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The Multilingual Screenis the first edited volume to offer a wide-ranging exploration of the place of multilingualism in

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Table of contents :
Cover page......Page 1
Halftitle page......Page 2
Title page......Page 4
Copyright page......Page 5
Contents......Page 6
Acknowledgments......Page 8
Introduction Tijana Mamula and Lisa Patti......Page 10
Notes......Page 20
Works cited......Page 22
Part I Theories......Page 24
1 Translating the Academe: Conceptualizing the Transnational in Film and Media Masha Salazkina......Page 26
The translational turn in film and media studies......Page 29
Discourses of circulatory networks......Page 30
Transnational translation......Page 33
Institutional challenges......Page 36
Notes......Page 40
Works cited......Page 42
2 Seven Types of Multilingualism: Or, Wim Wenders Enfilms Pina Bausch David Gramling......Page 46
Radical research in the Schwebebahn......Page 51
Seven types of (whose) multilingualism?......Page 52
Notes......Page 59
Works cited......Page 63
3 Post-anthropocentric Multilingualism in Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image: An Interview with T.J. Demos Tijana Mamula......Page 66
4 Cinephilia as Multilingualism in Th e Artist (2011) and Blancanieves (2012) Mary Harrod......Page 78
Notes......Page 94
Works cited......Page 96
Part II Aesthetics......Page 100
5 The Gift of Languages: Notes on Multilingualism in Experimental Cinema Érik Bullot......Page 102
Idiomaticity......Page 103
Lability......Page 107
Linguistik slapstick......Page 111
Notes......Page 116
Works cited......Page 118
Languages of color and country......Page 122
Antonioni: color on the far side of language......Page 124
Godard: multilingualism, color and hesitation......Page 131
Skolimowski: color and unspoken desire......Page 134
Postscript......Page 138
Notes......Page 140
Works cited......Page 141
Introduction......Page 144
The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema......Page 146
Notes......Page 160
Works cited......Page 163
The Babel of the postcolony......Page 166
The politics of voice and language......Page 169
The open frame: voice, language, mystery......Page 173
The language of abstraction: sound, silence, eroticism......Page 181
For a plurivocal aesthetics......Page 184
Notes......Page 185
Works cited......Page 187
Part III Histories......Page 190
9 Language in Motion: The Sign Talk Films of Hugh Lenox Scott and Richard Sanderville Brian Hochman......Page 192
Notes......Page 210
Works cited......Page 213
Filmography......Page 214
Introduction......Page 216
Notes......Page 218
“Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles”......Page 219
11 The Multilingual New Wave Alison Smith......Page 224
Notes......Page 240
Works cited......Page 242
12 Language and National Identity in New Tunisian Cinema: Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace (1994) and Férid Boughedir’s A Summer in La Goulette (1996) Robert Lang......Page 244
Language, literacy and modernity......Page 245
Tunisia: a “mediterranean” society......Page 251
“We mustn’t say we’re only Muslims. We are a lot of other things as well.”......Page 256
Notes......Page 258
Works cited......Page 262
13 Cinema of Reindividuation and Cultural Extraterritoriality: “Chinese” Dialect Cinemas and Regional Politics Victor Fan......Page 264
Dialect cinemas before the 1960s......Page 265
Theorizing multilingualism in “Chinese” cinemas......Page 267
From theory to practice......Page 270
From extraterritoriality to individuation......Page 274
Notes......Page 275
Works cited......Page 278
Part IV Politics......Page 284
14 Empire, Language, and Nationhood: Japanese Colonial Cinema in Korea and Manchuria Kate Taylor-Jones......Page 286
Colonial Korea......Page 288
Imperial Manchuria......Page 296
Notes......Page 301
Works cited......Page 303
15 Star Talk: Anna May Wong’s Scriptural Orientalism and Poly- phonic (Dis-)play Yiman Wang......Page 306
Scriptural Orientalism: the palimpsest of agency......Page 308
Linguistic cosmopolitanism and poly-phonic performance: from (dis)play to dis-play......Page 313
Becoming the audience for the dis-play......Page 320
Notes......Page 321
Works cited......Page 323
16 Out of Many, One: The Dual Monolingualism of Contemporary Flemish Cinema Jaap Verheul......Page 326
The historical development of the Dutch language......Page 327
The Dutch and Flemish dialects of the Dutch standard language......Page 331
Toward a monolingual Flemish cinema......Page 333
The Dutch-Flemish remake cycle and the limits of a Dutch geolinguistic identity......Page 337
Notes......Page 341
Works cited......Page 342
17 Multilingualism and Indigenous Cinema in Northeast India: The Case of Kokborok Language Films Mara Matta......Page 344
Multilingual films for a multivisionary world......Page 346
Talking back: indigenous cinema as a language of grassroots politics......Page 349
Notes......Page 356
Works cited......Page 358
18 Programming Latin American Cinema in the United States: An Interview with Carlos A. Gutiérrez Lisa Patti......Page 360
Contributors......Page 368
Index of Names and Titles......Page 374
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The Multilingual Screen

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The Multilingual Screen New Reflections on Cinema and Linguistic Difference Edited by Tijana Mamula and Lisa Patti

Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc

N E W YO R K • LO N D O N • OX F O R D • N E W D E L H I • SY DN EY

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Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc 1385 Broadway New York NY 10018 USA

50 Bedford Square London WC 1B 3DP UK

www.bloomsbury.com BLOOMSBURY and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published 2016 © Tijana Mamula, Lisa Patti, and Contributors, 2016 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Bloomsbury or the author. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Mamula, Tijana, 1981- editor. | Patti, Lisa, editor. Title: The multilingual screen : new reflections on cinema and linguistic difference / edited by Tijana Mamula, Lisa Patti. Description: New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2015043707 (print) | LCCN 2015046920 (ebook) | ISBN 9781501302886 (hardback) | ISBN 9781501302879 (paperback) | ISBN 9781501302862 (epdf) | ISBN 9781501302855 (epub) Subjects: LCSH : Motion pictures and language. | Language and languages in motion pictures. | Transnationalism in motion pictures. | Motion pictures--Translating and interpreting. | Dubbing of motion pictures. | Motion pictures—Political aspects. | BISAC : PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism. Classification: LCC PN 1995.4. M85 2016 (print) | LCC PN 1995.4 (ebook) | DDC 791.43/64--dc23 LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2015043707 ISBN :

HB : PB : ePub: ePDF :

9781501302886 9781501302879 9781501302855 9781501302862

Typeset by RefineCatch Limited, Bungay, Suffolk

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Contents Acknowledgments Introduction Tijana Mamula and Lisa Patti Part I 1

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Theories

Translating the Academe: Conceptualizing the Transnational in Film and Media Masha Salazkina

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Seven Types of Multilingualism: Or, Wim Wenders Enfilms Pina Bausch David Gramling

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Post-anthropocentric Multilingualism in Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image: An Interview with T.J. Demos Tijana Mamula

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Cinephilia as Multilingualism in The Artist (2011) and Blancanieves (2012) Mary Harrod

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Part II Aesthetics 5

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The Gift of Languages: Notes on Multilingualism in Experimental Cinema Érik Bullot

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Exile and the “Languages” of Color: 1960s European Cinema, Multilingualism and Ontological Hesitation Paul Coates

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“The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema” Gian Piero Brunetta

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West African Francophone Cinema and the Mysteries of Language: From Ideological Struggle to Aesthetic Shudder James S. Williams

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Part III Histories 9

Language in Motion: The Sign Talk Films of Hugh Lenox Scott and Richard Sanderville Brian Hochman

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Contents

10 Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles Juan Piqueras

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11 The Multilingual New Wave

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Alison Smith

12 Language and National Identity in New Tunisian Cinema: Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace (1994) and Férid Boughedir’s A Summer in La Goulette (1996) Robert Lang

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13 Cinema of Reindividuation and Cultural Extraterritoriality: “Chinese” Dialect Cinemas and Regional Politics Victor Fan

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Part IV

Politics

14 Empire, Language, and Nationhood: Japanese Colonial Cinema in Korea and Manchuria Kate Taylor-Jones

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15 Star Talk: Anna May Wong’s Scriptural Orientalism and Poly-phonic (Dis-)play Yiman Wang

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16 Out of Many, One: The Dual Monolingualism of Contemporary Flemish Cinema Jaap Verheul

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17 Multilingualism and Indigenous Cinema in Northeast India: The Case of Kokborok Language Films Mara Matta

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18 Programming Latin American Cinema in the United States: An Interview with Carlos A. Gutiérrez Lisa Patti

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Contributors Index of Names and Titles

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359 365

Acknowledgments We are grateful for the support of our editor, Katie Gallof, who expressed interest in this project when it was just a kernel of an idea shared during a casual conversation, and who oversaw the book’s progress with unwavering enthusiasm. We are also thankful for the feedback provided by the book’s anonymous reviewers, whose perceptive insights helped to guide it to its final form. At Bloomsbury, Mary Al-Sayed and Michelle Chen skillfully and patiently led us through every phase of the editing process, including the production of the book’s cover. The final cover is based on a design generously created by Federico Antonini, and features an image from Le Singe de la lumière (2002) by Ėrik Bullot, whom we thank for granting us permission to use it. The scholars who contributed essays to the volume were diligent collaborators, and we appreciate their dedication to the project. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to include two interviews and two translated essays to complement their work. We thank T.J. Demos and Carlos A. Gutiérrez for their expert and stimulating conversation, and Gian Piero Brunetta for enthusiastically granting us permission to translate the excerpts from his Forma e parola nel cinema: Il film muto, Pasolini, Antonioni, originally published by Liviana Editrice (Padua) in 1970. Masha Salazkina introduced us to Juan Piqueras’ essay “Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles,” which was originally published online by the Translation Project coordinated by the Permanent Seminar on Histories of Film Theories. We thank Lisa Jarvinen, the essay’s translator, for writing both its introduction and the bio for Piqueras that appears at the end of the volume. Enrique Fibla graciously supplied us with archival photos from the issue of Nuestro Cinema in which the essay first appeared. We are further indebted to Louis Bayman and Meredith Brown Melançon for their valuable editorial advice on several of the chapters, and to Barbara Long for her careful copyediting of the final manuscript. Finally, we would like to thank our colleagues at John Cabot University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as well as our families and closest friends, whose inspiring conversation and selfless support made this book possible.

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Introduction Tijana Mamula and Lisa Patti

This anthology is driven by the reflection that multilingualism is one of the impellent cultural forces of the last two centuries, and that, as such, it has had an extensive and profound impact on cinema. Whether understood as an individual characteristic, such as may derive from a diasporic upbringing or from migration into a nonnative linguistic environment, or as a pervasive societal condition— brought about by various mass displacements and colonization projects, and recently intensified by media globalization—multilingualism encompasses both the generative experience of linguistic confrontation and exchange and the adversity of linguistic destabilization, repression or loss. It therefore bears a series of social, political, psychological and even ethical implications whose relevance to contemporary culture and society has indeed been widely examined, but whose relation to cinema has been left largely unexplored. Yet even a cursory glance at the history of film—that is, the history of its production, distribution, reception and theorization—reveals countless indications of the centrality of multilingualism in filmmaking practices. To name only a few of the more obvious examples, we might recall cinema’s popularization through urban immigrant communities at the turn of the twentieth century; the fact that Hollywood itself was built in good part by immigrants, and classical Hollywood narrative and style consolidated through the work of countless displaced practitioners; or the development of certain national (but transregional and pluridialectic) cinema contexts such as that of postwar Italy, without which the medium’s history would hardly be the same. These and many other indicators of multilingualism’s longstanding place in cinema have yet to be adequately addressed. At the same time, the further escalation of migration and multilingualism in recent years, and their increasing relevance to areas of the world previously either untouched by such demographic and cultural shifts or without the means to confront them cinematically, is equally in need of scholarly 1

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attention. Prompted by these concerns, The Multilingual Screen advocates the opening of film studies to a broader appreciation of the ways in which linguistic difference has shaped, and continues to shape, the medium’s history. The essays collected here move across a vast array of geographic contexts, and present a variety of new perspectives; they are attentive to the aesthetic traces and political significance of cinema’s negotiation of linguistic difference, and many are also engaged in theoretical reflections on how multilingualism might be redefined both in itself and in its relation to cinema. In grouping these works together, we have tried to discern and emphasize the areas of study that appear, to us, most crucial to forging a renewed understanding of cinema’s relation to language diversity and, through that, to language as such. In the first instance, and quite simply, this entails an effort to broaden the field of research by looking to the least studied geographic contexts and the least circulated films, as well as by opening the discourse of the transnational to films and contexts that may not, on the surface, appear to be informed by transnational (and thus multilingual) forces, or that have not typically been viewed in that light. On the other hand, and perhaps most importantly, there is a need to redraw the conceptual parameters of this field of research: namely, by further reflecting on and theorizing the numerous ways in which multilingualism has impacted on cinema without actually appearing as such, in the form of either original or translated dialogue. The Multilingual Screen takes a step in this direction, reassessing the methodologies and frameworks that have influenced the study of filmic multilingualism to propose that its force is also, and perhaps counterintuitively, a silent one. While most writings on the subject have explored linguistic difference as a largely audible phenomenon—manifested through polyglot dialogues, or through the translation of monolingual dialogues for international audiences—this collection explores some of its unheard histories, thus contributing to a new field of study based on an attentiveness to multilingualism’s work beyond the soundtrack. With the notable exception of Ella Shohat and Robert Stam’s 1985 essay “Cinema After Babel: Language, Difference, Power”—a crucial assessment of the imbrication of language and the cinematic image in relation to film theory, translation practices, and the hierarchies of power they reflect and enforce1— most of the English-language scholarship overtly engaged with film’s relation to linguistic difference has emerged over the last two decades. One burgeoning line of inquiry, which extends also to the field of translation studies, concerns the relationship between cinema and audiovisual translation. This is exemplified by

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volumes such as Abé Mark Nornes’ Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema (2007) and Carol O’Sullivan’s Translating Popular Film (2011), both of which explore the various stylistic, narrative and industrial practices employed to mediate foreign languages for film audiences, as well as, in Nornes’ case, some of the ways that translators and interpreters have long guided the global flows of both films and film theories.2 A second line of inquiry has emerged in relation to the development of the transnational as an interdisciplinary discourse3 and the growing need to account for the work of migrant, diasporic or otherwise “intercultural” filmmakers—namely, work that cannot readily be circumscribed within any single national context and that tends to manifest the tensions of conflicting cultural identifications and influences, and so also multiple linguistic affiliations, on the level of both content and form. Hamid Naficy, for example, has defined the entire corpus of exilic and diasporic cinema as inherently “accented,” observing that most of the films that fall within this category “are bilingual, even multilingual, multivocal, and multiaccented.”4 Responding to the recent rise of European films centered on experiences of migration and diaspora, Chris Wahl has written a series of influential articles that outline a genre of “polyglot film,” characterized by a realist or “anti-illusionist” representation of language use that does not try to “hide the diversity of human life behind the mask of a universal language.”5 Likewise focused on exilic cinema but moving away from the issues raised by polyglot dialogues, our own previous writing has explored the relationship between language loss and visuality in the work of numerous displaced filmmakers and across émigré-dominated genres such as film noir.6 Though less exclusively engaged with language diversity, a number of recent works contributing to the transnational turn in film studies have focused attention on the plurilingual forces at work in various national film histories, in the filmographies of certain displaced but nonetheless “hegemonic” directors, and in the performances of transnational stars. In doing so, they have addressed such disparate issues as the ways in which Eurocentrism and postcoloniality sustain the concept of the foreign language film, the “crisis of the foreign voice” in Hollywood’s talkie revolution, and the ideologies of dubbing and subtitling and their relation to international coproduction in 1960s and 1970s European art cinema.7 While a number of the essays collected here both rest and build on these and similar studies, the volume as a whole also appeals to a different and more veiled tradition. Just as cinema has been transnational from its very origins, so its critical reception has been informed by film’s relation to linguistic difference,

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and reflection on cinematic multilingualism can be felt indirectly at work in a number of classic studies. We might note, for example, Siegfried Kracauer’s Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality, in which the author’s acute awareness of multilingualism’s impact on film spectatorship leads him to outline a materialist aesthetics of sound design; or Miriam Hansen’s reading of Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, 1916) as a “hieroglyphic text” in Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film.8 Another such study, which stands out not only for its modeling of a covert critical engagement with cinematic multilingualism, but also for its direct influence on one of the essays in this volume, is Stuart Liebman’s “Un Chien andalou: The Talking Cure.”9 In no explicit dialogue with issues of multilingualism or transnationalism, Liebman’s 1986 essay analyzes Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalì’s Surrealist classic through a close reading of the film’s original screenplay, noting that many of the iconic images contained in Un Chien andalou view as literalized visualizations of the idiomatic (French) expressions with which the screenplay is peppered. Though Liebman does not directly address the fact that Buñuel and Dalì were not native speakers of French, his analysis clearly points to the traces of that foreignness, inasmuch as many of the word-image plays that extend between the film and its screenplay betray a tendency to privilege the literal meanings of figurative forms of speech— typical of the foreign-language speaker—and also bear distinct traces of the filmmakers’ native Spanish. Most importantly, the essay’s value lies in its ability to extend the exploration of filmic multilingualism far beyond any dialogic evidence, or audible polyglottism, with far-reaching implications in terms of both aesthetics (in unearthing the linguistic roots of the film’s surrealistic imagery) and theory (in contributing to more general questions of the relations between word and image in the cinema). Such an opening to the tacit traces of linguistic multiplicity in cinema appears, perhaps, most obviously productive in the context of aesthetic and theoretical inquiries like Liebman’s. In this volume, this is evident not only in Érik Bullot’s essay, which illuminates a number of other experimental films whose formal strategies are shadowed by the filmmakers’ multilingualism, but also, for example, in Paul Coates’ unearthing of a relation between the exilic experience of language loss and the development of color film aesthetics in 1960s and 1970s European art cinema. It is equally clear in T.J. Demos’ appraisal of contemporary moving image practices that challenge anthropocentric conceptions of language—and indeed perception—by considering and registering the existence of nonhuman languages, and in Mary Harrod’s redefinition of cinephilia as itself a form of

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multilingualism, through the lens of two recent silent films. In all four of these cases, the analysis is not prompted, at least not primarily, by any audible multiplicity of languages in the works in question, but rather by a study of the biographical, cultural and theoretical contexts in which they emerge and with which they communicate. The question of the undercurrents of polyglottism running beneath linguistically homogeneous films assumes further and particular urgency in relation to cinemas imprinted by the monolingual politics that have distinguished the histories of most modern nation states—that is, politics of exclusion and cultural suppression of minority languages and dialects. In this sense, the very absence of more than one language across an entire period of national (or even transnational) filmmaking may point to the industry’s adoption and reflection of repressive legislation and open a path to examining the ways in which cinema has worked not only to conceal linguistic heterogeneity, but also to push a country’s linguistic evolution toward a firmer monolingualism. In certain contexts, these links between national language politics and film production dynamics have already begun to be examined, sometimes spawning entire fields of scholarly inquiry. This is the case in Italy, for example, where the impact of the Fascist government’s attempt to homogenize the country’s linguistic landscape by eradicating its many mutually incomprehensible dialects—most perceptible in films of the 1930s, but with a legacy that continues to this very day—has long been an object of study, both within film scholarship and within history, sociolinguistics and linguistics more broadly.10 Moving in a similar direction, several of the essays in this volume reread the intersecting histories of national cinemas and national language politics, whether by isolating specific moments, as in Kate Taylor-Jones’ study of Japanese colonial filmmaking in Korea and Manchuria, or through broader historical overviews, as in Victor Fan’s chapter on Hong Kong Cantonese cinema. Yet other essays, dedicated to contemporary filmmaking practices, trace the ongoing relevance of monolingual or exclusionary language politics to film production. What emerges with particular force here is the extent to which the current era of increasing polyglottism and linguistic mobility is also marked by repressive or prescriptive language politics—whether developed in reaction to rising levels of immigration (for example, the use of language analysis as a means of border control), or in concomitance with more pervasive moves toward nationalism and cultural protectionism. The cinemas inevitably impacted by these forces have the capacity not only to shed light on sometimes insidious shifts in a region’s geolinguistic, and thus geopolitical,

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make-up, as Jaap Verheul’s study of contemporary Flemish cinema suggests, but also, as Mara Matta’s chapter on indigenous Northeast Indian filmmaking attests, to provide a means of circumventing language loss and salvaging linguistic multiplicity in the face of political and cultural subjugation. In the light of these developments, the need to listen to the silent babble running underneath a film’s monolingual patina, to ask which languages are not being spoken as well as which ones are, becomes ever more acutely felt. Yet, however crucial the growth of work dedicated to multilingualism’s traces beyond the soundtrack, the expansion of this field of research depends equally, as noted above, on the continued transnationalization of film studies, and through this, the exploration of the plurilingual forces present in cinemas that academic film scholarship has tended to view as (largely) monocultural. In this volume, Alison Smith and Gian Piero Brunetta make valuable contributions to that second line of inquiry by, respectively, rereading the history of the French New Wave to show the extent to which it is crossed by multiple languages, and examining the mobilization of various regional dialects by a director— Pier Paolo Pasolini—whose work, at least in English-language scholarship, has rarely been viewed as anything other than “Italian.” At the same time, and no less importantly, the opening of further (and, perhaps, as yet unimagined) avenues of study is invited by those contributions dedicated to discovering previously unexplored films and writings on film—whether through the historical work of translation; through original archival research, like that undertaken by Brian Hochman; or through the firsthand knowledge afforded by curation and programming, as evidenced both in Matta’s chapter and in our interview with the Latin American cinema programmer Carlos A. Gutiérrez. Though invested in the varied critical interventions undertaken in these individual chapters, The Multilingual Screen does not propose to offer an exhaustive view of this area of research. On the contrary, by presenting these examples of the many directions in which this field might be taken, the volume hopes to stimulate closer inspection of multilingualism’s impact on other (trans)national contexts and filmmaking currents, and the theoretical formations and methods they produce. The volume opens with a series of essays—Part I, “Theories”—that speculate on the institutional and critical practices that structure and constrain studies of multilingualism, and the contemporary films that challenge these practices. Masha Salazkina mobilizes the concept of “contact zones” as a critical hermeneutic that elucidates the relation of translation to circulation, providing an opportunity

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to subvert the institutional biases in film studies that privilege European and North American centers of knowledge production. Salazkina observes that “ ‘the language of cinema’ which presumably forms the literacy of a film scholar is still perceived to be largely visual—and not directly linked to linguistic or literary formations” and advocates for an investment in translation as a key critical paradigm for transnational film scholarship. David Gramling likewise addresses the limitations of current methodologies within multilingualism studies, by exploring the ways that Pina (2011), Wim Wenders’ documentary about Pina Bausch, stages mutually incomprehensible linguistic encounters among its subjects without addressing multilingualism as such. Unlike the polyglot films discussed in recent studies of cinematic multilingualism, Pina uses its nine languages as a transactional tool. Gramling reads this tendency alongside the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, an internationally implemented and widely criticized model for measuring linguistic competence. His inventive comparative analysis reveals that the dancers in Pina “can be seen to mount a kind of class-action critique on behalf of multilinguals—artistically engaged or not—whose quotidian practices fail to correspond with the aspirational idiom of social success and coordinated commercial flexibilization at the core of the Framework.” Similar concerns regarding institutional and governmental definitions and instrumentalizations of language surface in the interview with T.J. Demos, whose insights into the place of multilingualism in contemporary artists’ moving image draw attention to the critique of current language politics, as well as more broadly underscoring the growing importance of post-anthropocentric reconceptualizations of language. Drawing on a number of artists, including Ursula Biemann, Paolo Tavares and the Otolith Group, Demos argues that contemporary art “offers a space where notions of post-anthropocentric multilingualism can be experimented with, to overcome other areas where language is being increasingly regimented, militarized, and technologically controlled.” Moving the exploration of filmic multilingualism’s theoretical repercussions in a different direction, Mary Harrod investigates two recent silent films: both international coproductions, The Artist (2011) and Blancanieves (2012) transpose the multilinguistic forms of address accessible to the silent cinema to the present day, and in the process nuance our understanding of that original linguistic heterogeneity. Harrod’s close readings reveal that “not only is cinema a priori multilingual, but formal multilingualism in cinema bespeaks and promotes cinephilia.” Her contribution thus echoes the concerns that animate the

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other essays in this section as they each seek to theorize the intersections of multilingualism, translation and globalization, and their articulation in critical and institutional practices both within and beyond the academy. The essays in Part II, “Aesthetics,” extend the focus on film form in Harrod’s chapter, offering an explicit rethinking of the stylistic indices of cinematic multilingualism. In “The Gift of Languages: Notes on Multilingualism in Experimental Cinema,” Érik Bullot examines the place of multilingualism in the history of European and American avant-garde cinema, and also reflects on his own filmmaking practice, which has consistently mobilized linguistic multiplicity as a conceptual and aesthetic device. In doing so, he theorizes experimental cinema’s stance toward language more broadly, juxtaposing its “idiomaticity”—its “desire to forge its own idiomatic, often extralinguistic, language”—with its “lability” or its “tendency to intertwine the visual and the linguistic.” Paul Coates’ chapter opens a new perspective on the work of Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard and Jerzy Skolimowski by positing that the turn to color in European cinema in the mid-1960s correlates significantly with the modernist experience of exile and language loss. Coates identifies an interconnetion among three losses—of black-and-white film language, of spoken language, and of homeland and rootedness—and uncovers the ways that formal innovations in the use of color register their impact. “The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema,” a previously unpublished translation of an excerpt from Gian Piero Brunetta’s Forma e parola nel cinema: Il film muto, Pasolini, Antonioni, presents a historically and geographically proximate examination of the progressive multilingualism in Pasolini’s early films, through attentive readings of the aesthetic and political force of his use of dialect. Informed by the increasing fragmentation of Italy’s linguistic landscape during the postwar period, Brunetta’s chapter stands out as a prescient inquiry into the formal dimensions of filmic multilingualism. James S. Williams explores the aesthetics of the multilingual soundtrack in recent West African Francophone cinema, with a particular focus on the work of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and Abderrahmane Sissako. Building on Barthes’ notion of the “rustle of language,” he proposes a “plurivocal aesthetics” that frames language not as a “ ‘natural’ vehicle of social communication and political change” but as “an aesthetic object of fascination and wonder,” charting new critical itineraries for analyzing both film sound and “post-postcolonial cinema.” In Part III, “Histories,” the historical excavation of multilingual cinema presented in the previous chapters becomes a uniting focal point. Brian Hochman

Introduction

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traces the correlation between the disappearance of Native American languages in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the evolution of the culture of media preservation in the United States. Drawing on original archival research, he examines two 1930s documentaries by Hugh Lenox Scott and Richard Sanderville dedicated to presenting Plains Indian Sign Language—a visual lingua franca among Plains Indian peoples. Hochman’s exploration of the legacies of salvage ethnography frames cinematic multilingualism in relation to preservation, expanding the critical framework for theorizing translation to include not only the visual performance of language captured by the films, but also the practices of preservation (and later, digitization) that enable their exhibition. The translation of the radical film critic Juan Piqueras’ “Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles”—a brief article that originally appeared in the inaugural issue of the Spanish film journal Nuestro Cinema in 1932— debates the various strategies deployed to translate films after the transition to sound. While Piqueras expresses his preference for dubbing and subtitling over the “absurd” multi-language versions, he stresses that arguing the relative merits of these translation practices is secondary to the need to encourage the development of a national cinema in Spain—thus reflecting, as Lisa Jarvinen, the article’s translator, notes in her introduction, his “general suspicion of language alone as a substitute for national expression.” Appearing at a pivotal moment of technological and political change both in Spain and globally, Piqueras’s article, like Hochman’s, points to the ways in which multilingualism has carved the fault lines of critical moments in the history of film. Addressing a more recent and widely discussed historical period, Alison Smith identifies the transnational currents influencing French cinema in the 1960s and 1970s. Tracking the presence of foreign languages in the films of the Nouvelle Vague—even where production dynamics would not have encouraged, or would, indeed, have discouraged such a practice—Smith describes a “ ‘Nouvelle Vague World’ in which France, the French language and French culture are negotiating a place in a network of intersecting cultures.” Her recognition of the centrality of multilingualism to even the most hegemonic film histories suggests the ways in which a well-studied historical period can be rediscovered through an account of its multilingualism. Focusing on the much less canonical context of new Tunisian cinema, Robert Lang provides an important commentary on the politics of bilingualism and its impact on the development of post-liberation national identity in the Maghreb region. Lang’s analysis of two films by Moufida Tlatli and Férid Boughedir engages with key moments of political crisis in

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Tunisia’s history: the country’s independence from France in 1956 and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. In doing so, his essay simultaneously presents a history of new Tunisian cinema and an exploration of its historical engagements as they are defined by linked concerns with language and national identity. Using Johnnie To’s Duzhan (Dukzin/Drug War, 2013) as a case study, Victor Fan employs the conceptual framework of extraterritoriality to argue that dialect cinemas “insist within Chinese cinemas as a potential force that resists the historical tendency to incorporate regional cinematic practices into a larger national imaginary.” His expansive historical exegesis of Hong Kong Cantonese cinema supports his conclusion that contemporary multilingual films such as Drug War constitute a cinema of reindividuation through which the use of dialect undermines the linguistic coherence of national models of culture. The essays in Part IV, “Politics,” share the engagement with national and regional film histories that enliven the previous section, but foreground the politics of multilingualism, partly through a shared investment in recognizing the monolingual practices that often accompany, challenge or displace cinematic multilingualism. Focusing on Japanese-led film production in Manchuria and Korea during the late 1930s and early 1940s, Kate Taylor-Jones provides insight into the linguistic politics of Colonial Japan, whose contradictions challenged the ethos of the Empire and deeply undermined its purportedly inclusive cultural politics. Her analysis of cinema as an explicit ideological tool traverses a range of examples, from the fictional recruitment films screened in Korean cinemas from 1941 to 1945 to the bilingual Man’ei star Yamaguchi Yoshiko/Ri Kōran’s status as a “symbol of a ‘borderless fantasy’ in an idealized construction of an East Asian state.” The emphasis on the value of Yamaguchi as a cultural asset to the Japanese Empire’s management of multilingualism finds a complement in Yiman Wang’s extended study of Anna May Wong’s Chinese-American star image. Wang traces the actor’s cosmopolitan itinerary through Hollywood and Europe, and notes that through “(dis-)play,” Wong both self-Orientalized her star image and disrupted the Orientalizing stereotypes imposed by audiences and critics. Wong’s Chinese handwriting, for example, which circulated most notably through her autograph, “went beyond a mere decorative inscription of the ‘inscrutable Orient’ to become a visual icon of her name and agency presented to her transnational audiences,” deploying what Wang refers to as “scriptural Orientalism.” Jaap Verheul turns his attention to the analysis of an emergent intercultural paradox, examining the linguistic and political dynamics involved in a recent

Introduction

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cycle of Dutch-Flemish remakes notable for the fact that the process of adaptation was embraced despite the official absence of linguistic necessity. Verheul theorizes the cycle as both an expression of the “dual monolingualism” of contemporary Flemish cinema and a problematization of the geolinguistic unity of the Dutch region. Similar attention to linguistic exclusion informs Mara Matta’s essay on contemporary independent, minority-language filmmaking in Northeast India: drawing on a wealth of firsthand experience, including interviews with the Kokborok-language filmmaker Father Joseph Pulinthanath, Matta uncovers the impact of exclusionary linguistic politics on regional filmmaking and delineates the crucial role that these microbudget, but nonetheless widely circulated, productions play in resisting both political oppression and cultural homologation. Through its exploration of participatory indigenous filmmaking practices, Matta’s essay points to a powerful counter cinema dedicated to the inclusion and salvaging of minority languages. The section closes with an interview with Carlos A. Gutiérrez, cofounder and Executive Director of the New York–based Cinema Tropical, the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the United States. Gutiérrez discusses the challenges of programming foreign language films in a market dominated by Hollywood and constrained by homogenizing discourses about world cinema and transnational cinema that guide both academic studies of film and the medium’s global flows through circulatory networks like film festivals.

Notes 1 Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “Cinema after Babel: Language, Difference, Power,” Screen 26, nos. 3–14 (May–August 1985): 35–58. 2 See Abé Mark Nornes, Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), and Carol O’Sullivan, Translating Popular Film (Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). The earlier Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, edited by Ian Balfour and Atom Egoyan (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2004), also contains a number of essays devoted to this topic. 3 Scholarship on transnational cinema has grown exponentially over the last two decades, and now encompasses work on numerous geographic and historical contexts. Some of the more classic studies include: Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, eds., Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003); Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, eds.,

12

4

5

6 7

8

9

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The Multilingual Screen Transnational Cinema, The Film Reader (New York: Routledge, 2006); Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen E. Newman, eds., World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2007). See also the journal Transnational Cinemas, established in 2010. Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2001), 24. See also Naficy’s edited collection Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place (New York: Routledge, 1999). Other similarly oriented works include Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2000); Wendy Everett and Peter Wagstaff, eds., Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement (Oxford, UK : Berghahn, 2004); and Yosefa Loshitzky, Screening Strangers: Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010). See Chris Wahl, “Discovering a Genre: The Polyglot Film,” Cinemascope— Independent Film Journal, no. 1 (January–April 2005), n.p.; and “Du Deutscher, toi Français, You English: Beautiful—The Polyglot Film as a Genre,” in Shifting Landscapes: Film and Media in European Context, ed. Miyase Christensen and Nezih Erdŏgan (Newcastle, UK : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), 334–350. See also the edited collection Polyglot Cinema: Migration and Transcultural Narration in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, ed. Verena Berger and Miya Komori (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2010) as well as Lukas Bleichenbacher’s more linguistically oriented Multilingualism in the Movies: Hollywood Characters and Their Language Choices (Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 2008). Tijana Mamula, Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image (New York and London: Routledge, 2013). See, respectively, John Mowitt, Re-takes: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005); Arne Lunde, Nordic Exposures: Scandinavian Identities in Classical Hollywood Cinema (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010); Mark Betz, Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009). Siegfried Kracauer, Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960; Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1997), 106–19; Miriam Hansen, Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1991), 173–98. On the impact of foreign language use on Kracauer’s sound theory, see also: Mamula, Cinema and Language Loss, 134–36. Stuart Liebman, “Un Chien andalou: The Talking Cure” (1986), in Dada and Surrealist Film, ed. Rudolf E. Kuenzli (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1996), 143–58. In Italian, see for example Dialoghi di regime: La lingua del cinema degli anni trenta, ed. Valentina Ruffin and Patrizia D’Agostino (Rome: Bulzoni, 1997); in English,

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Antonella C. Sisto, Film Sound in Italy: Listening to the Screen (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 17–40. For more references on language in Italian cinema, see also the notes to Gian Piero Brunetta’s chapter in this volume.

Works cited Balfour, Ian, and Atom Egoyan, eds. Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2004. Berger, Verena, and Miya Komori, eds. Polyglot Cinema: Migration and Transcultural Narration in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2010. Betz, Mark. Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Bleichenbacher, Lukas. Multilingualism in the Movies: Hollywood Characters and Their Language Choices. Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 2008. Ďurovičová, Nataša, and Kathleen E. Newman, eds. World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2007. Everett, Wendy, and Peter Wagstaff, eds. Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement. Oxford, UK : Berghahn, 2004. Ezra, Elizabeth, and Terry Rowden, eds. Transnational Cinema, The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006. Hansen, Miriam. Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1991. Kracauer, Siegfried. Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality. 1960. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1997. Liebman, Stuart. “Un Chien andalou: The Talking Cure” (1986). In Dada and Surrealist Film, edited by Rudolf E. Kuenzli, 143–58. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1996. Loshitzky, Yosefa. Screening Strangers: Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. Lunde, Arne. Nordic Exposures: Scandinavian Identities in Classical Hollywood Cinema. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010. Mamula, Tijana. Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image. New York and London: Routledge, 2013. Marks, Laura U. The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2000. Mowitt, John. Re-takes: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Naficy, Hamid. Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place. New York: Routledge, 1999. Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2001.

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Nornes, Abé Mark. Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. O’Sullivan, Carol. Translating Popular Film. Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Ruffin, Valentina, and Patrizia D’Agostino, eds. Dialoghi di regime: La lingua del cinema degli anni trenta. Rome: Bulzoni, 1997. Shohat, Ella, and Robert Stam. “Cinema After Babel: Language, Difference, Power.” Screen 26, nos. 3–14 (May–August 1985): 35–58. Shohat, Ella, and Robert Stam, eds. Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media. New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003. Sisto, Antonella C. Film Sound in Italy: Listening to the Screen. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Wahl, Chris. “Discovering a Genre: The Polyglot Film.” Cinemascope—Independent Film Journal, no. 1 (January–April 2005). Wahl, Chris. “Du Deutscher, toi Français, You English: Beautiful—The Polyglot Film as a Genre.” In Shifting Landscapes: Film and Media in European Context, edited by Miyase Christensen and Nezih Erdŏgan, 334–50. Newcastle, UK : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

Part I

Theories

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16

1

Translating the Academe: Conceptualizing the Transnational in Film and Media Masha Salazkina

This chapter seeks to position the turn toward a foregrounding of translation practices in film and media studies that has emerged in the last decade as a way to illuminate the broader intellectual and epistemological stakes of doing transnational research. Beyond its literal meaning, the emphasis on translation draws attention to the transcultural nature of the epistemological processes inherent in the constitution of our film and media objects of study, therefore requiring better frameworks for understanding both the circulatory networks that serve to comprise these objects, and a conceptualization of cultural and linguistic translation as such. The relation of translation to circulation is not that of form to content; rather, I argue that they can best be seen as standing in a compensatory and interdependent relationship, and that attention to the notion of translation can most productively address the phenomena of the circulatory systems of media in the age of neoliberal globalism and in our scholarly practices. Despite their division, both frameworks, circulation and translation, address the radical changes in reality pointed to by transnational cultural theory, which, in turn, puts in question the continued existence, even, of rigid disciplinary boundaries and common institutional practices. I propose the concept of contact zones in relation to knowledge production as a useful hermeneutic for understanding the intersection between the conceptual frameworks of circulatory networks and translation processes, each of which is equally important. First, I begin by situating this proposition of translation as a key orienting paradigm for transnational scholarship by considering how the current historical conditions of our academic institutions are insufficiently responding to the proliferation of multilingual and geographically heterogeneous objects of study (throughout the chapter, I primarily refer to the universities in North 17

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America—although I believe that this critique extends equally to Europe and the United Kingdom).1 While these developments demand corresponding theoretical and practical apparatuses to accommodate them, an increasing corporate-globalizing logic in the universities in practice often cuts off opportunities for their development. It is evident to everyone in academia today that the terms transnational and interdisciplinary have acquired a certain amount of political and cultural cachet. They appear in job descriptions, calls for journal articles and manuscripts, funding agency guidelines and international policy papers related to social sciences and the humanities fields, from history and sociology to political science, and are particularly prominent in the newer academic fields such as security, peace and conflict resolution, to, indeed, cultural and film and media studies. Such indications of institutionalization make many in the academy suspicious of the very project of making academic knowledge production less bound to specific geographic entities and disciplines. Many justifiably fear that such a move simply masks the downsizing of the university and the gradual loss of academic autonomy by individual departments (whether disciplinary or area-based) and ideologically justifies developments resulting from greater corporatization of the universities rather than any academically or intellectually driven agenda. The image of a university with one department of Transnational Cultural Studies begins to seem less and less unlikely as we watch the merger of Language and Literature programs under Modern Languages, and of Film Studies, Media Theory, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies under one administrative umbrella. Administratively reducing humanist inquiry in the university, these developments also minimize new hires and limit the decisionmaking autonomy of the faculty, especially in the long term, allowing for a more flexible academic labor force—and therefore, efficient from a corporate point of view—and a greater say for administration in dictating the areas in which hires can be made. However serious this threat may be, using it as a critique of the transnational turn in scholarship and greater interdisciplinarity has the effect of throwing the baby out with the bath water. While it is plainly necessary to debate how to best understand and practice transnationalism in our scholarship, the dangers of embracing the “wrong kind” of transnationalism are currently far surpassed by the institutional barriers that shape and determine the very conditions of possibility for such research and practice. And while in film and media studies we have come a long way in the process of eliminating the old geopolitical

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assumptions of the discipline that gave the Euro-American perspective an imperial centrality, we still have a long way to go.2 One of the ways we might adjust the persistently Anglo-centric response to multilingual and interdisciplinary scholarship is with the replacement of the liberal humanist notion of the universal—to which the scholar’s truth aspired— by the migratory, which itself demands a stronger emphasis on translation, both as a scholarly practice and as a conceptual paradigm within our field. Given this set of historical determinations, transnational scholarship finds itself in need of new conceptual categories, which would not only map out networks and their infrastructures, but also help explain the dynamics of movement across the various borders and the forms of both cognition and collaboration that such movement entails. The notion of a contact zone was originally developed by Mary Louise Pratt in her book Imperial Eyes: Travel and Transculturation, in which she defines it as . . . the space of colonial encounters, the space in which peoples geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict. . . . By using the term “contact” I aim to foreground the interactive, improvisational dimensions of colonial encounter so easily ignored by diffusionist accounts of conquest and domination. A “contact” perspective emphasizes how subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other. [It stresses] copresence, interaction, interlocking understanding and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power.3

Pratt’s notion has been used widely to discuss different kinds of transcultural encounters shaped by the logic of (post)colonial and global circulation.4 Appropriately, however, it was originally introduced by Pratt in the context of a professional presentation at the Modern Language Association as early as 1991, in her discussion of literacy and language learning in the academy.5 In the last twenty-five years, the idea of contact zones has been influential in a variety of disciplines, from geography to anthropology, as well as literary and cultural studies. It therefore seems only apt to apply this notion to academic practices and spaces at large—where translation takes place shaped by institutional power relations. While I return to the discussion of academia as a contact zone in the conclusion of this chapter, I now turn to examine the way that translation studies has productively entered the field of film and media scholarship.

