Fermo immagine, 11 | 08 | 2013
Like that statue with the ineffable expression, dappled with light from the surrounding leaves, Jean-Marie Straub’s film seems at the same time both as solid as stone and in constant movement. Montaigne’s words still have the power to touch despite the distance from which they arrive. Indeed, the desire to preserve those words, distinct as though coming from elsewhere, makes them more intense. More effective. It is a “conte” (story) that speaks of experience as the base of a new vision of the world not to “develop the subject in the world, but, on the contrary, the world in the subject.”
The experiences encountered day after day in what is more a life class than a school class are at the centre of a film by Yves Yersin, returning to cinema with a project long in the making. Tableau noir – the title, “Blackboard,” does not deceive – has as its centre a teacher who is much more a docent, guiding the way rather than fixing concepts. With a sense of mutual understanding, Yersin follows him as he goes beyond the scholastic dimension to bring his students into contact with the subjects that make up everyday life. Gaining experiences – perhaps this is the lost meaning of school.
The mirror doubles a slice of the face. All the rest is blurred, irrelevant. Like this image, Forzani and Cattet’s film is violently centralizing, focusing the gaze on one point, leaving the surroundings indistinct. The perspective is left to adhere to that only sharp point. Yet still that mesh of volumes and voids, of light and shade is perhaps the most faithful reflection of what is going through the mind of the protagonist, lost in a nightmare in which reality vanishes.