Jacques Rancière | The Red of ‘La Chinoise’: Godard’s Politics

  How should we understand the politics Godard puts into play with his cinematographic practice in La Chinoise? The opinions on the matter have more or less followed the fluxes and refluxes of the left. Accused when first released of being just a caricature, and not a serious representation, of real militant Maoists, the film was later praised as a brilliant anticipation of the events of May 1968, and as a lucid look both at the passing infatuation with Maoism by bourgeois youngsters and at the outcomes of that infatuation: the return to order and terrorism. The question of whether…

Jacques Rancière | Documentary Fiction: Chris Marker and the Fiction of Memory

The Last Bolshevik is the title of the film Chris Marker dedicates to the memory of Alexander Medvekin, the Soviet filmmaker who was born with his century and who died during the Perestroika. To speak of ‘memory’ is to raise the paradox of the film at the outset. Marker’s film cannot very well hope to preserve the memory of a filmmaker whose films we have not seen and whose name was, until quite recently, unfamiliar to most of us. Nor is this situation much different with Medvekin’s compatriots, who are as likely to know his films as we are. The…

Jacques Rancière; The Radical Gap

 The Radical Gap A preface to Auguste Blanqui, Eternity by the Stars Jacques Rancière I leaf through the programme and learn that the very stars themselves – which, I am irmly convinced, should be but rarely disturbed, and even then only for high reasons of meditative gravity … – the very stars are present!1 Mallarmé penned these ironic lines about a ballet performance at the Eden Theatre. Nevertheless, such stellar lights seem as natural to the choreographer as they do to the poet. This is less obviously the case when the one disturbing the stars is a revolutionary leader. Of…

Jacques Rancière; Doing or Not Doing: Politics, Aesthetics, Performance

Jacques Rancière re-examines the problem of performance situated at the very heart of the concept of action, turned here to an inquiry into the “activation” so often sought in political movements, and ascribed to politically engaging arts. Considering the imagery of early 20th century film, Rancière connects the issue of action to the distinction of a “natural” and a “mechanical” man or agent: the depiction and dissection of bodies and movements in posters and cinematic sequences. The interruption here focuses on the gap between functionality and play, which is reflected and reshaped in several artistic renditions of dance, movement, and…