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The translational turn in film and media studies The actual practices of translation—whether literary, linguistic or transmedial— have recently begun to receive scholarly attention in film and media studies. More importantly, we are beginning to see scholarship that focuses on translation and interpreting practices as constitutive of film production, exhibition and circulation, rather than separate processes that befall cinema after it has already been made. John Mowitt’s Re-takes: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages in 2005 became one of the first major concentrated efforts to bring postcolonial debates into the realm of the language practices specific to the cinematic apparatus, and in 2007, Abé Mark Nornes’ landmark study Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema inaugurated a new direction in the discipline, inspiring and supporting a wealth of new research.6 The focus of this work ranges from oral commentaries providing, among other things, cultural and ideological translations of images of the screen (a practice that was common throughout silent film exhibition, but has continued well into the sound era, especially at festival sites and in various forms of nontheatrical exhibition worldwide) to the variety of approaches to dubbing and subtitling of films in both official and informal circulation, to the importance of the translations of film theory and criticism for the development of film cultures world-wide. In what is both a critical summary of such approaches and its most conceptually developed and concise example, Nataša Ďurovičová, in her co-edited volume World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (2009), proposes a new account of film history placing the process of translation at its center.7 She uses the term translatio, which she chooses for its rich imperial legacy (referring to the notion of the transfer of political rule and knowledge), to underscore the myth of ideological neutrality that adheres to translation, as it connotes, in the broad tradition, semantic equivalence and transparency of communication. Ďurovičová’s translatio instead emphasizes the necessarily uneven power structure involved in the transfer. It also serves to demarcate the difference between the empirical practice and the symbolic operation entailed—so, translatio in Ďurovičová’s work refers specifically to a methodology that would provide scholars with “the social and political ground rules for text transfer from one to another set of cultural circumstances, attentive to the non-identity and asymmetry in which it is inevitably implicated.” What is at stake here, as Ďurovičová makes clear, is a conceptual tool that would enable a better understanding of the geopolitical and institutional power relations that constitute cinematic practice:

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The aim of redefining the pervasive and inescapable work of cinematic translation as a field of translatio is to draw attention to the politics of these uneven flows of exchange, and further, to argue that translation should be studied as an integral layer of spatial figuration superimposed onto and hovering over both the cinematic institution and the representational field of the screen in which specific emergent transnational formations then can become apparent.8

This shift to a broader understanding of translation necessitates a more varied set of methodologies—no longer limited to textual analysis, or bound by a single historical context of the transactions. This requires a “film history in which the pervasive linguistic displacement and the accompanying media transposition foreground mainstream narrative films in its non-identical form, attending to their circulation, transport or transfer rather than only to their ideal textual form.”9 Translation here is broadened to include a set of practices—industrial, discursive, artistic, labor and social/communal—which both enable and disrupt the social, cultural, and political hierarchies and relations of power through their heterogeneity. Translatio is, in essence, kidnapped, wrenched away from its old imperial function and turned into a new critical tool to approach this apparatus. It is a metaphorically guerilla action, and lends a certain insurgent connotation to its practice. Building on Nornes’ and Ďurovičová’s formulation of translation practices as ones that necessarily bring together uneven power structures, we must have tools that not only translate film objects, but can map out and recognize the power structures inherent in the circulatory networks that constitute our object of study. We cannot proceed here without understanding our own implication as scholars in the circulation of knowledge. As ideas about cinema and media travel alongside the cultural products themselves, they contribute concretely to our own institutional positions and practices.

Discourses of circulatory networks Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels first posited the connection between the global flow of goods and capital and “world literature” in the Communist Manifesto. It has now become a truism that our political economy—the political economy of modernity, at least—is predicated on the restless expansion and movement of resources, of capital, of labor, of information that pulls into its wake the entire spectrum of cultural products and performances. Thus, much of film and media studies after the advent of the transnational turn has made the global system of

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circulation and its infrastructures its privileged object. Such work emphasizes that the existence of cinema has been tied throughout its history to circulatory networks of capital mediated as they have been by imperialism and neoimperialism. The raw materials of film derive from chemical manufacture, and the mechanisms of film from the refinement of primary products that serve other industrial branches of capitalism. Cinema’s early and persistent collaboration with the military-industrial apparatus (in the development and use of infrastructure and technology), and the use of film in colonial education, to the more contemporary phenomenon that we refer to as multinational corporate globalization—the concentration of capital for production, circulation and exhibition of cinema and media by multinational corporations—has always functioned to facilitate state and corporate power. The need to look at cinema and media transnationally—and globally—is at least in part dictated by the realities of its production, exhibition and consumption. These networks are not merely a dispensable delivery mechanism for meaning: they shape all practice (including all hermeneutic practices associated with film and media). Film is not just exported from a studio; it is also produced and consumed within networks that traverse boundaries and create and destroy property lines. However, different understandings of the global system have generated several distinct and at times contradictory approaches. The first wave of transnational film studies on the whole privileged the study of the hegemonic structures of circulation within the order we call globalization.10 For some, perhaps, those most attracted to the transnational paradigm, this understanding was the preface to developing ways to fight or resist the malignant effects of globalization: the leveling of meanings, the ideology of commodification, the reinforcement of the norms of late capitalism, and the mystification of the real exploitation and inequalities that are at its heart. This understanding often aligns globalization with “Americanization”—understood in terms of multinational capital centered in Europe, the United States and some East Asian economies. This systemic understanding owes an evident debt to Marxism, especially as it was interpreted through the lens of postcolonial thought, including theories of modernity and modernization combined with the influence of more sociologically-attuned world-system theories, from the Annales School to dependency theories. Because division of labor is central to this understanding of the global system, this approach often implicitly asserts the binary where the North plays the rentier role, commanding unproductive labor, or the circulation of capital, commodities, meaning, form and style, while the South is imaged as

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the proletarian, submitting to the rules of productive labor. As we can see, this tendency depends on a hegemonic center-periphery model, often associated with the larger conceptual cluster of “modernization” or “modernity” as understood to be moving from the European center to the peripheries (ranging from the smaller European nations to the colonies, etc.). An approach that foregrounds the unilateral and monolithic nature of globalization is contrasted with one that insists instead on the multidirectionality, unevenness and multiplicity of coexisting networks.11 From this horizon, we see the emergence of alternative circulatory paths and processes persisting under and among the dominant circulatory network, which can be either indifferent or resistant to the presumed one-directionality of global capital (both economic and cultural). The examples of such alternative networks include translocal or regional flows, or international networks specifically defined through their resistance to what is understood to be hegemonic in each of these contexts. Related scholarly models claim that a totalizing and static understanding of globalization that assumes the United States (and to some degree, Europe) as its center, even if it is to disrupt that centrality, still ignores too much12—for example, Brian Larkin’s work on the infrastructures of informal film circulation between India and Nigeria (the two largest film producers in the world, on any given year competing with Hollywood’s supremacy on the global market) and Barbara Klinger’s and Ramon Lobato’s work on informal—and often illegal—networks of circulation such as pirated DVD s. In an extension of such approaches, Bhaskar Sarkar has been “tracking global media on the outposts of globalization” that bypasses Hollywood, mapping flows between China and India. Sarkar provides a particularly useful explanation for this framework when he notes: The rhetoric of transnationalism does not guarantee the end of inequity and injustice: in fact, it frequently engenders new orders of oppression and exploitation. Thus it is important to ask: as we move beyond the space of the nation, on what basis do we forge new affiliations? . . . At stake is the creation of a transnational, global order comprising level interactions, horizontal constellations, and a more ethical politics. . . . Resurgent locales will contest existing hegemonies and new power alignments will come into being, producing new transnational elites and subaltern populations and creating fresh potentials for negotiations and struggles. How can media studies reconfigure itself to intervene effectively in this global field?13

While the notion of circulatory networks and its infrastructures is necessary for an analysis of a broader range of cultural phenomena within the transnational

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matrix,14 I insist that we still need to understand the cross-cultural processes that bring transnational dimensions within the parameters etched by particular national, regional or local boundaries. Rather than conceptualizing the movement that circulation entails and the networks it constructs, transnational approaches historically have had much to do with how we conceptualize the very nature of cultural processes and knowledge production, both in more abstract terms and in the particular terms of our own position as scholars within the academy. It is here that we can locate the second, crucial moment in our analysis: the importance of translation.

Transnational translation In the last two decades, translation practices have suffered a curious fate: the reality of producing translations, involving translators, texts and publishers, has suffered from academic downsizing, funding cuts, and a decline in the prestige of the translator’s activity. Yet, as a metaphor, translation is blooming, acquiring additional symbolic and conceptual weight as a means of describing a variety of cultural phenomena, and as an operational term used to understand any crosscultural and transnational exchange, circulation and collaboration. The term has been enlisted as a new conceptual apparatus not only for any practice of movement from one cultural semiotic space to another, or even as any act of intersubjective communication (from Martin-Buber–influenced philosophy of language to poststructuralist emphasis on nontransferability of meaning best known in the work of Barbara Johnson and Gayatri Spivak15), but also specifically for rethinking the power relationship entailed in all such processes, most notably that between the hegemonic West and subaltern cultural formations (such as in the recent work by Brett Neilson and Ned Rossiter16). I am not unsympathetic to the mission creep of “translation,” but I would like to juxtapose it with the state of conventional translation practices in order to understand what is intellectually at stake. It makes sense that given the literary/linguistic provenance of the term, the first significant body of scholarship to extend the notion of translation to cultural phenomena has been in the literary field, and in particular in Comparative Literature in the United States. Just as the field itself began facing questions of purpose and institutional survival, the conceptual framework of translation, perhaps best known through Spivak’s work, came to serve a variety of conceptual tasks. In its initial articulation (by Spivak and others), the scholarly engagement

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with a variety of languages in the original was an absolute prerequisite for the more symbolic process of cultural translation. Spivak’s Death of a Discipline is particularly programmatic in its insistence on the poetics of translation as uniquely able to bring attention to the relationship of non-equivalence as the very basis of this process: The new step I am proposing . . . would work to make the traditional linguistic sophistication of Comparative Literature supplement Area Studies (and history, anthropology, political theory, and sociology) by approaching the language of the other now only as a “field” language. . . . We must take the languages of the Southern Hemisphere as active cultural media rather than objects of cultural study by the sanctioned ignorance of the metropolitan migrant. . . . Indeed, I am inviting the kind of language training that would disclose the irreducible hybridity of all languages. As I have said elsewhere: “The verbal text is jealous of its linguistic signature but impatient of national identity. Translation flourishes by virtue of that paradox.”17

Spivak’s impassioned call for a poetics of translation was rooted in the centrality of textual analysis as the method (or “close reading” as it is better known in Comparative Literature). But the implications of translation as a methodology have gone far beyond this insistence on the centrality of literary hermeneutics to the institutional dimensions of these cultural practices. For example, as Emily Apter has pointed out, translatability is what governs the process of circulation of texts and art objects within the global market—and in so doing, is largely subject to the market forces that determine that circulation, themselves subject to geopolitical hierarchies.18 Indicative of how the term has been used in cultural scholarship, translation both metaphorically and metonymically stands for both cultural and economic flows shaping the dynamics of global exchange. The reality faced by the translator is that ideological preferences, which shape the market, determine which translation projects get funded, and what translations get distributed. Take, for example, the case of academic and literary texts that circulate in the classrooms of North American undergraduates. The prevailing assumption is that these will reflect codes of cultural and stylistic transparency, and most often, a particular (liberal) understanding of the issues surrounding multiculturalism.19 Translatability, then, must be seen as intrinsically linked to power asymmetries in the global market of knowledge production. Given the program of austerity that has descended on North American academic and literary publishing—where less and less is being translated—this question is of great importance to an analysis not only of the formation of canons within

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humanities education, but just as importantly, to the sustainability of a field such as Comparative Literature, with its particular pedagogical and research practices. However, it is not only in literature that the broader implications of translation practices to knowledge production and circulation are evident. Given this broad understanding of the intellectual and political work of translation, we can apply it to the performer, the professional intellectual, or the critic/theorist. What, we must ask, does it mean to become such a scholartranslator; how does one realize the dialectical potential of this particular practice? Surely it means understanding the current situation of the work of translation in the economy of global knowledge production. Jon Solomon, using Naoki Sakai’s concept of heterolingual translation, is pertinent here: [T]here is a both a constraining discipline and an emancipating politics of translation for those placed between the national class-structures and the global exchange-systems organized around what is called “the West.” In terms of a constraining discipline, intellectuals are called on to translate not just content specific to other cultures but, most important, the general rules of international exchange. Even as we, in our role as translators, adapt concepts and images to the needs of the local class structure, we are also contributing to the solidification of a segmented structure analogous to class in the emerging global-State. We can resent this role as translators, and then resent the whole “verbiage” of intellectuality which we have made into our trade; this sort of posture regularly leads intellectuals to privilege either a site of “real struggle” in “the outside world” while abandoning “theory” as a site of struggle altogether, or else to retreat into esoteric, aestheticized representations incomprehensible outside of a professional caste. Rather than adopting either of these approaches, which seem to me to preserve, in spite of great differences, the exceptional role of intellectuals as mediators and distributors of the heterogeneity between world and knowledge (a role that ultimately institutionalizes the role of elites, regardless of which side one is on, by denying the relative autonomy of specific social practices), we can instead set about using the tools of the trade to work against its normalized effects.20

Here, translation is posited as one of the rare examples of a positive and even prescriptive intellectual posture in the face of the perpetual discourse of crisis, the absence of alternatives and the violent mainstream polemic against utopian thinking. Its power derives not the least from its ability to link cultural processes, economic changes and geopolitical formations with theoretical and institutional developments and political imperatives. This power arms translation with a rare power to produce, from within the humanities, the conditions for true social

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critique. Building on Spivak’s insistence on poetics as a necessary part of the politics of translation, we must link the latter with the exposure of the social praxis of key institutions and economic structures. Despite the different solutions proposed by scholars who extend the notion of translation to a broader understanding of cultural and political processes, they share an emphasis on situating their operative theoretical paradigms in the sites, histories and economies of their production and institutional development. If one takes reflexivity to be a defining property of theory, and in so doing, preserves theory from easy assimilation into social formations such as our contemporary information economy, then reflexivity must be mediated by its own material and historical situatedness and an understanding of the very circulatory networks to which it belongs. It is in this spirit that we face the institutional situation of the academy and the disciplinary forms practiced there as constitutive of theorizing.

Institutional challenges Contrary to what we might expect, as film and media studies undergoes further institutionalization around the world, and the global movement of film and media scholars increases, knowledge production is becoming more standardized and driven toward English-language publications. In peer-reviewed journals, the language of Anglo-Atlantic film and media studies scholarship has become a credentialing mechanism creating insiders who have the tacit knowledge and discourse training in a particular mode of academic writing (in order for the discourses on cinema and media to qualify as “theory” or even “criticism” worthy of scholarly attention), and outsiders who lack one or more of the credentials of “expertise.”21 Scholarship based on and produced outside of Anglo-Atlantic academic work is therefore often perceived by the discipline at large as empirically-based, operating under distinct conceptual assumptions, interested in narrowly defined questions, and therefore, not relevant to the majority in the discipline. This perception often arises from the institutional contexts in which it is delivered. As others have argued before, a scholar working on a non-Anglo–Atlantic area, in order to reach the center of the discipline, has to undertake triple labor. Unlike a scholar discussing developments in American film or media, using a mainstream theoretical paradigm, who can “get straight to the point” of her research as it were, a scholar working on a different area of the world, using different theoretical

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material, has to spend a considerable amount of time and space setting up the unfamiliar historical and cultural context, involving a great deal of explanatory and descriptive work, identifying the key figures and culturally-specific conceptual paradigms. Finally, the scholar would need to place this in explicit relation to the more familiar (Euro-centric) material as another kind of a broader contextual framework (even if the work is not comparativist itself) in order to engage the readership beyond specialists in the geopolitical area the research belongs to. This entails not only additional labor, but also taking up space, often leaving little for the presentation of the original research (if this is an article, or in particular a research presentation at a conference). This places such a scholar in a double-bind, where her work risks being either incomprehensible to those beyond her specific area—therefore rendering the work unassimilable—or else giving the impression that the work is largely empirical, descriptive and with little “original” insight.22 This ritual of “credentialing” has of course been less rigid in the area studies, from which much “deep knowledge” of a variety of local experiences and languages have originated, and to which it ends up being relegated, making Area Studies at times a more welcoming space for scholars pursuing work on a broader range of geopolitical issues. And yet, one finds that the pressures of translation from the “local” conceptual idioms to the “dominant” language of theory, which is in line with the old imperial translatio, are not abated by the dominant cultural relativism, which such disciplinary divisions encourage. Dialectically, we observe that this model of geographic differentiation reinforces boundaries, produces more intensely upheld specialization, and is committed to the very separate ownership of knowledge that we started out trying to weaken. As a place for the contact zone in which translation becomes an emancipatory principle, this model is not the answer, especially in terms of its impact on our disciplinary practices at large. At the moment, vital scholarly work on non-Western material is rarely brought directly to bear on the dominant paradigms as they are practiced in our discipline. Instead, it gets relegated to specialized courses, conferences or edited volumes, supposedly of interest or relevance only to those students and scholars working on a particular geopolitical area, while the perceived “core” of the discipline—in particular, the formation of its methods of both theory and historiography—remain based on an almost exclusively Eurocentric body of audiovisual examples and conceptual paradigms. As a result, we are again risking falling back on the rigidifying of experience in the old identity-politics formats, severely limiting the chance to stage an

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engagement between “local” or “regional” forms of knowledge and their global or Eurocentric production in which translation operates as a moment of insubordination instead of as a policing mechanism. Naoki Sakai’s image of the scholar is exemplary in the way translation can ideally reverse and undo the polarity between insiders and outsiders. [Y]ou are always confronted, so to speak, with foreigners in your enunciation when your attitude is that of the heterolingual address. Precisely because you wish to communicate with her, him, or them, so the first, and perhaps most fundamental, determination of your addressee, is that of the one who might not comprehend your language, that is, of the foreigner.23

Beyond the philosophical position heterolingual address implies, it also places both theoretical and practical emphasis on language. But it is worth pointing out that institutional structures of higher education prevent this development. The very reason why work that focuses on translation in film and media (such as Ďurovičová’s or Nornes’ or others), despite its wide institutional recognition in practice, remains marginal to the discipline in terms of its application to the curriculum and active reshaping of what most of us teach as the fundamentals of film history is because “the language of cinema,” which presumably forms the literacy of a film scholar, is still perceived to be largely visual—and not graphic or aural, and certainly not directly linked to linguistic or literary formations. It is hardly surprising that the most influential aspects of sound studies as they impacted film and media remain those which leave behind any discussion of speech, dialogue or delivery (focusing instead either on music, or on broadly conceived soundscapes). The struggle for the autonomy of film (and media) from the institutional umbrella of language departments left a legacy of suspicion of any approach that is too far removed from the “moving image.” In fact, many film programs started and were staffed by faculty working on cinema from within language departments, and this continues to be the case for most of the smaller film and media programs. While these scholars did not always possess the specialized “film” knowledge, they also left behind the expectations of language and cultural competence (central to the use of film in foreign language programs) when teaching film courses to “film” students. Thus, instead of the “marriage” of the two disciplines, what often resulted was its hollowing out: even beyond the disciplinary distrust of attention to language and to the necessity of foreign language acquisition for film and media scholars (including beyond their possible “natural” bilingualism), the shortening of the expectations for the

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time to degree completion and increasingly high demands on publishing productivity make it virtually impossible to take on comparative transnational work that would be attentive to matters of language and perform the kind of translation necessary for the decentering of the current geopolitical paradigm. Given the lack of language training in the discipline, a key aspect of the material exclusion of other discourses on film and media that prevents any serious changes in the teaching practice is the continuously diminishing practice of publications of scholarly translations. The most common problem discussed in relation to this issue is the ubiquity of English as a lingua franca of the academic world, whereby all scholars need to publish and engage with Englishlanguage scholarship. Journals such as Traces, which attempt to publish in several languages, face what appear to be insurmountable difficulties—and even Canada fails to produce scholarship in both languages, with a divide between English and French-language scholarship further underlining the differences in the intellectual traditions rather than creating a dialogue between them. As a result of the continuing crisis in academic publishing and the replacement of literary translation practices with algorithm-based business translation, academic translation becomes more and more of a rarity, and very few publishers are willing to accept translated material. The job of an academic translator has been symbolically and economically downshifted. Very few academics see any benefit in doing the barely paid (if at all) academic translation jobs that garner no credit. The proliferation of online and digital platforms that could make translation work accessible world-wide opens an additional potential venue for collaboration and dissemination of translated work. Unfortunately, however, academic recognition has lagged behind the technology. The assessment form that still organizes the business of the disciplines continues to be driven by the single-authored manuscript published (on paper) with academic presses. This has blocked the obvious solution to the translation deficit—to make a space for translation work by qualified, committed, employed or employable scholars. Similar challenges face those scholars who discover that collaborative work may be best suited to tackle transnational projects and serious translation work. Having to invent the rules for such collaborations, we discover that they require a great deal of experimentation and intellectual and affective engagement. The labor that goes into collaborative work often goes unaccounted for by any measure of institutional value, making such work a “high risk investment” that only those who are most secure in the academic job placement can afford, while younger scholars (graduate students, underemployed or junior faculty struggling

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to meet the requirements for tenure) are ill-advised to take such risks. However, without finding a way out of this situation we—as scholars, as disciplines and as academic institutions—cannot move forward. Translation-centered work in film and media studies—understood in the sense I aimed to explore in this chapter—necessitates broader institutional changes as well as serious commitment on the part of scholars to both its theory and its practices. But with it comes the possibility of making good on many of the critiques and the promises of the last several decades.

Notes 1 For an exploration of the dynamics of translation as a conceptual framework, see, among others, Gayatri Spivak, Death of a Discipline (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003); Emily Apter, “On Translation in a Global Market,” Public Culture 13, no. 1 (2001): 1–12; Translation: A Transdisciplinary Journal, no. 4, special issue on “Politics,” edited by Sandro Mezzadra and Naoki Sakai (Rimini: Raffaelli Editore, 2014). 2 For greater elaboration on this part of my argument, see Masha Salazkina, “Introduction: Film Theory in the Age of Neoliberal Globalization.” Framework 56, no. 2 (Fall 2015): 325–349. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/ framework/vol56/iss2/5. 3 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 1992), 6–7. 4 Most notably in James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1997), 188–237. 5 Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone,” Profession 91 (New York: MLA , 1991), 33–40. 6 John Mowitt, Re-takes: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), Abé Mark Nornes, Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007). 7 Natasa Ďurovičová, “Vector, Flow, Zone: Towards a History of Cinematic Translation,” in World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, eds. Ďurovičová and Newman (London: Routledge, 2006), 90–120. 8 Ibid., 96. 9 Ibid., 96, 98. 10 See, for example, Toby Miller, Nitin Govil, John McMurria and Richard Maxwell, Global Hollywood (London: British Film Institute, 2001); Miller, Govil, McMurria, Maxwell, and Ting Wang, eds., Global Hollywood 2 (London: BFI Publishing, 2005);

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13 14

15 16 17 18

The Multilingual Screen Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe, eds., Empire and Film (Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); Grieveson and MacCabe, eds., Film and the End of Empire (Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillain, 2011); Charles R. Acland, Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003); Mette Hjort and Duncan Petrie, eds., The Cinema of Small Nations (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007); Marijke de Valck, Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007). Starting with Appadurai’s work, which drew attention to the fragmented nature of globalization, scholars such as Garcia-Canclini, Martin-Barbero and Walter Mignolo, among others, have all proposed different models for describing this phenomenon. See Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1996), Néstor García Canclini, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), Jesús Martín-Barbero, Communication, Culture and Hegemony: From the Media to the Mediations (London: Sage, 1993), Walter Mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking (Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2000). See Brian Larkin, Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2008); Barbara Klinger, “Contraband Cinema: Piracy, Titanic, and Central Asia, Cinema Journal 49, no. 2 (Winter 2010): 106–24; Ramon Lobato, Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Bhaskar Sarkar, “Tracking ‘Global Media’ in the Outposts of Globalization,” in Ďurovičová and Newman, eds., World Cinemas, 46–47. For a clear formulation of the position advocating for the notion of circulation as a primary conceptual paradigm, see Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, “Technologies of Public Forms: Circulation, Transfiguration, Recognition,” Public Culture 15, no. 3 (Fall 2003): 385–97. Difference in Translation, ed. Graham Joseph (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985). Brett Neilsen and Ned Rossiter, “Precarity as a Political Concept, or, Fordism as Exception,” Theory Culture Society 25, nos. 7–8 (2008): 51–72. Spivak, Death of a Discipline, 9. Apter, “On Translation,” 1–12. More generally, however, Apter’s work has also tended to emphasize the “untranslatable” qualities in a text as markers of geopolitical specificity necessitating close aesthetic and cultural analysis as a key methodology in comparative literature. See Emily Apter, “Untranslatables: A World System,” New Literary History 39, no. 3 (Summer 2008): 581–98.

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19 For an eloquent critique of this, see Shouleh Vatanabadi, “Translating the Transnational,” Cultural Studies 23, nos. 5–6 (2009): 795–809. 20 Jon Solomon, “Translation as a Critique of the West: Sakai, Agamben, and Liu.” Paper presented at “Culture and Politics” Summer University, Chihac, Auvergne, September 2–8, 2007, accessed May 2, 2013, http://phen.nsysu.edu.tw/culturalskin/ Translation%20as%20a%20Critique%20of%20The%20West%20_Chilhac-Solomon_.pdf. 21 This is what John Mowitt refers to as a “discursive price of admission” to the global debate on Eurocentrism itself. See Mowitt, “In the Wake of Eurocentrism: An Introduction,” Cultural Critique, no. 47 (Winter 2001): 3–15. 22 For a compelling description of this phenomenon in relation to scholarship on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and its institutional consequences, see Allaine Cerwonka, “Higher Education ‘Reform,’ Hegemony, and Neo-Cold War Ideology: Lessons from Eastern Europe,” Cultural Studies 23, nos. 5–6 (2009): 720–35. 23 Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 9.

Works cited Acland, Charles R. Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2003. Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1996. Apter, Emily. “On Translation in a Global Market.” Public Culture 13, no. 1 (2001): 1–12. Apter, Emily. “Untranslatables: A World System.” New Literary History 39, no. 3 (Summer 2008): 581–98. Canclini, Néstor García. Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995. Cerwonka, Allaine. “Higher Education ‘Reform,’ Hegemony, and Neo-Cold War Ideology: Lessons from Eastern Europe.” Cultural Studies 23, no. 5–6 (2009): 720–35. Clifford, James. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1997. de Valck, Marijke. Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007. Ďurovičová, Nataša. “Vector, Flow, Zone: Towards a History of Cinematic Translation.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman, 90–120. London: Routledge, 2006.

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Gaonkar, Dilip Parameshwar, and Elizabeth A. Povinelli. “Technologies of Public Forms: Circulation, Transfiguration, Recognition.” Public Culture 15, no. 3 (Fall 2003): 385–97. Govil, Nitin, Toby Miller, John McMurria and Richard Maxwell, eds. Global Hollywood. London: British Film Institute, 2001. Govil, Miller, Maxwell, McMurria and Ting Wang, eds. Global Hollywood 2. London: BFI Publishing, 2005. Grieveson, Lee, and Colin MacCabe, eds. Film and the End of Empire. Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Hjort, Mette, and Duncan Petrie, eds. The Cinema of Small Nations. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Joseph, Graham, ed. Difference in Translation. Ithaca. NY: Cornell University Press, 1985. Klinger, Barbara. “Contraband Cinema: Piracy, Titanic, and Central Asia.” Cinema Journal 49, no. 2 (Winter 2010): 106–24. Larkin, Brian. Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2008. Lobato, Ramon. Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Martín-Barbero, Jesús. Communication, Culture and Hegemony: From the Media to the Mediations. London: Sage, 1993. Mezzadra, Sandro, and Naoki Sakai, eds. Translation: A Transdisciplinary Journal, no. 4, special issue on “Politics.” Rimini: Raffaelli Editore, 2014. Mignolo, Walter. Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2000. Mowitt, John. “In the Wake of Eurocentrism: An Introduction.” Cultural Critique, no. 47 (Winter 2001): 3–15. Mowitt, John. Re-takes: Postcoloniality and Foreign Film Languages. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Neilsen, Brett, and Ned Rossiter. “Precarity as a Political Concept, or, Fordism as Exception.” Theory Culture Society 25, nos. 7–8 (2008): 51–72. Nornes, Abé Mark. Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. Pratt, Mary Louise. “Arts of the Contact Zone.” In Profession 91, 33–40. New York: MLA , 1991. Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 1992. Salazkina, Masha. “Introduction: Film Theory in the Age of Neoliberal Globalization.” Framework 56, Number 2 (Fall 2015): 325–349. Sakai, Naoki. Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

Translating the Academe Sarkar, Bhaskar. “Tracking ‘Global Media’ in the Outposts of Globalization.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman. New York: Routledge, 2010. Solomon, Jon. “Translation as a Critique of the West: Sakai, Agamben, and Liu.” Paper presented at “Culture and Politics” Summer University. Chihac, Auvergne, September 2–8, 2007. Spivak, Gayatri. Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. Vatanabadi, Shouleh. “Translating the Transnational.” Cultural Studies 23, nos. 5–6 (2009): 795–809.

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Seven Types of Multilingualism: Or, Wim Wenders Enfilms Pina Bausch David Gramling

Es kommt natürlich vor, dass es die Situation gibt, wo man nichts mehr sagen kann. Wirklich sprachlos ist. Ist nur ein Ahnbarmachen. Auch wenn ich Worte benutze geht es ja gar nicht um die Worte. Sondern um was ganz Bestimmtes ahnen zu lassen. Und ich glaube, dann fängt auch der Tanz wieder an. [It of course happens that there’s a situation where one can’t say anything more. And is truly speechless. There’s only a making-something-sensible. Even when I am using words, it’s not about the words. But rather about letting something very definite become sensible. And I believe that’s also when the dance begins.] —Pina Bausch, Pina (Wim Wenders, 2011) So instructs the first among a sparse array of spoken voiceovers spliced throughout Wim Wenders’ “3-D documentary” film dedicated to the dancetheater impresario Pina Bausch (1940–2009), who died suddenly of an undiagnosed cancer a few days before film production was scheduled to begin.1 The fact that dance is mentioned only in the last sentence of this opening statement foretells a film that is eager to teach toward a general anthropology of the body-in-language, rather than simply showcasing one dance company’s technical virtuosity. “It is not just some vague feeling,” Bausch once insisted about her dancers’ meaning-making work: “it is something absolutely precise. If you do it like this instead of like that, everything changes.”2 Despite this idiom of transformative precision, some reviewers of Pina saw the film’s elliptical claims (in nine languages) about meaning, love, craziness, language, shyness, strength, fear, fun, and “radical research” as offering too little substance to sustain true insight. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, for instance, scolded the film’s aphoristic 37

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use of spoken language, saying: “This is touching, but it leaves any analysis of [Bausch’s] creative process and the ideas that drove it shrouded in a mist of generality.”3 Indeed, the fact that in 2012 the British Academy of Film and Television chose to nominate Pina for its Best “Film not in the English Language” (my emphasis) raises a riddle at once cunning and mundane: What language is this film in? Does BAFTA’s awkwardly superlative, yet negatively delineated category—crafted so as to not have to call any film “Foreign”—give license to nominees like Pina to be something other than “in” “a” language? Taciturn, brusque and pulsing with what scholars of conversational pragmatics call “facethreatening acts,” the film’s array of embodied, three-dimensional illocutions onscreen may seem a more germane candidate for critique under the rubric “less-lingualism” than that of “multilingualism.”4 Indeed, Pina’s general inclinations toward language as a transactional tool appear suspicious, inappropriate, beguiled, even derisive—those of “a denier, a refuser, a troublemaker, an antediluvian, or a ditherer.”5 This phrase, from the Luxemburg-based theorist of education and plurilingualism Adelheid Hu, stems however from another linguistic context altogether—namely, from many scholars’ often crestfallen gaze, over the past fifteen years, on what is called the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Since its inception around 1996, the “CEFR ,” the Council of Europe’s “action-oriented,” technocratic model for assessing multilingual competence, has become the prohibitive template for ranking how well speakers have learned to carry out contextually appropriate tasks in new languages. Its implementation throughout and beyond Europe has been further accelerated by what Michael Byram and Lynne Parmenter call the “globalization of language education policy.”6 Between 2000 and 2010, roughly during the conception and production of Wenders’ Pina, Europe was host to the institutional roll-out of this Common Framework as the world’s first ever large-scale management system for producing, adjudicating and enfranchising multilingual individuals.7 Like other EU endeavors designed to shepherd industrial, commercial, and vocational compliance among its current twenty-eight member states, the CEFR is as detailed as it is visionary. While explicitly swearing off “prescriptivism,” the Framework nonetheless makes itself available as an assistive tool in determining the readiness of individual speakers for employment, naturalization, or continuing education in different member states, and has consequently begun to shape the socioeconomic base of Europe and its borderlands.

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To the extent that it has been successful in beginning to transform what (multi- and monolingual) speakers expect of themselves and one another, the CEFR is no longer the academic construct it was in 2001, nor is it an opt-in complement to language instruction like the ACTFL standards in the United States. Despite its often self-effacing diction, the Framework is no less than a constitution for the European speech community of the future, legally binding pursuant to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaties of the European Union as well as Articles 6 and 165 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union. Its large-scale performativity lies in bringing into being hundreds of millions of multilingual speakers who orient themselves to linguistic action according to certain principles laid out in the Framework’s Good Practices guidelines. A “Language Passport” has also been introduced, with which Europeans new and old can share evidence about their language competences as outlined in the CEFR . In this way, speakers—whether refugees, schoolchildren, modern dancers, vocational trainees or CEO s—can rely on the Common Framework’s sociolinguistic norms to provide them with a kind of “certificate of presence” in European languages.8 This continental “incitement to discourse”9 about multilingual competence has found critical reception in several contemporary films, ranging from Fatih Akin’s Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven, 2007) to Jasmin Dizdar’s Beautiful People (1999) and Yasemin Şamdereli’s Almanya: Willkommen in Deutschland (Almanya: Welcome to Germany, 2011). While these films explicitly thematize transnational migration, Wenders’ Pina is generally received as a hagiography for its namesake artist. Throughout their conversations and testimonies onscreen, none of the dancers thematizes linguistic difference, ethnicity, country of origin, life in Germany, or any other conspicuous topic of political or civic interest. Not even Germany itself is mentioned, nor any experience of geographic migration or displacement. Thus devoid, if not cleansed, of any truck with national or European discourses, Wenders’ film seems to cultivate for tanztheater a sovereign ethos of indifference toward contemporary categories of social and linguistic distinction. Yet, despite its apparent disinterest in pressing European topics like migration, superdiversity, and multilingualism, the film nonetheless lays ample ground for tracking a critique of the ideological positivism around multilingual competence that Hu and her colleagues find themselves up against in the CEFR . Pina’s establishing shot is of Julie Anne Stanzak, speaking German in an Anglophone accent that bespeaks her early career journey from the Minneapolis

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Children’s Theatre to the Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, and finally, to Wuppertal, where she has worked for thirty years. Her words in German, appropriated in the course of her own lifetime of transmigration, are spoken in the context of a dance that itself resembles a foreign-language learning task-genre, like “giving a presentation about the seasons.” Ludic, mnemonicgestural and repetitive, this first spoken utterance in the film—“Bald ist es wieder Frühling. Gras, klein. Dann kommt der Sommer” (“Soon it will be spring again. Grass, short. Then comes the summer”)—both introduces and epitomizes for the film a normative inter- and translingual ethos germane to its practitioners. Rudimentariness and parataxis, nonnative speech and accentedness, reiterative backtracking, solecism and paralogy nourish for the film an interlingual culture of meaning that is at once intent on precision and suspicious of explicitation. Wearing only an accordion around her neck, Stansak thus opens the film with an artisanal experiment in what Alison Phipps, echoing Judith Butler, calls “giving an account of researching multilingually.”10 In the film’s second voiceover testimony, one dance company member, Ruth Amarante, reports in English: “Meeting Pina was like finding a language finally. Before, I didn’t know how to talk. And then she suddenly gave me a way to express myself. A vocabulary. When I began, I was pretty shy. I still am. And after many months of rehearsing, she called me and said, ‘You just have to get crazier.’ And that was the only comment in almost twenty years.” Having emigrated from Brazil to Wuppertal in 1991, Amarante—like the vast majority of the Wuppertal company’s members—thus undertook not only an artisanal migration from shyness into “craziness,” but also that of an immigrant to Europe, subject to all of the everyday discourses of cultural and linguistic “integration” that predominate in a small, twenty-first-century German city. It is the task of this chapter to justify articulating these two contexts—Bausch’s “less-lingual” andragogy of the multiply enlanguaged body, and the European technocratic management of multilingual “social agents”—together, in terms of their contextual confluences and critical contemporaneity. To allow these two realms to become resonant with one another, it may be important to set aside the notion that Wenders’ film is “about modern dance,” while the CEFR is assumed to be “about language acquisition.” Ultimately, each of these two juxtaposed visions of multilingualism is designed for no less than universal humanistic applicability, claiming relevance far beyond the discrete functional domain expected to be its proper vocation and prerogative. Though I will not make the claim that Wenders’ film itself arranges for such an explicit juxtaposition as this,

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Pina nonetheless offers—indeed urgently insists on—an alternative account of the relationships between and among linguistic diversity, language learning, space, embodiment, ecology, emotion, struggle, and individual versus collective civic presence in contemporary European life. In contrast to these striving, failing, unruly “thinking bodies” onscreen in Pina,11 the “I can” statements that form the core idiom of the Common Framework envision pragmatic accomplishments and social victories such as: selecting an appropriate style (C1), entering unprepared to a conversation (B1), deal[ing] with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling (B1), present[ing] a clear, smoothly-flowing description (C2), developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion (C1), convey[ing] finer shades of meaning precisely (C2), or backtrack[ing] and restructur[ing] around the difficulty (C2).12 The normative contexts for displaying such multilingual communicative accomplishments are, however, almost always implicitly commercial or socioinstitutional, while the presumed epistemic goal is one of logical, structural exchanges of opinion, information, narrative and point of view. There are, for example, no “I can” rubrics among the CEFR in which privacy, feeling, emotion, silence, memory, failure, constraint, embodiment, pleasure, aesthetics, persistence, presence, authenticity or originality are up for aspiration or (self-)assessment. Its criteria are based on appropriateness—rather than, say, correctness, beauty or power of expression. Bausch’s terse advice to Amarante above—“You just have to get crazier”—seems, for instance, a disorderly and eccentric task when set among the amicable and enfranchising “I can” self-assessment rubrics of the Framework. Indeed, “becoming something else” or “becoming somehow other” are as such anathema to the ideology of additive multilingualism, which ultimately conserves the self-sameness of the subject against a confoundingly semiodiverse world. As a vision for civic being and commercial affairs, the CEFR prizes the logical conveyance of preexisting ideations through social transaction, rather than critical creativity or aesthetic combination as venues for intercultural transformation.13 Hard-won after decades of formulation and reformulation, the Framework perceives as its integral subject a specific kind of liberal individual acting in the world principally through an idiom of task success. Envisioned here is the rational actor on equal footing with all other rational actors, whose appropriateness in selecting words, styles and strategies derives only retroactively from the success with which he or she will have accomplished a given task. Reflecting back on conferences in the early 2000s where scholars had convened

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to review the new framework, Hu recalls, “The underlying concept of language was considered to be one-sidedly instrumental-functional; the aesthetic, affective, creative, moral and cultural dimensions of language and language learning seemed underdeveloped.”14 Philologists, pedagogues and philosophers of multilingualism in contemporary Europe, faced with the CEFR’s “dominant metaphors of quality, competence, modularization, autonomy, evaluation, standardization, efficiency, knowledge management and so on,” found themselves struggling against a positivistic mood of compliance and coordination around languages that, claims Hu, “scarcely anyone can resist.”15

Radical research in the Schwebebahn Pina thus debuted not merely into a world conditioned increasingly by what Yasemin Yildiz has termed “the postmonolingual,”16 but also into a European political culture that has been striving, against all odds, toward an orderly recalibration of the linguistic subjectivities of its superdiverse citizens, autochthonous and prospective alike. The idiom of social and transactional success at the heart of the CEFR and other contemporary programmatic formations around multilingualism is clearly a matter of some concern for Pina’s anthropological project around enlanguaged practice. The Italian-born dancer Aida Vainieri, for instance, “dances” in Pina a European contextual “task” that the

Figure 2.1 Pina (Wim Wenders, 2011).

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CEFR categorizes as “deal[ing] with situations likely to arise whilst travelling (B1).” When conceived through such a genre of social victory, Vainieri’s dance could indeed be described as “successfully using public transportation in a new cultural context.” The dance, which takes place in the moving car of Wuppertal’s famous suspended monorail, the Schwebebahn, dilates and defamiliarizes this B1-ranked task, evoking the feelings of strangeness, loudness, clumsiness, monstrosity and abjection that may tend to arise in intercultural encounters characterized by linguistic estrangement, bodily unruliness, epistemic vulnerability and power asymmetry. The silent and orderly sociality of the provincial monorail—embodied in the unmoved rectitude of Dominic Mercy, one of the Bausch company’s elders, seated in the Schwebebahn car’s rear seat— collides with Vainieri’s transhuman noise and rupture, as she “inappropriately” makes her way to an open row, faces forward and “integrates” into the anonymous crowd of transit commuters. Wenders’ film thus brings to the screen one among various constituencies of practitioners who are themselves now frequently subject to such systems of individuated multilingual self-management in Europe as the CEFR . In this sense, the more than forty dancers who feature as actors, speakers, and movers in Pina can be seen to mount a kind of class-action critique on behalf of multilinguals—artistically engaged or not—whose quotidian practices fail to correspond with the aspirational idiom of social success and coordinated commercial flexibilization at the core of the Framework. Is Pina then, as BAFTA suggests, a film not in the English language—or perhaps a film that aims to “disinvent and reconstitute” language multiplicity anew?17

Seven types of (whose) multilingualism? Spurred on by William Empson’s classic book, the following sections chart seven types of contested multilingualism at large in both the CEFR and in Pina.18 I suggest the notion of multiple types of multilingualism in order to highlight how multilingualism is being invoked and institutionalized in recent years, often in ways that are deeply contradictory to one another. More Bourdieusian “fields of relation” than discrete functional domains, these types converge and collide with one another in various moments and combinations of policy, cultural production, and scholarly method. They are not aspirational or ideal forms, but discursive planes on which divergent models of multilingualism are being played out by

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speakers and states alike. What establishes each as a consistent “type of multilingualism” is not its representational correspondence with actual speakers’ practices, nor—in most cases—its truck with any time-honored aesthetic, literary, poetic, artistic, erudite or experiential tradition of linguistic hybridity. Rather, these “types” each track one persistent trend in how the conceptual challenge of multilingualism is being used in contemporary political economies for a certain bundle of purposes. As each type of multilingualism charted out below represents a scene of negotiation rather than a hegemonic form, each also necessarily accommodates various forms of critical resistance. Wenders’ Pina, with its aggressive noncorrespondence to the technocratic slogans of the day,19 offers a kind of Vorschule der Äesthetik (Nursery of Aesthetics) in these seven contested types. As such, the film may be seen as promoting a normative counter-doctrine to those inherent in both the globalization of language education policy and the corresponding implementational turn in multilingualism studies.20 As aspects of each of these types have been explored already in this chapter thus far, the following offers only a brief enumeration and recapitulation.

