, but here is the “plot,” such as it is: a woman in bed with her lover in a hotel in Belgium leaves the room to visit a local museum to see a collection of paintings by Bruegel. A second woman, with fuzzy hair that matches the man's curly mane, comes into the hotel room and the two fuck for the rest of the picture, while the woman at the museum stares at us (the audience in this case standing in for the Bruegel painting she is obsessed with). We study details of the painting, as well as the lovers' bodies as they have sex. 

The sex is indeed depicted in an unsexy fashion (and a lot of their anatomy winds up being hidden beneath their partner's hair); Hanoun does add short images of the man's erect penis, presumably to show that the couple is indeed doing it for real. The study of the painting — and the truly oddball images where the woman staring at it is joined by others who slither up and down into and out of frame behind her —is far more interesting. The film's one bravura moment only lasts a few seconds: the figure of Icarus in the Bruegel painting "comes to life" via animation, and we see his legs kick in the water.

There are times during THE GAZE that one could easily take the film for a parody of an “art film.” This I believe comes from the fact that Hanoun didn't like to display a sense of humor. There is a playfulness about Godard and Marker's work, a wildly dark humor in Fassbinder's, even glimmers of humor in the "transcendent trio," Dreyer, Ozu, and Bresson.

Hanoun took his work very seriously, and thus when the fuzzy-haired girl here is suddenly seen wearing wings while fucking (relating to the Bruegel painting, which depicts Icarus) or a black man suddenly appears in place of our hero (thus paralleling the constant play between b&w and color), we want to laugh but Hanoun doesn't want us to (which of course makes us want to even more).

LA NUIT CLAIRE (1979). (Viewed on DVD-r.) Offering the other side of the unsexy sex that appeared onscreen in Gaze, this film is more concerned with love and passion. It tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, plus another mythological couple, and a modern-day equivalent. The style is very much that of (natch) Cocteau and the avant-garde filmmakers of the ‘20s and ‘30s.

There are surprises in store, though, as the film begins with much walking in barren landscapes (a visual trope in Sixties/Seventies experimental cinema), but the last third truly is a mind-bender. After Orpheus screws up and loses Eurydice forever, the women warriors known as the Maenads kill and eat him and another man (I assume the other man is the male member of the modern-day couple; then again, I have given up on truly getting a handle on the characters in Hanoun’s work).

At this point the film becomes a savage weird outing along the lines of Sweet Movie or Pollet’s Le Sang (another French rarity seen only at the Anthology). The women feast on the two men at a giant banquet table (aided by a hungry cat). The actresses savor the meat and viscera for several minutes, until the leader of the group takes Orpheus’ head and ventures into the water with it, swinging it around wildly.

Definitely a departure from all of the other work in the festival, the film is the strangest damned thing I saw in my hours of Hanoun-watching. He counterpoints his mythological material with the rehearsal of an opera about Orpheus, thus the reversion to gore, viscera, and painted warrior-women comes as a major surprise.

CELLO (2012). Hanoun’s last feature, made when he was not in good health, is a digital-video project that finds him and two actresses reading a text he had written. Their voices are overlaid at points, and we see them working with the camera crew on the shoot. For their part, the crew isn’t i.d.’ed on credits, but instead introduce themselves on-camera in this manner: “sound engineer on ‘Marcel asked me.’ ” (Evidently the crew liked working with M. Hanoun.)

The title Cello turns out to be a nickname Hanoun was given as a young man, a diminutive for Marcel. To further tie the phrase into the feature, he shows a woman playing a classical instrument but admits it’s a viola de gamba, not a cello.

The effect of this film is elegiac, as could be expected from an 83-year-old man making his final project. As I noted recently on the Funhouse TV show when giving the “U.S. TV debut” to scenes from Fellini’s Voce Della Luna, artists’ last works may not be their best (in some cases, very far from it), but they do contain much insight into the person’s view of life and the creative process, as well as offering much in the way of genuine emotion.

Here Hanoun uses his favorite techniques: nature shots punctuate some of the very long passages of the actors reading, and the performers do acknowledge the camera, but in this case we are given the “countershot” throughout and see the small video crew of young people “asked by Marcel” at work.

CODA (posted 6/6/14):
After I did my Anthology blitz, I searched the Internet (you know, this thing that everyone is so gaga about) to see how Hanoun was represented on here. It turns out that he authorized people to post many of his films on two sites, YouTube and Vimeo, and that there are also helpful articles on him in French and a very well-written one in English.