1. Artisanal multilingualism Most of the dancers in Pina grew up in or beyond Europe’s borderlands and migrated to the small German city of Wuppertal in hopes of becoming part of Bausch’s company. Daphnis Kokkinos, one of the company’s dancers featured in the film, remembers leaving Athens after graduating from dance school: “I was on the train for three days,” he says. “When I arrived, I hadn’t shaved, I’d hardly eaten. I was terrified—I didn’t know anyone. But I found my way to Pina’s studio, knocked on the door, and said, ‘Good morning, I’m Daphnis from Crete.’ ”21 Another dancer in the film, Ditta Miranda Jasjfi, arrived in Wuppertal in 1989 from Jakarta, where she had been studying Japanese literature. Like most of Bausch’s dancers, Jasjfi spent months studying German and dance in Wuppertal at the local community college before being invited to audition for the Tanztheater.22 Damiano Ottavio Bigi moved from Rome to Cannes at age thirteen, then on to Wuppertal, where he remembers Bausch asking him in his audition to complete tasks unthinkable in the political economy of the CEFR , including to “transform an object into another thing, to be afraid of not succeeding in doing something, [. . . to make] a repetitive movement and find a reason for stopping it, to love a part of your own body.”23

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The dancers’ translingual migration stories extend ecologically, epistemologically and affectively—beyond the proper parameters of audition, practice and dance—into the ambient social experiences of integration culture and institutional multiculturalism in Germany, including visa, naturalization and right-to-remain pressures, many of which are now keyed to language learning in ways that they had not been in the 1990s.24 In this vein, the film inevitably plies at the contours of what Bourdieu called “the field of cultural production” in the age of multilingual technocracy.25 By filming in nine languages, spoken by dancers who made their way to Wuppertal from seventeen European and non-European countries, Wenders—and Bausch before him—restages a transnational Academia polyglotta that variously tests, agitates and elides presumptive contemporary models of multilingual citizenship, such as the CEFR . Yet, as the New Orleans Times Picayune’s review of the film suggests, artisanal interventions such as those bodied forth in Pina often register in broader public discourse as willful obfuscation: “They speak with vagueness and what sounds an awful lot like meaningless dancer-speak.”26 This disgruntlement, in turn, corresponds to broader pressures—in a culture of “multilingual verbal hygiene”—for decoding, unveiling, and “plain language” in the face of linguistic estrangement.27 Increasingly, then, artisanal multilingualism causes rupture and frustration amid the technocratic pursuit of translingual transparency.

2. Cofinanced glossodiversity Recent work on multilingual cinema in the context of Europeanization has encouraged critics to trace the production histories of individual films, paying close attention to which national stakeholders and transnational institutions have contributed which funds, personnel and language(s) to the film’s overall enterprise and political aesthetic.28 Thus, it has become common practice in studies of filmic multilingualism to understand institutions of coproduction like Eurofonds as exerting a certain kind of auctorial role in the development of a film’s linguistic palette—that is, which languages are afforded what proportions of narrative time.29 Pina’s production company Neue Road Movies seems indeed to epitomize this type of cofinanced glossodiversity, partnering with Paris-based Europwide Film, ZDF, theaterkanal, ARTE and international sales distributor Hanway Films. Based in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, Neue Road Movies’ web presence characterizes itself, in English, as a company “dedicated to working with

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innovative directors,” and focused on “international co-productions with a crossover potential.”30 The fact that its promotional materials, including the various film titles it has commissioned, are in English only, obscures the linguistic provenance and cultural politics of the films themselves. In this, Wenders’ film appears to follow Philippe van Parijs’s theory that the lingua franca or “maximal minimal language” of English provides Europe with the best platform for a “justificatory community” or “transnational demos.”31 Given the relative sparseness of spoken dialogue in Pina, and the fact that voiceovers (instead of live dialogue) accompany images of the dancers as they give testimonials, one suspects that several of Wenders’ production decisions indeed speculated on linguistic “crossover potential,” including the potential to arrange for aesthetically frictionless dubbing and to deemphasize complex multispeaker dialogue. Yet, in foregoing any discourse of the national or even any mention of “country of origin” in the depiction of individual dancers’ testimonies, the film elides the tendency of cofinanced glossodiversity to do implicit language lobbying work for its funders.

3. Coordinated-market multilingualism While following the money has become standard analytical practice in the era of cinematic Europeanization, it has been less self-evident that critics ought also perhaps to trace how onscreen language practices reflect contemporaneous ideologies about coordinated-market multilingualism itself, i.e., about prevailing institutional directives for how state citizenship in coordinated-market economies ought to be tied to certain virtues of linguistic or communicative subjectivity. In its technocratic bid to optimize interinstitutional equilibrium in Europe by flexibilizing multilingual labor, the CEFR can be understood as an artifact of coordinated-market multilingualism.32 The movement pieces in Pina are themselves enmeshed in this set of questions about the speaking subject and her relations of asset specificity in coordinatedversus liberal-market economies. One scene, featuring dancers Fabian Prioville and Azusa Seyama, takes place in an abandoned depot of Wuppertal’s Oberbarmen train station, constructed in 1847 and serving as a major hub for goods transfer to Solingen and Dortmund, until its partial destruction in the Second World War—though regional goods transport continued through the station until 2006. Seyama appears on the depot platform, proudly flexing her “I can” biceps before the camera, until it is revealed that her arms are, in fact, folded

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behind her back, while Prioville’s own arms are extended out and upward, yielding a classically narcissistic image of brawn and productivity. Along with the compound body of the two dancers, the historical and commercial context of the performance—an abandoned goods-transit depot—parodies the gendered neoliberal fetishization of the individual as entrepreneurial competencemachine. The conjoined caricature, composed of the two bodies of the Japaneseborn Seyama and French-born Prioville, disbands into a partnership as the two disappear down the train platform.

4. Free-market multilingualism On the extreme end of the CME to LME spectrum is free-market multilingualism, or what I refer to as translational monolingualism. This model has become a major force in the globalization, localization, internationalization and translation of content in the last twenty-five years, prizing the efficient translatability of monetized intellectual property across linguistic frontiers. In an effort to derive capital from diverse linguistic markets, producers seek dynamic and instantaneous translation conduits for the conveyance and capital-optimization of their goods. Translational monolingualism has had adverse consequences for the auteur cinema of directors like Wim Wenders, whose scripts and aesthetics often do not translate easily into the languages of a roster of ostensibly monolingual end-user audiences around the world.

Figure 2.2 Pina (Wim Wenders, 2011).

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For her part, Pina Bausch took a particular stance on this question of free-market multilingualism, while traveling the world curating her often text-heavy tanztheater performances for diverse linguistic audiences. Bausch required her dancers to learn their lines in the local language where they were performing, thus augmenting and/ or taxing their already dilated artisanal multilingualism. The dancers report learning and performing extended passages in Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, Brazilian, Korean and Japanese as well as Spanish, Italian, French, German, Dutch, Polish, Russian, English, Turkish, Greek and Hungarian. In this way, Wuppertal dancers become embodied artifacts of the infinite conceits of free-market multilingualism. Like pencil-artists copying print pages by hand, their arduous acquisition or replication of one foreign language after the other, according to the dictates of their tour schedule, makes a performance piece out of the mnemotechnics of global machine translation. In this, Bausch enlists her dancers’ somato-cognitive practices to dramatize the “cruel optimism” of free-market multilingualism.33

5. Semiodiversity Now that multilingualism is no longer researched in terms of experiential, literary or cognitive phenomena alone, but is also a trending supernational policy platform, semiodiversity—Halliday’s 2002 term for the diversity of “meanings” rather than a mere diversity of “codes” for identical meanings (glossodiversity)—should be promoted from a technical heuristic to a largescale principle for policy and methodology.34 Wenders’ unwillingness to deliver unequivocal glossodiverse content in the “plain language” expected of a documentary reflects his investment in what applied linguists explores under the aegis of multimodality and linguistic landscape.35 Pina is a disorientingly multimodal film, in that its production confounds distinctions between dance and film, movement and dance, special effects and bodily capacity, diegetic and nondiegetic music, staging and splicing, place and nonplace, structure and desire, institution and affect, documentary and feature, narrative and collage, private and public, labor and work, and civic and creative selfhood. Jean Sasportes’ dance with a barking dog, in front of a thirty-meter-long advertisement banner that reads, inexplicably in any language, “Dollar Kongress Jona Vanitas Arche Tasche Leben Fleisch Kollaps Galaxis Reise Migration Stück Kleider,” attempts to undo the truism that art is opaque while other forms of public and commercial meaning volunteer themselves in legible, clear language. Such hybrid, multimodal linguistic landscapes throughout the film obfuscate

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viewers’ decoding efforts—not only by aesthetic design, but also by virtue of the recalcitrant and multiscalar indexicality of semiotic diversity in public space.

6. Allegorical multilingualism As in Vainieri’s Schwebebahn piece discussed above, the dancers frequently engage in dance as a medium for evoking a story about communication, noncommunication, translation, meaning and failure at meaning. Indeed, each of the movement phrases featured in Pina can be read as indexing an experience or struggle with the kind of translingual communication that constitutes the daily life of the company’s dancers in and beyond rehearsal. Yet Bausch was clear about the limit and the abuse of allegory: “I think it can only work if we avoid anything explicit—anything where we see something and we all know what it means. We think, oh, this is a sign for that: you know it in your head. But if we avoid this and if the audiences are open to experience or feel things, I think there is the possibility of another kind of language.”36 We may note, here, not only incredulity about attempts to decode dance as informational transaction, but also about allegorizing multilingual practices in general. In this, Bausch insists on preserving in tanztheater a principle of semiodiversity and untranslatability37 that, as yet, has no operative epistemic role in the Common Framework.

7. Less-lingualism Few of the voiceovers or testimonies in Pina are informational in nature, but rather tend toward the evocative-dogmatic, reinforcing the imperative mode of the film’s marketing tagline “Dance for love.” Testimonies from dancers are presented in slow, parsimonious interludes, as a single company member’s face is displayed not motionless but in repose, while her prerecorded testimony is played in voiceover. Testimonies are presented in nine languages without any mediating or metalinguistic intervention other than (optional Germanlanguage) subtitles. This restrained recourse to language, as we have seen with the film’s reviews in the New York Times and the Times Picayune, have given rise to the contention that the film offered too little for an analysis of Bausch’s creative process. The diversity of spoken languages onscreen leads to a sense of net loss, of inadequacy for critical coherence. This leaves us with the question of

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whether critique is itself presumed to be a monolingual enterprise, and whether multilingual approaches to documentation, critique, or analysis are ultimately fated for rejection as “less-lingual” than required for rigor and insight.

Conclusion: dazzling but distant Still in its early stages of interdisciplinary theorization, multilingualism often continues to enjoy the status of a free-floating, do-it-yourself abstraction. No-nonsense, positivistic accounts of it hold that “you know multilingualism when you see it,” while recent critical approaches have begun to consider the more adverse experiential and occluded epistemological aspects of multilingual subjectivity. Interdisciplinary scholars from Blommaert et  al., Halliday, Makoni and Pennycook, Heller and Duchêne, and Pavlenko in applied linguistics,38 to Noorani and Lennon in comparative literature,39 and Kramsch and Jessner in Second Language and Intercultural Studies,40 have enumerated the ways in which various notions of multilingualism are competing with one another for uptake, not only in the scholarly sphere but in governance and public policy as well. Beyond its “documentary” duties, Pina doubles as an ethnographic echochamber in which contemporary, competing and often programmatic models of multilingual subjectivity are allowed to tumble and collide, though these are seldom thematized in the film in a technocratically legible idiom. It may then be precisely Pina’s “mist of generality,” as A.O. Scott archly describes it, that offers a broad and agnostic space for critics, teachers, learners, speakers, citizens, theorists and artists to query: what do we want from a concept like multilingualism, in a late capitalist era in which state actors have so assiduously discovered and operationalized language diversity for specific managerial ends? In an age when multilingualism is under increasing pressures to become both domestic and profitable for neoliberal economies, Pina re-invests in its ancient prerogative to be indeed both “dazzling [and] distant.”41

Notes 1 The author wishes to thank the Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG ) for its members’ helpful feedback on an early version of this project, presented at their annual meeting on June 2, 2015, at the University of

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3 4

5

6

7

8 9 10

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Ottawa. Additional support was kindly provided by the Translating Cultures program of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC ) of the United Kingdom. This chapter is particularly indebted to the patient and dazzling critical friendship of Tawona Sithole, Gameli Tordzro, Cecelia Densua Tordzro, Grazia Imperiale, Nazmi Al-Masri and Katja Frimberger. Nadine Meisner, “ ‘Come Dance with Me’: Interview with Pina Bausch,” The Pina Bausch Sourcebook: The Making of Tanztheater. Royd Climenhaga, ed. (London: Routledge. 2013), 174. A.O. Scott, “3-D Tribute to Artistic Impulse,” New York Times (December 21, 2011). This notion of less-lingualism stems from a series of panels at the 2013 German Studies Association Conference, organized by David Martyn and Till Dembeck, titled “Mehrsprachigkeit—Weniger Sprachigkeit. Literatur jenseits der einen Sprache” (“Multilingualism vs. Less-Lingualism: Literature beyond One Language”). See also Alison Phipps, “Unmoored: Language Pain, Porosity, and Poisonwood,” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1, no. 2 (2013): 96–118, particularly p. 98. On implicature, see H. Paul Grice, “Logic and Conversation,” Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3, eds Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan (New York: Academic Press, 1975), 41–58. On face-threatening acts, see Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson, Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). Adelheid Hu, “Academic Perspectives from Germany,” The Common European Framework of Reference: The Globalization of Language Education Policy, ed. Michael Byram and Lynne Parmenter (Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2012), 66–75. On the globalization of education policy as pertains to additional-language learning, see the introduction to Michael Byram and Lynne Parmenter, eds., The Common European Framework of Reference: The Globalization of Language Education Policy (Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2012). Eve Haque’s work on Canada’s Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (established in 1963) illuminates another large-scale state effort to cultivate bilingual citizenship, which long precedes the CEFR . The Council of Europe’s endeavor, incorporating twenty-four member-languages, is however a distinct innovation realizable only in a super-national context. See in particular Chapters 3 and 4 of Eve Haque, Multiculturalism within a Bilingual Framework: Language, Race, and Belonging in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012). Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981), 5–6, 87. Michael Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), 18. Alison Phipps, “Linguistic Incompetence: Giving an Account of Researching Multilingually,” International Journal of Applied Linguistics 23, no. 3 (2013): 329–41.

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12 13

14 15 16 17 18

19 20

21 22 23 24 25 26

The Multilingual Screen Judith Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005). “Instead of talking heads, they are thinking bodies, reflecting on the influence of their mentor.” A.O. Scott, “3-D Tribute to Artistic Impulse,” New York Times (December 21, 2011). Council of Europe, 2012, n.p. Darla Deardorf, for instance, notes the absence of the concept of the “intercultural speaker” or “intercultural mediator” in the CEFR , despite “the condition of many people in postmodernity, whose identities and identifications are far less simple than those promoted by identification with nation states.” See Darla Deardorf, “Intercultural Competence in Foreign Languages,” The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence (Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage, 2009), 326. Hu, “Academic Perspectives,” 68. Ibid., 72. Yasemin Yildiz, Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012). Sinfree Makoni and Alastair Pennycook, Disinventing and Reconstituting Languages (Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2006). William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity (New York: New Directions, 1966). For a parallel project to the current chapter, see also Martina Schwalm, “Es war mir ein Anliegen, das Geheimnis nicht zu lüften: Sieben Formen von Unübersetzbarkeit in Ilija Trojanows Der Weltensammler,” Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Germanistik, no. 6 (2015): 62–80. See Barbara Schmenk, Stephan Breidbach and Lutz Küster, eds., Sloganizations in Language Teaching. In preparation. Michael Byram and Lynne Parmenter, eds. The Common European Framework of Reference, 2012. On the globalization of education policy, see Roger Dale’s eight-part elucidation of this process in Roger Dale, “Specifying globalization effects on national policy: a focus on the mechanisms,” Journal of Education Policy 14, no. 1 (1999): 1–17. Mackrell, n.p. Eva Mariani, “Dancing and Making it in the World,” Jakarta Post (August 9, 2012). Giuseppe Distefano, “Damiano Ottavio Bigi: ‘Il mio incontro con Pina.’ Il danzatore italiano del Wuppertal tanztheater si racconta,” Danza (January 22, 2013). David Gramling, “The New Cosmopolitan Monolingualism: Linguistic Citizenship in 21st-Century Germany,” Die Unterrichtspraxis 42, no. 2 (2009): 130–40. Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature, trans. R. Swyer (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), 1. Mike Scott, “Modern Dance Doc is Dazzling But Distant,” The Times Picayune / NOLA.Com (March 1, 2012).

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27 Deborah Cameron, “ ‘The one, the many and the Other’: Representing multi- and mono-lingualism in post-9/11 verbal hygiene,” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1, no. 2 (2013): 59–77. 28 See in particular Mark Betz, Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), and Randall Halle, The Europeanization of Cinema: Interzones and Imaginative Communities (Champaign, IL : University of Illinois Press, 2014). 29 This concept of “European Cultural Dis/Union” stems from a symposium on the topic at the University of Pittsburgh, 21–22, February 2014, convened by Randall Halle. 30 Neue Road Movies. “About Us.” Accessed 17 July 2015. http://neueroadmovies.com. 31 Philippe van Parijs, Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 14, 24. 32 The Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) debate among political economists over the past fifteen years has sought to discern whether globalization has fomented competition or rather collusion between, on the one hand, coordinated national market economies (in European states like Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland) and liberal market economies (like the United Kingdom and the United States). According to VoC theory, firms and institutions in coordinated market economies (CME s) reach equilibrium through strategic coordination and specific assets, while liberal market economies (LME s) do so through ad hoc contractual relations and switchable assets. The question for our context—that is, what is the relative asset specificity of language— depends on the kind of language that is envisioned. While English or German might generally be presumed to be asset-unspecific, and therefore, predisposed to promote LME mechanisms, the English or German in question must be a flexibilized, task-efficient language rather than, say, “meaningless dancer-speak.” Bob Hancké, Debating Varieties of Capitalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 4. 33 The first paragraph of Lauren Berlant’s book Cruel Optimism offers several lines of thought that illuminate Europe’s complicated striving to produce a kind of universal trilingualism among its citizens, along with a corresponding new ideal of the speaking citizen. Particularly, the last sentence in the passage that follows may well characterize the unwieldy technocratic positivism that has taken hold since the CEFR’s ideational moment in 1996. “A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. It might involve food, or a kind of love; it might be a fantasy of the good life, or a political project. It might rest on something simpler, too, like a new habit that promises to induce in you an improved way of being. These kinds of optimistic relation are not inherently cruel. They become cruel only when the object that draws your attachment actively

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34 35

36 37 38

39

40 41

The Multilingual Screen impedes the aim that brought you to it initially.” Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism (Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2011), 1. Michael Halliday, “Applied Linguistics as an Evolving Theme,” Plenary Address to the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée, Singapore, 2002. See Gunther Kress, Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication (London: Routledge, 2010), 79. See Jan Blommaert, Ethnography, Superdiversity, and Linguistic Landscapes (Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2013). Meisner, “Come Dance With Me,” 173. Emily Apter, Against World Literature (London: Verso: 2013), 3. Michael Halliday, “Applied Linguistics”; and Jan Blommaert, Sirpa Leppänen, Päivi Pahta, and Tiina Räisänen, eds., Dangerous Multilingualism: Northern Perspectives on Order, Purity and Normality (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). See also Alexandre Duchêne and Monica Heller, eds., Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and Profit, (London: Routledge, 2013); Aneta Pavlenko, Emotions and Multilingualism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Yaseen Noorani, “Hard and Soft Multilingualism,” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1, no 2. (2013): 7–28; Brian Lennon, In Babel’s Shadow: Multilingual Literatures, Monolingual States (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Claire Kramsch and Ulrike Jessner, eds., The Multilingual Challenge: What is at Stake? (Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2015). Mike Scott, “Modern Dance Doc,” 2012.

Works cited Apter, Emily. Against World Literature. London: Verso, 2013. Berlant, Lauren. Cruel Optimism. Durham N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011. Blommaert, Jan. Ethnography, Superdiversity, and Linguistic Landscapes. Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2013. Bourdieu, Pierre. The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature. Translated by R. Swyer. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984. Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Byram, Michael, and Lynne Parmenter, eds. The Common European Framework of Reference: The Globalization of Language Education Policy. Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2012. Cameron, Deborah. “ ‘The One, the many and the Other’: Representing multi- and mono-lingualism in post-9/11 verbal hygiene.” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1, no. 2 (2013): 59–77.

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Council of Europe. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Council of Europe. “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR ).” (2012) Accessed 10 April 2015. http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre1_en.asp. Deardorf, Darla. “Intercultural Competence in Foreign Languages.” The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage, 2009. Distefano, Giuseppe. “Damiano Ottavio Bigi: ‘Il mio incontro con Pina.’ Il danzatore italiano del Wuppertal tanztheater si racconta.” Danza (January 2013): 22. Duchêne, Alexandre and Monica Heller, eds. Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and Profit. London: Routledge, 2013. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol 1. Translated by Robert Hurley. London: Vintage Books, 1978. Gal, Susan. “The Political Economy of Code Choice.” In Codeswitching: Anthropological and Linguistic Perspectives, edited by Monica Heller, 245–64. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1988. Grice, H. Paul. “Logic and Conversation.” In Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3, edited by Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan, 41–58. New York: Academic Press, 1975. Halle, Randall. The Europeanization of Cinema: Interzones and Imaginative Communities. Champaign, IL : University of Illinois Press, 2014. Hancké, Bob. Debating Varieties of Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Haque, Eve. Multiculturalism within a Bilingual Framework: Language, Race, and Belonging in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012. Hu, Adelheid. “Academic Perspectives from Germany.” In The Common European Framework of Reference: The Globalization of Language Education Policy, edited by Michael Byram and Lynne Parmenter, 66–75. Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2012. Kress, Gunther. Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. London: Routledge, 2010. Lennon, Brian. In Babel’s Shadow: Multilingual Literatures, Monolingual States. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Mackrell, Judith. “Pina Bausch Forever.” The Guardian (August 9, 2010). Makoni, Sinfree, and Alastair Pennycook. Disinventing and Reconstituting Languages. Bristol, UK : Multilingual Matters, 2006. Mariani, Eva. “Dancing and Making it in the World.” The Jakarta Post (August 9, 2012). Meisner, Nadine. “ ‘Come Dance With Me’: Interview with Pina Bausch.” (1992) In The Pina Bausch Sourcebook: The Making of Tanztheater, edited by Royd Climenhaga, 167–78. London: Routledge. 2013. Noorani, Yaseen. “Hard and Soft Multilingualism.” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1, no. 2 (2013): 7–28. Pavlenko, Aneta. Emotions and Multilingualism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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Pennycook, Alastair. Language as a Local Practice. London: Routledge, 2010. Phipps, Alison. “Unmoored: Language Pain, Porosity, and Poisonwood.” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1, no. 2 (2013): 96–118. Rosello, Mireille: “Rudimentariness as Home.” In A Companion to Comparative Literature, edited by A. Behdad and D. Thomas, 312–32. Chichester, UK : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2011. Schmenk, Barbara, Stephan Breidbach and Lutz Küster, eds. Sloganizations in Language Teaching. In preparation. Schwalm, Martina, “Es war mir ein Anliegen, das Geheimnis nicht zu lüften: Sieben Formen von Unübersetzbarkeit in Ilija Trojanows Der Weltensammler.” Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Germanistik 6 (2015): 62–80. Scott, A.O. “3-D Tribute to Artistic Impulse.” New York Times (December 21, 2011). Scott, Mike. “Modern Dance Doc is Dazzling But Distant.” Times Picayune/NOLA.Com (March 1, 2012). Smith, Alison, “Codeswitching and the Representation of Multilingual Europe in La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937) and Joyeux Noël (Christian Carion, 2005).” Journal of Romance Studies 10, no. 2 (2010): 37–52. Teffer, Peter. “E.U. Fights to Get Everyone Speaking Same Language on Education.” New York Times (March 16, 2014). van Parijs, Philippe. Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Wahl, Christoph. “Discovering a Genre: The Polyglot Film.” Cinescape: Independent Film Journal (January–April 2005). Williamson, John. “Democracy and the Washington Consensus.” World Development 21, no. 8 (1993): 1329–36. Yildiz, Yasemin. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.

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Post-anthropocentric Multilingualism in Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image: An Interview with T.J. Demos Tijana Mamula

T.J. Demos is an art historian and critic whose writings have explored the place of migration—as an individual experience, an object of representation and a geopolitical condition—in modern and contemporary art. Demos’ first book, The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp (2007), traced the impact of the artist’s “geopolitical homelessness” on both his aesthetics and his political and ethical resistance to nationalism, religion and other forms of regimentation. Among other productive insights, Demos reflected that Duchamp’s experience of linguistic displacement impinged not only, for example, on his frequent language games, but also on the formal construction of less openly linguistic works, such as Network of Stoppages (1914), which can be seen to derealize and virtualize signification. Demos further expanded on the concept of geopolitical homelessness in The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis (2013), investigating the representation of “mobile lives” within various contemporary moving image practices, including the work of Steve McQueen, Emily Jacir and Hito Steyerl. Here, too, his readings broached related questions of language, the destabilization of which can be felt in the artists’ speculation on the uncertain status of truth and meaning, and thus their reconfiguration of the very concept of documentary representation. Though Demos’ recent research has nominally moved away from the subject of migration, his writings on postcolonialism and political ecology continue to be informed by language and its various problematizations in the contemporary realm. The choice to conduct this interview for the present collection was born not only in response to Demos’ original reflections on art’s relation to linguistic difference, but also from a keen awareness of the potential productivity, within 57

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academic film studies, of an expanded dialogue with contemporary artists’ moving image and the art criticism and theory devoted to it. In the following conversation, Demos traces a lineage of contemporary art’s engagement with multilingualism— from John Akomfrah’s Handsworth Songs (1986) to recent essay films by the Otolith Group—and provides insight into such disparate issues as Hollywood’s cooptation of surrealism’s multilingual impetus into the “monoculture of neoliberal subjectivity and capitalism,” and the ways that moving image artists are experimenting with the linguistic implications of speculative realism and objectoriented ontology. Most significantly, perhaps, Demos’ reflections on art and post-anthropocentric philosophy urge us to remap the very domain of filmic multilingualism by opening it up to the existence of nonhuman languages. *

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Tijana Mamula: I’d like to start by asking you, very broadly, where you think the place of multilingualism lies in contemporary art, and especially in those moving image practices most closely related to filmmaking and the history of film? T.J. Demos: When you think about multilingualism and film in relation to contemporary art, there’s one context that comes to mind immediately, which is the work of Black Audio Film Collective. They were working in the 80s and 90s, so it’s not exactly contemporary art anymore, but I think they set an important precedent for a number of interesting contemporary art practices. There’s an essay by Kobena Mercer—“Diaspora Culture and the Dialogic Imagination”— that discusses the work of the Black Audio Film Collective, Isaac Julien and other filmmakers of the 80s and 90s. Mercer draws on Mikhail Bakhtin and his fundamental semiological insight that language itself is always a shared medium, and the meaning of words depends on use and context. Bakhtin would say that the meaning of a word is always half someone else’s, so the meaning of language is always the product of this dialogical encounter between people. That’s a fundamental example of the multilingualism of language. But conservative forces—like, in Bakhtin’s time, Stalinism—would attempt to direct language back into a monocultural framework, for example, in the service of nationality. There had to be a national language that would unify people, and would assert the power of the governing structure of that authoritarian regime. So Bakhtin’s dialogical imagination, his articulation of multilingualism, was posed against the monolingualism of authoritarian forms of power. And this is something that was

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developed also within the Black Audio Film Collective, particularly in relationship to diaspora and migration. Between the 60s and 80s, migration became a powerful presence in Britain, so there were rising conflicts in relationship to social, political and economic inequality between British governing structures and the postcolonial populations living in the UK with differentiated relations to power and privilege in this strongly class-based society. And there was also a real sense of multilingualism in terms of different people, who came from Subsaharan Africa or from the Caribbean, speaking different dialects of English. That was the larger framework in which Black Audio, in works like Handsworth Songs (John Akomfrah, 1986), started investigating these forms of diversifying the notion of identity and releasing it from any kind of essentialist presumption, and of moving away from the monolingual entrapment of power that existed in that moment, especially during the Thatcherite 80s. They tried to establish the space for an equality of multilingualism within different kinds of communities, like BritishJamaican or Sikh or Afro-British migrant communities, and to democratize and open up the possibilities of a more egalitarian space in which language could function in a diversified, multicultural and politicized way. I think that has prepared the ground for a number of practices today. TM: Do you think those politics of multilingualism, and monolingualism, are still as relevant in British art today? Because obviously migration and diaspora remain important forces in British culture, but the specificities of the migratory movements, the entire geopolitical panorama, has drastically changed. TJD : The issues have developed and the analyses that are going on today are, I think, even more specialized than during the time of Black Audio. In terms of contemporary practices, one particularly relevant example is Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s work. He comes out of Goldsmith’s Visual Cultures and Centre for Research Architecture, and his work is about an investigation of the point where language and migration come together in relation to European governmental power and the various border agencies. He tries to map out this structure in which, when asylum seekers come to Europe, they come from certain conflictridden areas, and thus need to be successful in their asylum claim (which has reached new levels of intensity with the waves of Syrian migration in the summer of 2015). One way that governments like the British verify the claims of asylumseekers is by testing their speech and performing dialect analysis. For example, if someone is Somali, which area of Somalia do they come from; do they have a

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Northern accent or a Southern accent? And verifying that claim can determine the success of their asylum application. Hamdan’s work analyzes these structures and all the faultiness of the procedures that underlie them. Another interesting aspect, which you learn from his work, is that many of the language analysts are from corporations that come from outside of the country and that have been privatized. In other words, these language services are performed by privately operating corporations that are hired by the British or French or German governments, according to new Schengen-implemented policies. So an asylum seeker will, while they’re in containment, have to have a phone conversation with someone who is testing them to try to verify if their accent matches the place where they say they’re from. This is an example of a contemporary mode of the control of language, a form of auditory biopolitics that regulates multilingualism according to national priorities. Some of these foreign languages have been accepted, and allow for migration, and other kinds of language mean that the migrant will be sent back to his or her place of origin, not allowed into the country, or kept in a control center. So failing this test by someone who is hired by a privatized language analysis corporation can have, as you can imagine, really awful ramifications for people. But how many analysts in these private corporations are familiar with the subtle dialects that exist in places like Sudan, or Somalia, or Ethiopia? It’s absurd that they can presume to have the authority to make these judgements, but they do, or they try to, because it’s a commodified service. This is an example of how the relationship between language and power—which Bakhtin identified almost a hundred years ago—has been updated, especially in relation to nationality and migration. It’s been specialized, with the help of new technologies, and subjected to governmental power, in these very insidious ways. TM: That’s such a violent policing of speech. In Hamdan’s case, the work seems to be largely about documenting and analyzing these, as you say, insidious practices, and so it approaches the politics of multilingualism in a very overt way. Are there examples of contemporary art that are working with these issues in less direct ways, or developing them into a more theoretical aesthetic discourse? TJD: Hamdan’s work, which is sometimes shown in installation form, sometimes in a documentary video presentation, is maybe the most explicit way these concepts can be brought up within a form of contemporary research video practice. I do think there’s still more experimental ways in which multilingualism and contemporary art are coming together today, and it is being pushed in new

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directions within certain recent philosophical developments, like speculative realism and object-oriented ontology. Briefly put, these developments are addressing the question “How can we move beyond a form of anthropocentrism that sees language as uniquely the possession of humans?” This gets very speculative, but for example, what would a nonhuman language be? If there are subjects within the world that could be considered nonhuman agents— like Bruno Latour or Donna Haraway, for example, have argued—then how can we register their language, how can we listen to the nonhuman? And how can we have a different form of community composition or socialization that isn’t anthropocentric and that would allow for different voices to emerge? In that sense, contemporary art offers a space where notions of post-anthropocentric multilingualism can be experimented with, to overcome other areas where language is being increasingly regimented, militarized and technologically controlled in terms of the analysis of speech patterns. TM: So who are some of the artists working with these notions at the moment? TJD : One example is the Otolith Group, and in particular, their film Medium Earth (2013). For that project, they went to California to investigate geological activity in relationship to earthquakes. The film attempts to make the camera sensitive, as far as possible, to the visual, auditory, and even metaphysical signatures of geological formations and their movements and articulations. In a way, the video becomes itself a medium to listen to or witness the reverberations of the geological. So the earth becomes a medium for language, for a kind of nonhuman signification. The video also brings in people from that area who claim to be sensitive in their body to geological disturbances or geological formations. When there’s an earthquake in a certain part of the world, an earthquake-sensitive person might claim that they’ve had a premonition of that earthquake felt in a certain region of their body. For example, experiencing a pain in their arm or leg could mean that there is earthquake activity in South East Asia or California. Their body maps onto the world: they’re earthquake-sensitives, and they feel the indexes of these earth movements physically. In another way, you could say that they’re in dialogue, that this is again a post-anthropocentric form of communication, between humans and nonhumans, or between people and the earth. TM: That’s a really interesting articulation of how language can be conceived in general—as something closely bound to the registering of traces on a material,

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affective level. It approaches the psychoanalytic, or at least, Freudian conception of language, as a kind of mediation of perceptual traces and events that spreads between the subject’s consciousness and the more corporeal dimension of the unconscious. TJD : Yes, and in this case, language corporealizes geological movements. The term anthropocentrism is a key one within theoretical debates right now, especially as we enter into the current ecological crisis that has come after centuries of thinking that human beings are sovereign and autonomous, and can do basically whatever they want with nature. That exploitative rationality is increasingly being questioned today by people who want to move away from the placing of the human at the center of all things. Shifting to a post-anthropocentric formulation would mean opening up language to the nonhuman, because that is one of the ways that anthropocentrism has been defined: the uniqueness of the human is that human beings are the sole possessors of language. Which turns out to not be the case according to many people who study the language of animals or the language of forests or the language of nonhuman, non-animal life forms. Medium Earth is a great example of that. Another one is Forest Law (2014) by Ursula Biemann and Paolo Tavares. In that work, Biemann and Tavares investigate the Ecuadorian Amazon in relationship to indigenous rights and the exploitative practices of oil companies like Texaco (which became Chevron in 2001). Texaco operated in Ecuador for a couple of decades, and left behind toxic waste byproducts of oil extraction within the rainforest area. So one recourse for people like the indigenous Ecuadorians, including the Serayaku, featured in the film, or environmentalists, is to mobilize a new form of legality, which is called “rights of nature,” and which Ecuador and Bolivia have both added to their constitution and legal system. Instead of viewing the environment as a form of property for the exploitation of humans, which is how law traditionally defines it, in the rights of nature discourse—or, as it’s called in these countries, the “rights of mother earth”—nature itself can have legal standing, can be a subject within a court of law, and can defend its right to exist and subsist in a biodiverse form without interference from destructive human activities. In other words, there’s a recognition of the legal subjecthood of nonhuman life forms. So the question then becomes: if nature is accorded legal subjectivity, how can it testify for itself in a court of law? How can it speak, in a legal sense? What Forest Law investigates is, precisely, this: how can we shift the system of forensics, the system of speaking truth within a legal environment, the language of truth within a legal situation, so that nature can represent itself?

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TM: That actually reminds me of the recent copyright debacle involving the photographer David Slater and the macaque that accidentally used his camera to take what were, essentially, selfies. In the end, the US Copyright Office ruled that no works produced by nature, animals or plants, or by machines without human intervention, are subject to copyright. So the macaque both “won,” in the sense that the photographer couldn’t claim the copyright for himself, and “lost,” in the sense that the ruling completely excluded all nonhuman subjects from the copyright discourse. And it certainly didn’t give the macaque a voice within the court of law. TJD: It’s clear from countless examples that nature is becoming increasingly intertwined with the juridico-political system, especially as the line that separates the human from the animal is questioned and revised or rejected. Law can be a defense against the radical proposals of philosophy that challenge the exceptionalism of the human; or it can be a pathway to extend legal sovereignty to the nonhuman, as with rights-of-nature discourse, which is a fascinating development in earth jurisprudence and actually-existing law, as in Ecuador and Bolivia. If, as the anthropologist Eduardo Kohn argues, life itself, as in nonhuman nature, exists not only materially, but also as a complex form of signification, wherein plants “speak” to insects, which interpret their signals and respond appropriately, then in that case, the web of life comprises a vast network of multilingual expressivity. Whether or not we humans try to legally assert our monopoly over language, that ultimately won’t stop signification from occurring and developing according to the complex ecologies of the natural world. TM: To step away from the legal issues, and go back to the more aesthetic considerations you’ve brought up, I’m fascinated by your comment that Medium Earth hinges on the camera, the medium itself, registering geological movements and formations. It seems to me that while, in one way, these recent practices are investigating the idea of according subjectivity to nonhuman life forms, in another way, they’re exploring the implications of bypassing human subjectivity—human perception and language—altogether. TJD : The idea of desubjectification has a lot of resonance today, especially in relation to the inquiries of post-anthropocentric ontology. There’s a process of desubjectification where human vision loses its grasp, its capture of the material object, as an object for itself, an object for the human. The object becomes something that, in a way, is beyond human perception. This is also very Lacanian,

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in terms of the Real, understood as that which is unsymbolizable. There are films today that seem to be articulating exactly the process of what happens to human perception when the object that is within its gaze is no longer possessed by human vision, or constructed according to a subjective perception. I’m thinking of Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia (2011), which shows the end of the world, and by implication, the end of humans, even while the camera continues to film the Earth’s destruction from a distance. Who is filming, and who is perceiving here? Steven Shaviro speculates about what a perception would be when there’s no human around to perceive it. In other words, what happens to matter, what happens to the world, when there’s no one around to see it? And what happens to cinematic imagery? This is addressed in other places as well, like the Otolith Group’s film The Radiant (2012), where they investigate the conditions of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima and how it created a zone of toxic contamination that excluded the human. They explore what it means to have a cinema within the exclusion zone, which by definition is an anti-anthropocentric, anti-human perceptual reality—a form of the real that is not about human symbolization. Within the speculative realist formation, Eugene Thacker has written about— in his book In the Dust of This Planet—the relation between this notion of the real that is beyond the human, of the world for itself that is not the world for us. He brings together melancholia, the Real, and a kind of posthuman perceptual or even ontological condition, and asks how we can map that in relationship to different cultural forms—in his case, horror film, and certain forms of death metal, and extreme musical forms. Another example is Ray Brassier’s book Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction, which is exactly about what extinction means for human perception. What does perception mean when we’re faced with a real that by definition excludes us, excludes lifeforms? How can we think the unthought, how can we think that perceptual reality at a time when no one will be around to see it, or to think it? As an analyst of visual culture, these are valuable resources to help think through the conditions of existence today, and how artists and cultural practitioners are taking up questions that enter the terrain of the post-anthropocentric. It’s crucial to consider such issues, as it is precisely the anthropocentric condition that has gotten us into so much trouble historically, responsible for instance for the massive climate crisis we find ourselves in right now, which has much to do with Western society’s attempts to endlessly appropriate natural resources as if they were infinite, as if we were at war with nature. What would a post-anthropocentric human form of life be? Artistic practices can help us think through such a question.

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TM: Which is also, of course, a question of how we can speak that reality, that real. Your reflections are also making me think about drone imagery, as something that again comes from a nonhuman entity, from something that can so easily slip out of human control and assume a kind of vision, and thus a language, of its own. In that sense, what does it even mean to have seen such images, and how do they become a part of our own symbolic matrix? TJD: Absolutely. Harun Farocki’s film work is particularly interesting in that sense, in that it analyzes this mechanization of perception within surveillance systems or drone technology—the militarization of perception in a way, which produces a new matrix of vision that is about destroying the other, or controlling ourselves visually, but has become separated from human control itself, even while it concerns the control of human culture. Farocki analyzes the automization of a certain kind of technological perception, put to task within militarized fields of operation, where to see is also potentially to kill—a new necropolitics of media intertwined with global conflicts over fossil-fuel resources and geopolitical fields of national security and economic interest. Farocki is also a relevant figure because, having come out of television, he’s crossed disciplines and has seen firsthand the developments in the technology of the televisual, moving, for instance, from broadcast media directed at consumerist networks to militarized remote-sensing satellite data controlling distant territories half-way across the globe. His work is a point where film studies and television studies transform into the new media analysis of militarized security systems under global neoliberalism. TM: And he’s also, of course, someone who worked within and innovated the form of the essay film. It occurs to me, in fact, that many of the artists you write about, specifically in relation to migration and its linguistic ramifications, can be situated within the tradition of essay filmmaking. Do you see that as a form particularly suited to exploring some of these issues? TJD : The essay film creates a space of heterogeneity that isn’t just essayistic, it’s not just verbal or written language, it’s also visual. And it’s about the interaction of these two fields, where each impacts and modulates the other, continually. In that sense, it’s a space of multilingual construction: that is its very fundamental basis. Various practitioners, from the Otolith Group to Ursula Biemann or Oliver Ressler, are attempting to put the verbal and visual fields together within the

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constructive process of essay filmmaking. Hito Steyerl also discusses this idea, in terms of what she calls the traveling image—an image formed under continual displacement—characterizing a visual site of endless transformability. And she poses the political question of what kind of world that leaves us with, which is something I’m also very interested in, both in terms of critical analysis of current conditions, and the creative resources of political resistance. When you have words, images and languages that are subjected to continual forms of displacement, that have become what I call migrant images, how do you have any notion of documentary truth, and any recourse to political speech? How do you have any notion of the stability of meaning with which to mount an argument? For Steyerl, the point is that the idea that you could lose the stability of meaning under these conditions of migration is based on the false assumption that there ever was a form of grounded, stable truth within the earliest moving image practices. That itself is a kind of myth. So the only certainty within documentary practice is the very uncertainty of its various languages, which are continually evolving in relationship to one another within the internal construction of the film, and its different forms of distribution and recycling, its translations or re-appearances—in galleries and museums, and online. Still, that seems to be the very logic of neoliberal commercial exchange, and it’s increasingly obvious that we can’t celebrate this condition without becoming complicit in the economic system that exists, so how can we reestablish the link between language and the sociopolitical context that speaks it? How can we gather political traction around the multilingual space of resistance, around the aesthetics of social movements, which could empower transnational alliances to resist neoliberalism and its catastrophic climate change? This is an imperative I’m trying to address in my current work. TM: I’d like to go back to one of your earliest concerns, the art of Marcel Duchamp. For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp is the intuition that the evidence of his many linguistic displacements doesn’t just emerge verbally—in the language games, for example, of the Rendez-vous postcards—but is also translated into other formal experiments that, at a superficial glance, have only a tenuous link to language. That sort of extrapolation of the formal bind between the visual and the verbal is, I think, exactly what has been lacking in film studies literature, in the thematic or literal approach that it’s tended to adopt to filmic manifestations of multilingualism. So I’m wondering whether you see any Duchampian legacy in certain contemporary video artists—Laure Prouvost comes

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to mind as an example—whose work is both clearly informed by linguistic issues, and formally underwritten by surrealistic or Dadaistic strategies. TJD : It’s true that work like Prouvost’s is borrowing from surrealism, or a certain kind of surrealism, but perhaps because my own engagement has become more motivated by politics, I find that her work reduces into a kind of formalism of deconstruction, and surrenders political meaning. Things that were once done in the Cabaret Voltaire now continue in contemporary practice within gallery contexts. There’s an endless production of false newness within contemporary art that serves the market and institutions, ultimately in conservative ways. Of course, there are many different models of surrealism, and I’ve always been interested particularly in the Bataillean model, which had a radical aspect or function in the 1930s and 40s, within that period of hyper-nationalism and burgeoning Fascism and bourgeois idealism—all of which Bataille was struggling against. But I don’t see much work today that possesses a radical value in following that model. I think that work that investigates the abject, or base materialism, or forms of transgression, like Ryan Trecartin’s, is generally self-contained and largely disengaged from the wider world we’re living in. My view comes partly from the fact that I’m increasingly interested in work that can gain some sense of political relevance outside of these places of artistic specialization and market-friendly productions. The geopolitical, rather than the uncanny, is what has become more and more the lens through which I look at art or experimental culture. So it’s hard to think of anything that is mobilizing surrealism today in a way that isn’t just a production of strangeness or artificial weirdness for consumer-friendly shock value. I think one example of a kind of neo-surrealism would be Pierre Huyghe’s Untitled (2011–12), the piece he made for Documenta 13. There were arguments made that part of the critical aspect of the work is that it challenges representability, that it demonstrates we’ve moved into a postrepresentational reality (which can evade capitalist capture), and his work encapsulates or advances the politics of the postrepresentational. But I find it deeply ironic that that was one of the most well-represented pieces that visualized Documenta 13. Maybe I’m being unfair, and maybe there are examples where the contributions of surrealism still somehow, even in a transformed way, inform the conditions of the present. But I see surrealism most visibly in the continued advance of ever-intensified forms of spectacle, in the negative Debordian sense. Hollywood is the greatest inheritor of surrealism.

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TM: So where does that leave the multilingualism of surrealism, which was so fundamental to its development? TJD : In terms of multilingualism, surrealism was radical in the sense that it was taking on the insights of Freudian psychoanalysis in disrupting the monolingualism of the subject and exploring language in terms of the unconscious process. There’s an unconscious element running through language that is also the reason why, in Bakhtin’s sense, the word is always half someone else’s. That other could also be the unconscious. We’re never in complete control of ourselves. And surrealism was always dedicated to investigating that lack, that loss of the controlling subject, by releasing unconscious elements. The result was a heterogeneous, multilingual subject, caught between consciousness and unconsciousness. So where does that go after surrealism made these advances? I think that a relevant film to cite here would be Adam Curtis’s documentary The Century of the Self (2002), which investigates Freud’s nephew, the so-called father of public relations, Edward Bernays. Bernays developed the commercial “art” of marketing by using, one could argue, Freudian techniques of manipulative visual culture, which we’re now living with in terms of the domination of advertisements. So I think this heterogenous multilingualism that surrealism developed for radical purposes has been captured within the culture industry, in terms of the ever more intense and manipulative spectacular reality of publicity and marketing, where language, and especially its unconscious realm of desire, fear and anxiety, is colonized and instrumentalized to serve consumer capitalism. In short, the multilingualism of the experimental avant-gardes has been appropriated and put to task for the monoculture of neoliberal subjectivity and capitalism. We end up with the profit-obsessed and consumerist language of what Foucault called homo economicus: the fundamentally economic subject of neoliberalism. Of course, there are many sites of discourse that continue to offer counter-models to this one, but even advanced education, the public sphere, independent media, diffused internet-based discourse, which to some degree continue to support forms of independent speech, have seen their critical margins of maneuverability corroded by capitalist interests. If one made an argument for surrealism today it would be how to invent new forms of resistance to its neoliberalized mechanism, how to engage a radical, anticapitalist purpose that joins with social movements beyond the limited specialization of artistic practice or film culture. That remains the ambition, and increasingly, we can see that it’s the very status of life today that is at stake.

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Cinephilia as Multilingualism in The Artist (2011) and Blancanieves (2012) Mary Harrod

For all the scholarly attention cinephilia has of late commanded, it is relatively rare to see the phenomenon paired with linguistic models. Rather, as Thomas Elsaesser has pointed out, its recent rise to favor as a critical concept has been facilitated by the falling from grace since the 1980s of what he calls “psychosemiotic” approaches to analyzing film and spectatorship.1 Yet among the many attempts to define cinephilia beyond abstract pleasure, as something rooted in the filmic encounter, one that stands out as persuasive is Paul Willemen’s allusion to “an activation of complicity”—a formulation whose closeness to communicative and linguistic theories is apparent.2 Indeed, Elsaesser reverses the classic model whereby semiotics is seen as antagonistic to approaching the “[supposedly] sublime”3 pleasures of cinephilia, when he proposes that: [. . .] if one factors in the temporalities of love and the trepidations of possible disenchantment, then Christian Metz and Roland Barthes are [. . .] key figures not only in founding (semiologically inspired) film studies, but in defining the bi-polar affective bond we have with our subject, in the sense that their “I love // no longer // and choose the other // in order to learn // once more // to love myself ” are [sic] the revolving turnstiles of both cinephilia and its apparent opposite—semiology and psychosemiotics.4

The present analysis proceeds from a similar apprehension of the points of contact that bind cinephilia and linguistic understandings of cinema, which it will aim to demonstrate. Specifically, I argue that comparing cinephilia to the notion of cinematic multilingualism can reveal the significance of both concepts. Of course, multilingualism is usually associated with language systems proper (langues), as opposed to the relatively universally recognized “grammar” of the primarily narratological “language” (langage) model applied by Metz to cinema.5 69

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It is with some trepidation that I have opted here for a less literal interpretation of the term as one pertaining to film “language”—the same sort of metaphorical sleight of hand effected by Hamid Naficy in his well-known discussions of “accented” cinema—as opposed to spoken cinematic dialogue, given the relative under-theorization of the latter in favor of the former in film studies.6 Nonetheless, this essay seeks not to reproduce outdated methods of insular textual analysis, but rather to attribute to the notion of filmic discourse some of the same performative qualities assignable to spoken language, and in so doing to contextualize it as a communication medium between sites of production and reception in ways that are historically specific and meaningful. When linguistics does appear at least spectrally in accounts of cinephilia, it is most often linked to concepts of cultural hybridization. Thus, while for Elsaesser cinephilia “is not simply a love of cinema,” but is “always already caught in several kinds of deferral,” including “a detour in space and place,”7 Jenna Ng invokes the influence of Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of “dialogism” on theories of intertextuality, in film as well as literary studies, as a prelude to her analysis of how “the film experience of viewers today—a crucial driver of contemporary cinephilia—has become fluently transcultural in reception and unprecedentedly global in appetite.”8 Unprecedented though the recent acceleration in the globalization of film culture may be, cinephilia itself as both tradition and coinage points to the history of such intermingling.9 In other words, cinephilia offers itself up as a useful point of entry into a longer history of cinematic—and, by extension, cultural—globalization. Not only does the term come originally from French, but also Willemen, Colin MacCabe and Antoine de Baecque all still, decades on from the politique des auteurs, position the phenomenon unapologetically in a French context.10 While this may be overstating matters—and scholars including, in addition to Elsaesser, Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener, as well as Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb, have problematized this nostalgic perspective—their analyses remind us of cinephilia’s “always already” hybrid status.11 The two films whose recent international success has inspired this essay, The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, France/Belgium/USA , 2011) and Blancanieves (Snow White, Pablo Berger, Spain/France/Belgium, 2012), speak readily to the notion of cinematic multilingualism, conceived at the level of discursive codes. The 2011 Oscar-winner for Best Film, The Artist recounts the story of a Hollywood silent-era star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), rejected by the studio with the advent of sound, who nearly drinks himself to death before being rescued by amorous “talkies” starlet Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) and embarking

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on a second career in musicals. Released one year later, Blancanieves reimagines the Snow White story set in Andalucía and featuring Carmen (Macarena García), the daughter of a paralyzed toreador who follows in her father’s footsteps when she flees her wicked stepmother Encarna (played by well-known actress Maribel Verdú) and joins a troupe of bullfighting dwarfs. Encarna later murders Carmen by sending a poisoned apple to her in the ring as a compliment for her performance. While it did not achieve anything like the box-office success facilitated by The Artist’s Oscar win, Berger’s film was the toast of the 2012 Spanish Goya Awards and benefited from moderately strong international circulation elsewhere (covering more than twenty-five territories), no doubt with an eye on domestic DVD markets.12 Where these films distinguish themselves from other highly textually transnational cinematic narratives is in their eschewal of spoken dialogue, through a return to the conventions of silent cinema. In the case of The Artist, this allows the national identity of its French stars to be suppressed—at least, in the case of Dujardin, until the film’s only spoken, final scene—along with the production’s predominantly Gallic status as a whole. Thus, English intertitles are chosen to accompany a narrative whose pastiche allusions to early and classical Hollywood are legion; even the accents on Bérénice Bejo’s first name are elided in the credits. By contrast, Blancanieves blends caricatured elements of Spanish folklore and culture with the cinematographic techniques and iconography of European modernism, further wearing its hybridity on its (heavy black lace) sleeve by retaining Spanishlanguage intertitles, duly translated via subtitles for international territories— another factor in its somewhat more limited marketability. Both films also refer fairly explicitly to Wilder’s cinephilic Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, USA , 1950), through a forgotten, aging star and a corpse in a swimming pool, respectively. This is particularly significant in that Sunset Boulevard is itself a cinephile’s film, set in the margins of an Old Hollywood that provides the motor for its central drama of obsolescence and misunderstanding.13 Baptiste Roux, writing in the journal Positif about The Artist and Blancanieves, as well as Portuguese director Miguel Gomes’ less widely distributed silent feature Tabu (Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France, 2012), rather than seeing such retrospection as a nostalgic reaction against the digital cinematic revolution, suggests that “[t]he international public and critical acclaim with which these films were met poses questions about the endurance of a certain formal grammar, which the spectator seems to reappropriate like an un-learnt language whose syntactical structures are perfectly preserved in memory.”14 Roux’s statement

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foregrounds the pertinence of linguistic models for these films, which might superficially appear to be non- or perhaps prelinguistic texts. The silence of the films in fact amplifies the resonance of their reliance on a language of filmic signs, allowing The Artist to disguise effectively and Blancanieves to advertise ostentatiously the multiplicity of their transnational cinematic codifications, through formal choices of mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound, narrative organization and stars. Perhaps the most obvious way in which the films are multiply coded, though, is in their inscriptions of temporality. Elseasser has suggested that cinephilia can be divided into two major historical strands. For him, “take-one cinephilia”— now derided by academe as “an uncritical buffism, condemned alongside the guilty pleasures of scopophilia, voyeurism, and fetishism”15—was prominent in the 1950s and 1960s and associated substantially with the journal Cahiers du cinéma and its politique des auteurs. “Take-two cinephilia,” in contrast, designates the postmodern, contemporary variety, also linked to DVD viewing and fan cultures, and typically foregrounds a critical propensity, especially visible in films that invite cinephilic engagement, to imaginatively recreate the historical past, putting it in dialogue with the present.16 At first blush, The Artist and Blancanieves might appear throwbacks pandering to the tastes of classic cinephiles. The dialogic element of Hazanavicius’ film in particular is subtle; the film was typically received as a fairly “straight” pastiche of past forms, right down to the use of the iris mask to frame some shots—even if these forms are somewhat syncretically blended, as we move with chronological randomness between editing jokes typical of 1920s and 1930s slapstick (the intertitle “Bang!” follows a shot of Valentin with a gun in his mouth, but precedes the reveal that the sound is only Peppy crashing her car as she hurries to the rescue) and (somewhat ironically deployed) Hitchcockian menace, as in a late, tension-building sequence accompanied by the score from Vertigo (1958). Dujardin himself meanwhile describes his performance as a mixture of Douglas Fairbanks, Gene Kelly and “a little bit of Jean-Paul Belmondo”—that “little” French bit being a subject to which I shall return.17 There are nonetheless instances where an ironic distance that squares with the contemporary sensibility creeps in. One example is the depiction of Hollywood as exploitative and inane, powered by selling novelty, good looks and celebrity gossip. Hence the explosive success of sound films at the expense of the expressive qualities of silent cinema, while the perkily pretty Peppy’s own trajectory is signaled to be a function of contingency, as she comes to public attention when she happens to be photographed with Valentin. The casting of

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John Goodman as the Hollywood studio boss is also significant, providing a link to Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1991 indie classic Barton Fink (UK /USA ). This further embeds The Artist in US cinephilia at the same time that it ironizes that tradition, since the Coens’ film envisions Hollywood as a hellish space in which John Turturro’s lonely screenwriter Fink is tormented by Goodman’s cheerily psychopathic insurance salesman, in a performance whose energy comes to bear on his incarnation as a mogul here. However, the film’s most highly worked seam of temporal playfulness arises from questions of gender. Hazanavicius’ previous film series OSS117 (2006 and 2009), also starring Dujardin, sent up 1960s-era chauvinism through a pastiche of Bond-esque classic French spy films. The Artist is less parodic; however, a plot that recasts Sunset Boulevard’s narcissistic Norma Desmond as the male “hero,” and allows him to be rescued from physical harm by a woman, is in no small way revisionist in the context of silent films—notwithstanding the verisimilitude of Peppy’s incarnation of the model of sassy female stardom dominant in 1930s Hollywood. The gesture of giving the finger made by Valentin’s female co-star, faced with his casual misogyny as he monopolizes the audience after a film screening at the start of the narrative, is meaningfully anachronistic. Equally, the marked dislocation of Peppy’s legs from the rest of her body during a sequence in which Valentin spots her dancing, her upper body hidden by a screen, and copies her movements, is surely a knowing comment on the issue of the fragmentation of the female body in classical cinema as well as the sexualization of women’s legs, specifically in the historical chorus line. Blancanieves is, if anything, more promiscuously referential and altogether bolder in its recasting of historiography and archetype. A heightened Spanishness arises most obviously from a narrative informed by Iberian folklore—not only is Carmen’s father a bullfighter, but her mother is a Flamenco dancer seemingly based on the early star Imperio Argentina, who also appeared in films, giving rise to an intermittent, often frenetic Flamenco motif in the score. Additionally, grotesque stylistic details such as leering audiences at a bullfight, emphasized by the use of curved lenses and low angles, are traceable back to the national literary tradition of the esperpento. Specific references are equally abundant. For instance, the first section of the narrative follows in a line of Spanish films whose protagonist is a little girl, historically a device employed to represent, in broad terms, a point of view diametrically opposed to that of patriarchal Francoism as well as, in some cases, to escape censorship. The most famous example of this trend, Víctor Erice’s El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive, Spain

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1973), is further invoked by the young Carmen’s drawing of a man’s face in sand, recalling a similarly roughly-fashioned wooden cut-out in the earlier film. Elements of fantasy and fairy tale, as well as secondarily the insistence on female suffering in the film, also recall the more recent transnational Spanish-language hit El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro, Spain/Mexico/USA 2006). The aestheticization of that suffering, and its creepy eroticization, as when Encarna’s henchman kisses Carmen instead of killing her while she is being strangled, is meanwhile one of numerous homages to the films of Luis Buñuel contained in the narrative, which also include the casting of Ángela Molina, the star of Cet obscur objet du désir (That Obscure Object of Desire, France/Spain, 1977), in the role of Carmen’s grandmother, as many Spanish and international critics recognized. Buñuel is, of course, a highly transnational Spanish cinematic export—or rather exile—best known abroad, as the above reference suggests, for films made in a French context. However, the allusions to European modernist art cinema do not stop there, but rather encompass everything from German Expressionism, which is—along with Abel Gance—perhaps Berger’s most frequently acknowledged influence, to La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game, Jean Renoir, France, 1939), in a notable hunting sequence involving Carmen’s stepmother Encarna, via Carl Theodor Dreyer (the ecstatic-cum-agonized emotion translated by extensive close-ups of the female protagonist’s face). In accordance with its channeling of the European avant-garde, from the 1910s and 1920s (when it is set) through to the 1970s, at least, as opposed (with occasional exceptions) to early and classical Hollywood, the film is considerably more formally ostentatious than The Artist. This is itself a badge of cinephilia to the extent that the latter has tended to be a feature of cultures that valorize formally experimental cinema, even if this is no longer by any means the dominant strand of the phenomenon. Additionally, many of the battery of devices enlivening Blancanieves become ostentive by virtue of their anachronistic links with modernist cinemas. Thus, alongside such classic silent cinema devices as irises (again), the film exploits avant-garde techniques from the aforementioned distorted lenses and unusual angles to a blended diegetic and nondiegetic score, swooping camera movements, and high-speed montages linked to dramatic action and emotion. Blancanieves thus combines the faith in mise-en-scène of Wiener or Murnau, at times even Renoir, with a reliance on expressive cinematography worthy of Eisenstein or the French New Wave. It is also worth noting the centrality once more of gender to the film’s creatively reconstructive project; in fact, the issue is much more obvious than in

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The Artist, given the strikingly prominent insertion of a female body into the traditionally hyper-machista iconography of the Spanish corrida or bullfight. As pastiches of bygone genres from Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, USA /France, 2002) to Down with Love (Peyton Reed, USA /Germany, 2003) suggest, in such historiographically imaginative exercises gender roles always demand to be recreated with a degree of distance when contemplated from across the barrier of the major shifts that have subsequently occurred in this domain. Moreover, Spain’s attitude toward gender norms has been one area in which it has lagged significantly behind many other European nations for most of the twentieth century. Blancanieves’ revision of traditional gender roles along more progressive lines invites comparison with the appropriation of external modes of speech performed by Pedro Almodóvar in his at once generically highly Hollywoodian, yet quintessentially Spanish, gender-bending postdictatorship films. Returning to my comments on the performative possibilities of film language, there are obvious reasons why Blancanieves seeks to imagine an internationally inflected Spanish silent cinema. Spain’s own silent and avant-garde film corpus is all but nonexistent, thanks to the nation’s destructive twentieth-century history of military dictatorships and especially Civil War.18 Franco’s government (1939– 75) severed the national industry from European cultural production for the best part of four decades, with the earlier years dominated by State-controlled, pro-Nationalist films and outside influence making any significant mark only toward the very end of the regime, for example in films by Carlos Saura. The longing for Europe resulting from this traumatic history is a Spanish cinematic theme most recently examined by Sally Faulkner in films from Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Bertha, Basilio Martín Patino, Spain, 1965) to Los santos inocentes (The Holy Innocents, Mario Camus, Spain, 1984) and even Alatriste (Alatriste, the Spanish Musketeer, Agustín Díaz Yanes, Spain, 2006), while it is also sent up in Berger’s own cinephilic comedy Torremolinos 73 (Spain/Denmark, 2003), which depicts the making of a Spanish porn film in the style of Ingmar Bergman.19 Thus, Blancanieves reinserts a Spanishness (beyond Buñuel’s) into European cinema’s early twentieth-century cultural imaginary. The act is one of solidarity and belonging as well as homage; yet it also mediates an anxiety about cultural identity, recalling Peter Wollen’s description of the cinephile as possessing “a desire to remain [. . .] always outside [. . .] always seeking to master one’s anxiety by compulsive repetition.”20 Anxiety about exclusion—and linguistic exclusion especially—chimes even more obviously with The Artist’s US -French dynamic, a cultural relation in which France’s role in general warrants

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description in the very terms Elsaesser applies to cinephilia, as characterized by a “bi-polar affective bond.”21 The scene from the film in which Valentin is traumatized by a fantasy in which he is surrounded by speaking mouths, shortly before his flirtation with suicide, can be read with hindsight—after the final revelation of his Frenchness, through his heavy accent in the only line he speaks—as a figuration of the nightmarish French experience of exclusion from international channels of discourse through the decline of the national language globally, a shift that has exceeded cinematic history to become a much wider cultural phenomenon. Considering the Spanish and French national contexts from which these films emerged, Elsaesser’s citation of the Barthesian “conjugation” “I [. . .] choose the other // in order to learn // once more // to love myself ” appears cogent.22 Moreover, both films return within their diegeses (as well as through their forms) to key moments in the genesis of modern cinema, whether this be Hollywood itself in Hazanavicius’ film or the bullfighting and circus spectacles that preceded the earliest “cinema of attractions” in Blancanieves. This foregrounds their concern with originary dramas—also a personal fascination for the uprooted Carmen, forever interrogating markers of her familial past for meaning—and with situating their own cultures at an early stage in the development of film form. The national identities connected with the films are cast as indissociable from the most basic elements of film language at the moment when this language is being established, whether we define these elements as discrete formal segments (the Metzian syntagm or shot) or at a more surface level as what Christian Keathley refers to in the title of his 2006 booklength apologia for a relatively “classic” form of cinephilia as “the wind in the trees”: the unplanned, often background (relative to the narrative) details that find their way into films and which are geographically and socioculturally specific.23 I have suggested that French national identity is suppressed in The Artist, critically weakening the force of any performative ex post facto cultural miscegenation. The major exception to this argument concerns the resonance of its stars (and to a lesser extent its director) for French audiences. While only a few viewers are likely to appreciate the references to early French (or indeed, other European) cinema, notably the sound experiments of René Clair, Dujardin in particular was a mainstream star in France before The Artist brought his comic talents to much of the rest of the world. In addition to the OSS films—which did receive a limited international release—he was perhaps best known in cinema for the youth-oriented mainstream comedy Brice de Nice (The Brice Man, James

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Huth, France, 2005). This narrative is constructed around a cinephilic engagement with the film Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow, USA /Japan, 1991), with which its eponymous brainless surfer hero is obsessed. Interestingly, as Michel Chion has shown, it also negotiates French anxiety about linguistic exclusion.24 Even more crucial to Dujardin’s local fame, however, is his role in the popular comic television show Un gars, une fille (France 2, 1999–2003), in which he starred for five seasons opposite his then partner, the nationally well-known French actress Alexandra Lamy, portraying Parisians experiencing the minor vicissitudes of coupledom. This association with the small screen, reinforced by appearances on many other entertainment programs, underscores the historically highly domestic associations of Dujardin’s persona. In one episode of Un gars, une fille, indeed, the couple travel to London and are comically unable to make themselves understood as they peer at their guidebooks—Dujardin’s character in particular. Dujardin’s trajectory therefore charts a markedly transnational course, in the sense in which transnationalism is understood by such theorists as Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, as presupposing—and at times even shoring up features of—the national.25 Furthermore, both Chion and Delphine Chedaleux have argued that Dujardin’s characters’ misogyny is repeatedly constructed as a facet of his French masculinity specifically. This perspective sheds a revealing light on The Artist’s central concern with gendered rivalry, and ultimately, reconciliation.26 More generally, factoring the codified system of stardom into The Artist’s filmlinguistic identity highlights the text’s pronounced multilingualism for French (and some other) viewers. Dujardin’s status countervails the occlusion of Frenchness realized for the benefit of most international audiences; in French contexts, the film will have been understood quite differently, such that powerful emphasis is conferred on the act of portraying international film and cinephilic culture, historically and today, through embodied Frenchness. Needless to say, Hazanavicius was commercially canny in constructing such a dual address, through which international audiences would have been none the wiser to the fact that the French stars were speaking French or else mouthing “blah blah blah” on camera for the majority of the film.27 He thus neatly avoided the problem of the typecasting of actors with foreign accents as bad guys endemic in Hollywood cinema.28 The Oscar win for Best Actor for Dujardin that this approach facilitated, and especially, the comedian’s ebullient acceptance speech featuring French swearing, however, left international audiences in no doubt as to the centrality of French creativity to the film. At the 2012 Oscars, cinephilia became both literally and metaphorically multi- (or at least bi-)lingual.

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Having established the multiplicity of the temporal, spatial and cultural codes mobilized by the two films whose analysis provides the basis of my argument about the productiveness of seeing cinephilia in terms of multilingualism, I would like to consider whether such an approach can clarify the debate on precisely why the issue of cinephilia continues to fascinate. It will not have escaped scholars of cinephilia that my invocation of Keathley’s metaphor of the wind in the trees in the service of exemplifying symbolic figuration is potentially misrepresentative of his use of the phrase. In fact, Keathley’s contribution to the cinephilia debate falls within the category of works that locate the pleasure and fetishism associated with the phenomenon within a valorization of the fragment in a work of art, which for him can bring viewers closer to an ontological vitality that may be best described in terms of the Lacanian real. Indeed, there is a sense in Keathley’s work that what Kevin Fisher has called “the cinephilia of the 1960s that clustered around the unintended moment in which the sublimity of the real shone through” is still alive in the 2000s.29 One intriguing and original feature of Keathley’s study is his examination of the commonalities between André Bazin’s theoretical works and surrealist thought. He picks out, for instance, a belief in the power of the work of art to directly reveal forms of reality, underpinning both Bazin’s ontology of the photographic image and the surrealist championing of automatic writing, which was seen as capable of providing direct access to unconscious processes.30 Yet there is something deeply paradoxical about the surrealist attention to surface detail, in that this is viewed as a conduit to the unseen, oneiric domain. A play on visible surfaces, and their possible relation to hidden depths, that owes much to Buñuel and thus splices cinephilic and surrealist influence, is also prominent in Blancanieves. For example, the thick, dark eyelashes that feature in disconcerting close-up in Un chien andalou, are recalled (along with an image of under-arm hair in the same film) in the closing shot of Berger’s narrative by an intimate view of an eyebrow belonging to the protagonist’s cadaver. But more generally, the film is perhaps closest of all to Buñuel in its excessive, grotesque deployment of the superficial trappings of Catholicism, viewed through a distorting surrealist lens that satirizes their supposed links to the divine. This feature is relevant for assessing the affective potential of a theoretical form of cinephilic engagement rooted in, but departing substantially from, Bazin’s own devout Catholicism. The opening sequence of the film takes us behind the scenes at the bullring as Carmen’s father, the famous toreador Antonio Villalta prepares for the fight, praying, grave-faced, to a figure of the Virgin Mary. The scene is

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suffused in religiosity, as low-key lighting accompanies a camera often aligned with Antonio’s low-angle point of view as he peers up into the face and glassy eyes of the figurine, themselves lifted heavenward, in both cases conveying the search for revelation. This opening appears at first more sincerely reverential than comparable moments in Buñuel: the tone is earnest and highly emotive, consonant with the melodramatic generic framework being established, as opposed to sardonic—even if fragmented close-ups fetishize sartorial and corporeal details, including an “establishing” shot of a Buñuelian foot. However, ironies obtain after the fact, as Antonio will go on to be gored and lose both the use of his lower body and his beloved wife—who goes into labor when he is injured and dies giving birth to Carmen—and in view of the structural correspondence established with a later sequence in which the doomed Carmen

Figure 4.1 Blancanieves (Snow White, Pablo Berger, 2012).

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prepares for her own bullfight by praying in the very same spot. The medium close-up on the Virgin’s eyes can also be read proleptically in conjunction with a later formal insistence on the eyes of the bulls faced by Carmen, initially the dead eye of the stuffed head that hangs in her father’s bedroom as he teaches her the tricks of his trade from his wheelchair, then later, the live, raging bull she faces in the ring at Seville for the climactic sequence. “Never take your eye off the bull” (Nunca dejes de mirar al toro), the intertitles twice tell her, the second time as she recalls her father’s advice. What is remarkable, though, is the emphasis on the depthless emptiness of the dumb beasts’ eyes, which only reflect the image of Carmen herself. The similarity between the dark, glassy eyes of the (dead) religious figurine and the (dead or soon to be vanquished) beast highlights their equivalent meaninglessness, their surface quality: the possibility of spiritual revelation, which underpinned classic cinephilia,31 is here foreclosed. This reinforces my central argument that this film’s cinephilia bespeaks a meaningful interplay between different codes, as opposed to according to it any privileged contact with the real, whether this is understood in phenomenological or noumenal (spiritual) terms. As if to emphasize this point, reflecting surfaces stud both Blancanieves and The Artist. In the latter, the Wellesian shot that opens the sequence introduced by the intertitle “1932,” in which Valentin’s drunken, downcast image is reflected in a pool of spilt liquor whose edges bleed out portentously, is among the most memorable of the film. This motif is partly linked to both films’ postmodern critique of celebrity culture, represented by stereotypically villainous or self-serving promoters and studio heads as well as the cruel masses baying, if not for blood (Blancanieves) at least for “fresh meat” (The Artist). Hence the device of the enchanted mirror from Snow White is substituted with a newspaper choosing to accord greater prominence to a piece on Carmen’s bullfighting celebrity than to a feature on her widowed stepmother at home, to the latter’s vengeful fury. The reflecting lamina itself becomes the swimming pool into which Encarna tips an impetuously murdered lover, only to confront her own sour and aging visage. Yet the films’ multiplying reflections also illustrate their prioritization of the symbolic realm in meaning creation; discourses precede and generate realities in these narratives. Thus, The Artist repeatedly exemplifies Butlerian understandings of identity as performed. Valentin’s existence simply dwindles to near nothingness once his star persona declines; meanwhile—an example where semiotics is more to the

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Figure 4.2 The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011).

fore—it is Peppy’s beauty spot, drawn on her by Valentin, that catalyzes her acting success, as reflected in the choice of the phrase as the title for one of her early star-vehicle films. The integrity of the individual, embodied subject comes under further fire through the tendency of images to recreate and stand in for characters’ lost pasts, figuring the power of discourses—including cinema—to stand in for historical eras outside the lived experience of the subject, in nonetheless powerfully affective ways. Dissolves frequently bridge the links in these signifying chains: in Blancanieves, the young Carmen’s face gives way to that of her dead mother in Antonio’s eyes, prompting perhaps his first—tearful—smile in years; Carmen’s crude, almost Cubist, representation of a man’s face in the sand morphs into a photographic image of the longed-for father she has at this point never laid eyes on; a photograph of her mother, discovered inside the locket hung by her father on the Virgin Mary at the Seville bullring, is replaced by an image of the records she associated with the latter as a child. Similarly, in The Artist, when

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Figure 4.3 The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011).

Peppy discovers that the treasured possession Valentin clutched as his house burned down around him is the reel of film showing a scene in which they danced together, where acting stood in for real feelings of mutual attraction at the time of filming, now an onscreen celluloid frame-by-frame replay evokes tender memories of the event for both Peppy and the viewer. Pitched at an even higher level of emotional intensity, facilitated by García’s shimmering-eyed performance, is Blancanieves’ climactic bullfighting sequence, in which Carmen is motivated to succeed to preserve her father’s metaphorical legacy. This time, despite the fact that she now has known her father, his memory is evoked not by an image from scenes between them, but rather by the text of his name, Antonio Villalta, emblazoned on the screen in an elaborate, oldfashioned font, connoting History. Once again, representation—including language itself—is interchangeable with, or at least as powerful as, lived experience. Moreover, lived experience is (re-)mediated by human consciousness into representation, as most obviously when images of Carmen’s past “flash

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through” her head at the high shutter speed used by the proto-cinematic kinetoscope she once marveled at as a child, to the accompaniment of the film’s signature Flamenco handclaps. Equally, both text and images frequently give rise to plot developments in the films under discussion. Sometimes, this is no more than the product of generic convention, such as newspaper montages propelling female protagonists to celebrity. Elsewhere in Blancanieves, though, the process proves more complex. Textuality, in its original, Latinate sense denoting weaving (texere) and later tissue (textus), is immediately conjured by the credits sequence, where the background of the shot shows traces emerging from blackness: scraps of dark cloth, redolent of ancient damask, evoking both Spanishness and historicity. Moreover, heavy, textured fabrics are an aestheticized feature of the film as a whole: the symbolically overdetermined fragment repeatedly becomes a form of literal text. This move is all the more remarkable bearing in mind the central status of the fragment in classical cinephilia’s desire to move beyond representation and symbolism. However, as Rashna Wadia Richards has shown in her fascinating recent study of cinematic “flashes” in classical Hollywood, the film fragment need not—cannot—be severed from processes of signification in order to invite cinephilic engagement. Rather, Richards champions a Benjaminian, historical materialist perspective that aims to “investigate history from its particulars rather than from any generalizations,” “linking [such fragments] with kindred fragments associatively.”32 It is particularly fascinating that some of Blancanieves’ most haptic images should also foreground the surface qualities of patterns, which are at once depthless, and yet tactile and embedded, collapsing the distinction in a way that is comparable with the film’s aforementioned reversal of the classic notion of eyes as windows to the soul. If Blancanieves’ play on the aesthetic of the fragment suggests the film is not content to discourse on how cinema signifies, but also strains to bring the cinephilia debate itself into the frame, then such an interpretation is borne out by the film’s final recourse to the trope of necrophilia. At the close of the narrative, Carmen’s poisoned corpse is transformed into a fairground attraction for customers to kiss, affirming the film’s ultimate rejection of notions of a prelinguistic form of spectatorship. Willemen has associated cinephilia with necrophilia, to coin the now quite widely used term cinephiliac.33 What is stressed in the formulation is the deadness of the object of longing, the corporeal, but once more depthless, nature of the cinephilic objet perdu, and this idea is further brought home by the mysterious final image with which Blancanieves chooses to

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leave its spectator: that of Carmen’s preserved but inanimate corpse shedding a tear. It is hard to imagine a more pointed visualization of the power of the disembodied, representational and figural to engage in the affective realm— indeed, the circumscription of this realm itself to discursive experience. It is also the final scene of The Artist that invites us most clearly to consider the role accorded to any real outside signification in the cinephilia it negotiates. It is tempting to interpret the sudden transition to sound, bringing with it the revelation of Valentin’s national identity, in terms of the incursion of the real into the cinematic discourse. Indeed, performance and voice in cinema are typical fetish objects for classic cinephiles. However, the significant elements of this anagnorisis moment remain emphatically within linguistic communication, arising from Dujardin’s unmistakeably French accent and prosody, even in the mere two words he speaks: “With pleasure” (in response to the moguls’ request that he and Peppy dance their sequence again). As Willemen has noted, “subjectivities [. . .] are themselves social.”34 Equally, while both The Artist and Blancanieves remind us that the real exists and is powerfully evoked by cinematic details from the timbre of Dujardin’s recorded voice to images of Carmen’s rising and falling chest, they also give the lie to what Roux calls “the old idea of film’s reflective potential” by, in this critic’s words, “making the spectacle of mediation the endpoint of their discourse.”35 Valentin’s speech, suggestive as it is of his status as a European émigré of the kind so populous in classical Hollywood, provides an obvious prompt to return to the point of departure of this analysis, the issue of not just linguistics but multilingualism. One recurrent phrase in the take-one accounts of cinephilia with which I have engaged here is the notion of the cinematic epiphany, used roughly interchangeably with revelation, or as adjacent to ideas of the sublime.36 This term has also been linked to the idea of cinematic transnationalism, explicated by Mette Hjort in her influential taxonomy of the forms of this phenomenon.37 Since I have for the purposes of this analysis requisitioned the concept of multilingualism to denote hybrid cultural signification practices in cinema, notably across national borders, Hjort’s formulation is germane to this discussion. She writes: In epiphanic transnationalism the emphasis is on the cinematic articulation of those elements of deep national belonging that overlap with aspects of other national identities to produce something resembling deep transnational belonging. The term “epiphanic” signals the extent to which this form of transnationalism depends on a process of disclosure that is also somewhat constitutive of the depicted commonalities.38

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Bearing in mind the appropriation by The Artist and Blancanieves of hybrid filmic and cultural codes that are much more widely accessible than the real languages contained within their narratives, perhaps we might find space for the epiphany after all in the present articulation of cinephilia as multilingualism: not the religious epiphany arising from the revelation of eternal truths, but rather the manifestation through film of “deep transnational belonging” that is constitutive as much as it is illustrative. Furthermore, if cinema has the potential to articulate cultural elements that transcend national borders, its symbiotic offshoot cinephilia emerges as a key contributor to this epiphanic impulse. We need only recall Bourdieu’s theorizations of the role of shared tastes—enunciated through language—in the formation of group identities to understand cinephilia’s unifying potential. Sperb has developed Lacan’s ideas about the possible eruption of the real within the symbolic in a cinephilic context, to argue that repetition with difference can provide a forum for this kind of slippage—while still concurring with my own skepticism about contact with any unmediated real, to the extent that he stipulates “the real brings the subject back to the moment where a split occurs between the real and what the subject thinks [sic] of as the real, without ever reaching the real” (my emphasis).39 Even more than the genre films (specifically, sequels) Sperb selects for analysis pastiches of earlier texts such as The Artist and Blancanieves, or imitations that are never exact, are prime examples of repetition with difference in cinema. It seems to me, though, that this notion applies not only across temporal categories, but geospatial ones, including national cinemas, and by extension, cultures. In this light, these films can be read as cinephilic precisely because of the way they recast forms from exogenous cinemas with local elements: not only is cinephilia a priori multilingual, but formal multilingualism in cinema bespeaks and promotes cinephilia.

Notes 1 Thomas Elsaesser, “Cinephilia or the Uses of Disenchantment,” in Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory, ed. Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005), 27–44. 2 Paul Willemen, Looks and Frictions: Essays in Cultural Studies and Film Theory (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994), 241. 3 Kevin Fisher, “Cinephilia as Topophilia in The Matrix (1999),” in Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1, ed. Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb (London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009), 173.

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4 Elsaesser, “Cinephilia,” 33. 5 Christian Metz, “The Imaginary Signifier,” Screen 16, no. 2 (Summer 1975): 46–76. 6 Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2001). 7 Elsaesser, “Cinephilia,” 30. 8 Jenna Ng, “Love in the Time of Transcultural Fusion: Cinephilia, Homage and Kill Bill,” in Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener, eds., Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005), 68–69. 9 For fuller accounts of the accelerated globalization of film culture, see Charles Acland, Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture (Durham, NC : Duke University Press 2005); Sean Cubitt, The Cinema Effect (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2004), 356. 10 Colin MacCabe, The Eloquence of the Vulgar (London: British Film Institute, 1999), 152; Antoine de Baecque, La Cinéphilie. Invention d’un regard, histoire d’une culture 1944–1968 (Paris: Fayard, 2003). 11 Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener, eds., Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005); Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb, eds., Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1 (London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009). 12 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1854513/?ref_=nv_sr_1 accessed 17 March 2015. 13 Indeed, the problematization of language within Wilder’s film, where two protagonists who are both coded, broadly, as foreign, seek in vain to repair their estrangement from the sphere of verbal communication, itself flirts with silent cinema conventions. 14 Baptiste Roux, “Permanence de la mémoire: le cinéma muet en sa langue natale,” Positif, no. 628 (June 2013), 64. 15 Rashna Wadia Richards, Cinephilia and Classical Hollywood: Cinematic Flashes. (Bloomington and Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2013), 3. 16 Elsaesser, “Cinephilia.” 17 Anon., “The Artist,” Empire, no. 266 (August 2011): 31. 18 Bernard P. E. Bentley, A Companion to Spanish Cinema (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Tamesis 2008), 41. 19 Sally Faulkner, “Spanish Heritage Cinema,” in Mary Harrod, Mariana Liz and Alissa Timoshkina, eds., The Europeanness of European Cinema: Identity, Meaning, Globalization (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015). 20 Peter Wollen, “An Alphabet of Cinema,” New Left Review, no. 12 (2001): 119. 21 Elsaesser, “Cinephilia,” 33. 22 Ibid., 31. 23 Christian Keathley, Cinephilia and History, or The Wind in the Trees (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2006).

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24 Michel Chion, “T’es comme le c cédille de surf, t’existes pas! (Brice),” in Michel Chion, Le Complexe de Cyrano: la langue parlée dans les films français (Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 2008); see also Mary Harrod, “Franglais, Anglais and Contemporary French Comedy,” in Harrod, Liz and Timoshkina, eds., The Europeanness of European Cinema, 145–58. 25 Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, Transnational Cinema, the Film Reader (New York: Routledge, 2006), 4. 26 Chion, “T’existes pas,” 172; Delphine Chedaleux, “Déclinaisons de la masculinité dans les comédies françaises: le cas Jean Dujardin,” Mise au Point, no. 6 (2014). 27 Anon., “The Artist,” 30. 28 See Rosina Lippi-Green, “Teaching Children How to Discriminate: What We Learn from the Big Bad Wolf,” in English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States, ed. Rosina Lippi-Green (London: Routledge, 1997), 79–103; Lukas Bleichenbacher, Multilingualism in the Movies: Hollywood Characters and Their Language Choices (Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 2008). 29 Fisher, “Cinephilia,” 173. 30 Keathley, Cinephilia, 65–68. 31 Cf. Willemen, Looks and Frictions, 232. 32 Richards, “Cinephilia,” 25–26. 33 Willemen, Looks and Frictions, 227. 34 Ibid., 36. 35 Roux, “Mémoire,” 66. 36 See, for example, Willemen, Looks and Frictions, 234–35; Ng’s 2009 article “A Point of Light: Epiphanic Cinephilia in Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon (2001),” in Balcerzak and Sperb, eds., Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production, 71–88, creatively extrapolates on such uses of the term in a digital film context. 37 Mette Hjort, “On the Plurality of Cinematic Transnationalism,” in World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, ed. Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman (New York: Routledge/AFI , 2010), 16. 38 Hjort, “Cinematic Transnationalism,” 16. 39 Jason Sperb, “Déjà Vu for Something that Hasn’t Happened Yet: Time, Repetition and Jamais Vu Within a Cinephilia of Anticipation,” in Balcerzak and Sperb, eds., Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production, 143.

Works cited Acland, Charles. Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2005. Anon. “The Artist.” Empire, no. 266 (August 2011): 30–31.

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Baecque, Antoine de. La Cinéphilie. Invention d’un regard, histoire d’une culture 1944–1968. Paris: Fayard, 2003. Balcerzak, Scott, and Jason Sperb. “Introduction: Presence of Pleasure.” In Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1, edited by Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb, 7–29. London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009. Bentley, Bernard P.E. A Companion to Spanish Cinema. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Tamesis 2008. Bleichenbacher, Lukas. Multilingualism in the Movies: Hollywood Characters and Their Language Choices. Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 2008. Chedaleux, Delphine. “Déclinaisons de la masculinité dans les comédies françaises: le cas Jean Dujardin.” Mise au Point, no. 6 (2014). Chion, Michel. “T’es comme le c cédille de surf, t’existes pas! (Brice).” In Le Complexe de Cyrano: la langue parlée dans les films français, 168–72. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 2008. Cubitt, Sean. The Cinema Effect. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2004. Elsaesser, Thomas. “Cinephilia or the Uses of Disenchantment.” In Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory, edited by Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener, 27–43. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005. Ezra, Elizabeth, and Terry Rowden. Transnational Cinema, the Film Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006. Faulkner, Sally. “Spanish Heritage Cinema.” In The Europeanness of European Cinema: Identity, Meaning, Globalization, edited by Mary Harrod, Mariana Liz and Alissa Timoshkina, 213–26. London: I. B. Tauris, 2015. Fisher, Kevin. “Cinephilia as Topophilia in The Matrix (1999).” In Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1, edited by Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb, 171–91. London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009. Harrod, Mary. “Franglais, Anglais and Contemporary French Comedy.” In The Europeanness of European Cinema: Identity, Meaning, Globalization, edited by Mary Harrod, Mariana Liz and Alissa Timoshkina, 145–58. London: I. B. Tauris 2015. Hjort, Mette. “On the Plurality of Cinematic Transnationalism.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman, 12–33. New York: Routledge/AFI , 2010. Huaco, George A. The Sociology of Film Art. New York: Basic Books, 1965. Keathley, Christian. Cinephilia and History, or The Wind in the Trees. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2006. Lippi-Green, Rosina. “Teaching Children How to Discriminate: What We Learn from the Big Bad Wolf.” In English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States, edited by Rosina Lippi-Green, 79–103. London: Routledge, 1997. MacCabe, Colin. The Eloquence of the Vulgar. London: British Film Institute, 1999. Metz, Christian. “The Imaginary Signifier.” Screen 16, no. 2 (Summer 1975): 46–76.