I was most interested in seeing his "Jesus film," a 1977 feature called La verite sur l'imaginaire passion d'un inconnu, one of his few vintage features shot on film that was not included in the Anthology retro. The film is indeed on Vimeo, albeit with no English subtitles. The picture was indeed another surprise, as it is seemingly, despite its "blasphemous" union of modern elements with the Christ saga, a solemn, almost reverent retelling of the tale.

In Autumn, Lonsdale singles out Pasolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew for praise as a very special, beautiful film. Hanoun followed along similar lines in inconnu, although he did include an element not tried by any noted filmmaker (that I'm aware of): casting a woman (actress Anne Wiazemsky, in all of her pouting beauty) as Christ. In fact, she alternates the role with an actor (Michel Morat, right), so that there are two Christs in the film.

Here, a woman finds Christ on a crucifix by the side of the road and we backtrack to see his life, from John the Baptist on. Hanoun described the plot this way: "At dawn one morning on a wooden cross, a girl, stupid or visionary, discovers a dead crucified man at the entrance of a small village in the South of France. We are in 1977. Is it possible to listen to Jesus' Word and hear It in 1977? What possible options are there for the Suffering Man who uses the Word as a weapon?"

Hanoun switches between his he-Christ and she-Christ, having them alternate lines and at points speak with each other's voices. At one particularly odd point, Morat is shown looking "at" Wiazemsky. As noted throughout this piece, Hanoun eschewed the shot/countershot method of depicting a conversation in favor of both characters speaking directly to the camera.

The one truly odd element (unless I missed a stray French line, most of the dialogue seems to be "dialogue" taken directly from the gospel of St. John) is that Lonsdale plays Pontius Pilate as a TV newsman, seen in a darkened TV studio. Later on, he interacts with both Christs, each in their turn. The entire film can be seen on Vimeo (without English subs, thus the importance of the Anthology retro!).

Hanoun definitely did want his work, especially his later features and videos, available for free on the Net (except the "season quartet," which is supposed to appear on DVD). He had not one but three official sites:,, and

Hanoun's official YT account is here. And here is a very clear print of A Simple Story. All of the embeds below are unfortunately unsubtitled.

His one mainstream production, The Eighth Day, with Emmanuelle Riva:

The Authentic Trial of Carl Emmanuel Jung:  

The Vimeo account containing his work is far more inclusive (probably because YouTube is run by Americans, and thus has a moronic attitude toward nudity). Here one gets a clear look at the later work that wasn't included in the Anthology festival (and, again, will most likely remain unsubtitled for a long time to come). That account can be found here.

Although I didn't wind up becoming as obsessed with Hanoun's work as I did with Moullet, Pollet, Clementi, and Schroeter, I'm very glad I took the time to attend Anthology's Hanoun retro. The AFA programmers again excelled at finding rare films and presenting them to the NYC viewing audience (which was, naturally enough, quite small, except for THE GAZE). The projectionists and the young man who did a particularly fine job of keeping the "soft-titling" in synch with the films deserve special commendation (the titles were in synch even when the print of OCTOBER IN MADRID tore at two different points).

"Soft-titling" is a process whereby we watch a pristine print of the film ("sans titres"), and the English subs are put below the screen on an added piece of cloth (or polyvinyl, or whatever film screens are made of). The titles are on a computer program that is "paged through" by a person in the theater or projection booth who moves them ahead via a laptop. It's an invaluable and important process that I have only seen at the Anthology and at Film Forum for the "Tutto Fellini" fest back in the early Nineties.

The former main film curator of the Museum of Modern Art once told me in correspondence that MOMA will never use soft-titling because the audience members (many of whom, remember, just wander in from an exhibition in the museum and don't know what they're watching) "don't like it." I had mentioned the process because MOMA was showing several films in different festivals at that time without English subtitles, including one Bunuel film that had played with soft-titling at AFA a few months before.

Thus, it is all the more important that Anthology (whose budget is much, much, much smaller than MOMA) does use the technique to subtitle extremely rare foreign films that will probably never, ever be subtitled on the Net (even in the veritable fount of amazing material that is "the Torrents") or on DVD.
But back to Hanoun: The surprises in the retro, and the two superb films, were worth the moments where his techniques seemed gratingly transparent, or where mine eyes just decided to shut down for a while. Simple Story and Spring are indeed terrific, and his work is worth a look for all fans of French and avant-garde cinema.