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Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2001. Ng, Jenna. “Love in the Time of Transcultural Fusion: Cinephilia, Homage and Kill Bill.” In Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory, edited by Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener, 65–79. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005. Ng, Jenna. “A Point of Light: Epiphanic Cinephilia in Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon (2001).” In Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1, edited by Scott Baslcerzak and Jason Sperb, 71–88. London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009. Roux, Baptiste. “Permanence de la mémoire: le cinéma muet en sa langue natale.” Positif, no. 628 (June 2013): 64–66. Richards, Rashna Wadia. Cinephilia and Classical Hollywood: Cinematic Flashes. Bloomington and Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2013. Sperb, Jason. “Déjà Vu for Something that Hasn’t Happened Yet: Time, Repetition and Jamais Vu Within a Cinephilia of Anticipation.” In Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Production: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1, edited by Scott Baslcerzak and Jason Sperb, 140–56. London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009. Valck, Marijke de, and Malte Hagener. “Down with Cinephilia? Long Live Cinephilia? And Other Videosyncratic Pleasures.” In Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory, edited by Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener, 11–24. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005. Willemen, Paul. Looks and Frictions: Essays in Cultural Studies and Film Theory. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994. Wollen, Peter. “An Alphabet of Cinema.” New Left Review, no. 12 (2001): 115–34.

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Aesthetics

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The Gift of Languages: Notes on Multilingualism in Experimental Cinema Érik Bullot Translated by Tijana Mamula

It is surprising to note the rarity, the virtual absence, of studies dedicated to the question of multilingualism in the field of experimental cinema. While research on dubbing, subtitling and multilingualism in cinema has grown over the last dozen or so years, it remains difficult to encounter an article on this specific subject.1 Characterized by its artisanal mode of production, its critical relationship to narration, and its plastic, poetic and political parti pris, experimental cinema seems, for now, to have evaded this recent turn in film studies. And yet, it is rather instructive to observe the use of languages by the exponents of the historical avant-gardes. A member of the Maison des artistes founded by Hélène de Mandrot, the Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy participated in the numerous cultural and artistic encounters held at the La Sarraz castle in Switzerland between 1930 and 1936, where French functioned, it would seem, as a lingua franca. The following recollection by Xanti Schawinsky illustrates the complexity of the situation: “When Moholy wanted to say something, he would translate his idea from Hungarian to German, which came rather easily to him. Afterward, he would rethink the sentence in English (at the time, he was living in London and this language was of particular concern to him), and in the end, he would have to express himself in French. The result was hopeless, since in the course of this series of manipulations the initial idea would be completely transformed.”2 This anecdote recalls the “circular series of unfavorable currency transactions” evoked by Roman Jakobson in regard to translation.3 Consider also the Dada artist Hans Richter, who had to use not only his mother tongue but also French, and after leaving Europe for the United States in 1941, English. Leafing through an Eisenstein manuscript is quite staggering. 93

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The filmmaker uses multiple languages—Russian, English, French, German, Spanish—often in the same paragraph or even the same sentence.4 It is equally surprising to learn of the reading languages of the Polish-born, French filmmaker Jean Epstein: English, German, Polish, Russian, Italian.5 The many examples of avant-garde artists who—as members of a bourgeois social class, cultured and cosmopolitan—moved from one language to another in the course of their careers, invite us to identify a link between their multilingualism and their varied artistic practice based on a principle of transmutation, or intersemiotic translation, to take up the category proposed by Jakobson.6 We might also cite the later examples of Maya Deren, Jonas Mekas, Kurt Kren or Takahiko Limura, who likewise worked across several languages. But what about their works? Can we hear more than one language in experimental films? The question of multilingualism rarely appears explicitly. Experimental cinema has, in fact, long aligned itself with certain principles: the primacy of the visual, the myth of a universal language, the refusal of translation. We might group these criteria under the term idiomaticity: that is, experimental cinema’s desire to forge its own idiomatic, often extralinguistic, language. But this primacy of the visual also often encounters its limit or its negation. Let us call lability the tendency of experimental film to intertwine the visual and the linguistic through a play of variations and metamorphoses: animated writing; linguistic deformations achieved through the invention of imaginary languages that are treated like a plastic matter; paradoxes of translation. The theoretical propositions that follow do not aim to be exhaustive; rather, they attempt to map new territories capable of renewing our critical and historiographic approach to experimental cinema.7 I conclude this study by evoking my own filmmaking practice, which has long been dedicated to the plurality of languages.

Idiomaticity Primacy of the visual Manifesting an anxiety to overcome literary or theatrical models, the different names given to avant-garde cinema—abstract, radical, pure, integral, absolute— most often refer to pictorial or musical models. We might quote, for example, the French filmmaker Germaine Dulac: “Lines, surfaces, volumes evolving directly, without the artifice of evocation, in the logic of its forms, dispossessed of any

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overly human sense, allowing an elevation towards the abstract, thus giving more space to sensations and to dreams: integral cinema.”8 The cinema severs its links with literature, but equally with the entire linguistic dimension, in order to envisage nothing but the play of pure plastic forms. The matter of language appears, of course, in some avant-garde works, notably in Surrealism, whose taste for intertitles and captions is well known. We might mention Man Ray’s L’Étoile de mer (1926), based on a poem by Robert Desnos, or Marcel Duchamp’s contrepèteries in Anemic Cinema (1926). The linguistic dimension emerges in these works through poetry and puns, but it nonetheless remains monolingual— French, in this case—though both Man Ray and Duchamp moved between French and English in their personal lives. This points to the difficulty of registering the plurality of languages on a filmic level. Recall also the philosophical dispute between Stan Brakhage and Hollis Frampton regarding the antecedence of language over perception. In the first lines of his 1963 volume Metaphors on Vision, which evoke the Surrealist’s “savage state of the eye,” Brakhage writes: “Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of ‘Green’? [. . .] Imagine a world before the ‘beginning was the word.’ ”9 Hollis Frampton—who is known for his linguistic talents (he studied Latin, Greek, German, French, Russian, Sanskrit, Chinese); his friendship with the poet Ezra Pound, that cantor of translation; and his structural films on language— indirectly responds to Brakhage in 1981 in his article “Film in the House of the Word”: “Others reason that the crawling baby sees no ‘colors’ at all, since the notion of color is a complex abstraction, closely bound to language and culture (there are natural languages that make no distinction between ‘green’ and ‘blue’) that brackets a neurophysiological response to a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The field of grass is without form, and void.”10 Is the formless field the arena of multilingualism? This critical debate between two major American experimental filmmakers situates the theoretical foundation of the language function in experimental cinema somewhere between realism and nominalism.

Universal language The invention of cinema was contemporary with that of artificial languages such as volapuk or esperanto. The Dictionary of Esperanto appeared in 1894, written

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in five languages. The efforts to analyze human and animal movement conducted by the likes of Étienne-Jules Marey or Eadweard Muybridge were parallel to the search for a universal language that would abolish the differences among peoples and cultures. The cinema would also long be considered, at least until the advent of sound, as a kind of “universal language,” or even a model of telepathy. We might wonder about this coincidence. Was the cinema, from the moment of its invention, thought of as a language? This view is taken up by a number of French theorists, including Abel Gance and Jean Epstein. Let us also recall artists such as Viking Eggeling and Hans Richter, anxious, during the years 1917–21, to invent a visual alphabet using long paper scrolls to paint a continuity of graphic forms into a play of oppositions and polarities. In these efforts to forge a plastic language—a “language of heaven”—based on the double model of an elementary morphogenesis and an ideogrammatic universal language, the artists were inspired by Chinese writing and by the study of counterpoint, which they undertook alongside the composer Ferruccio Busoni.11 This mythical experience of libertarian inspiration, which Richter so often recounted, reveals just how much the avant-garde artists’ approach to cinema coincided with the search for a universal, transnational language, informed by non-European languages. At the end of the 1920s, certain avant-garde filmmakers invented a hieroglyphic cinema based on complex montage, symbolic imagery, associations of ideas, temporal discontinuities, and a filmic transposition of the Joycean internal monologue (or stream of consciousness) that rivaled modern literature by exploring cognitive processes to reveal the actual functioning of thought—for instance, October (Sergej Eisenstein, 1927), La Glace à trois faces (Jean Epstein, 1927), Limite (Mario Peixoto, 1930) or Borderline (Kenneth MacPherson, 1930). Sometimes resorting to “free indirect discourse,” the editing in these films intertwines the actual narrative with the characters’ dreams and thoughts. Eisenstein’s interest in Joyce’s Ulysses in those years is well known.12 But we should also note the filmmakers’ multilingual experiences. In addition to Eisenstein and Epstein, whose polyglottism we have already mentioned, Kenneth McPherson and the Pool trio in Switzerland published English translations of German and Russian theoretical texts in the magazine Close-up (1927–33), including Eisenstein’s paper on “intellectual montage.” The Brazilian filmmaker Mario Peixoto also resided for a while in Europe (studying in England).13 What is the relation between the filmmakers’ polyglot experiences and the invention of a hieroglyphic cinema?

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In his remarkable work on the Pool group, H.D. et le group Pool, François Bovier reveals how language covertly informs the meaning of the images contained in Borderline thanks to the wordplays and paragrams that govern their organization: “Borderline is a ‘writable’ film: inscribed beneath the shots, beneath the motifs and the characters, is another text, a ‘palimptext’ that rests on the mechanisms of Hilda Doolittle’s ‘phonotextual’ and ‘paragrammatic’ poetry.”14 Eisenstein often evokes rhetorical figures (metaphor or synecdoche) as models of montage. His illuminating 1929 article, “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram,” analyzes the cinematic nature of Japanese writing, in which characters collide in order to produce a third term, which thus becomes a concept: for example, an eye linked to water signifies crying.15 Montage is likened to an ideogrammatic mode of writing. In his study on Un Chien andalou (1929), Stuart Liebman explores Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s literalization of French metaphors: for instance, avoir des fourmis, which means to have pins and needles, becomes an image of ants climbing out of a hand.16 Language informs the linkage of the images. A text runs underneath the film like a rebus. These games of displacement recall Freud’s notion of the dreamwork, in which the dream is likened to a rebus, or puzzle: “The dream content is, as it were, presented in hieroglyphics, whose symbols must be translated, one by one, into the language of the dream-thoughts.” He adds: “A correct judgement of the picture puzzle is possible only if I make no such objections to the whole and its parts, and if, on the contrary, I take the trouble to replace each image by a syllable or word which it may represent by virtue of some allusion or relation.”17 According to the Russian formalist Boris Eikhenbaum, the spectator constructs an internal discourse that constitutes the linguistic substrate of the film: “Thus the viewer must perform a complex mental task on the basis of the arrangement of frames and of his own sense of the shades of meaning. It is this task that I call the internal speech of the viewer. It is interrupted by moments of pure photography, but without it the film cannot be understood.” Eikhenbaum concludes with this astonishing sentence: “If in fact cinema opposes the culture of the word, it does so only in the sense that the word is buried so deeply that it must be divined.”18 The spectator translates the film’s visual discourse into words. In this sense, hieroglyphic cinema maintains profound links to the linguistic dimension, through language games, cryptograms and references to non-European languages. In the work of these filmmakers caught between several languages, multilingualism, like the repressed, transgresses the primacy of the visual to return in the form of the rebus.19

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The refusal of translation In privileging an idiomatic universal language, experimental cinema appears to thwart any attempt at translation. Let us remember the absence of intertitles in films such as Limite or Borderline, which place the burden of narrative on montage and photogénie. The refusal of intertitles is present in silent cinema more broadly—see The Man with the Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) or The Last Laugh (F. W. Murnau, 1924), to cite only the most classic examples—and serves to affirm, in a general way, the idiomaticity of cinema. A similar refusal of subtitles is characteristic of experimental cinema. In the words of the Austrian filmmaker Peter Kubelka: “You cannot subtitle good cinema. You have to learn the language. I learned Danish for Carl Theodor Dreyer, in order to understand Dies Irae. This is the avant-garde’s accepted position, which I feel is in line with that taken by scholars.”20 Kubelka is known for his mastery of numerous languages. His point of view is therefore at once unique and controversial: “If you want to understand, maybe not Finnegans Wake, but let’s say James Joyce’s Ulysses, you need a few years of work, you need to learn several languages, you need to read a lot. And whoever manages to do that will get pleasure out of it for years.”21 This extreme stance mirrors experimental cinema’s pledge to tend toward the untranslatable. The film is not susceptible to any translation, it must be read and viewed in its own language. The attachment to the silver nitrate support characteristic of certain major experimental filmmakers is likewise a symptom of this refusal to translate a radical, pure, integral, absolute idiomaticity, or to transform it into profit.22

Lability Such an idiomatic position cannot avoid encountering its opposite or its double. We have already seen how hieroglyphic cinema allows words and discourses to sprout underneath the images. In certain other experimental films, we find dialectical short-circuits between the primacy of the visual and the linguistic dimension, which exacerbate the medium’s lability, its power of transformation. The plurality of languages is molded into a plastic matter, at once visual and aural. This occurs in various ways: writing can lend itself to a play of geometric or graphic animations; the sound qualities of language (duration, intensity, timbre, accent, intonation) are susceptible to deformations; instances of

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translation offer a reflection on the film itself, in the form of nonsensical dialogues. These different meeting points—of animistic, musical and modernist inspiration, respectively—can be analyzed through an exploration of the motif of writing, the invention of imaginary languages, and the paradoxes of translation.

Sticks, figures and letters That is, writing. The written word allows a visual and plastic work of art to be reconciled with the linguistic dimension. Thus the Scottish-born Canadian filmmaker, Norman McLaren, uses writing to animate figures and letters graphically—indeed, in an almost animistic manner—testifying to his fascination with the scripts of different cultures. His films, which (Canada oblige) are always bilingual—McLaren moved to Canada in 1941 at the age of twenty-seven to work at the National Film Board—sometimes employ three or more languages. For example, Begone Dull Care (1949), a particularly virtuoso film featuring a suite of abstract colored forms set to Oscar Peterson’s jazz music, resorts to seven languages (English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Italian, Russian and German) and three alphabets (Latin, Cyrillic and Devanagari). This passion for different scripts and alphabets can be related to the filmmaker’s work on optical sound— the technique of generating sounds by drawing directly onto film stock, which was developed from the end of the 1920s by filmmakers such as Rudolf Pfenninger and Oskar Fischinger. McLaren used the technique in a number of films, most notably Synchrony (1971), which also exposes the process. The image produces the sound. Such an interface clearly fascinated McLaren and allowed him to increase the effects of his intersemiotic translation between visual and aural codes, in which the use of multiple languages certainly played a part. Multilingualism, like the taste for metamorphosis and variation, characterizes McLaren’s art, but his place in the experimental canon continues to remain ambiguous. The work of the bilingual filmmaker par definition remains somewhere between experimentation and animation, or on the border between the two. The question of multilingualism induces a deterritorialization of the practices of experimental cinema.

On invented languages That is, the invention of languages: Galimatias, charabia, baragouin, amphigouri. Gibberish. In French, we say “Hebrew” or “Chinese” to denote incomprehensible

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speech. The English say “Greek.” It is a question of transforming the sound quality of language so as to deform it in a way that recalls—in its twists and turns, its contractions and variations of speed—the plastic and photogenic treatment of the image. In the moment that an imaginary language appears in film, it reactivates the myth of borderless communication. Inversely, the languages invented by the avant-gardes (Khlebnikov’s zaoum or Dada poetry) work like cinematic devices, like converters, provoking deflagrations between sound and image, eye and ear.23 A famous collector of optical toys and artifacts related to the archeology of cinema, the German filmmaker Werner Nekes explored the deformation of language in his film Lagado (1976), inspired by the description of the academy of Lagado in Gulliver’s Travels. In Swift’s novel, the scientists, intent on suppressing language—a source of physical fatigue—privilege concise speech and the use of objects in the place of words: “An expedient was therefore offered, ‘that since words are only names for things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express a particular business they are to discourse on’ [. . . .] Another great advantage proposed by this invention was, that it would serve as a universal language, to be understood in all civilized nations, whose goods and utensils are generally of the same kind, or nearly resembling, so that their uses might easily be comprehended.”24 For a filmmaker so well versed in linguistics, such a philosophical fable could not help but prompt a cinematic reflection on the relations between word and image. Through a play of distortions, accelerations, inversions, interruptions, feedbacks, echoes, reverberations and superimpositions, applied on the level of both sound and image, and a rigorous manipulation of the German language in accordance with musical and mathematical models, Nekes invented a string of new languages, musical and syncopated, stripped of meaning. The film’s discontinuous editing follows the jerks of speech, producing an equivocation between sound and image. Are invented and imaginary languages experimental cinema’s privileged path to multilingualism?25 I would like to recall a film by the American artist Peter Rose, equally known for his performances and installations. Secondary Currents (1982) recounts the history of language, of its chaotic birth and cosmic disappearance, while offering an ironic reflection on the power of cinema. The screen is black and punctuated by nothing other than some English subtitles, which purport to translate the meaning of the meaningless words spoken by the filmmaker by resorting to neologisms, in a way that is sometimes funny or even absurd. His vocal mastery

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is astounding. The film’s profound humor derives from the strange relations that emerge between the sonorities of this virtuoso, musical and ludic babble, and the contents of the subtitles. How does one translate a meaningless language—other than through the interpretation of sonorities, intonations and accents? A somber and cavernous voice emits seemingly metaphysical propositions: “I don’t remember when the voice began. At first, I heard it as a kind of babbling, a metabolic sussuration, full of whispered insinuations, chattering innuendoes, hints.” A laughing, high-pitched voice, a pastiche of recognizable languages such as Italian or Japanese. Language seems to bear an incredible plasticity that allows him to imitate accents: “We traveled. Awkward, I felt, at first, as if a stranger to my own tongue, my voice a jagged mirror of my thoughts, an imitation.” In relegating meaning to sonority, the film displays a kind of Cratylism that confers an onomatopoeic dimension to language. To do justice to this plurality of languages, Rose had to use the black screen, to separate speech from meaning, to modulate his voice according to a principle of continuous variation; in short, to treat language as a plastic material. With its constellations of letters disseminated across the screen—“ke lnc i! u a je t s le ee tri-sit pn vo tep. nu oo ert i-i kq fn s-sr b ro,” recalling Dada poems or Lettrist paintings, but also McLaren’s Rythmetic (1952)—the film’s ending, featuring an extenuated and convulsive voice, rediscovers the chthonic borborygmes of its origins, beneath language. Secondary Currents is a reading lesson in the course of which subtitles become images.

On translation That is, translation and its paradoxes. Informed by structural film, the Canadian filmmaker Michael Snow included multiple language games and misunderstandings in the philosophical sketches of his encyclopedic film Rameau’s Nephew (1974): dialogues spoken backward and projected in reverse; an imaginary language thought up by the artist Dennis Burton; the biography of Jean-Philippe Rameau read successively in German, French and Spanish by the artist’s mother; superimposed soundtracks. The 1960s structural film tradition gave particular attention to language, in line with the then dominant influence of linguistics within the social sciences.26 Snow returns to the paradox of translation in a recent film, Sshtoorrty (2005), which has also been presented in installation form. The film appears to tell the story of an artist bringing one of his paintings to two friends, a married couple. The painting is composed of three strips of color (orange, blue, yellow) and can be hung either vertically or horizontally.

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After being welcomed by the wife, he shows the painting to the husband, who offers him a glass of whisky but later slaps him in the face, after which the artist finally leaves. Yet these narrative elements remain difficult to discern. Composed of two panning shots, one left-to-right and the other right-to-left, the film was cut in half and the two parts superimposed. The spectator watches the first and second half of the film at the same time. Performed in Farsi and subtitled in English, the film derives its force from this visual doubling, which is further reinforced by the difficulty of reading the (often superimposed) subtitles. The film, which is very brief, is looped twelve times, allowing the spectator to interpret the plays of color, the meaning of the subtitles, and the psychological sources of the plot in alternate ways. Its modernist irony is characteristic of Michael Snow’s art. In playing with these subtitles-cum-images, and so confusing the visual and the linguistic, Sshtoorrty—whose title is itself a condensation of the words short and story—points to the lability of the medium.

Linguistik slapstick There is no doubt that my own artistic path follows the chronological thread of this study. For a long time, I made sound films without dialogue, sometimes entirely silent ones, akin to tableaux vivants, which exacerbated the plastic qualities of the image. Inspired by object lessons and works of popular science, L’Attraction universelle, made in 2000, inaugurated my interest in languages. I wanted many languages to be heard in this film tinged with universalism. I deeply loved the films of the German filmmaker Werner Schroeter and of the Chilean Raúl Ruiz, who liked to shoot in different countries and move across languages in a poetic manner. In L’Attraction universelle you can hear French, the main language, but also Spanish, Italian and Arabic. Yet the languages here were used simply as a kind of illustrative voiceover. It was only with my next work, Le Singe de la lumière (2002), which aimed to explore the equivalences between sound and image, that linguistic plurality became the main subject of my films. In inventorying different modes of writing sound (musical notation, magnetic recording, stenography, sound effects), Le Singe de la lumière confronts three languages: French; the Martian spoken by the medium Hélène Smith during her spiritual trances in Geneva at the end of the nineteenth century; and the song of the nightingale as transcribed by the ornithologist Johann Matthäus Bechstein and cited in Charles Nodier’s Dictionnaire des onomatopées: “Tiouou, tiouou,

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tiouou, tiouou / Shpe tiou tokoua / Tio, tio, tio, tio / Kououtio, kououtiou, kououtiou, kououtiou; / Tskouo, tskouo, tskouo, tskouo / Tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii, tsii.” This transcription was the basis for the libretto of a piece for soprano and flute composed by Ernest H. Papier, who turned the birdsong back into music. Hence the film’s double interest in intersemiotic translation, attained through games of conversion between codes and haunted by the ghost of imaginary or asemantic languages. After Le Singe de la lumière, I decided to make a film whose main motifs would be imaginary languages and the gift of languages—that is, the faculty of speaking several foreign languages, but also the Biblical “speaking in tongues” practiced in Pentecostal churches, also known as glossolalia. Glossolalie (2005) was conceived as a filmed letter addressed to an absent spectator. The film features a number of paradoxes: multiple languages (Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Esperanto, French, Hebrew, Japanese, sign language, Dutch, Russian, Serbian, Slovak), guessing games and riddles (imprecise subtitles, archaic words, cryptograms), and eccentric situations (a Michael Snow improvisation, absurd

Figure 5.1 Le Singe de la lumière (16mm, Érik Bullot, 2002).

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Figure 5.2 Le Singe de la lumière (16mm, Érik Bullot, 2002).

dialogues). It was at once a matter of inventorying the plurality of languages and of deforming the material of language. This experience was fundamental for me. One of the sequences is particularly instructive. Three young women are conversing in different languages: Arabic, Chinese and Slovak. Subtitles help us follow their conversation, which seems to be about the comparative merits of writing and sign language. Gradually, we begin to realize that the women do not understand each other. The subtitles are misleading. I had actually asked the women to recount their first impressions of arriving in France. Curiously, when a viewer who spoke one of the languages burst out laughing at a subtitle during a screening, I felt like I had found an addressee for my letter, as though the promises of cinema and of invented languages had reunited, reconciling Zamenhof ’s Esperanto and Khlebnikov’s zaoum with Dziga Vertov’s kino-eye. I could not help but see in these language games the traces of the medium’s lability, which relays communication to nonsense and delivers us from meaning, ironically reactivating the promise of a general convertibility of signs. We know the importance that Serge Daney gave to the Communist promise contained in

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the very idea of cinema: “Transcending nationalities and promising: the cinema promises access to an undifferentiated world, the world of men, of all men, just as Communism promises the gradual liberation of the entire human race.”27 Shot on video, Glossolalie lies on the cusp between the memory of film as utopia and the possibility of a new language, now entrusted to digital codes. Struck by the comic, laughter-provoking dimension of certain sequences in my films, I became very interested in the slapstick tradition and its linguistic dimension. Far from existing only on the side of the visual, burlesque is often based on verbal puns and misunderstandings. Many of the visual situations in Buster Keaton films derive from puns and witticisms. The art of the Marx Brothers rests on a kind of expanded ventriloquism.28 Is the witticism the equivalent of a gag? During a stay in the United States, I made two films about linguistic accidents. In Tongue Twisters (2011), shot at a radio station in Berkeley, a group of students and scholars say tongue twisters in different languages: German, English, Arabic, Armenian, Assyrian, Chinese, Korean, Croatian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Farsi, Portuguese, Tagalog, Vietnamese. Talking becomes an obstacle course, a kind of stuttering in which repetitions and accidents, hesitations and gaffes, confront each other. In appealing to sentences that are by definition untranslatable, Tongue Twisters posits a spectator freed from the worry of signification. The second film, Faux amis (2012), shot at the University of Buffalo with American students, explores various “false cognates” between French and English through comical situations, word plays, performances (Tony Conrad) and readings (Steve McCaffery, Karen MacCormak). The film, at once visible and legible, addresses a French/English bilingual audience. Albeit in different ways, these two films are completely idiomatic, resistant to any effort at translation. Multilingualism and cinema have become coextensive within my practice, so that making a film is now indissociable from the possibility of using more than one language. Where does this come from? Certainly from the current state of French—which once occupied a position of diplomatic supremacy, but has become a minority language—but also from the nature of the films themselves, which lie somewhere between documentary, experimental cinema and contemporary art. I recently completed a fictional, medieval musical, L’Alliance (2010), sung in Arabic and Occitan. This linguistic choice manifests the political situation of the French language: on the one hand, we have Occitan, a regional language repressed in the name of republican principles at the end of the nineteenth century; on the other, we have a colonial language, an object of denial

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on the part of the French authorities. In merging these two languages, the film paradoxically obscures French while referencing the nation’s current postcolonial situation, marked by a violent and complex relation to the Maghreb countries. A similar interest in the politics of language is also present in two of my documentaries: Trois faces (2007), dedicated to three Mediterranean cities (Barcelona, Genoa, Marseilles) and primarily focused on Catalonia’s bilingual (Spanish and Catalan) status; and La Révolution de l’alphabet (2014), an inquiry into the traces of Turkey’s abrupt passage from the Arabic alphabet to the Latin in 1928 as well as an attempt to analyze the memory of the symbolic violence of this reform in the light of the country’s current situation. *

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In his unfinished essay “Le Don des langues,” the French writer Jean Paulhan, who teaches Malagasy at the École des langues orientales in Paris, contemplates the possibility of acquiring a new language through casual contact: “In the seventeenth century, the disciples of Hermes referred to a certain secret knowledge that permits a traveller to speak the language of a country he has only just entered as le don des langues [‘the gift of languages’]. Whoever possesses this gift, they added, can cross the world without danger: he will find peace, balance, serenity everywhere.”29 This poetic tale refers to the practice of glossolalia, and more precisely xenoglossia: the gift of speaking a foreign language without ever having learned it. It testifies to the proximity between linguistic invention and the concept of utopia. Cinema and esperanto are both bearers of an ideal of knowledge and reconciliation. There is no doubt that the myth of experimental, cosmopolitan cinema—“cinema apatride,” to quote the filmmaker Vivian Ostrovsky—needs to be reexamined.30 Has experimental cinema done justice to the plurality of languages? Though multilingualism was a biographical reality for numerous exiled filmmakers, in the films themselves it often emerges cryptically. Recent works concerned with questions of language, bilingualism and translation come more often from the field of documentary and contemporary art than from experimental cinema. We may also note that the historiography of experimental cinema, largely dominated by Anglo-American studies, has paid little attention to this subject. The question of multilingualism now invites us to explore new frontiers. Finally, we might ask to what extent experimental cinema can be thought of as a minor language—in the sense proposed by Deleuze and Guattari in their essay on Kafka—within the broader field of cinema tout court. The philosophers’

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definition of minor literature is well known: it is characterized by an intensive use of language, subject to the effects of deterritorialization and continuous variation; by political concern; by the principle of collective enunciation.31 It is in one’s own language that one is bilingual or multilingual. Conquer the major language in order to delineate in it as yet unknown minor languages. Use the minor language to send the major language racing. Minor authors are foreigners in their own tongue. If they are bastards, if they experience themselves as bastards, it is due not to a mixing or intermingling of languages but rather to a subtraction and variation of their own language achieved by stretching tensors through it.32

Deleuze and Guattari insist on bilingualism and multilingualism as variables and intensities, and analyze the way in which Kafka’s literature is informed by his place between Czech and German, Yiddish and Hebrew. Not dissimilarly, the conflict in experimental cinema between the primacy of the visual and the linguistic dimension constitutes—through its variations, metamorphoses and paradoxes, and its deterritorializing effect—a minor use of cinema, spread between idiomaticity and lability.

Notes 1 Among others: Abé Mark Nornes, Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007); Carol O’Sullivan, Translating Popular Film (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). 2 “Lettre de Xanti Schawinsky à Sibyl Moholy-Nagy,” in Krisztina Passuth, MoholyNagy, trans. Véronique Charaire (Paris: Flammarion, 1982), 404. We should also mention that Moholy-Nagy spent his first ten years in the city of Mol, in Serbia, hearing Serbian spoken in the streets and attending courses at the Jewish school where, we can assume, he studied the rudiments of Hebrew. During his studies at the Szeged lyceum in Hungary, he must have had to learn Latin and Greek. I thank Oliver A. I. Botar for drawing my attention to these biographical elements. 3 Roman Jakobson, “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation,” in Selected Writings: Word and Language (The Hague: Mouton & Co, 1971), 164. 4 See Sergej M. Eisenstein, Notes for a General History of Cinema, eds Naum Kleiman and Antonio Somaini (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2014). 5 Joël Daire, Jean Epstein. Une vie pour le cinéma (Grandvilliers: La Tour Verte, 2014), 25. 6 Jakobson, “On Linguistic Aspects,” 261.

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7 I refer to the canonical historiography of experimental cinema, such as found in the work of David Curtis, Jonas Mekas, Dominique Noguez or Raphaël Bassan. See David Curtis, Experimental Cinema (London: Studio Vista, 1971); Jonas Mekas, Movie Journal: The Rise of the New American Cinema 1959–1971 (New York: Macmillan, 1972); Dominique Noguez, Éloge du cinéma expérimental (Paris: Paris Expérimental, 2010), and Cinéma expérimental. Abécédaire pour une contre-culture (Crisnée: Yellow Now, 2014). 8 Germaine Dulac, “Du sentiment à la ligne” (1927), reprinted in Écrits du Cinéma, ed. Prosper Hillairet (Paris: Paris Expérimental, 1994), 89. 9 Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on vision (New York: Film Culture, 1963). 10 Hollis Frampton, “Film in the House of the Word” (1981), in Circles of Confusion: Film, Photography, Video Texts, 1968–1980 (Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1983), 82. 11 See Hans Richter, Dada, art et anti-art (Bruxelles: Éditions de la Connaissance, 1965); Herbert Read, “Introduction,” in Hans Richter (Neuchâtel: Éditions du Griffon, 1965); Hans Richter by Hans Richter, ed. Cleve Gray (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971). See also Peter Wollen, “Viking Eggeling,” in Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film (London and New York: Verso, 2002), 39–54. 12 See Sergej Eisenstein, “Le Mal voltairien,” trans. Jacques Aumont, Cahiers du cinéma, n. 226–227 (1971): 47–56. 13 Eisenstein was deeply struck by Limite after seeing it in London in 1931, and went on to write an enthusiastic article that the Brazilian artist later frequently evoked. It remained invisible for a long time, and was only published in Portuguese in 1965, with the title “Um Filme da América do Sul.” Peixoto claimed to have translated a French version of the article originally published in English. He later claimed that Edgar Brazil had translated it from German. Shortly before his death, he admitted that he had written it himself. The apocryphal article reveals an interplay of hypothetical translations, similar to Eisenstein’s use of languages. See http://www. mariopeixoto.com/limite.htm (accessed April 2015). 14 François Bovier, H.D. et le groupe Pool (Lausanne: L’Âge d’homme, 2009), 263. 15 Sergej Eisenstein, “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram,” in Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, ed. and trans. Jay Leyda (New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977), 28–44. 16 Stuart Liebman, “Un Chien andalou: The Talking Cure,” in Dada and Surrealist Film, ed. Rudolf E. Kuenzli (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1996), 143–58. 17 Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. IV , trans. and ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1953), 277–78.

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18 Boris Eikhenbaum, “Literature and Cinema” (1926), in Russian Formalism: A Collection of Articles and Texts in Translation, ed. Stephen Bann and John E. Bowlt (New York: Harper and Row, 1973), 125. 19 On the subject of exile, loss of language and visuality, see Tijana Mamula, Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image (London and New York: Routledge, 2012). 20 Peter Kubelka, “Entretien avec Jean-Claude Lebensztejn,” Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, no. 65 (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1998), 102. 21 Ibid. 22 See Guillaume Basquin, Fondu au noir (Paris: Paris Expérimental, 2013). 23 See Pavle Levi, Cinema by Other Means (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 3–24. 24 Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (London: Jones & Company, 1826), 46–47. 25 Let us also recall the beautiful film The Last Clean Shirt (Alfred Leslie and Frank O’Hara, 1964), which explores the enigmatic relationship between a discourse stripped of meaning, crossed with Finnish, and the subtitles written by the poet Frank O’Hara. See Olivier Brossard’s passionate study on this: http://jacketmagazine. com/23/bross-ohara.html (Accessed April 2015). 26 See P. Adams Sitney, “Structural Film,” in Visionary Film: The American Avant-garde, 1943–2000, 3rd edn (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 347–70. 27 Serge Daney, Perséverance. Entretiens avec Serge Toubiana (Paris: P.O.L, 1994), 144. 28 I take the liberty of referring to three of my articles: “Cryptogramme pour Buster Keaton,” in Renversements 1, op. cit., 29–39; “Du bégaiement,” in Renversements 2. Notes sur le cinéma (Paris: Paris Expérimental, 2013), 162–171; “Ventriloquie et fétichisme: Sur quelques films des Marx,” with Peter Szendy, Trafic, n. 90 (P.O.L, 2014): 59–75. 29 Jean Paulhan, Les Fleurs de Tarbes (Paris: Gallimard/Folio, 1990), 332–33. 30 Quoted in Raphaël Bassan, Cinéma expérimental, 224. 31 Branden W. Joseph has used the concept of the minor to qualify the practice of the American artist Tony Conrad in his book Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2011). 32 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 105.

Works cited Basquin, Guillaume. Fondu au noir. Paris: Paris Expérimental, 2013. Bovier, François. H.D. et le groupe Pool. Lausanne: L’Âge d’homme, 2009.

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Brakhage, Stan. Metaphors on Vision. New York: Film Culture, 1963. Bullot, Erik. “Cryptogramme pour Buster Keaton.” In Renversements 1, 29–39. Bullot, Erik. “Du bégaiement.” In Renversements 2. Notes sur le cinéma, 162–171. Paris: Paris Expérimental, 2013. Bullot, Erik. “Ventriloquie et fétichisme: Sur quelques films des Marx.” With Peter Szendy. Trafic, no. 90 (2014): 59–75. Conrad, Tony. Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2011. Curtis, David. Experimental Cinema. London: Studio Vista, 1971. Daire, Joël. Jean Epstein. Une vie pour le cinéma. Grandvilliers: La Tour Verte, 2014. Daney, Serge. Perséverance. Entretiens avec Serge Toubiana. Paris: P.O.L, 1994. Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. Dulac, Germaine. “Du sentiment à la ligne” (1927). Reprinted in Écrits du Cinéma, edited by Prosper Hillairet. Paris: Paris Expérimental, 1994. Eikhenbaum, Boris. “Literature and Cinema” (1926). In Russian Formalism: A Collection of Articles and Texts in Translation, edited by Stephen Bann and John E. Bowlt. New York: Harper and Row, 1973. Eisenstein, Sergej. “Le Mal voltairien.” Translated by Jacques Aumont. Cahiers du cinéma, nos. 226–27 (1971): 47–56. Eisenstein, Sergej. “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram.” In Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, edited and translated by Jay Leyda, 28–44. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977. Eisenstein, Sergej. Notes for a General History of Cinema. Edited by Naum Kleiman and Antonio Somaini. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2014. Frampton, Hollis. Circles of Confusion: Film, Photography, Video Texts, 1968–1980. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1983. Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. IV . Translated and edited by James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1953. Jakobson, Roman. Selected Writings: Word and Language. The Hague: Mouton & Co, 1971. Kubelka, Peter. “Entretien avec Jean-Claude Lebensztejn.” Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, no. 65. Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1998. Levi, Pavle. Cinema by Other Means. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Liebman, Stuart. “Un Chien andalou: The Talking Cure.” In Dada and Surrealist Film, edited by Rudolf E. Kuenzli, 143–158. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1996. Mamula, Tijana. Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. Mekas, Jonas. Movie Journal: The Rise of the New American Cinema 1959–1971. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

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Noguez, Dominique. Éloge du cinéma expérimental. Paris: Paris Expérimental, 2010. Noguez, Dominique. Cinéma expérimental. Abécédaire pour une contre-culture. Crisnée: Yellow Now, 2014. Nornes, Abé Mark. Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. O’Sullivan, Carol. Translating Popular Film. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Paulhan, Jean. Les Fleurs de Tarbes. Paris: Gallimard/Folio, 1990. Read, Herbert. Hans Richter. Neuchâtel: Éditions du Griffon, 1965. Richter, Hans. Dada, art et anti-art. Bruxelles: Éditions de la Connaissance, 1965. Richter, Hans. Hans Richter by Hans Richter. Edited by Cleve Gray. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. Schawinsky, Xanti. “Lettre de Xanti Schawinsky à Sibyl Moholy-Nagy.” In Krisztina Passuth, Moholy-Nagy. Translated by Véronique Charaire. Paris: Flammarion, 1982. Sitney, P. Adams. Visionary Film: The American Avant-garde, 1943–2000, 3rd edn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels. London: Jones & Company, 1826. Wollen, Peter. Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film. London and New York: Verso, 2002.

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Exile and the “Languages” of Color: 1960s European Cinema, Multilingualism and Ontological Hesitation Paul Coates

Languages of color and country This chapter proposes that the shift to color in the European cinema of the mid-1960s accompanies a modernist sense of exile and language loss. It will consider the ramifications of taking three losses—of black-and-white film language, of spoken language as a well-known and trusted structure, and of homeland and rootedness—as interconnected. They fuse as the loss of familiar codes of filmmaking, the apprehension of a depth/surface separation created by objects’ coloration, the shaking of language by the difficulty of naming colors convincingly, and the practice of making films abroad or in exile converge around moods and thematics of dislocation. The primary test cases of the interconnection are works by Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard and Jerzy Skolimowski. Antonioni’s move into color, for instance, arguably pursues a trajectory of “internal” exile triggering a real one. Although a shift into color occurs across the board in 1960s European cinema, the individuals experiencing it appear sometimes to consider rescinding their choice, stepping back and forth between black-and-white and color before making a final decision. This option is represented by Godard, for whom it is available perhaps because—unlike Antonioni or Skolimowski—he remains within one country, France, and one film industry. And yet, that France is always already a place of exile: not his native Switzerland, and in any case, heavily influenced by a US culture that leaves him ambivalent. Skolimowski, for his part, was thrust out of the Polish film industry following Ręce do Góry! (Hands Up!, 1967), which dramatizes a reunion of former medical students many years after one was demoted to 113

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veterinary status as the scapegoat for an error in a poster of Stalin all the students had made. He bore responsibility for the eyes, and thus for giving Stalin two sets of them. Just over a decade after the denunciation of Stalinism in Poland in October 1956, the dictator’s outraged ghost returned to ruin the career of one of Poland’s most talented directors, a débâcle prophesied by Skolimowski’s own playing of the penalized student. Writing in the mid-1960s, Pier Paolo Pasolini posited an analogy between literary free indirect style and the “free indirect subjectivity” he saw exemplified in works by Antonioni, Godard and Bernardo Bertolucci. Like free indirect style, the “cinema of poetry” posits the cinematic author as sliding in and out of the internal self-dialogue of various characters.1 Shaking the apparent unity of “voice,” this “cinema of forked tongue” stages intermittent identifications with alien, introjected languages and dialects. The accompanying alienation from self and environment, an internal exile that may presage a real one, metaphorically suggests that logical conclusion very near its outset in Antonioni’s attachment to a woman’s traumatized consciousness in Il deserto rosso (Red Desert, 1964). For the filmmaker, the introjection is also one of a hitherto-alien language, that of color. Even while identifying with it, Antonioni marks it as alien, through his choice of a woman as protagonist, while Godard supplements this identification with an alienating association of color and consumerism. Language, so often deemed questionable in the 1960s, becomes particularly so in a cinema entering the modernist phase Pasolini’s article may be seen as diagnosing. As it moves from the more denotative vocabulary of classical cinema toward a more connotative, open, less clearly-coded one, film inherits the modernist doubt of language: one which sought to locate truth in the blank space between the linguistic perspectives of a variety of tellers of “the same” event; the doubt of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Lord Chandos, who “gradually lost the ability, when discussing relatively elevated or general topics, to utter words normally used by everyone with unhesitating fluency.”2 That doubt, so often aligned with social mobility, fragmentation and deepening subjectivity, even haunts the intended objectivity of a treatise such as Ferdinand De Saussure’s Cours de linguistique generale, and hence, the origin of modern linguistics. For instance, if only a placement within a system of names identifying it as (say) “not brown” and “not yellow” defines “red” as “red,” it is as if its lack of substantial identity mirrors a malleability of the object, or the perspectival viewing stances of modernist pictorial and narrational practices, which themselves embody openness to the differential object-concepts of art forms injected into the West

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from colonized nations. It is as if loss of language, entailing a loss of clarity of concepts and sign-signifier relations, compels one to fall back on colors, whose “irrationality” of signification configures a kind of international form of speech whose every word displays undecidability. Each color becomes as it were a multilingual portmanteau of the kind of which James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is built, with its author’s pursuit of “silence, exile, and cunning,” and his relocation to a non-English-speaking space logically melting each word into a polyglot artifact. For language becomes particularly questionable when confronted with color. If the language of color is inherently ambiguous, it is not just because of color’s widespread identification with that which is of the surface, and therefore not necessarily indicative of anything extending into 3-D beneath a 2-D topsoil, but also because the color an object displays is by definition not the one of the space beyond its surface. Since it is the one it bounces out toward the viewer, color becomes that key modernist object, the face that is in fact a mask. Its possible mask-like separability from that which lies beneath it (apples are not internally the same color as they appear from outside, for instance) establishes it as possibly divided. No wonder one study of Antonioni, the first key director considered here, should be titled Antonioni, or, The Surface of the World.3 Moreover, irrespective of the degree to which the color itself reveals what lies beneath, and of the possible culturally-founded unreliability it imparts to the natural world, one may ask oneself further how one should designate the new— even less potentially reliable, because “unnatural”—colors achieved through industrial and chemical processes. This issue is central to Antonioni’s Red Desert.

Antonioni: color on the far side of language Interviewed by Godard in connection with Red Desert, Antonioni said of the film that “the dialogue is reduced to an indispensable minimum and, in this sense, it is linked to color.”4 Among other things, this suggests that color’s recurrent highlighting by blurring or transformation of another kind grants it the status of “language continued by other means,” its afterlife following the breakdown of the speaking subject, Giuliana, who is now left only with eyes, but describes herself as unable to know what to look at or how. This new “language” comes to the fore to render the exilic experience of the spoken tongue. The words surrounding one have become alien, unreadable, while one’s own have lost the power of effective naming, communication and agency within the environment.

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One consequence is that environment’s coating with modernist enigma. Antonioni once remarked: “We know that beneath the represented image there is an other image more true to reality, and that beneath that one, still one more, and again a further image beneath that one, until you get to the true image of reality, absolute, mysterious, that no-one will ever see. Or perhaps, one will arrive at the decomposition of any image whatsoever, of any reality whatsoever. The abstract cinema would then have its rationale for existing.”5 This somewhat Platonic statement, which connects the world’s veiling by mist and blurred focus in Red Desert to the disintegration of its image in the blow-ups of Thomas’s photographs in Antonioni’s next film, correlates also with a particular conception of color-world relations. It does so along lines suggested by Sam Rohdie’s description of Red Desert as a film implying that “color had to be thought of as a relation, not an absolute,”6 and resembling some of John Berger’s statements in his correspondence on color with John Christie. In one letter, Berger muses, “Isn’t color always behind what we see? On the far side.” If color implicitly activates depth relationships, the notion of a “far side” may shadow it always. Berger goes on to annotate a blotch of red with “the true red is behind this”; to gloss patches of burnt umber and blue similarly; and to conclude “even yellow is a covering of the ultimate yellow.”7 This sense of “true” colors inhabiting a space behind any individual one establishes within their phenomenal presence a self-distance suggestive of those between the particular and the general, between an individual form and a prototypical Platonic one, between the concrete object and the abstraction of its name. Is the true name that which exists primally behind the thing? The multiplicity of names for the object, in various languages or in dialects and idiolects of a “single” language, prevent any object ever being “the thing itself,” any word ever designating it adequately. Thus, in Red Desert, the moments when objects slip out of focus may represent realizations of the impossibility of naming them, in part because the objects of the technologized world constitute an incomprehensible future already inhabiting the present but unnameable to most of its denizens, the wedge thrust into this time by the not-yet. Blurring creates a sense that the thing is not fully present; that the link between subject and object hangs loose, and objects are drifting away. The blurs feed Giuliana’s belief that “there’s something terrible about reality,” as the physical is infiltrated by the metaphysical, and sight’s veiling is a possible onset of blindness. If color suggests a separability of surface and depth, it is also because the world’s flooding in the modern age with a host of new colors prompts one

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to suspect a new reality’s overlay on a preexistent one. Antonioni’s travels subsequent to this film may be interpreted as showing his identification with Corrado (Richard Harris), boarding the ship Giuliana (Monica Vitti) could not, with various languages’ color names allowing him to peel successive layers of reality, as if archaeologically removing coats of paint to approach the final abstract revelation postulated in the passage quoted above. If the multiplicity of names for “the same thing” can engender a sense that no word can adequate it, this perceived disparity between thing and Ding an sich is underlined by the blurrings of focus. Nor can the visible surface of things absented in the blur match any one word in the arsenal of color names, as DIY interior decorators struggle to distinguish—say—a “teal gray” from a “seal gray.” A similar hesitation regarding color-choice occurs in Giuliana’s proposed shop in Red Desert, where she cannot decide which of the sample color squares painted on its white walls should cover the wall as a whole. It is as if her awareness of being in a shop makes her project onto its walls the principle of consumer choice between products physically absent but present in spirit. Indeed, it is as if her hesitations between possible colors and products are one and the same: as if occupying a space controlled by the name “shop” causes behavior in line with her dominant past shop-experiences, those of a consumer expecting variety. If the fruit occupying a street-vendor’s stand is all gray, this too may project her attitude to it: one of probable indifference, as if it could never be hers. And yet, at the same time, her desire to apply paint to the blank walls matches her sense that the nullity of surrounding reality requires changing, while her uncertainty over color choice indicates both resistance to ready-made answers and lack of strength to sustain an apparently solitary quest. Reality’s alteration might follow one in the eye of the beholder, however. For there is also a suggestion—derived both from the work’s affinities with modern abstract art and from Leonardo’s famous instructions to the painter— that the blank walls haunting it, to which Giuliana either clings or remains close, may themselves be communications. The outside ones, in particular, seem instinct with possible significance beyond their obvious testimony to weathering. Repeatedly, Antonioni’s spectator is primed to await a revelation suggested by partial dematerialization: the three blurred violet flowers seen as Giuliana and Corrado enter the building inhabited by a worker Corrado is seeking to recruit may indeed be outlined clearly as they exit, but they equally well might not have been. Antonioni’s combination of color and blurring insinuates that the world is both veiled and a veil. Metaphysics and the physical conjoin. No wonder that one

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scene should show Giuliana’s husband and companions both disappearing and freezing behind a mist at the quayside near the retreat-hut, as if losing the name of human. In the phenomenology of imminent exile, which itself might receive inadequate naming as “trauma,” “neurosis” or “schizophrenia,” all names also figure unnamings, each being pried away by the imminence of a new reality, each image suspended tantalizingly short of clarity. It is as if cinema supplants and sublates the painting on which it feeds, through its temporal nature and consequent ability to stage recurrent micro-dramas of withholding possible revelation. Of all the colors, and not just those of this film, the greatest privilege arguably belongs to red, identified by Kay and Berlin as the first unequivocal “color” word (after black and white) to enter the vocabularies of various languages.8 In his letter to Christie of December 28, 1997, Berger remarks, “It’s as if all the colors (and particularly the pure ones) are waiting to undress or be undressed.”’ Earlier in the correspondence (entry for March 1, 1997), however, he had related the metaphor of “dressing” and “undressing” to red in particular, asking “Could it be that red is the one color that is continually asking for a body?”9 Red seeks clothing or a body in the same way as Giuliana would like to be incarnated (incarnadine) elsewhere, on the Technicolor fairy tale beach she describes to her supposedly sick son Valerio. In Antonioni’s world, which he famously described as one where “Eros is sick,” the quest for unity with another human body and the warmth of its passion is displaced into a dream of regression into a girl’s pubescent, presexual body—one still able to dream of the fulfillment denied the erotic and pseudo-erotic encounters of this film’s adults, but only indirectly—as warmth suffuses the environment as a whole. Giuliana’s realization that it can no longer be localized in a human body hides it in the rocks that resemble flesh and so betray, beneath their utopian surface, the stoniness of human eros. Color, associated with life, may be the afterlife of the destroyed (colonized, industrialized) objects from which it has been removed. Profoundly, sterilely cinematic, it never impregnates the many screens onto which it is projected, which it clothes and across which it flits and flickers like fashion. It may be the object’s double, the lost soul that represents its life most fully in the color red, as the Old Covenant tells us “the blood is the life.” Antonioni once stated, “Red Desert isn’t really a continuation of my previous work.”10 Inasmuch as this is the case, its key central figures—G iuliana and Corrado—represent attempts at delineating different approaches to that break, “feminine” and “masculine” ones. At the same time, in modernist, self-referential

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fashion, the work indicates the fragility of the distinction between them through the mise-en-abyme image of the way one-plus-one yields not two but one, as Giuliana’s son lets one drop of blue fall onto, and disappear within, another. Corrado’s sense of separate individuality erodes as incipient love of Giuliana causes him to identify increasingly with her: if, as Antonioni puts it, he “is an almost romantic figure” who “thinks of running away to Patagonia” because “he thinks that in this way he will solve his existential crisis,”11 her attraction for him lies in her being installed already in the elsewhere he wishes to reach: the story of the deserted beach and the lone girl swimming there, which she tells Valerio, shows her imagination’s fixation on romantic escape. The work’s ship imagery, even in areas identified at first as inland, intensifies the preoccupation with abandoning a reality whose terribilità mocks that of the storm-clouds of the mountaintop abode of the romantic sublime, when steam pours violently from a factory in a seemingly unremitting horizontal jet in flat marsh-country. That terrible quality may well be the hollowing out of appearances by the industrial processes that apply colors to hide or stifle their natural hues and question the validity of naming, turning a street-seller’s fruit gray and blackening the trees of the landscape nearby. Pollution has metaphysical as well as environmental force. Its metaphorical one is represented in dream-like fashion by concrete images of recolored landscapes: as in Freud, word-image becomes thing-image. Like Freudian primal words, ambiguous thing-images absorb and replace language. The ships repeatedly looming large around Giuliana, as if themselves dreamlike concretions of an inchoate idea of escape, are only symbols, however, and cannot be boarded in search of another reality. Standing on a platform next to a ship, and beside Corrado, Giuliana says that if she left she would wish to take everything with her. Corrado replies that she might as well not go. The ship that pulls up alongside the hut that is a weekend retreat sports a yellow quarantine flag, and yellow tied to a vertical is also the final flag-like waving of the poisonous smoke of the factory chimney, as if the ships were factory-ships. Equally importantly, such a ship’s crew would speak an alien tongue, like the one used by the Turkish sailor who comes down a gang-plank toward Giuliana near the work’s end: the non-subtitling of his words imposes on spectators Giuliana’s own incomprehension, as if now that love-making between her and Corrado has turned his hotel room a pinkish color suggestive of his absorption into color’s most stereotypical sign of femininity, the vortex of identification might also suck the spectator into her position, through the work’s focalization around her.

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Antonioni’s color consciousness foregrounds questions of movement and the difficulty of knowing what to look at—the latter issue extending from the closing sequence of L’Eclisse (The Eclipse, 1962), a series of shots in and around the place where two lovers had an assignation that neither kept, as if the scene’s lack of the centering human element caused its disintegration into a series of disconnected images reminiscent of the linguistic and epistemological crisis of Hofmannsthal’s Lord Chandos. In his interview with Godard, Antonioni stated “I believe there is a relationship between camera movement and color.”12 In the first instance, this means that different colors require different camera movements: “a rapid panoramic sweep is efficacious on brilliant red, but it does nothing for a sour green, unless you’re looking for a new contrast.”13 The word contrast, however, suggests the extent to which colors themselves generate movement by their complementary quality: each has a “presence” shadowed nevertheless by absence as the mood or temperature it generates (warmth for red, for instance) requires another color to balance it. If the gyroscope that Giuliana’s husband Ugo demonstrates to her son is a key object in the film, it is not just because its use by ships to achieve balance can be contrasted with Giuliana’s psychic unsteadiness, as Rifkin argues,14 but also because the colored world itself is inherently unbalanced, each color requiring supplementation by a contrasting valence. Each requires the movement that can be experienced as a continual self-alienation, or self-exiling, as it leads to another that is classifiable as its opposite, on various grounds. Thus, as Alexander Theroux notes,15 Emily Dickinson describes as opposites the red and white that appear here beside the sea, as if each required the other and so created a movement, be it a wave-like oscillation through juxtaposition or the continuousness of their spiraling alternation around an object (think a barbershop pole). The interconnection of color and the imperative of movement becomes even more apparent in a worldview such as that of the Maya, which assigns different colors to different points of the compass (the east being red, the south yellow, and white and black north and south, respectively).16 If Giuliana raises the question “What should I look at?” after mentioning the sea, it is because “it never keeps still”: perpetual motion prevents the eye finding the rest that, for Giuliana, would translate into peace. Thus, when the camera shadowing her consciousness encounters a pipeline, during her encounter with Corrado on the rig beside a ship, it is compelled to follow its windings—a movement that recurs when Corrado’s own look mimics her mode of perception as he addresses workers he is seeking to recruit. The consciousness resembles

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that of Shelley’s moon: “ever changing, like a joyless eye, that finds no object worth its constancy.” In this context, one may wonder whether the growth in the use of the pan in post-1960s European art cinema follows from the universalization of color filming, representing a search, within a single environment, for an object whose color will counterbalance one viewed previously. This movement is surely related also to the post-neorealism abandonment of the studio, with its possibilities of color control: it is outside the studio that one encounters the vast expanses of colors within which only a very different color will be noticeable. Thus, Alexander Theroux connects the primary emergence of red as a color-word to cultural activity in the context of nature, quoting Maitland Gaves’ The Art of Color and Design: Primitive art as well as classical was essentially an outdoor art; that is, it dealt chiefly with the decoration of facades, painted statues, and totem poles, war galleys, chariots, and the like. The background for this art was the blue sky and green vegetation. Therefore, the use of the warm colors, particularly red, would result in the most effective contrast against such a background, whereas blue and green would be overwhelmed and lost. . . . The same predominance of reds and yellows may be noted in outdoor decorations of today, exemplified in such things as beach and garden architecture and billboard advertising.17

The need to ensure the visibility of the cultural element within a natural environment is also the need to “place” the figure within a landscape (something a modernist paradox may achieve through green nevertheless, as Giuliana’s

Figure 6.1 Il deserto rosso (Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964).

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coat contrasts with a polluted landscape stripped of verdancy). That desire for visibility is surely accentuated to the point of exhibitionism in the sexualization of public culture in the 1960s, with which all the films considered in this chapter engage. If Antonioni rejected his initial title for this film, “Celeste e verde” (“Celestial blue and green”), it was surely not just “because it didn’t seem to be a virile enough title,” as he told Godard,18 but also because the red he foregrounds becomes “virile” through Giuliana’s identification with the contrasting green. Moreover, green’s overlapping of blue renders their combination bland, and the new title raised the issue of potentially contradictory, tautological or enigmatic relationships through a noun/adjective combination.

Godard: multilingualism, color and hesitation The term multilingualism may be applied not only to the spoken tongues of innumerable human groups, but also, by analogy, to the multiple “languages” of the arts, including cinema itself, with its internal differentiation among such communicative, expressive and referential systems (“languages”) as those of color and black-and-white, between which the director may suffer suspension. That suspension can of course underpin an aesthetic and metaphysic, as in the films of Andrej Tarkovsky, but it becomes chronic and symptomatic in Godard’s early-1960s, which repeatedly crosses the border into color, then reverts to black-and-white before choosing color definitively late in the decade, arguably in the service of a Brechtian deconstruction-by-quotation of the colorful mirages of the consumerist world. This step, however, also involves displacement, the advent of a world of pure surface in which the possibility that the female mask of his earlier films might reveal itself as a face, responsive to one’s romantic adoration, withers away. To match this finality of loss, cinema itself exemplifies the law of technological succession whereby the advent of one technology is less an addition of new possibilities than a restriction of choice through suppression of a previously dominant one—the most signal example being the disappearance of the silent cinema that Godard had quoted, with un-Brechtian reverence, in Vivre sa vie (My Life to Live, 1962). It is hardly surprising that problems with language become explicit in his Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle (Two or Three Things I Know About Her, 1967), a film that is peppered with observations about language (Heidegger’s “Language is the house man lives in,” Wittgenstein’s “the limits of my language

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are the limits of my world”) and with written words on-screen, and that explicitly correlates these problems with the issue of color. Its protagonist, Juliette Janson (Marina Vlady), wonders what would have happened had blue been named green, calling this “a serious matter.” Might the upshot have been the disappearance of one, or both, of these colors, or the recourse to an “intercoloristic” neologism, like Nelson Goodman’s “grue”? Yet would not even that word have been inadequate, as it could equally well have been “bleen”—though Goodman himself had sought to remove possible ambiguity by stating that each word represented one color at the point of its temporal gravitation toward the other?19 The new colors yielded by industrial processes are even less nameable than those encountered in nature: partly because all appear near-simultaneously, too rapidly to be assimilated or generate an adequate new language-system, and in any case result from and point to an alienation of nature. One notes how, in Two or Three Things . . ., the sight of trees prompts worries about how they should be shot. (Insofar as the shot is the visual equivalent of a name, designating an entity, any sense of its boundedness may slide away, across the 1960s, down the slippery slope of the newly widely-available, much-exploited zoom lens.) On a level addressed by much of Two or Three Things . . ., the uncertainty over names corresponds to a growth in consumerism and to the way an apparent expansion of choice exceeds the judging capabilities of the individual, who feels overwhelmed. The spectrum is split in order to apply different colors to objects that are fundamentally alike: so one can sell more of them and appeal to more

Figure 6.2 Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle (Two or Three Things I Know About Her, Jean-Luc Godard, 1967).

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people, who feel individualized (in theory at least) by the color apparently tailored to them. This pseudo-personalization ostensibly alleviates the sense of exile bred by the continual newness of a world offering itself as a range of products vying for attention. In Godard’s work, this is also France’s sense of exile from itself, figured by the disappearance of Central Paris. Identity markers dissolve as the colors of its flag fuse France with the United States and United Kingdom. Above all else, there is a diminution of the possibility of love, as one no longer knows the identity of “her.” If one knows only two or three things about the lover, even if they are demarcated by the expansive blankness of the space between red and blue, that “color totalization” falls far short of the “total” cherishing of the body invoked at the beginning of Godard’s earlier Le Mépris (Contempt, 1963) and endorsed by its camera movement all along the nakedness of Camille (Brigitte Bardot). At the same time, Godard’s suspicion of the final unknowability of others, particularly women, may reinforce his apparent identification of total knowledge with the quasi-pornographic, an increasingly strong feature of his post-1960s work. Clothing, that surface detachable from another surface, also becomes quasilinguistic in its function of either revealing or concealing within “the fashion system.” It is in a clothes shop that Juliette ponders the consequences of switching the names for green and blue, in a manner that might have occurred to Antonioni’s Giuliana when contemplating the walls of her own planned shop: indeed, Giuliana had mentioned blue and green as possible dominants in its color scheme, and Godard may be building on Antonioni here. For him, a bluegreen fusion might presage the change known as revolution (which usually seeks to consolidate itself by changing the names of things)—however much the 1960s consumer revolution parodies the truly desirable revaluation of values. Instead, the fusion becomes a matter of fashion: each year installs a different “in” color automatically and mindlessly. Later the same year, in La Chinoise (1967), Godard will combat consumerism’s variety of colors by proclaiming allegiance to one alone, filling bookshelves with multiple copies of Mao’s little red book. But the quixotic effort works only within the restricted environment of a single apartment, and the antidote to consumerism is also its most attractive primary. Red bids to be a homeopathic, because politicized, remedy. At the same time, the would-be revolutionaries’ primary-colored world seems to testify as much to childishness as to libidinal liberation. The multilingual moment spawns a hesitation between words. One asks oneself which might best capture the color one sees, or even whether there is a

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“right word” at all. Thus, the hesitation that can be deemed the hallmark of Godard’s film is present from the very outset, in its title: Two or Three Things I Know About Her; a title that may prompt one to ask which number applies (are the blue, white and red of the French flag two things or three, with white classifiable as a color?). This move into color and multilingualism had been made explicit in Contempt, whose status as an international co-production is echoed mise-en-abyme in the need for translation between characters, but in Two or Three Things . . . its consequences seem to subvert identity, both individual and communal, at the point at which individuals seek to tap the stored collective resources represented by the language they think of as “their own.”

Skolimowski: color and unspoken desire Skolimowski’s first film in exile, after expulsion from Poland following the daringly critical Hands Up!, may have been Le Départ (The Departure, 1967), in black-and-white, but he soon moved over to color. Deep End (1970) was the first to employ it with an implicit awareness of its range of connotations. In Deep End, the inability of seventeen-year-old Mike (John Moulder-Brown) to possess the slightly older fellow public bath attendant Sue (Jane Asher) is underlined by the black-and-white status of the image, propped up outside an adult club in Soho, of her Doppelgänger “Angelika,” which he carries away and confronts her with in the tube. No wonder Sue will only admit that it resembles her: a black-and-white image may be called a failed rendition and inadequate translation of the colored world. Sue’s elusiveness and the strength of Mike’s obsession with her are also inscribed in the colors on the walls of the baths, which echo her hair with a slight difference, raising the issue of how any color—including the all-important one of her hair—should be named, grasped. The issue of color naming may intrigue Skolimowski, a painter as well as a director. What color would a painter purchase or mix to render Sue’s hair, what color-word would apply? Would the simple combination of the two final key colors, yellow (her plastic mac) and red (her blood floating in the pool’s water), capture its flaming orange? When the colors that Godard’s French flag separates—those proverbial opposites: blue and red, water and blood—conjoin, they may be interpreted as ending the film in a tabooed fusion of incompatibles. An observation by Rudolf Arnheim underlines some of the problems associated with color nomination: “If, for example, we look at the chart compiled

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by Hiler from different sources for the name of the color corresponding to 600 millimicrons, we find that it has been described by various authors as Orange Chrome, Golden Poppy, Spectrum Orange, Bitter Sweet Orange, Oriental Red, Saturn Red, Cadmium Red Orange, or Red Orange.”20 Insofar as the difficulty of naming colors shakes the credibility of language (that widespread 1960s experience partly underpinning its multipronged questioning of authorities), the image steps in to “name” them more credibly, opening a new, Blakean door of perception. Recognizing color’s singular resistance to language, as well as the many colors secreted within a single, approximate “name” like “red,” and the temporality of color perception, filmic images install a new form of naming instead. The authority with which filmic images “name” color is paradoxical, however, resting on a modernist relinquishment of authority and embrace of multiplicity. (In Deep End, Mike is unprepared to encounter this multiplicity: scanning the baths on his first arrival, and perhaps motivated by the association of whiteness and the cleanliness sought by customers mostly coming less to swim than to bathe in a neighborhood whose houses may not have private baths, he says “I thought it would be all white”—whereas the film translates whiteness into the light it can split into the spectrum.) The image figures an adequacy of naming because it shifts with the shifting sands of color, which, in the natural, quotidian world, is always mutable: sky, leaves and grass are only variably “blue” or “green” as the changing daylight, then the onset of twilight, conjugate their hues. Cinema holds the changing object through its commitment to the passage of time; the object’s “name” is a dictionary entry with various meanings between which it moves. As Béla Balázs noted, film can track “moving colors”: “For a painter may paint a flushed face, but never a pale face slowly being warmed to rose-red by a blush; he can paint a pale face but never the dramatic phenomenon of blanching.”21 Skolimowski the painter chooses film as his light-sensitive canvas: Deep End exemplifies the modernist image’s selection of shifting sand as foundation, its walls “built” to move back and forth like elements in a Calder mobile, with sufficient built-in give to withstand modernity’s seismic shocks. Throughout the film, the hand-held camera’s closeness to characters renders even slight shifts in framing potentially revelatory of something importantly impinging on their experience. This proximity precludes awareness of the outof-frame, which enters it unexpectedly, but in retrospect entirely logically. The image refreshes continually as even small movements yield new information. Skolimowski sympathizes with characters to whom we are so close, yet also ironizes the way they are caught off-guard repeatedly by events in their

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“near-abroad.” The difficulty of both nomination and framing becomes apparent very early on, when Sue sits at the pool’s side, the color of her hair (orange? the “auburn” that is John Orr’s choice?22) put in question. The ambiguity of the “red” most would see in it, like Mike asking the ticket-dispenser at the adult club whether she’s seen a redhead enter, is brought out by its distorting echo in four adjacent painted color squares on the baths’ walls, which one might term “yellow,” “orange” and “dark-orange” (four squares do not necessarily mean four colors). Surrounding Sue, these swatches of paint, probable trial runs for the repainting of the pool wall, suggest a possible composite, neologistic “name” for her hair’s color. She slips between them much as she eludes the men in her life, none of whom are adequate either. If only one color is clearly “not orange,” does this raise the specter of a possibly adequate partner for Sue, beyond her fiancé, the teacher, and Mike? Is the colors’ relationship—such as the one between “two” and “three” raised explicitly also in Godard’s title and implicitly in the emotional triangle of Red Desert, one of whose points (the husband’s) appears almost disconnected from the other two—a re/color-coding of the dilemma of how to constitute lasting pairings in a 1960s culture increasingly self-defined as secular? “What goes with what?”—the key question in the color-sphere—becomes “what corresponds to what?” in the multilingual one of translation, while the exile may ask “what in my new world matches anything in the old?”

Figure 6.3 Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970).

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Writing of color as a problem for cinema, Arnheim questions the extent to which a real environment’s hues can be subordinated to artistic control.23 Because of this, the advent of color appears in the first instance to have benefited shooting in studios, where everything could be controlled. In short order, however, the Technicolor aesthetic this favored would be challenged by the growing postwar adoption of outdoor shooting, led by the neorealists, and then by a favoring of Eastmancolor, whose shades were subtler, viewed as more natural and as reinforcing the realism Bazin deemed the foundation of the “new language” of European cinema post World War II . In a similar vein, Jean Mitry would argue that Technicolor’s “fantasies in a fantasy world (. . .) were in keeping with the stylization of the sets; but, used in a realistic context, they succeeded merely in destroying the most basic belief in the realism.”24 The issue of the controllability and verisimilitude of color effects, and hence of the degree to which in color film the photographer inevitably reverts to or recovers the status of painter, arises, for instance, as one considers whether the color management feasible within the baths extends to the external environment—a possibility rendered dubious by the film’s low-budget and quasi-documentary elements. Given the importance of the yellow of Sue’s billowing, independently-minded plastic mac, spectators might wonder whether Skolimowski—Antonioni-like—may have painted yellow the outside brickwork of the sandwich bar near the stand where Mike purchases too many hot dogs while awaiting Sue’s emergence from the adult club. They may ask whether this is a serendipitous Skolimowskian find, or whether he sponsored a fresh lick of paint for the bar’s walls, on the condition that they be yellow. Nevertheless, Skolimowski’s commitment to improvisation (Jane Asher improvised part of the dialogue concerning the “pregnant man” poster, for instance) suggests that plunging into color may entail abandonment of an attempt to control the world. Godard’s similar commitment is hardly surprising, though inasmuch as the voiceovers in Two or Three Things . . ., delivered by Godard himself, contain repeated worries over whether his camera is showing the right things, it maintains genuinely documentary reservations that Skolimowski appears to discard as inappropriate to fiction. Where color control is concerned, his position is at the opposite end of the spectrum to Antonioni’s, with Godard somewhere in between. When enumerating the problems he believes “the complete film” poses for film art, which he sees as thriving in the gap between the sign and the reality to which it relates, Arnheim follows up remarks on color with ones on stereoscopy.25 The succession is logical, as color perception correlates with the 3-D qualities of

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reality—red, for example, seeming to approach and blue being associated with distance. Perspective and depth perception, which appear to have vanished from color field painting, haunt it too, albeit in abstract form, through the different distances projected by different shades of “the same” colors, multiplicity giving the lie to the apparent singularity of a name. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Skolimowski’s interest in color correlates with one in depth perception, in line with comments made by Balázs’s reading of color: “No longer do two-dimensional images slide into each other on the same plane.”26 When red first enters the baths it does so by being painted onto a wall at the end of a corridor whose sides are occupied by Sue and the cashier. In a paradoxical, modernist play, the distant (the wall) is marked with the sign of proximity. As the film advances, red too begins to seep into the foreground. When Sue and Mike seek to strain her lost engagement diamond from clumps of snow, they are placed at the far, deep end of the pool. Sue is very small as she comes toward its nearer end and stands berating her teacher-lover, over whose shoulder we watch her. This sense of possible movement between foreground and background, arising out of which color is where, may provide a logical basis for occasionally racking the focus, as when attention shifts from Sue and Mike in the park to the distant celebrations following the race the teacher has supervised. As in Antonioni, questions of focus can be crucial, though Skolimowski’s concern is with the kinetic and dramatic possibilities of focus-shifting rather than with the ontological frustration Antonioni distills from leaving things blurred. In Mike’s fantasy of jumping into the pool after the cut-out of Sue, the 2-D object becomes 3-D, as if it has filled up with water. The depth of perspective suggested by color creates a world with deep ends where one may find oneself unexpectedly in over one’s head.

Postscript The first chapter of Genesis may be interpreted as reading the experience of color—as a dimension separable from the objects through which it manifests itself—as a prefiguration of exile. Perceived usually less as expressive of an interior than as an overlay on it, color demonstrates the potential duality of persons or things, whose inner and outer dimensions may be vastly different. The apple’s suggestion of duplicity—white below a green or red skin—makes it unsurprising that myth presents it as the fatal fruit offered to Eve in Eden. The

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experience of the difference between the apple’s external color and the one revealed by biting into it anticipates exile from semiotic Paradise. The very first taste of the apple’s sweetness is the bitter one of disparity. Color may rest on the surface like the first lie, becoming an object of suspicion, like the foreign body in the garden, speaking another language, or the woman displaying a particular, suspect interest in it. It is deep only as a dye, which itself might expunge the inner color of the object into which it is injected. Its duplicitous language, spoken by a serpent with forked tongue, is a language of identities as malleable and performative as they are for fashion, with no color inherently valuable, each reigning only for the variable length of a season. Inasmuch as color is perceived as a matter of surfaces, locking one outside a world resistant to penetration, one may wonder whether its dialectical counterpart is the Wellesian deep focus into a world. Is it any accident therefore that both color and deep-focus shooting, apparent opposites in approach to foreground and surface, enter mainstream American cinema almost simultaneously, that is in the late 1930s? In this context, Balázs’s argument that “color lends depth and perspective to the shots,”27 suggests that these opposites branch from one root. Depth of field—at the time of Welles’ debut arguably the attractive monochrome reaction or alternative to the obvious new attraction of color—may, among other things, seek to translate color’s implicit mobilization of depth into the “old visual language.” In the European context of this chapter, meanwhile, it can be argued that Antonioni turns duplicity into ambiguity; Godard displaces it from the female to color; and only Skolimowski retains the traditional triangulation of duplicity, color and femininity as a driver of his narrative, which may therefore be accounted far more “driven” (by goal-seeking desire) than the other two films. In all three films, color correlates with dressing and undressing, in part as a result of the 1960s experience of a sexuality whose ostensible liberation also entails its unmooring by promiscuity from any single relationship, but also with rephrasings of a once plain “truth.” The correlation, most patent when Godard’s Juliette meditates on color-naming while standing in a clothes shop, is almost equally explicit in Giuliana’s musings on color in her would-be shop in Red Desert. Juliette’s reflection that blue might have been called green both exemplifies Godard’s penchant for word games and matches a Platonic sense that particular colors are emanations and diminutions of their Forms elsewhere, all of which have the status of primaries. A preoccupation with color thus becomes a preoccupation with forms of social alienation and ontological exile tied to the difficulty of naming

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that is the underside of the endless quest for the new. A similarly Platonic disposition grounds the worlds of real or incipient exile evoked by Skolimowski and Antonioni. The processes that separate colors from objects participate in a primal separation of object parts: a slow-motion, Peckinpah-like tearing of limb from limb that is the 1960s’ delectable, “psychedelic” version of Bacchic ecstasy. Colors are a-temporally Platonic, and in this sense “metaphysical,” yet also pervasive within the shaped physical environment of the period, which includes more and more language self-alienated by its depersonalized plastering on billboards that tout attractively colored objects and their inevitable concomitants: attractive, objectified women.

Notes 1 Pier Paolo Pasolini, “The Cinema of Poetry,” in Movies and Methods, ed. Bill Nichols (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1976), 550–58. 2 Hugo von Hofmannsthal, The Lord Chandos Letter and Other Writings, ed. and trans. Joel Rotenberg (New York: New York Review Books, 2005), 121. 3 Seymour Chatman, Antonioni, or, The Surface of the World (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1985). 4 Andrew Sarris, Interviews with Film Directors (New York: Avon, 1967), 30. 5 Quoted in Sam Rohdie, Antonioni (London: BFI , 1992), 155. 6 Rohdie, Antonioni, 166. 7 John Berger and John Christie, I send you this cadmium red . . .: a correspondence between John Berger and John Christie (Barcelona: ACTAR , 2000), entry for December 28, 1997, n.p. 8 Brent Berlin and Paul Kay, Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969). 9 Berger and Christie, I send you this cadmiun red, n.p. 10 Michelangelo Antonioni, The Architecture of Vision: Writings and Interviews on Cinema, ed. Carlo di Carlo and Giorgio Tinazzi (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1996), 286. 11 Ibid., 291. 12 Sarris, Interviews, 29. 13 Ibid. 14 Ned Rifkin, Antonioni’s Visual Language (Ann Arbor, MI : UMI Press, 1982), 96. 15 Alexander Theroux, The Primary Colors: Three Essays (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994), 182. 16 Ibid., 189.

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17 Quoted in Theroux, The Primary Colors, 161–62. 18 Sarris, Interviews, 29. 19 Nelson Goodman, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (Indianapolis, IN : Bobbs-Merrill, 1973), 73–83, 89–99, 101–9. 20 Rudolf Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye (London: Faber and Faber, 1969), 348. 21 Béla Balázs, Theory of the Film: Character and Growth of a New Art, trans. Edith Bone (New York: Dover Publications, 1970), 242. 22 John Orr, Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 153. 23 Rudolf Arnheim, Film as Art (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966), 154–56. 24 Jean Mitry, The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema, trans. Christopher King (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997), 225. 25 Arnheim, Film as Art, 154–57. 26 Balázs, Theory of the Film, 244. 27 Ibid.

Works cited Antonioni, Michelangelo. The Architecture of Vision: Writings and Interviews on Cinema. Edited by Carlo di Carlo and Giorgio Tinazzi. New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1996. Arnheim, Rudolph. Film as Art. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966. Arnheim, Rudolph. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. London: Faber and Faber, 1969. Balázs, Béla. Theory of the Film: Character and Growth of a New Art. Translated by Edith Bone. New York: Dover Publications, 1970. Berger, John, and John Christie. I Send You This Cadmium Red . . .: A Correspondence between John Berger and John Christie. Barcelona: ACTAR , 2000. Berlin, Brent, and Paul Kay. Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969. Branigan, Edward. “The Articulation of Color in a Filmic System: Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle.” In Color, the Film Reader, edited by Angela Dalle Vacche and Brian Price, 170–82. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Chatman, Seymour. Antonioni, or, The Surface of the World. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1985. Goodman, Nelson. Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (1954). Indianapolis, IN : Bobbs-Merrill, 1973.

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Hofmannsthal, Hugo von. The Lord Chandos Letter and Other Writings. Selected and translated by Joel Rotenberg. New York: New York Review Books, 2005. Mitry, Jean. The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema. Translated by Christopher King. Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, 1997. Orr, John. Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. “The Cinema of Poetry.” In Movies and Methods, edited by Bill Nichols, 542–58. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1976. Rifkin, Ned. Antonioni’s Visual Language. Ann Arbor, MI : University of Michigan Press, 1982. Rohdie, Sam. Antonioni. London: BFI , 1992. Sarris, Andrew. Interviews with Film Directors. New York: Avon, 1967. Theroux, Alexander. The Primary Colors: Three Essays. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994.

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“The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema” Gian Piero Brunetta Translated with an introduction by Tijana Mamula

Introduction “The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema” is a translation of three excerpts from Gian Piero Brunetta’s “La parola nel cinema di Pasolini,” an essay originally published in his 1970 volume Forma e parola nel cinema: Il film muto, Pasolini, Antonioni. Brunetta’s second monograph, Forma e parola nel cinema entered into the then widespread debate surrounding cinema’s relationship to language, with the intention of expanding its scope through a wide-ranging investigation of the various problems related to the translation of any one sign system into another. While all of the essays in the volume offer innovative theoretical insights, “The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema” stands out for its direct engagement with the question of Italy’s fragmented linguistic landscape and the various permutations of that reality in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s early films. As the essay’s very title suggests, this is an inquiry less into the “language” of Pasolini’s cinema in any abstract or Metzian sense than into the director’s use of the real, spoken words of his largely subproletarian characters—words lifted from existing Italian dialects and molded into a near expressionism through their meeting with Pasolini’s own sensibilities, literary experiments, and theoretical and political concerns. In this sense, Brunetta’s assertion, on the essay’s first page, that the question of the relationship between word and image in the cinema has not yet been adequately addressed, or even properly posed, is to be understood as relating to the very specific linguistic reality of postwar Italy and to the national cinema’s (largely non-realist) reflection of it. Here, he addresses the relation between the Italian word and the Italian image, moving far beyond the largely sociolinguistic 135

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concerns found in prior studies of the subject (the most relevant of which are cited in his notes).1 In addition to providing a meticulous linguistic analysis of Pasolini’s early films and tracing the evolution of their use of dialect, the essay also opens up the question of multilingualism’s place in Italian cinema—and so in cinema tout court—to an examination of its formal repercussions. In short, the question that Brunetta raises regards the ability of linguistic difference and multiplicity—as an experience both personal and collective, aesthetic and political—to shape the image, rather than merely appear in or through it. Significantly, his speculation on that idea does not stop at this analysis of Pasolini’s cinema, but develops throughout the following decade into a unique appraisal of the extent to which the formal innovations of postwar Italian cinema can be traced to the impact of the country’s linguistic landscape—increasingly disrupted and heterogenized, during the period from 1945 to the late 1970s, by waves of mass internal migration.2 In the second volume of his seminal Storia del cinema italiano (originally published in 1982), Brunetta goes on to note Italian cinema’s movement, throughout the 1960s, “towards dissolution, disintegration, aphasia, silence,”3 and observes: “Speakers reveal the magmalike superimposition of accents and dialectal influences in a reality that has lost both its center and its most stable axes, and in which everyone finds themselves at the halfway point of a reconstructive path. The shattering of narrative thus becomes analogous to the shattering of language.”4 The implications of these and similar statements are applicable far beyond the context that they directly address, and remain as crucial today as they were at the time of their original publication. In addition to the present essay, Forma e parola nel cinema comprises three further chapters: a reflection on the development of a specifically filmic “rhetoric” during the silent era, with particular focus on Sergei Eisenstein; a further study of Pasolini, centered on the adaptation and transformation of literary narrative structures (especially those of Greek tragedy) that subtend his later films; and a comparative reading of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le amiche (The Girlfriends, 1955) and the Cesare Pavese novel (Tra sole donne, 1949) on which it is based. Though the excerpts translated here—the introduction, conclusion and one middle section of “La parola nel cinema di Pasolini”—were chosen for their very direct bearing on the concerns of this collection, the volume as a whole remains pertinent to current investigations of the relations between cinema and multilingualism, as well as between cinema and language more broadly.

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Notes 1 Though this subject is generally overlooked in English-language scholarship on Italian cinema, it has received a fair amount of attention within Italy. In addition to the early studies cited by Brunetta, see, for example: Sergio Raffaelli, La lingua filmata: Didascalie e dialoghi nel cinema italiano (Florence: Le Lettere, 1992); and Fabio Rossi, Il linguaggio cinematografico (Rome: Aracne, 2006). One recent English-language study that does deal with language in Italian cinema is: Antonella C. Sisto, Film Sound in Italy: Listening to the Screen (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 2 For a detailed discussion of this, with particular focus on Pasolini, see my chapter “The ‘Question of Language’ in Postwar Italian Cinema,” in Tijana Mamula, Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), 85–133. 3 Gian Piero Brunetta, Storia del cinema italiano, Vol. 4, 1960–1993 (Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1998), 94. Originally in three volumes, Storia del cinema italiano was reprinted in 1998 in four volumes. 4 Ibid., 87. My emphasis.

Works cited Brunetta, Gian Piero. Forma e parola nel cinema: Il film muto, Pasolini, Antonioni. Padua: Liviana Editrice, 1970. Brunetta, Gian Piero. Storia del cinema italiano, Vol. 4, 1960–1993. Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1998. Mamula, Tijana. Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image. New York and London: Routledge, 2013. Raffaelli, Sergio. La lingua filmata: Didascalie e dialoghi nel cinema italiano. Florence: Le Lettere, 1992. Rossi, Fabio. Il linguaggio cinematografico. Rome: Aracne, 2006. Sisto, Antonella C. Film Sound in Italy: Listening to the Screen. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

The Word in Pasolini’s Cinema 1. “Film is a macroscopic example of the plurality of semiotic mediums that exist in a work broadly defined as narrative. . . . In filmic communication, verbal language (titles or dialogue) plays only a part, often a secondary one, while

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images, gestures, colors, sounds, scores, and so on, perform their roles at the same time and in collaboration with it.”1 Given that images are continuously present in film whereas sounds are present only discontinuously, we cannot assert that there is an equal relationship between the two, at least in a certain kind of filmmaking. In cinema, the distinctive character of sounds, and especially of words, is given less by their presence alone than by their function in the context of the film. To appropriately study the word in cinema means to situate it within its semiotic context, which in this case is not the sentence, but the image in which it is located and to which it reacts. This is why cinema has interested scholars of semiology and structuralists, but has remained somewhat foreign to the interests of linguists. Writings on language in the cinema, and more broadly on the relationship between images and words, are very few, and it seems to me that this issue has not yet been properly approached.2 In the context of cinema, the word is the sign that perhaps least suffers the “resistance” of the reality of objects—which Segre3 likewise talks about—insofar as it is selected and organized prior to the mise-en-scene. To the extent that speech is already configured before becoming cinema, it can also be studied in isolation, and its internal coherence and significance can be examined. As the Soviet directors intuited at the very moment of the invention of sound film, and theorized in their “Statement on Sound,”4 the possibilities of combining word and image are many. In order to correctly outline certain models of wordimage relations and the frequencies of their occurrence, we need to start by analyzing highly structured works. The study of language in the phase of Pasolini’s cinema from Accattone (1961) to Uccellacci e uccellini (Hawks and Sparrows, 1966) is facilitated precisely by its coherence, pertinence and (relative) autonomy with respect to the images. The fact that in his first films, Accattone and Mamma Roma (1962), the word is inscribed in the image, born almost from a direct contact between the camera and reality, allows us—despite the fact that the dialogue is already largely established in the screenplays—to discern that the interactions between images and words follow certain recurrent and precisely ordered patterns: 1. 2.

presentation of the character (preferably through close-ups) direct communication, through gestures or other external indications of the character’s psychological state

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3. 4. 5.

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utterance of a verbal stimulus (often gratuitous, one-directional, in the form of apostrophe or interrogation) presentation of the second character and communication of his emotional reaction verbal reaction of the second character

In La ricotta (1963), instead, the use of asynchronism serves to desecrate both a certain way of conceiving the cinema and an aestheticizing culture that remains extraneous to reality; it is a means of instigating a confrontation with reality, of provoking an attitude of detachment. Overall, however, from a linguistic perspective Pasolini’s use of the word does not raise problems regarding the relations between different sign systems, but only regarding the coherence between dialogue and characters—despite the fact that he himself has denied this, or has tried at any rate, through his fascinating analogies between cinema and life, and film and death, to demonstrate that his cinema is not naturalistic.5 This problem of the coherence between words and the characters that speak them recalls another issue, which at first glance might appear marginal but which, as far as certain expressions of contemporary cinema are concerned, is increasingly pressing: that of synchronized sound recording. Despite the advances of neorealism, the practice of recording sound on location so as to authentically reflect the level of emotional and intellectual tension reached by an actor in a given moment has been avoided. A host of professional dubbers with clear and pleasant voices has dubbed every kind of Italian and foreign film, at times actually carrying out travesties. Thus, in addition to the normal convention of having an actor act in the film, imitating a real action, another convention ensures that the actor is splintered into various parts: if he is not dubbed by a different actor, as often occurs, then he is forced to dub his own voice, to record his own lines in different conditions and thus alter the tone of his voice with respect to the original—often to the spectator’s irritation. In Godard’s Pierrot le fou (1965), the protagonist, Ferdinand, says: I’ve got mechanisms for seeing called eyes, for hearing called ears, for speaking called a mouth. But they feel disconnected. They don’t work together. A person should feel like he’s one individual. I feel like I’m many different people.

Generally speaking, Italian cinema does not concern itself with this unity, nor with the linguistic dimensions of figuration: in our cinema, instances of

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synchronized sound recording are few and far between, and it is not difficult to see how this brings about a considerable dispersion of the meanings and sensations that can be obtained only with a particular tone of voice. It is important to note, however, that synchronized sound is not a conditio sine qua non of cinema, or is so only in films that confront reality with documentary aspirations or with the intention of analyzing behavior. In films of overt fiction, this issue has no bearing whatsoever. But in films centered on behavior (where this is understood in the most generic terms), the character’s speech becomes particularly significant, for what these films eliminate is the schematicity of representation, whereby man is as he appears and as he speaks. Instead, they attempt to confront the problem of representing a human being in all the complexity of his existence, starting with the duality of being and appearing; they are driven by the need to subtly unearth an individual’s most hidden aspects—as opposed to his external behavior dictated by social conventions—by accumulating a series of clues that force the spectator into an active, thinking relationship with the image. Pasolini’s early films do not entirely correspond to these characteristics: as his own statements attest, he selects not random moments from the lives of his characters, but rather exemplary ones. And because his characters live outside of social convention, they appear exactly as they are—even though everything apparently negative in them is always open to redemption. All the same, the lack of attention given to the duality of being and appearing in these films does not indicate a lack of awareness of it, but rather its irrelevance to the situation. In Oedipus Rex (1967), Pasolini arrives at a philosophical demonstration of this problem, by appealing to the mythology of human duality. [. . .] 3. Let us examine the dialogue from a purely notional perspective. We can see that its enunciatory function is almost nonexistent, while its emotional function is dominant. The use that Pasolini’s characters make of dialect stops, more often than not, at a pre-communicative level; when there is an overt desire for communication, the character varies the tone of his vocal register, but without foregoing occasional surges of aggression triggered by the desire to impose certain concepts on his interlocutor. Yet this immediately gives rise to a reaction on the part of the latter, who evades any truth that may have been spoken and negates it through an

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individual action, in order to assert himself in turn. For the ragazzo di vita, living on the margins of society and history means denying culture altogether or deforming through irony. In Accattone, one of the men tells the protagonist: “Stop it, you fool. Don’t you know that after you’ve eaten you can’t swim. Don’t you know that the reaction from hot to cold stops the whole digestive apparatus, stops the blood reaction and then it’s curtains for you [bonanotte ai sonatori].” The initial contempt gives way to an almost neutral tone in the middle part of the speech, where certain expressions, like digestive apparatus, are used aptly, while the vagueness of blood reaction (in place of the more technical circulation) and the colloquial expression buonanotte ai suonatori, redeem, with a return to irony, the serious tone of the preceding part. Individual action negates the truth content of the words; Accattone is external to and above these parascientific notions: “The digestive apparatus stops working . . . blood reaction . . . do you know who Accattone is? Even the river can’t carry Accattone away!” Even if we take other dialogues as instances of actual communication, we see that it is fairly easy to classify them according to precise characteristics. At the beginning of Hawks and Sparrows, we hear this brief dialogue between the father and son: Totò: You don’t mess with the moon. Ninetto: Who said so and why? Totò: ’Cos it gets disgruntled. And then you gotta wait for the high tide! Ninetto: No kidding! The high tide! Totò: Yes, six hours and six hours, high tide and low tide. And then you gotta wait! Ninetto: What’s this high tide? What causes it? Totò: You know the garbage the sea brings ashore? What causes that? Ninetto: Dunno. Totò: The moon. It has a force of gravity and that makes the water rise.

But in this exact moment, when the father attempts to arrive at a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, the son’s interest, piqued only by the evocative power of the expression high tide, is already elsewhere. Messages are never received when they attempt to go beyond the request for information, which in any case tends to be minimal and precise (for example, in Hawks and Sparrows, “What’s your name?” “Moon”; or in Accattone, “When did

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it happen?” “Two hours ago”). And when a character freely informs someone of something, the quantity of information is often minimal compared to the message’s duration: Accattò! Goddamn it I came here on purpose to tell you that Maddalena got run over by a motorbike and now she’s at home all bandaged up like a mummy!

Here, the final simile serves to downplay the seriousness of the situation, which the character nonetheless failed to communicate directly. More often, however, the character closes up, not only out of a sort of natural code of silence and self-defense against the “other world,” but out of respect for laws internal to his own world, and indifference and apathy to what happens to others (hence the recurrence of expressions like che me frega, “what do I care”). These characters use vulgarity to evade the curiosity of others: “What are you doing?” the Tegliasera journalist asks a group of extras lying around indolently in La ricotta. “That’s our business. Our busi . . .” they reply. The characters do not use dialect as a means of communication, but as a weapon of defense or offense; they may act together, but communication is an almost indifferent matter. Their language is not an element of cultural characterization, and it is their behavior, the way they react to a situation, and the filmic technique, that communicate their psychological state. For the most part, the characters’ lines are exclamatory or interrogatory, but it is less important to examine their meanings than the way they are expressed. “Tone”—an extremely important element—completes and authenticates the characters’ onscreen presence, and is always either lower or higher than normal. They do not explain themselves or interrogate one another out of a desire to know, but in order to find another means of manifesting their energy, their primitive aggression, which nonetheless is not always just an “act.” A systematic study of the phonological aspects of Pasolini’s films, particularly from La ricotta to Hawks and Sparrows—since the early films made use of both post-synchronization and dubbing (Monica Vitti dubs Accattone’s wife)—could yield interesting results. In a literary context, it is certainly not impossible to capture the tone in which a character pronounces a word, but it is impossible to express its exact equivalent or to convey all of its nuances. Consider, for example, the ample use that Pasolini makes of the interjection “eh” at the beginnings and ends of sentences, always tempering its intonation and entrusting its performance to the actor’s spontaneous reaction to the situation.

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“Eh” can indicate resignation (“Eh, you need the hand of God to make this car start”), or compassion moderated by an awareness of something superior that cannot be opposed (“Eh, Stella, Stella, you’ve fallen for it too!”) or regret (“Eh, I know someone who’s crying over this”). It can be nostalgic (“Eh, lucky you”) or indicate suffering (“Eh, the sun is starting to beat down!”). It can be used in a purely interrogatory function (“Eh? Tell me!”), or to aggressively reinforce a question (“Who let you in here? Eh? Can’t you see it’s fenced off ? Eh?”), or to confer on it a mild irony (“You’d like to know, eh?”). The irony can indicate amusement (“Eh! If only you knew!”) or admiration (“Eh, you’re a helluva brother, who do you take after?”). Alternatively, the interjection can be conciliatory in tone (“Eh, calm down, it’s not the end of the world is it?”). It can indicate affection (“Eh, beautiful boy”). It can have an affirmative function (“Eh yeah, I’ve had to go to the store since this morning!”). Moving within a limited field of sentences or recurrent phrasings, Pasolini’s verbal choices manifest a mimetic aim, a desire to reflect the objective limitations of his characters’ existential options. All the same, the situations do sometimes provoke a reaction from the characters, who then invent largely ironic lines that shift the stylistic register, while also indicating the presence in their world of certain cultural references (presumably imported through the cinema), which they invariably distort and apply to the situation with expeditious precision. Thus, in Accattone: “Hey lady, hurry up or we’ll end up like the Nuremberg trials” (spoken by one of Accattone’s friends who, like him, has not eaten in three days and urges Fulvio’s mother to drain the pasta). Or Amore’s comment when Accattone suddenly throws Stella into the arms of two dancehall regulars: “Abandon all hope, you who enter here!” Or, at the beginning of the film, when Accattone is about to jump off the bridge for a bet and a boy asks him to take off his rings and bracelets, to which he replies: “No, I want to die with all my gold on, like the Pharaohs.” Or Amore’s line when she finds out that Stella did not have the courage to sleep with her first client and was thrown out of his car on the Appia Antica: “From the Appia Antica to here, what is she gonna do, the Quo Vadis?” At times, the lines become more sophisticated, though always remaining within the realm of plausibility. When Accattone sees Stella cleaning bottles for the first time, he tries to impress her with a philosophical observation (the film’s only hint at his political indifference): “To think that Lincoln freed the slaves, while in Italy they’ve just brought them over!”

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In Accattone, the point of conjunction between the rejects who inhabit the “inferno” of the slums, and the city (understood as negative presence), is the police. The policemen’s language is highly illustrative. On one level, it denotes their mostly Southern origins; on another, it oscillates between an imperative tone and a hypocritical tone of understanding, whose human nuance is clearly paternalistic in nature. Let us examine the following phrases, spoken by various policemen throughout the film: Documents. Don’t make such a fuss, the sooner you come here the sooner you’ll be done. Look [guardi; formal “you”], you have to be sure, because you could ruin them. If someone turns out to be innocent, you’ll [informal] be in trouble.

The imperative tone of the first two sentences—intensified by the condensation of the screenplay’s more explicit “Documents please,” which also eliminates the impression of politeness—belongs to the lower-ranked officers. The more open attitude—that is, the choice to initially address Maddalena with the formal “you” (voi) and then pass to the informal (tu)—is proper to the sergeant. This hierarchical differentiation is conveyed through the disparate levels of complexity that distinguish the policemen’s speech. In La ricotta and later in Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew, 1964), Pasolini broadens his spectrum of linguistic registers in order to differentiate the characters culturally, psychologically and morally. In The Gospel, Christ speaks in Italian while the disciples use dialect, in keeping with the notion that the Gospel is an early literary example of the fusion of stylistic registers. In La ricotta, the two linguistic registers never meet: the two worlds—Welles’ refined, erudite one, composed of painterly and poetic references, and Stracci’s animalesque one, built on instincts and physiological needs—are ideologically opposed. The film that Welles-Pasolini is directing is the product of an exasperatedly refined culture that sees itself as progressive, but is actually integrated into the system, of which it is nothing but a privileged tool; a culture that has no oppositional power insofar as it is outside history (the producer: “Well done, well done!”; Welles: “Let’s save that till the end of the film, thank you”). Welles’ language assumes various registers, depending on the situation in which he happens to be. The most obvious of these is his directorial activity,

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in the context of which his lines are either synthetic or imperative: “The crown”; “Prompter . . . prompt!”; “The good thief!”; “Unnail them!” Alternatively, his lines react to the actors’ poor performances with a tone of distant tolerance: “Sonia, remember you’re at the foot of the cross, stop thinking about your dog!” Diametrically opposed to both the neutral style of the former and the ironic and mildly expressive one of the latter, is an ideologized language that tends to give the director an appearance of almost mystical detachment. Let us take, for example, the interview: Journalist: What did you want to express with this film? Welles: My intimate, profound, archaic Catholicism. Journalist: What do you think of Italy? Welles: The most illiterate masses and the most ignorant bourgeoisie in Europe. Journalist: What do you think of death? Welles: As a Marxist, I never give it any thought. Journalist: What do you think of our great director Federico Fellini? Welles: He dances . . . he dances!

And finally, the lines following the recital of the poem: “You haven’t understood anything because you’re an AVERAGE man, do you know what an average man is? . . . He’s a monster, a dangerous delinquent, a racist, a colonialist, a slaveholder, a political cynic.” It is an extremist language, overloaded with adjectives—the only such example in Pasolini’s cinema. The accumulation of words does not just serve to substantiate a fleeting concept (as it did in the earlier lines, through the use of the words intimate, profound, archaic); it also has, as in the case of the adjectival nouns, a prevalently phonetic value. The series of insults is less interesting for its meaning than for the rhythm of the alliteration of s and t sounds, which increasingly emphasizes the speaker’s contemptuous tone. Halfway between the director and the film’s other, ideologically opposed, protagonist, are the supporting characters, rendered utterly uninteresting by the verbal stylization imposed on them. Their behavior is entirely projected outward; they are mannequins that move and talk by resorting to conventional stylistic devices. These are characters weighed down by a highly contrived literary operation. A single line is enough to capture Sonia, the leading actress, in all her vulgarity: “Can you tell us what scene you’re prepping? Listen darling, either you film me or I’m out . . . seems fair.”

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Here, Pasolini’s overt and systematic intention to typify the character is denoted both by the use of the English word “darling” and by the two following verbs, but above all by the affected intonation of the actress’s voice. Opposed to the director is Stracci, whose lines are unidirectional and devoted to a single theme, which they approach from every possible angle. At first, Stracci’s tone is ironic (“Yeah, hold that basket tight or I’ll eat it too”), or otherwise betrays his resignation to a sort of superior destiny (“Speaking of baskets, today my wife’s coming with the kids, you tell me what saint is supposed to help me!”), or becomes violent (“I told you to drop my basket!”), but then goes back to revealing his enslavement to the situation (“You think that’s nice what you did? Just ’cos you’re a millionaire’s dog you think you’re better than me”) and finally nears desperation (“I’m hungry, I’m hungry dammit, I’m gonna curse now!”). Through their centripetal movement, these lines converge on a single motif. Even the ones that deviate from the norm, and are interesting for their expressivity, always return to eating: “And, me, I’m screwed, that’s just the way it is, enjoy your meal!” or “What’s a thousand lire, give me a thousand lire and the whole world’s square!” There is only one moment in which the dialogue indirectly qualifies the character sociologically. This occurs during the conversation with the actor who plays Christ, while both characters are nailed to the cross: Christ: You’re always hungry, but it’s your party that’s in power now! Stracci: Like yours is any better. . . . They’re all the same! Christ: So what. I don’t get you, you’re always dying of hunger but you side with the people who starve you. Stracci: Everyone’s born to one calling or another. My calling must have been to starve.6

This exchange suggests a tacit discourse, an allusion to the leading party’s infiltration of underdeveloped areas for the purpose of soliciting votes—a contradiction within Italy that the scene underlines rather felicitously. In Hawks and Sparrows, the characters’ speech is composed of more connotative and unexpected lines, and it is here perhaps that Pasolini arrives at an understanding of cinema’s metaphoric potential, which he had previously regarded with a rather pronounced distrust.7 All of the episodes are symbolic. This is best exemplified by the scene in which the dwellers return to their home and the woman, after throwing the nest of swallows into the pan for her husband, cries “The Chinese! The Chinese!”

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This scene, which is significant on both a realist and symbolic level, sums up the problems of Third World hunger—a Third World that is part of our world. Information continues to be fleeting, but the film’s real expressive achievement lies in its ability to imply with both words and images. I am referring to the scene with the suicidal couple, to its prudishly meaningful use of images (the woman’s corpse is not shown but only her hair, held in place by a little comb), and to the impersonal information given by the man who helps out with the bride and groom: But who were they? That guy . . . Martucci . . . the one who used to go like this . . . mm . . . mm . . . with his mouth. And his wife.

Let us now turn to the language of the crow and the protagonists, particularly during their first meeting. The crow says: “Eh, I come from afar . . . I’m a foreigner . . . my homeland is called Ideology, I live in the capital . . . the city of the future . . . On Karl Marx Street, number one thousand and no longer one thousand.” This contamination of politics and religion—which contains a reference to Palmiro Togliatti (“We come from afar and are going far”)—prompts a reply from Totò and Ninetto that is more coherent, and underwritten by an irony that reveals their drama: “And we live in Trash Slum, on Dying of Hunger Street, number 23, under the mountain of the pale torrents, famous in all the world for the martyrdom of Saint Illiterate.” The parallel between the crow’s intellectualistic abstraction and the concrete problems of Totò and Ninetto’s surroundings reiterates the dichotomy already present in La ricotta. The crow’s language oscillates between the official, distinctly ideologized speech of the party bureaucrat (which had originally been much more prominent, but is, in the final version of the film, restricted and condensed by the frequent use of intertitles) and a private language through which the figure of the poet himself transpires more clearly: Eh, lucky you, with your callouses . . . you feel the sun and you huff because you’re inside this immense affair made of callouses and sun, you’re incarnated in life, you don’t distinguish yourselves from life, you move, you move. . . . You’re born, you love, you die . . . .8

And later on: “I’m not crying over the end of my ideas, for someone will certainly come to pick up my flag and carry it onward. I’m crying over myself.”9

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A comparative study of the film and its screenplay—which has yet to be undertaken—would allow us to examine how the crow’s dialogue was altered and largely suppressed in the transition from page to screen, as well as offering useful insight into the way that Pasolini develops his initial material. There is one more observation to make regarding Hawks and Sparrows, and it concerns the stylistic variations between the Saint Francis episode and the main body of the film: while the latter employs every possible kind of montage, the units in the medieval episode are isolated and temporally joined through dissolves—a technique proper to early and silent film. On the one hand, this recurrence of dissolves pays homage to the origins of cinema; on the other, it adapts filmic language to a primitive reality in which communication does not occur through words, but rather through gestures or inarticulate sounds—as Father Ciccillo (Totò), in his perseverance, manages to decipher. Compared to Totò’s dialogue, Father Ninetto’s is much broader, more articulated and syntactically more complex, but it serves to evade one’s responsibilities, it is an instrument of mystification. It is therefore only natural that Ninetto cannot communicate with the birds: Father Ciccillo, why don’t we make a run for it . . . we get Saint Francis and we tell him we’re no good, he oughta send someone else . . . or, you know what? Let’s go to the peasants’ house from yesterday, the ones that gave us that good ricotta. . . . We’ll sleep with them, eat with them. . . . And then in a month or so we’ll come back and tell him: “Hey, Saint Francis, the birds want you!”

The more constructed the dialogue, the more it points to a use of language that aims to falsify reality: the film reveals a complete distrust of the function of language, not only in that particular reality but in an absolute sense, in all the realities in which it is used. Note, for example, the irony that punctuates certain lines (otherwise extremely representative in their terminology) spoken during the “Dantean Dentists” conference; above all, the long speech by Gabriele Baldini, which outlines a certain model of the salon intellectual: Professor Otto Volanten contends that any polyphonic interpretation of the Comedy is fundamentally flawed. . . . The ladies find Professor Volanten to be an extraordinary character. Now that isn’t so, because we know well that all his theories on Dante are flat out copied from a miscellany by the English scholar Fred Efame, published in Oxford in 1933. Efame also wrote that novel, Bloody Underpants in Scotland Yard, which James Bond is based on.

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The speech presents a model of culture that the film criticizes through the twofold irony of the shooting technique and the gratuitous and purely informative linguistic model. There is one scene in the Saint Francis episode that I believe reveals Pasolini’s intention to treat both images and words as prosodic features. It is the scene with the three ugly peasant women who observe Father Ciccillo’s attempt to talk to the falcons. Each line spoken by the three women is rhythmically bound to the next, while the images follow one another at temporal intervals dictated by the duration of the lines: Sister Need: What’s he doing, sister Weed? Sister Weed: I don’t know, sister Need. Do you, sister Greed? Sister Greed: Maybe a call of nature, sister Weed!

And further on: Sister Need: Do you believe him, sister Weed? Sister Weed: Who knows, sister Need. What do you say, sister Greed? Sister Greed: We’ll have to see if he gets wet when it rains, sister Weed!

Let us examine the structure of these two instances of cinematic “verse.” They are two identically structured quartets: at the start of each, the first peasant appears and her ugliness is communicated, after which she utters a question directed at the second peasant. The latter, who acts as a go-between, has two lines at her disposal, the first of which closes the question posed to her with a negative reply while the second reopens it in the direction of the third peasant. In both cases, the third peasant offers a reply. The shots correspond to the logic of this internal rhyme so that the middle one is longer than the other two. The scene is further connoted through the speakers’ dialect, which is rich in high-pitched sounds and provokes a spontaneous sense of repulsion that enhances the unpleasantness already triggered by the women’s physical appearance. [. . .] 6. This essay does not aim to draw any definitive conclusions about Pasolini’s work, of which we have isolated only some of the many prominent linguistic and thematic aspects; nor does it strive to offer a methodological model for examining the relations between language and cinema.

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This is all the more true insofar as the essay isolates only one phase of Pasolini’s directorial activity: namely, that most closely bound to the realm of his novels, to Romanesco dialect, and to a certain kind of “political engagement.” The linguistic issues raised by his more recent works would require a much more complex analysis. If we are to study (or judge) the cinema for what it is, instance by instance, we must confront systems of signs that enter into relationships with one another. We cannot fail to recognize that within the spectrum of modern cinema, understood as audiovisual technique, Pasolini’s filmography represents a particularly coherent development, but also a limited one, in terms of its use of all the possible combinations of images, sounds and voices. This study has, however, shown that the linguistic dimension of Pasolini’s films follows a fairly linear progression: initially characterized by the sort of research undertaken in his novels, it is gradually freed from philological concerns in order to culminate in a multifaceted use of language. It was already in the period of La meglio gioventù (1954) that Pasolini discovered the provocative force of dialect, its capacity to directly express the popular soul and to serve as an instrument of cultural contestation—a discovery that he matured and made more workable with his novels and early films. In more recent years, this illusion of having a subversive effect on language has waned.10 In Accattone and Mamma Roma, the linguistic mimesis entailed by the use of free indirect subjective11 is developed in relation to internally homogeneous linguistic realities. In the Gospel—and already to some extent in La ricotta—this mimesis reaches a moment of crisis, insofar as the characters’ language is clearly reinvented for the purpose of differentiating them. In the Gospel, the sermo humilis is conveyed via dialect (a Calabrese dialect, important in itself insofar as this is the first time that Pasolini moves away from Romanesco to adopt the dialect native to the film’s shooting location), while Christ speaks in Italian (an Italian made emphatic by the voice of Enrico Maria Salerno). This expedient differentiates Christ from his disciples and from the people, both psychologically and morally. It is unsurprising that no communication exists between Christ and his audience: he speaks to closed, impenetrable, hostile faces; to people who view him with suspicion and will not care at all about his death because they do not receive his revolutionary message. This distance is also present in Oedipus Rex: the servants speak in a Sicilian dialect, while Oedipus and the nobility speak Italian.

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The evolution of Pasolini’s use of language is linear, in the sense that it is rooted in a literary strategy that is increasingly rationalized and shown for what it really is. In Accattone, we feel the residues of Pasolini’s philological research and his revaluation of dense and unusual slang expressions, which is equally typical of his early literary works.12 Inserted at the last minute, these expressions are not simply dialectal, but rather typical slang forms clearly chosen for their capacity to stimulate the director’s imagination. Hawks and Sparrows, instead, features an entirely unrestricted use of dialect, which no longer corresponds to the characters’ origins (Totò speaks in Neapolitan; Ninetto, in Roman), but is used in different ways depending on the context (suffice it to recall the peasants’ lines in the Saint Francis episode)—as though the author released dialect from its common use in order to place it at the service of a new form of signification in which all the signs available to cinema work together. We cannot say that the film does not display any literariness, but simply that this literariness is no longer veiled by a presumed identification with the world represented. The cinema here becomes, for Pasolini, an independent medium through which reality can be freely recreated, in accordance with a more conscious and explicit use of available means. To conclude, it appears that the tension which characterized Pasolini’s work between 1960 and 1966 lies precisely in this progression: that is, in his move toward a mature use of filmic language, which concretizes the abstract hypothesis of “the language of cinema” and turns it into a free and conscious deployment of all of film’s semantic materials—replacing his aestheticizing and anxious desire to project himself onto things and characters, and contributing, with its intelligence and awareness of the available instruments of knowledge, to an effective work of cultural opposition.

Notes 1 Cesare Segre, I segni e la critica (Turin: Einaudi, 1969), 52–53. 2 Among the most significant volumes and articles: Alberto Menarini, Il cinema nella lingua e la lingua nel cinema (Milan: Bocca, 1955); Vittorio Spinazzola, “Lingua e film dal romanesco al neoitaliano,” Il Contemporaneo, no. 1 (January 1965), 13–14; Francesco Dorigo, “Uso e funzioni della lingua nel cinema italiano,” Bianco e Nero 27,

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nos. 7–8 (July–August 1966): 36–59. For more general theoretical discussions of the relations between word and image, see, most importantly: Adriano Aprà, “Il problema del parlato nel film contemporaneo,” Filmcritica 15, nos. 143–44 (1964), 155–58; Roberto Alemanno, “La parola nel linguaggio filmico,” Cinema 60, no. 48 (December 1964): 1–9; Armando Plebe, et al., “Il film sonoro,” Filmcritica 19, no. 185 (January 1968) (roundtable discussion organized by the journal in Amalfi). The most recent essay, still published only in part, is Jean Louis Comolli, “Le détour par le direct,” Cahiers du cinéma, no. 209 (February 1969): 48–53 and no. 211 (April 1969): 50–56. 3 Segre, I segni e la critica, 56. 4 In addition to invoking the dangers of a purely mimetic use of sound, the “Statement on Sound”—signed in 1928 by Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Alexandrov—also recommended that it be used in the same way as musical counterpoint: “Sound recording is a two-edged invention, and it is most probable that its use will proceed along the line of least resistance, that is, along the line of satisfying simple curiosity [. . .] Only a contrapuntal use of sound in relation to the visual montage piece will afford a new potentiality of montage development and perfection. [. . .] Sound, treated as a new montage element (as a factor divorced from the visual image), will inevitably introduce new means of enormous power to the expression and solution of the most complicated tasks that now oppress us with the impossibility of overcoming them by means of on imperfect film method, working only with visual images.” Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Grigori Alexandrov, “Statement on Sound,” trans. Jay Leyda, in Film Sound: Theory and Practice, eds. Elisabeth Weis and John Belton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 83–85. 5 “The cinema is an infinite long take, it is the ideal and virtual infinite reproduction, enabled by an invisible machine which faithfully reproduces all of a man’s gestures, acts and words, from the moment he is born until the moment he dies. A bellhop in a film is a dead bellhop—unlike a bellhop in cinema, who is alive. As soon as someone dies, his life is subjected to a rapid synthesis. Millions of acts, expressions, sounds, voices, words, fall into the void, and a few dozen or hundred survive. Countless sentences that he had said, in all the mornings, the middays, the evenings and the nights of his life, fall into an endless and silent barrel. But, as if by a miracle, some of these sentences resist and are etched into memory like epigraphs, suspended in the light of morning, in the sweet darkness of night: remembering them, wives and friends cry. In a film, these are the sentences that remain. Is it naturalistic to choose a bellhop in flesh and bone, as real as any of us are real when we’re alive, with his words, his language, his pronunciation, while selecting one of those sentences that have, by chance, stood out, been somehow salvaged from the disaster, and now swell the heart?” Pier Paolo Pasolini, Edipo Re (Milan: Garzanti, 1967), 10–11.

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6 There is a fatalistic conception at the basis of Pasolini’s thought which weighs down on the world that he observes, fixing its every possible development. The motif of vocation, for example, appears in Accattone in the exact same terms: “Accattò! We’re all born with a vocation. I was born with the instinct to be a thief, and here I am . . . and you weren’t born with the instinct to be a father but a thief, and here you are.” Pasolini, Accattone (Rome: F.M., 1961), 281. 7 “It seems to me that the difference between filmic expression and literary expression resides in the fact that the former almost completely lacks a figure—metaphor—of which the second is composed almost exclusively.” Pasolini, Accattone, 17. In the volume of interviews collected and edited by Oswald Stack (1969), he returns to his earlier comment to respond to a question on cinema’s metaphoric potential: “Well, I said that a bit carelessly. I didn’t know very much about the cinema, and it was a long time before I started all my linguistic research on the cinema. It was just a casual remark, but was intuitively fairly prophetic. Jakobson, followed by Barthes, has spoken of the cinema as a metonymic, as opposed to a metaphoric art. Metaphor is an essentially linguistic and literary figure of speech which is difficult to render in the cinema except in extremely rare cases—for example, if I wanted to represent happiness I could do it with birds flying in the sky. It wasn’t that I felt the difficulty of not being able to use metaphor, I was glad not to have to use it, because I have said the cinema represents reality with reality; it is metonymic and not metaphoric. Reality doesn’t need metaphors to express itself. If I want to express you through yourself, I couldn’t use metaphors to express you. In the cinema it is as though reality expressed itself with itself, without metaphors, and without anything insipid and conventional and symbolic.” Oliver Stack, Pasolini (London: Thames & Hudson, 1969), 37–38. 8 Similarly, in Accattone, the protagonist says to Stella: “Ah, lucky you, you don’t understand anything.” Intellectually inferior beings are viewed with a sense of envy, but they also have the capacity to indicate a path, to function as a real or symbolic guide through an uncertain life. This is also true of the messenger of Thebes who becomes Angel guiding the blind, in Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex. 9 In one of his letters, Pasolini affirms that he confronted the crisis of Marxism “not at all inclined to believe that Marxism is over . . . it’s not over to the extent that it knows how to accept new realities.” Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Lettera aperta,” Occhio critico, no. 2 (November 1966), 58. 10 Giacomo Devoto has made the following observation about Pasolini’s work on language: “Relying simultaneously on two mutually exclusive forces, such as dialect (conservative and communicative) and slang (suspicious and variable), it excludes any formulaic linguistic reconstruction; it remains in the realm of a “permanent revolution” that introduces new institutions and has them devoured by the ones that follow, unchangingly and uninterruptedly. Valid as a call to freedom, as opposed to

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the dust of tradition, the Pasolinian movement delays, but does not devalue the neoclassical tendencies inherent in literary language today.” Giacomo Devoto, Profilo di storia linguistica italiana, 3rd edn. (Venice: La Nuova Italia, 1960), 178. 11 Theorized on various occasions in his writings for Officina and taken up also in his first theoretical essay on cinema: “When a writer ‘re-lives the discourse’ of one of his characters, he steeps himself in his psychology, but also in his language: ‘free indirect discourse’ is therefore always linguistically differentiated from the language of the writer. If he is able to reproduce, by reliving them, the different languages of the various social categories, it is because they exist. Every linguistic reality is a whole composed of differentiated and socially differentiating languages; and the writer who employs free indirect discourse must above all be aware of this: it is an aspect of class consciousness.” Pier Paolo Pasolini, “The Cinema of Poetry,” in Movies and Methods, Vol. 1, ed. Bill Nichols (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), 550. 12 Bàrberi Squarotti has reflected (like Alberto Asor Rosa after him): “Pasolini’s use of dialect aims for realism only to a limited extent: beyond this lies a vast expressionistic organization that seeks in dialect a violent reaction against traditional and common language—which is viewed with substantial distrust insofar as it diverges from a certain conception of the popular, understood as a regression to childhood, a place of primordial vitality on the hither side of reason and conscience. [. . .] Dialect [. . .] is an expressionistic symbol. [. . .] It is therefore the result of a very accomplished philological operation, for it depends on the calculation of linguistic effects, and not on the representation and interpretation of real objects, or concrete events, environments or feelings. This non-historical use of dialect does not form an effective link with reality—even outside of any pedantic linguistic precision—so much as a series of actions and reactions that are purely linguistic and abstract. Pasolini’s linguistic models can be measured only in terms of literature, not reality.” Bàrberi Squarotti, Poesia e narrativa del secondo Novecento (Milan: Mursia, 1961), 154–55. We might say that cinema allowed Pasolini to uncover the false aims that he was reaching for in literature, and thus, to declare that the nature of filmic work was poetic rather than mimetic.

Works cited Alemanno, Roberto. “La parola nel linguaggio filmico.” Cinema 60, no. 48 (December 1964): 1–9. Aprà, Adriano. “Il problema del parlato nel film contemporaneo.” Filmcritica 15, nos. 143–44 (1964): 155–58. Comolli, Jean Louis. “Le détour par le direct.” Cahiers du cinéma, no. 209 (February 1969): 48–53, and no. 211 (April 1969): 50–56.

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Devoto, Giacomo. Profilo di storia linguistica italiana, 3rd edn. Venice: La Nuova Italia, 1960. Dorigo, Francesco. “Uso e funzioni della lingua nel cinema italiano.” Bianco e Nero 27, nos. 7–8 (July–August 1966): 36–59. Eisenstein, Sergei, Vsevolod Pudovkin and Grigori Alexandrov. “Statement on Sound.” Translated by Jay Leyda. In Film Sound: Theory and Practice, edited by Elisabeth Weis and John Belton, 83–85. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. Menarini, Alberto. Il cinema nella lingua e la lingua nel cinema. Milan: Bocca, 1955. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. Accattone. Rome: F.M., 1961. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. “Lettera aperta.” Occhio critico, no. 2 (November 1966): 58. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. Edipo Re. Milan: Garzanti, 1967. Plebe, Armando, Guido Morpurgo-Tagliabue and Emilio Garroni. “Il film sonoro” (Roundtable discussion). Filmcritica 19, no. 185 (January 1968). Segre, Cesare. I segni e la critica. Turin: Einaudi, 1969. Spinazzola, Vittorio. “Lingua e film dal romanesco al neoitaliano.” Il Contemporaneo, no. 1 (January 1965): 13–14. Squarotti, Bàrberi. Poesia e narrativa del secondo Novecento. Milan: Mursia, 1961. Stack, Oliver. Pasolini. London: Thames & Hudson, 1969.

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West African Francophone Cinema and the Mysteries of Language: From Ideological Struggle to Aesthetic Shudder James S. Williams

And I—it is the shudder of meaning I interrogate, listening to the rustle of language, that language which for me, modern man, is my Nature. —Roland Barthes, The Rustle of Language

The Babel of the postcolony It is an obvious but crucial fact that the region of West Africa is home to a staggering number of languages and dialects that were spoken long before the colonial settlers arrived and, particularly in the case of the French, attempted to impose their own language as universal. The reasons for such profusion include the multitude of ethnic and tribal groups, ancient settlement patterns and the long history of migration. It means that the West African sovereign states created during the 1960s and since possess a multitude of national and official languages, among them the former colonial language as well as a host of lingua francas. For example, the official language of Mali is French, but the country has thirteen national indigenous languages, of which the most widely spoken is Bambara. The lingua francas are Bambara, French, Fula (especially in the Mopti region) and Songhai. Other important languages include (classical) Arabic and English. In neighboring Mauritania, the official language is Standard Arabic, while Wolof, Pulaar, and Soniké are recognized as national languages. The Moors speak Hassaniya Arabic, a dialect that draws most of its grammar from Arabic and uses a vocabulary of both Arabic and Arabized Amazigh (Berber) words. French still remains the common denominator among all the communities, especially in the south of the country due to the frontier with Senegal, although since the late 157

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1980s, Arabic has become the primary language of instruction in schools throughout the country. This general pattern of a constantly evolving multilingualism in West Africa is consolidated in the major cities of the region due to geopolitical factors such as transmigration and globalization. The social and cultural topographies of cities such as Dakar, Yaoundé, Abidjan and Ouagadougou have changed radically over the last twenty to thirty years as they began to acquire the status of an “Afropolis” within a larger demographic map of movement created by people migrating to seek work. The ensuing proliferation of new social and economic networks has been inflected by the growing presence of the Chinese who are extending their economic influence across the continent and playing a key role in the rapid industrialization of what the Cameroonian political philosopher Achille Mbembe, describing the “banality of power” in contemporary Africa, terms acutely the new “postcolony.”1 The clear geographic and political boundaries of nation-states have been effectively subverted by the free-flow of multiple languages in play. This Babelic polyglossia, which prevents simple national affiliation by mother tongue, is heard directly in many new West African films. Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s Viva Riva! (2012), for example, a violent gangster thriller about petrol trafficking and bandits, provides a compelling wide view of the potent melting pot that is contemporary Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo which comprises more than 200 indigenous languages. We hear a continuous hum of languages from Belgian French (the official language) to Portuguese (the eponymous Riva has returned from time in Angola), and Lingala (the “river language”), the major Bantu language in Kinshasa and one of four national languages along with Kikongo, Swahili and Tshibula. The film emphasizes that in the Congolese region, French has now become a “haven language,” that is, an ethnically neutral lingua franca employed by indigenous ethnic groups (and armed factions) to help conceal their cultural ethnicity.2 A very different type of film, Quartier Mozart (1992), a drama by the Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo charting the lives of young people in a poor neighborhood of Yaoundé, allows us to see and hear new kinds of urban cosmopolitanism and vocabulary that reinvent French words and syntax.3 In both cases, the new African city is revealed as a crucible for fresh, vibrant forms of language. A serious study of the politics of French as the primary lingua franca in West African cinema would, of course, need to take into careful account the local conditions and practicalities of film distribution and spectatorship, including the often prohibitive costs of dubbing into the major African languages such as

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Fula, Swahili and Arabic, and the fact that African audiences do not usually read subtitles. I wish in this chapter, however, to explore how the essential fact of multilingualism is formally negotiated and articulated in contemporary francophone West African cinema. That is to say, I want to take the full measure of language in this area of world cinema as a shifting set of aesthetic and political concerns related to society, culture, history, ethnicity and religion. For since the pioneering early 1960s films by the politically engaged Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène, who championed the right of the socially excluded to speak and be heard in works such as Borom Sarret (1963) and La Noire de. . . (1966), the function and status of language in black African cinema as a weapon for change has been a central political concern. Indeed, the process of acquiring an authentic subjective voice in a prise de parole (an act of speech, or talking back) was deemed a political necessity. Yet it wasn’t until 1968 that Sembène, who described himself as fundamentally “Africaphone” as opposed to Francophone, finally achieved his goal of directing a film in his native Wolof, resulting in two versions of the same work: the original Mandabi (The Money Order), and Le Mandat dubbed into French. The latter was demanded by his Paris producer Robert de Nesle, who thought the film should conform to a genre (comedy), that it be “universal” and avoid “outdated” politics, and above all that it be a French movie for a French audience that just happened to be set in Africa. The significance of Mandabi lies not, however, in simply replacing the colonial language with another monolingual soundtrack, since the film presented French as just one of the languages heard, thereby opening up exciting new multilinguistic possibilities. Indeed, the proliferation of transregional approaches to language in West African films (already highly garrulous by nature) has generated a new understanding of polyphony and plurilingualism as a unique creative and aesthetic resource in transnational cinema. Adopting both a historical and comparative aesthetic approach, this chapter charts first the movement from an engaged politics of linguistic and cultural identification in postcolonial African cinema to the so-called “return to the source” or calabash cinema of the 1980s and 1990s, which often turned to the past as a source of inspiration and invoked a precolonial era. My focus in the first case is Sembène because his work is so emblematic of the ideological, socialrealist tendencies of West African cinema of the immediate post-Independence period. I then compare these two distinctive traditions in West African Francophone cinema with new contemporary experiments in language and sound by Abderrahmane Sissako, a Mauritanian-born filmmaker who grew up

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in Mali and is arguably the most important African director working today. His cinema of displacement and exile across the continent, while presenting a nomadic, migratory subject, elaborates a poetics of the encounter with the other through language and gesture. Finally, I place Sissako in the context of the Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, who uses language to contest cultural tradition and the very notion of an “eternal Africa” as the essential marker of identity. By drawing on the recent theoretical work by Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener on cinematic sound as a tactile and haptic, three-dimensional space or sensory “envelope,” and by paying attention to both the affective and aesthetic qualities of tone, volume, timbre, intonation and accent, I hope to establish the artistic parameters of voice, sound and language in current postcolonial art cinema. I want to suggest ultimately that, in films which set out to explore the material and cross-cultural opacity of language by subjecting it to different tensions, the screen itself becomes an echo chamber for a range of forms of sound, from the verbal and musical to pure noise. As we shall see, cinema, by working through different languages as well as through the very otherness of language, can also evoke new forms of being.

The politics of voice and language In Borom Sarret, a short documentary-style record of a day-in-the-life of a cart driver (Modou) through the streets of central Dakar and back home to the outskirts, Sembène creates a set of paradoxes. For while Modou’s dubbed voiceover (the film was shot without synchronous sound) appears to slot neatly into a tradition of African oral aesthetics and storytelling, including aspects of the praise tradition during his encounter with the griot who sings the praises of his family line, it soon reveals itself as the voice of an unreliable narrator with a number of biases, shortcomings and prejudices. We note the oddity of the narrative style of a cart driver who plays the victim of society within the film yet holds the position of omniscient narrator, confiding in the audience his superstitions and views of others (notably the griot whose inferred words he mediates and translates from Wolof into French). Moreover, Modou’s monologue in impeccable French contradicts his status as an uneducated and illiterate laborer. His voiceover is part interior monologue, part Marxist theoretical analysis of alienation with himself as a constructed social type in a neocolonial African city. Indeed, as Manthia Diawara has argued, it sounds at times more like

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a non-diegetic, documentary-style commentary.4 The viewer is made unsure of the narrator’s class position (intellectual or peasant?), a result of Sembène’s strategy to give analytical clarity to a character who would previously have been considered outside history. In short, Sembène is pursuing here an aesthetics of imperfection, part of Third Cinema’s “aesthetics of poverty” that attempted to subvert received film aesthetics and the smooth lines of commercial (Western) cinema by unmasking the creative process.5 Such direct valorizing of African subjectivity was, for Sembène, the crucial first step to opening the door to an authentic representation of an African image by Africans.6 Another key aspect of the soundtrack of Borom Sarret as a site of competing sounds and tensions is the use of traditional Senegalese ethnic musical instruments, such as the xalam (a three-stringed guitar) in the Medina episodes, ironically counterpointed with the high baroque of “Bourrée” from Handel’s Flute Concerto Op 5, No 1 used over images of the wealthy and gleaming white central area of Le Plateau. Samba Diop argues persuasively that Sembène uses music and vocal expression as a form of writing whereby songs and music render explicit the ethnic, linguistic and cultural customs of the various ethnic groups inhabiting the Senegalese geographical space.7 Yet Sembène also avoids any exaggerated focus on ethnicity in his search for a new form of modernism that also stands out from that of his later contemporary Djibril Diop Mambety who, in self-consciously avant-garde films such as Contras’ City (1968), Badou Boy (1970), Touki Bouki (1973) and Hyènes (Hyenas, 1992), experimented on the same streets with fragmented, juxtaposed and unexplained extra-diegetic sound. In the case of Touki Bouki, for example, the extraordinary play with framing and the hors-champ is matched by an intricate, composite play with disorienting sound: from the ironically repeated refrains of French chanson (Josephine Baker’s “Paris, Paris, Paris”) and African jazz song (Aminata Fall) to the “real” sounds of an abattoir contrasted with the sea and the city, multiple, indeterminate, off-screen noises, odd, ambient sounds and whirrings, and accentuated audio close-ups. An elastic soundscape of sonic disturbance is created that also slides back and forth between Wolof and French (even between the central couple of Anta and Mory). The soundtrack of Sembène’s Borom Sarret may not display the same sophistication of Mambety’s provocative modernist mixes that undermine essentialist and nationalist discourses, yet it possesses a similar commitment to formal experimentation, particularly regarding the use of voice-off. Indeed, as a radical sound-image hybrid foregrounding formal questions of control and agency, Borom Sarret served exactly Sembène’s political strategy to articulate a

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didactic narrative of nationhood and social revolution for the rural audiences to whom he exhibited his films.8 The core question of the value and politics of language in the postcolonial context was developed further by Sembène in all his subsequent work. Mandabi, in which he first deployed African languages as a new and revolutionary form of representation, was a direct attack on the political and cultural institutions of Senegal, which had adopted French as the official language of education, and for civil servants and intellectuals. Sembène challenged here not only the limits of francophonie in Africa, but also the notion that only European languages are universal and capable of a story across frontiers, ethnic and cultural boundaries.9 Wolof is presented as the language of the people, and with its proverbs and cultural idioms, a form of belonging to the Muslim community, while French is depicted as an elitist language that can be exploitative and dangerous (the protagonist Dieng is foiled by petty officials). Language thus becomes a means of contestation and identity formation for the characters in the film who apprehend the world in their own image and in their mother tongue.10 Music forms an integral part of this story. The short, elliptical, opening credit sequence recording two men being shaved under a baobab tree at an outside barbershop is dictated by the driving rhythms of the nondiegetic music: an up-tempo version of a famous West African marching song, Mansani Cissé, employing a traditional kora string lute-bridge and drum. One of Dieng’s wives, Arame, also sings a traditional work song, “Sunu manda bi.” Language and sound became a permanent site of ideological struggle and resistance in Sembène’s cinema. In his brilliant political allegory and satire Xala (The Curse, 1974), the doomed protagonist El Hadji’s (Thierno Leye) use of French is depicted as regressive and reactionary, a sign of neocolonial bad faith and corruption that results in his sudden impotency (xala) on his wedding night. In the final scene, where El Hadji is submitted to a ritual of spitting by the beggars at the command of the marabout, the deafening volume of granulating spit carries a clear warning: stray too far from African languages and culture, and one risks turning the male body into an object of abjection, and indigenous language into cacophony. Issues of multilingualism are also explored in the larger historical and political context of ethnic, cultural and religious difference and identity in important works such as Guelwaar (1992), in which the origin of the escalating standoff between Muslims and Catholics is revealed as a misreading of names (a Muslim family attempting to bury one of its recently deceased members cannot read French, leading to a mix-up between bodies and burial grounds).11 During

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the 1980s and early 1990s, however, calabash cinema appeared to engage with language far more unproblematically. Filmmakers were able to assume more easily the cultural role of screen griot connecting the living world with fiction and history. A primary emphasis on orality was regarded as the crucial next step in indigenizing cinema and hearing “authentic” African sounds and song. Launched by Burkinabé director Gaston Kaboré’s rural drama, Wend Kunni (Gift of God, 1982), set during the heyday of the Mossi kingdom, calabash cinema employed classic tropes of the rich oral storytelling heritage and its collective imaginary such as the missing husband, the wanted son and emancipated daughter, and the travel of initiation or educational quest where the journey offers the possibility for transformations both real and symbolic. Indeed, symbols now began to take hold of the image in the form of gestures, attitudes and rhythms. Melissa Thackway has examined the many stylistic and structural influences of “orature” on film, including narrative layering and circularity, parallel developments, shifts of point of view, the rhythmical repetition of musical and/or visual leitmotifs and song and dance elements, and standardized call-and-response formulae that enable the audience to answer the griot’s periodic interjections with set replies.12 I want to assess briefly how calabash principles work in practice in two very different yet representative films: the Burkinabé director Idrissa Ouédraogo’s Yaaba (1989), a film in French and Mooré, and the Malian director Souleymane Cissé’s Yeelen (Brightness, 1987). Yaaba focuses on a ten-year-old boy Bila who befriends an old woman, Sana, considered a “witch” by others, but whom Bila calls “Yaaba” (grandmother) and who displays medicinal powers. The film’s inescapable message is that collective order provides moral order, and the copious speech and conversation in the native language is presented explicitly as an instrument of social communication and vehicle of tradition (the “hidden god”). Yet there is actually little or no formal play here with sound, which appears as if static. Language remains simply a function of the narrative and is conveyed almost always diegetically, matched by natural sounds within the stunning landscape caressed by warm African music. Hence, language does not enjoy cinematically its own material texture or polyphonic depth, and there is no sustained creative investment in a cinematic soundscape. Yeelen, a complex story about the generations, contains even more extraordinary images of natural beauty accompanied by contemporary electronic reworkings of traditional African rhythms by the jazz composer Michel Portal, with the participation of Salif Keita. Typically for a calabash film, everything

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plays out on a symbolic level. The Bambara initiation rituals of magic and sacrifice (including chickens burned alive in real time with real sound) convey a sense of the eternal in nature and the cosmos. Yet, as in Yaaba, sound is almost exclusively speech-driven and its beauty, symbolic of the spirits, serves primarily to add dramatic effect to its narrative of purification. There is a clear underlying fantasy to this use of speech and sound as an instrument to achieve authenticity, namely, that language can be restored as a phenomenon of pure (i.e., presymbolic) sound and matter liberated, if only temporarily, from ideological discourse. The result in Yeelen is that sound is not actually heard for what it is—it becomes merely emblematic of the natural landscape, and ironically, is often lost within it. In short, nothing in Yaaba or Yeelen is allowed to disturb the pure contours of symbolically encoded language, either through destabilizing vibrations of sound or intercrossings between the diegetic and extra-diegetic in montage. What this suggests is that the genuine diversity and plurilingualism of sound in cinema is not reflected in how verbal or linguistically “loud and clear” a film is, or even how many languages are heard, but rather how language is conveyed and configured formally to create a sustained, sensory, sonic landscape.

The open frame: voice, language, mystery We move now forward in time to the more personal art cinema of Abderrahmane Sissako who, like many West African filmmakers of the new millennium, is attempting to forge an individual voice and style from an eclectic range of sources and elements at once aesthetic and political, intimate and global. On face value, at least, he appears directly focused on the desire for language as a means of transnational communication beyond the requirements of either ideology or authenticity. A key scene in his second major film, the biographically inflected La Vie sur terre (Life on Earth, 1998), set in the Malian village of Sokolo, sets the tone. A young girl called “Nana Baby” finds herself in a post office trying to make a phone call. After several unsuccessful attempts, the employee suggests other options, referring to the process of collationnement (subtitled as crosstransferring)—that is, a partial or complete repetition of the message. The term is derived from comparing a manuscript with the original, though here it is more about the necessity of repeating a message. The employee says there are three kinds of cross-transferring (total and compulsory, partial compulsory, and optional—plus “excessive or systematic cross-transferring, which is to be

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avoided”). We witness here, as in many of the film’s glimpses of everyday life in Sokolo, both the necessity and difficulty of transmitting a message (radios, phones and cameras barely seem to work). The film is defined by repetition, fragmentation and juxtaposition, and there is rarely any real or extended conversation. For example, the local, ramshackle FM station (variously called Radio Sokolo, Radio Colonial, and The Voice of the Rice Fields, so fluid are linguistic terms here) puts on air passages from Aimé Césaire along with the sounds of millennium celebrations taking place around the world.13 Césaire’s long 1939 poem, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a return to my native land), is directly cited at the beginning in Sissako’s voiceover letter to his father announcing his impending visit to Sokolo, though it is significant that his selective use of Césaire’s poetic meditations about leaving glosses over his notion of the poet as a radical mouthpiece of the people. The cited passage ends: “As I arrive I’ll say to myself: ‘Beware my body, my soul / Don’t fold your arms / In the sterile stance of a spectator / For life is not a spectacle / For a screaming man is not a dancing bear.’” This constitutes a clear artistic parti pris by Sissako, and a template for all his future work: to prioritize the sounds and images that lie outside the immediately political and didactic and pertain to the more poetic, open-ended and untranslatable. Indeed, instead of striving for an (impossible) clarity of language as the marker of cultural essence, he will open up the possibilities of linguistic hybridity, in the process skirting the very boundaries of readability. In Sissako’s 2002 follow-up, Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness), a young seventeen-year-old man, Abdallah (Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamed), returns to his native coastal town of Nouadhibou in Mauritania to say goodbye to his mother before going abroad (presumably Europe). The film documents his period of waiting to leave. The ironic title Heremakono means “waiting for happiness” in the local Arabic dialect of Hassaniya, and it is also the name of the transit city nearby, which, significantly, is often invoked but never visited. Like Sissako himself who speaks Bambara, Abdallah cannot speak Hassaniya. Hence, French is the lingua franca in the film, even between Abdallah and his mother. Abdallah makes a brief gesture to learn some of the local language he has now completely forgotten via the young boy Khatra (Khatra Ould Abdel Kader), who mischievously plays around with the meanings of sounds. The words Abdallah later reproduces at the tea ceremony arranged by his mother are all slightly off, and the young girls there openly mock him for his incorrect use of their language. (Here, as throughout the film, all speech in whatever language is translated and made accessible for the English speaking viewer of the Artificial Eye DVD

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Figure 8.1 Khatra (Khatra Ould Abdel Kader) teaching Abdallah (Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamed) Hassaniya through a gap in the wall in Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness, Abderrahmane Sissako, 2002).

edition, including even the Hassaniya words Abdallah cannot understand.) Largely improvised, using unscripted dialogue and unprofessional actors, Heremakono is constantly working through different sounds and tongues. Khatra himself can move between French and Hassaniya when he sings, and in this respect, he is the key character in the film because he is at the center of its auditory possibilities (the film ends with him kitted out in his new blue overalls for his chosen career as electrician, not with Abdallah who has already departed). With such scenes of interlinguistic crossing as well as its many transmedia effects (photographs, video footage, the television program Des chiffres et des lettres), the film raises directly the question of language as a ritual of (mis)communication and (mis)translation. Yet Heremakono, an “elusive” film composed of many different elements tied together with only “fleeting emotional links,”14 is also continually veering toward the opaque and indecipherable, the poetic and abstract. It begins with a sandstorm and ends with abstract frames of a human figure walking off into the sand dunes in extreme long shot. There is constant background chatter and babil of sounds heard off-screen through a gap in the wall of Abdallah’s room through which he speaks to Khatra. He (and we) can only see the feet of those passing by,

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yet he hears them intently, as if magnified, as they occasionally clap and dance. The open hole thus becomes a site of secret, close intimacy with the outside, a passoire of random sound, and an open screen for the free-play of human curiosity and imagination. Although exiled geographically, linguistically and culturally, Abdallah slowly finds himself fascinated by the lives of the inhabitants while maintaining a studious distance apart (he deigns only once to wear local traditional dress). The film’s slow pace ensures we share, in real time, Abdallah’s rapt discovery of the heterogeneous sounds of the daily activities and rituals of this small city. Barlet argues correctly that narrative linearity is replaced here by “a form of jazz in that it is the physical sensations induced by acoustic or visual experiences which lead to our understanding of the film characters’ position in the world.”15 He adds: “the doors, the drapes, the unspoken words and the slit windows suggest uncertainty and doubt: this cinema has neither a readymade solution nor a didactic message, settling instead for an evocation of the complexity of the state of things at hand, sharpening the gaze in order to favor hearing.”16 This contrasts directly with the calabash films, which remain “frontally” audible since, for the most part, derived diegetically from the profilmic event with little or no play with voice-off or the hors-champ. I want to suggest further that in Sissako’s cinema displacement and exile are registered also on an explicitly formal level. For Heremakono works at the boundary where language as communication and sign is suspended and is experienced materially and physically as a poetic manifestation of difference. The film embodies a message of being receptive to the sound and grain of the Other, or better, to the Other as sound. The first sounds we hear are the rustling and whirring of the wind, and throughout the film, diegetic sounds bleed into each other across and over the edit into the next shot (often an entirely different space and time) where they perform non-diegetically. For example, an instance of karaoke singing inside a bar continues into the following exterior shot of boats. Sounds are thus continually moving through an open frame, across the cut, from here to elsewhere, sliding associatively into one another in a constant mosaic of sound, just as the image, though the lens of Khatra’s toy kaleidoscope, can suddenly appear multiplied in triplicate and create a proliferation of colors and patterns. This phenomenon is matched by the elliptical compression of events that alternates with the dilation of time in sustained long takes (including one notable flashback sequence of Perpignan in grainy footage) as well as by roving, nomadic, subjective point-of-view shots. Here, Sissako is tapping into the multidirectional capacity of sound to blur the boundaries between inside and

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outside, center and margin. As Elsaesser and Hagener write, sound “covers and uncovers, touches and enfolds even the spectator’s body [. . .] [i]t is also fleeting, transparent and diaphanous, it escapes our desire to capture, fixate and freeze it.”17 As in La Vie sur terre, though far more intensively, Sissako has created for the viewer here an open space of intersection for mutually foreign sounds to traverse each other in a perpetual crisscrossing of aural matter that is always nomadic. The result is a rich continuum of plurilingual sound and noise that insists on the materiality and fluidity of sound as hybridity and difference. Hence, if Heremakono highlights the complexity and often impossibility of language as a means of communication (the transmission of knowledge is performed only by example: the ageing griote teaching her granddaughter to sing, the elderly Maata showing Khatra how to lay electrical wire), it also insists on the desire to keep negotiating the margins of linguistic vagueness, doubt and error. In the process, language becomes a source of wonderment and dangerous beauty, like the depicted world of sea, desert and light that is always luminous and translucent. In this new, expanded filmic soundscape, the viewer becomes alive and receptive to the sensory acuity of sound. We can hear the “rustle of language,” a term proposed by Barthes to suggest a material utopia: a music and “breath” of meaning, a vast auditory fabric, a community of bodies, the sound of “plural delectation” in what he calls the “auditory scene,” in contradistinction to the irreversibility of standard speech that is condemned to “stammering.”18 In Sissako’s cinema of mutual estrangement, language is always, as it were, “shuddering.” Sissako’s next and much celebrated film, Bamako (2006), takes place in the courtyard of a large, mud house in the working-class Hamdallaye district of Bamako. The various witnesses who take to the stand in a symbolic trial of the IMF and World Bank for their policies to “help” developing countries repay national debts (the destructive “structural adjustment programs”) speak and sing in a number of languages, not only Bambara and French and not always translated. With its constant interrogation of format, reception and point of view (camera crew recording, television spectators spectating, onlookers listening), the film effectively puts cinema on trial as a uniform product of global capital. Yet by foregrounding the reception of a multilingual cinema within local, national and transnational frameworks, Bamako also reveals the medium as a privileged vehicle for the understanding of linguistic and cultural difference and the sheer pleasure and wonder of communication across different languages and dialects.

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At the film’s center lies the live space of the cour, here both communal courtyard and legal court. The potent mix of “real” people and professional actors continually passing through creates an ever-shifting and evolving hybrid of fiction and documentary that encompasses a rolling series of personal stories and mini-narratives (what Sissako loosely calls “parables”) and provokes startling visual and oral juxtapositions, including at one point goats casually moving through the trial in progress (again, Sissako refuses to forge links between parallel plot lines, thus creating correspondences that do not obey the logic of cause and effect). Among the inhabitants of the house, Chaka attempts to communicate with his estranged wife, the nightclub singer Melé, while also listening to Hebrew language tapes in anticipation of a possible new job. The policed central compound is transformed by such movement into a creative open frame of sound and image that can extend to, and incorporate, scenes from elsewhere (flashbacks, screen memories) as well as match the same sounds with different images (for example, the slow mood music of the film-within-a-film, a mock African spaghetti western entitled Death in Timbuktu, accompanies Chaka’s dead body lying by the roadside after his suicide at the end). In the process, cour as a noun becomes activated into an adverb, en cours—all is in movement and flux. This continuously virtual, self-reflexive space of “montage” generating new, unforeseen relations among multiple elements and perspectives offers a brassage of interweaving forms and styles, from documentary cinémavérité and courtroom reality television to domestic digital camcording, stylized fictional drama and film parody. By allowing such an array of combined sounds, images and tonalities to drift so graphically and aesthetically into the frame and “intrude” into the law of the economic and geopolitical, Bamako becomes a multilingual lieu de passage that fully exploits the rich, sensurround wrap of voiceover, the hors-champ and a fluid, open frame for the transformative interplay of diegetic and extra-diegetic sound. Bamako has a number of set-piece sequences, including the episode of personal testimony by the young Madou Keïta, who relates his experience of narrowly escaping death in a failed migration across the Sahara to Europe. The sequence of montage incorporating subjective flashback images is initially cloaked in silence, but this is soon broken by the plaintive opening strains of the song “Saa Magni” (“Death Is Terrible”) by the Malian singer Oumou Sangaré. There is a clear political denunciation here of the inhuman anti-immigration politics of Western governments aided and abetted by African states, just as there was in Heremakono where the body of Michael was washed up on the beach.

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However, the primary scene of the film from the point of view of language, and one that is no less political, is also the moment when language becomes far more oblique and is effectively pushed to breaking point. After being denied the opportunity earlier in the film, an uncalled witness, Zegué Bamba, an elderly peasant from the south of Mali, finally delivers an accusatory and impassioned heartsong in a language almost no one present understands: Senufo, spoken by a largely agricultural people in northern Côte d’Ivoire. Seated at the back of the assembly, unannounced, he suddenly erupts into song, stands up and moves slowly forward to face the judge head-on, becoming increasingly animated and possessed like a shaman speaking tongues in a ceremonial ritual and brandishing his flyswatter like a fetish. The chant is unflagging and irrepressible: it appears to fall silent, but then surges forth again, railing, hollering, in an ever-inventive howl of rage, all the more scandalous for not being directly comprehensible. The words are left deliberately unsubtitled by Sissako (the only such instance in the film with the exception of certain songs either recorded or performed), though they will be summarized later in the film by the prosecution lawyer Madame Tall Sall as: “Why don’t I sow anymore? When I sow, why don’t I reap? When I reap, why don’t I eat?” Zegué’s prolonged, angry lament has a shattering, almost traumatic effect on those who experience its raw, guttural sounds, undulating, repetitive, textures, timbres, stuttering rhythms, and plangent tones. It passes off without comment though it temporarily reduces to silence and shame the

Figure 8.2 Zegué Bamba in full flow and reducing all to silence in Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2006).

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discourse of universal debt and globalization. Indeed, it makes all that immediately follows, including the white French lawyer’s speech on behalf of African civil society, look timid and pretentious. Numerous critics have hailed the emotional intensity and disruptive political power of Zegué’s uninvited intervention. For Scott Durham, for whom it “dramatizes the impasse of aesthetic mediation [. . .] as an immediately ethical and political problem,” this ecstatic song calls into affective being an African community and collective which cannot rely on any institutions (national or international) to represent it.19 For Libby Saxton, it “thwarts the desire to know, affording instead an experience of pure form and a radically disconcerting encounter with alterity which relocates us from the realm of epistemology into the spheres of ethics and aesthetics.”20 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak emphasizes the undecidable position of Zegué’s sung speech, that is, as both within and outside the discursive space of the trial and beyond the rhetorical reach of IMF lawyers like Rappaport and other defenders of a liberalized global economy.21 However, no critic has, as yet, followed through the reverberations of Zegué’s song within the film itself. The last printed image is that of the camcorder recording Chaka’s funeral procession. As the camera passes through the sandybrown gate of the compound, the image is suddenly cut to black, over which is inscribed, in white letters, still in silence, a quote from Césaire: “my ear against the ground, I heard / Tomorrow pass” (“l’oreille couchée au sol, j’entendis / passer demain”). This line of verse is the conclusion to Césaire’s 1941 poem of revolutionary universalism, “Les purs sangs.” Arriving as it does immediately after Chaka’s death and presented completely out of context (it is notable that “demain” is not capitalized on screen as it was in the original published version), this line might appear ambivalent, even ironic. Does it signify productively listening to the unstoppable forces of change and progress, or rather being merely a passive witness to events that have already passed and over which one has no influence? In short, is it optimistic or pessimistic? If we turn to the poem itself, we are greeted with images of the raw energy of nature and the cosmos, of the “I” growing symbiotically with nature like a plant. This is the emergence and ascent of a new thinking and politicized human being—the surge, resistance and prosperity of the unrepentant postcolonial subject to come. In a moment of shared cultural legacy, as casual and yet significant as the moment just before when Chaka silently transported the electric fan that had lain in the background throughout the trial to the bedside of his sick daughter Ina, Sissako thus “borrows” Césaire’s poetry to ensure that

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the film ends with a still “live” memory of unstoppable poetic flow—one that directly echoes and extends the deep political currents of Zegué’s song. The poetic and political are revealed as one. Hence, linguistic and cultural difference are shown by Sissako to be part of a much larger postrevolutionary and (meta) poetic experience of sound and noise beyond immediate communication and signification—one that generates its own stirring emotions and sources of aesthetic value and pleasure not bound by current ideology.

The language of abstraction: sound, silence, eroticism If the point of departure for Sissako is the basic need—and permanent difficulty— of speaking to and about the other, for Haroun, it is indecipherability and a rarefied silence. For with his five feature films and many shorts, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun heads even further than Sissako down the path of abstraction. This may seem immediately paradoxical for a filmmaker whose intense dramas of personal and family crisis set against the contemporary background of civil war and social struggle are depicted in such vivid detail. Indeed, he is pursuing a very clear political project to make Chad “exist” visually to the outside world, and in so doing lay to rest one of the sustaining principles of black African filmmaking dear to Sembène, namely, pan-Africanism. “This movement has now run its course,” Haroun declares: “there is no African cinema. There is cinema in each country. We have to create a new utopia.”22 To help realize this project of national consciousness, Haroun insists on regional, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences and variations. The official languages of Chad are French and Chadian Arabic, a vernacular version of Arabic and the country’s lingua franca, as well as more than 120 indigenous languages. Haroun remarks that whilst in West Africa most people speak national languages, they also incorporate French words which subsequently become part of daily parlance—a “bastardizing” process he views as desirable since the former colonizer’s language is being remade as “our” own.23 Indeed, Haroun refutes all notions of a “pure” language, just as he counters any essentializing ideas of African culture and “Africanness.” In Un Homme qui crie (A Screaming Man, 2010), Chinese voices are heard in the luxury hotel on the outskirts of N’Djamena along with Chadian Arabic and French, which can sound different according to the character. For example, Adam’s (Youssouf Djaoro) Congolese friend and former coworker David (Marius Yelolo) has a slightly different intonation from Adam when he speaks French, and he playfully

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mimics his former hotel boss Madame Wang’s accent when Adam visits him in the hospital. Yet Haroun also actively privileges the visual over the discursive by continually pushing toward the realms of the unsaid and unarticulated, in particular, regarding masculinity, which as I argue elsewhere is associated in his work with male desire, emotion and homoeroticism—subjects not usually addressed in West African cinema.24 The constraints of space prevent me from exploring Haroun’s understated yet deeply powerful films in any detail, but I would like to look briefly here at one example of his practice of sound and language in his second feature, Abouna: Our Father (2002). Here, two young brothers, Tahir (fifteen) (Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa) and Amine (eight) (Hamza Moctar Aguid), attempt to find their father who has suddenly abandoned them. The scene in which they attend a cinema screening of a black-and-white film constitutes a mise en abyme of male spectatorship. They are captivated by a male figure suddenly projected on the screen: a large, handsome, swarthy, dark-skinned guy who stands half-naked smoking in the doorway of a house in mid-shot with his back and upraised right hip to the camera (a woman, presumably his wife, is visible in the background). There is a clear erotic charge to this image. This magnified male figure of glowing beauty perched on the threshold (played by the Chadian writer Koulsi Lamko, who, as the father, ran off into the sahel at the start of the film) turns around slowly and smiles down toward the camera, meeting the gaze of Tahir and Amine in the audience with the inviting words “Bonjour les enfants!” just as two young boys enter the film-within-a-film. As the father on the screen implores in French: “Look at me!” Amine exclaims in Arabic to Tahir: “Look at his back!” Such eroticized paternal sound and image (a shared subjective image from the boys’ point of view) provokes in the boys an unstoppable spectatorial desire to move closer and capture his image, even to the point of stealing the reel of celluloid and cutting out the relevant frames. This is the seductive, transverse power of the image and language—that is to say, of language transmitted across the auditorium and cinematic frame and received by the viewer, both explicit (the audience watching the film-within-a-film) and implicit (the spectator of Abouna). (We note that while the first language of the native Chadians glimpsed in the N’Djamena cinema is almost certainly not French, French is nonetheless heard being spoken before the lights go down and the film begins.) As sound crosses back and forth between screen and audience and across language, a dialogic, transferential, open frame of language is created where the possibility

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Figures 8.3 and 8.4 The “father” (Koulsi Lamko) watched in wonder by Tahir (Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa) and Amine (Hamza Moctar Aguid) in the auditorium as he calls out to his sons in the film-within-a-film in Abouna: Our Father (MahamatSaleh Haroun, 2002).

of full communication is not expected, and indeed, proves impossible (it is precisely the stuff of cinematic projection and fantasy). Here, language (in this case French) is made an object of erotic play. The image will undergo a similar process in the film’s increasing formal play with tableaux. Abouna culminates with a tribute to the affirmative, life-saving power of human sound: Tahir begins humming a tune and his mother, lying in a comatose state in a hospital bed

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following the death of Amine, suddenly joins him in song, thus recovering her voice and consciousness (a scene to be linked with the imagined father’s storytelling and Uncle Adoum’s ever-warm guitar song). By working through different languages, intonations and accents, Haroun’s “discreet” cinema of aesthetic abstraction refuses explicit allegorical and political meaning in order to reveal the erotic and cosmopolitan (as opposed to simply pan-African) within the national. As with Sissako, Haroun’s abstract formulation of language provides an occasion for both the contemplation of racial/ethnic difference and a child-like enchantment with the plurivocal opacity and mystery of language, even when the latter appears reduced to its most minimal. This confirms the possibility of an expanded range of modes and valencies in the aesthetic practice of sound. Both directors insist on the ultimate untranslatability and indecipherability of language—that is, on the material status and alterity of sound as something beyond our immediate cognitive grasp.

For a plurivocal aesthetics Our analysis of contemporary West African francophone cinema reveals that if it now celebrates the shared polyphonic world of language, it also insists that full communication and translation are never possible. Rather than attempt to manipulate language as a didactic tool and political weapon of collective self-affirmation in order to capture an authentically African voice, as Sembène once proposed, directors are now listening more freely to spoken language and sound as something strange and unknowable—a living organism of collective beauty and mystery suggestive of new forms of being. We have moved from language as a “natural” vehicle of social communication and political change to language as an aesthetic object of fascination and wonder—a decisive shift in focus that gestures toward a new “post-postcolonial” cinema. Those films that have most to say about polyphony and plurilingualism in West African cinema are paradoxically those that work against the sheer quantity and volume of existing languages (the basis for merely a “polyglot” aesthetic), and instead focus aesthetically on its plurivocal grain, in some cases even reducing sound to silence in order to throw into relief the concrete, material textures of the spoken tongue. The former colonizer’s language has never gone away, of course. Indeed, it remains always to be engaged with precisely at the level of the aesthetic.

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Positioning himself as a “passant” pursuing “an aesthetics of existence” rather than simply as a nomad or exile, Mbembe has stated the following: “The function of spoken language is to bring back to life what had been abandoned to the powers of death. Language must open up access to the reserves of life, the deposits of the future. To achieve this, it must become power and beauty. Yet no language is more amenable to this type of operation than the French language.”25 This looks, at first glance, like a conservative message of monolingual universalism, as if Mbembe were resorting ultimately to the timeless beauty of the French language. Yet he is suggesting rather that we need, now more than ever, to respond individually to the regenerative power and beauty of language in all its different forms. We cannot afford to be deaf to the limitless potential of language as an object of aesthetic investment, as if it were somehow surplus to the requirements of social communication. The lesson of contemporary filmmakers like Sissako and Haroun is that language is always an aesthetic yet also inherently political matter, to be appreciated and negotiated in its very rustle and shudder.

Notes (All translations are my own unless otherwise indicated.) 1 See Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). 2 In La Nuit de la Vérité (The Night of Truth, 2004) by Burkinabé director Fanta Régina Nacro, set in an unspecified contemporary West African state where two (fictitious) warring ethnic tribes, the Nayak and the Bonandé, are defined by the languages they speak (Dioula and Mooré, both national languages of Burkina Faso), the possibility of ethnic and religious unity and reconciliation after ten years of savage bloodshed is encouraged by recourse to French as a lingua franca, although lasting peace is not assured. 3 For a short list compiled by David Lehn of the film’s urban lexicon of slang words and expressions, see Olivier Barlet, African Cinemas: Decolonizing the Gaze (New York and London: Zed Books, 2000), 197–8. 4 Manthia Diawara, African Film: New forms of aesthetics and politics (New York, Munich, Berlin and London: Prestel, 2010), 25. 5 Ibid., 26. 6 Ibid., 25. 7 See Samba Diop, “Music and Narrative in Five Films by Ousmane Sembène,” Journal of African Cinema 1, no. 2 (2009): 207–24.

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8 See Alexander Fisher, “Voice-over, Narrative Agency, and Oral Culture: Ousmane Sembène’s Borom Sarret,” Cinephile 8, no. 1 (2012): 33–38. 9 Diawara, African Film, 42. 10 Ibid., 44. 11 The film’s set-piece scene, a flashback of Guelwaar delivering a long, impassioned, public speech in a stadium against corruption and foreign aid and dependency (an act for which he will be murdered by the authorities), also showcases the ritualistic, almost sacred status speech carries within the West African social order as a vehicle of tradition and cultural memory, and, increasingly so, of resistance. 12 See Melissa Thackway, Africa Shoots Back: Alternative Perspectives in Sub-Saharan Francophone African Film (Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press/Oxford: James Currey, 2003), 49–92. 13 See Akin Adesokan, “Abderrahmane Sissako and the poetics of engaged expatriation,” Screen 51, no. 2 (2010): 143–60, for an excellent account of this film in the context of Sissako’s “poetics of engaged expatriation.” 14 Roy Armes, African Filmmaking: North and South of the Sahara (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), 199. 15 Olivier Barlet, “The new paradoxes of black Africa’s cinemas,” in Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman, eds, World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (New York and London: Routledge, 2010), 217–25. 16 Ibid. 17 Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener, Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses (New York and London: Routledge, 2010), 137. 18 See Roland Barthes, The Rustle of Language, trans. Richard Howard (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), 76–79. 19 Scott Durham, “ ‘The Center of the World Is Everywhere’: Bamako and the Scene of the Political,” World Picture, no. 2 (2008): 7. 20 Libby Saxton, “Reverse Shot Bamako,” in Libby Saxton and Lisa Downing, Film and Ethics: Foreclosed Encounters (New York and London: Routledge, 2009), 60. 21 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2012), 479. 22 See Alexandra Topping, “Mahamat-Saleh Haroun Brings Chad to the World, and Vice Versa, through Film,” The Guardian, 25 February (2013). 23 We note, too, Haroun’s practice of composing his dialogues in French— a process that consists of rendering as best as possible the “taste” of his original language. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, “Nous avons fait des enfants au français,” in “Voyage en franco-phonie(s),” supplement to Cahiers du Cinéma, no. 611 (2006): 6.

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24 See James S. Williams, “Male Beauty and the Erotics of Intimacy: The Talismanic Cinema of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun,” Film Quarterly 67, no. 4 (2014): 33–43, where I argue that Haroun’s insistence on such themes should be read as a defiant claim for both beauty and freedom of expression. 25 Achille Mbembe, “Gare au capitalisme animiste,” Le Monde, 18 September (2013): 17. My emphasis.

Works cited Adesokan, Akin. “Abderrahmane Sissako and the Poetics of Engaged Expatriation.” Screen 51, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 143–60. Armes, Roy. African Filmmaking: North and South of the Sahara. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Barlet, Olivier. “The New Paradoxes of Black Africa’s Cinemas.” In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Nataša Ďurovičová and Kathleen Newman, 217–25. New York and London: Routledge, 2010. Barlet, Olivier. African Cinemas: Decolonizing the Gaze (1996). Translated by Chris Turner. New York and London: Zed Books, 2000. Barthes, Roland. The Rustle of Language. Translated by Richard Howard. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. Diawara, Manthia. African Film: New Forms of Aesthetics and Politics. New York, Munich, Berlin and London: Prestel, 2010. Diop, Samba. “Music and Narrative in Five Films by Ousmane Sembène.” Journal of African Cinema 1, no. 2 (2009): 207–24. Durham, Scott. “ ‘The Center of the World Is Everywhere’: Bamako and the Scene of the Political.” World Picture (2008). http://www.worldpicturejournal.com/WP _2/ Durham.html. Elsaesser, Thomas, and Malte Hagener. Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses. New York and London: Routledge, 2010. Fisher, Alexander. “Voice-over, Narrative Agency, and Oral Culture: Ousmane Sembène’s Borom Sarret.” Cinephile 8, no. 1 (2012): 33–38. Haroun, Mahamat-Saleh. “Nous avons fait des enfants au français.” In “Voyage en franco-phonie(s),” supplement to Cahiers du Cinéma, no. 611 (2006): 6. Levine, Alison J. Murray. “ ‘Provoking Situations’: Abderrahmane Sissako’s Documentary Fiction.” Journal of African Cinemas 3, no. 1 (2011): 93–108. Mbembe, Achille. On the Postcolony. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001. Mbembe, Achille. “Gare au capitalisme animiste.” Le Monde, 18 September (2013): 17. Petty, Sheila. “Sacred Places and Arlit: Deuxième Paris: Reterritorialization in African Documentary Films.” Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, no. 32 (2013): 71–79.

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Saxton, Libby. “Reverse Shot Bamako.” In Libby Saxton and Lisa Downing, Film and Ethics: Foreclosed Encounters, 56–61. New York and London: Routledge, 2009. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2012. Thackway, Melissa. Africa Shoots Back: Alternative Perspectives in Sub-Saharan Francophone African Film. Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press/Oxford: James Currey, 2003. Topping, Alexandra. “Mahamat-Saleh Haroun Brings Chad to the World, and Vice Versa, through film.” The Guardian, 25 February, 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/ world/2013/feb/25/mahamat-saleh-haroun-chad-film. Williams, James S. “Male Beauty and the Erotics of Intimacy: The Talismanic Cinema of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.” Film Quarterly 67, no. 4 (2014): 33–43.

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Language in Motion: The Sign Talk Films of Hugh Lenox Scott and Richard Sanderville Brian Hochman

This chapter examines two landmark documentary films of Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL ), a conventionalized system of manual sign communication that has for centuries served as a lingua franca among Plains Indian peoples. In September 1930, a US Army General named Hugh Lenox Scott gathered representatives from twelve different Plains Indian nations in Browning, Montana, to record The Indian Sign Language (1930), a short film intended to capture examples of PISL in motion.1 Four years later, Scott’s primary informant in the field, a Blackfoot sign talker named Richard Sanderville (Chief Bull), traveled to Washington, DC , to film himself signing words and stories for the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language (1930/1, 1934), an experimental “cinematic dictionary” project organized by the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology.2 Taken together, The Indian Sign Language and the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language are among the earliest known attempts to use motion picture film in the service of documentary linguistics. Long overlooked by historians of ethnographic cinema, Scott and Sanderville’s collaborative work underscores the enduring importance of moving images to the modern enterprise of language preservation. Their efforts also help us to reconsider the cultural legacies of salvage ethnography, a form of anthropological inquiry that gained popularity in this period. During the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, American writers and anthropologists believed that the world’s primitive cultures were on the verge of extinction. American Indians, in particular, were singled out as destined to vanish, and the aspects of their lives that made them unique seemed close to fading into obscurity. With the imminent disappearance of primitive culture in mind, the burgeoning science of anthropology came to hinge on two basic objectives: documentation and recovery.3 Professional ethnologists became 183

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convinced of their duty to “salvage” relics of native life in the face of its expected demise. The proponents of the salvage ethnographic project have long been condemned as ideologically compromised, complicit with the imperialist designs of the modern nation-state.4 Yet cultural historians—and native peoples themselves—have recently begun to revisit the documentary materials that they ended up leaving behind. Although they may have been produced for the sake of cultural memorialization, early ethnographic photographs, recordings and films have since been reinterpreted in ways that turn-of-the-century ethnologists scarcely could have anticipated. As I demonstrate in this chapter, Scott and Sanderville’s work provides us with a valuable case in point of this historical reversal. In the early decades of the twentieth century, anthropologists across the United States believed that PISL was disappearing, and they believed that motion pictures were uniquely suited to preserve it for posterity. Over time, however, remnants of the language survived, and the cinematic records of PISL’s disappearance would prove instrumental in contemporary efforts to reclaim sign talk as a unique heritage language. The story that follows—the story of PISL’s earliest encounter with cinema, and its legacy in the contemporary moment—proceeds in two main parts. In the first part of this chapter, I outline the anthropological ideas about Indian sign languages that emerged over the course of the late nineteenth century, a crucial structuring context for understanding Scott and Sanderville’s turn to film as a medium of language preservation. For American ethnologists then operating under the dominant “evolutionist” model of cultural history, the invention of gestural signs seemed to have predated the invention of spoken language. This meant that studying communications systems like PISL appeared to have the potential to answer questions about the origins of human communication, even the origins of humanity itself. Yet despite the language’s pervasiveness—and despite its apparent significance to scientific inquiry—PISL also seemed to be falling into disuse. By the turn of the twentieth century, the consensus among anthropologists was that it was certain to vanish in the span of a generation. Ethnologists in the field began using new visual technologies to document the language in advance of its disappearance. We now know that PISL did not vanish as quickly, or as completely, as turn-of-the-century ethnologists predicted. Although PISL remains critically endangered, it has not disappeared. In fact, some Plains Indian nations still make use of the language in communal settings.5 As I demonstrate in the second part

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of this chapter, PISL’s resilience is in no small part due to the efforts of the sign talkers who appeared in the films of the early 1930s. Throughout The Indian Sign Language and the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language, we encounter images of PISL alive against all odds, and for native signers such as Sanderville, the language’s presence on-screen appeared to bridge the divide between the “primitive” and the “modern” that evolutionary theories of human history had long legitimized. In the grainy, flickering images of Scott and Sanderville’s sign language films, as we will see, America’s archetypal “vanishing races” ultimately become active agents in the making of modern media. *

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Spanning a total of 1.5 million square miles, the Great Plains region of the United States was at one time home to more than forty distinct American Indian languages.6 Prior to the twentieth century, it was considered one of the most linguistically diverse areas of the world. PISL —sometimes called “sign talk” or “hand talk”—emerged out of this unique cultural landscape, and the number of federal agents, missionary explorers, and amateur ethnologists who took note of the language’s existence during the early decades of the nineteenth century is a testament to its pervasiveness in that period. Anthropological interest in PISL would not pick up until the 1860s. On the whole, this was a consequence of the rise of cultural “evolutionism” in the human sciences, a doctrine that served to underwrite many of the nation’s most destructive policies toward American Indians. According to evolutionist theory, the course of human history was divided into a series of developmental stages, each in ascending order of social complexity. While Euro-American cultures had rapidly progressed to “civilization,” the most advanced stage of the journey, the world’s indigenous peoples had been left behind to languish in the early stages of “savagery” and “barbarism.” The upshot of this arrangement was that Indians seemed to represent living vestiges of the primitive stages through which modern society had once traveled. Studying an indigenous population seemed to have the potential to shed light on the recesses of civilization’s collective past, offering glimpses of how humans thought and behaved in their distant prehistory. According to John Wesley Powell, founder of the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology and one of the most vocal proponents of evolutionism in the United States, the study of language was key to understanding the “condition of primitive man.”7 Indian languages like PISL seemed to represent holdovers from an evolutionarily remote human condition that existed prior to the

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development of oral speech. Because gesture was “universally prevalent in the savage stage of social evolution,” as Powell’s colleague Garrick Mallery explained, sign talk provided a way into the black box of man’s early history.8 “The most interesting light in which the Indians of North America can be regarded is in their present representation of a stage of evolution once passed through by our own ancestors,” Mallery wrote in an 1881 essay. “Their signs form a part of the paleontology of humanity to be studied. . .as the geologist, with similar object, studies all the strata of the physical world.”9 Mallery is an important player in the story of sign talk. Inspired by the ideas of the evolutionists, he worked to document PISL during the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s, dramatically shaping the course of Scott and Sanderville’s efforts three decades later. His story is worth tracing briefly. A former officer in the US Army Signal Corps, Mallery joined the Bureau of Ethnology in the late 1870s to study PISL and other “alternative” indigenous communications systems, such as pictography. He quickly emerged as the nineteenth century’s foremost expert on the subject. Like Powell, under whom he worked for two and a half productive decades, Mallery was a dyed-in-the-wool evolutionist, arguing throughout his writings that sign talk embodied humankind’s first and most primitive medium. Yet, his major contribution to the field of linguistic anthropology was his recognition that the language was a vital and complex response to linguistic diversity among the Plains Indian nations. Mallery came to three main conclusions during his twenty-five years of research on PISL . Each would cast a long shadow on the study of indigenous sign languages in the twentieth century. Mallery’s first conclusion was that PISL was neither an arbitrary collection of manual signals, nor an ancillary supplement to spoken discourse. Sign talk was, in his words, a “cultivated art,” and needed to be treated as such in the course of scientific inquiry.10 Yet if PISL was in fact a fully fledged language, cultivated and conventionalized over time, what, then, was its communicative function? This question provided the impetus for Mallery’s second main argument. As he demonstrated in a series of ethnographic studies published in the early 1880s, the primary purpose of PISL was to serve as an Indian lingua franca, facilitating discourse among native peoples who spoke different languages. In the wide-open spaces of the Great Plains region, where mutually unintelligible native tongues frequently came into contact, signs and gestures had evolved as convenient ways to circumvent the problem of translation. Mallery’s third, and final, conclusion was perhaps the most important for subsequent studies of PISL , even if his ideas about sign talk’s cultural function

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still remain central to anthropological linguistics today.11 If PISL served as lingua franca, it followed that the global spread of English would minimize the language’s utility. The more monolingual the Great Plains became, in other words, the less value that a signed lingua franca had. According to Mallery, the prognosis for PISL’s future in an expansionist nation was grim: “[T]he practical value of signs for intercourse with the American Indians will not long continue, their general progress in the acquisition of English or of Spanish being so rapid that those languages are becoming, to a surprising extent, the common medium [of communication].”12 The spread of nonnative vernacular tongues had led sign talk down the path of extinction. It was only a matter of time before the language disappeared entirely. With few exceptions, Mallery’s writings during the last three decades of the nineteenth century stopped short of specifying whether PISL’s disappearance was actually the destructive effect of federal Indian policy, which enforced English-language conformity, rather than a natural byproduct of native evolutionary progress. But he would spend the majority of his time at the Bureau of Ethnology working with Smithsonian fieldworkers to compile an encyclopedic record of Plains Indian Sign Language varieties. The project hit some unexpected snags along the way. As Mallery and his colleagues discovered, PISL proved difficult to capture in writing—for how does one transcribe a language based on bodily movement, rather than on oral speech? Mallery’s answer to this question was to rely heavily on the power of visual illustration. Previous efforts to document PISL had relied solely on the written word, using various methods of thick description to notate the movements and gestures that formed the basis of the language. But Mallery’s first major published works, Introduction to the Study of Sign Language Among North American Indians (1880) and “Sign Language Among North American Indians” (1881), openly recognized the insufficiency of such an approach. On one hand, this was a matter of PISL’s communicative content, which often translated poorly into written English. “The proper arrangement and classification of signs will always be troublesome and unsatisfactory,” Mallery admitted. “There can be no accurate translation either of sentences or of words from signs.”13 On the other hand, the insufficiency of the written method was also a product of PISL’s communicative form, which forever seemed to escape the descriptive capacities of outside observers. “Regarding the difficulties met with in the task proposed,” Mallery continued, “the same motto might be adopted as was prefixed to [Gilbert] Austin’s Chironomia: ‘Non sum nescius, quantum susceperim negotii, qui motus corporis exprimere verbis,

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imitari scriptura conatus sim voces.’ [‘I am not unaware, as much as I have undertaken the task, that expressing the movement of the body in words is like attempting to imitate the voice in writing’]. If the descriptive recital of the signs collected had been absolutely restricted to written or printed words the work would have been still more difficult and the result less intelligible.”14 In a precinematic age, the problem of written reproduction was of course endemic to all signed languages, not just PISL . But given that the Plains Indian nations had already begun to abandon the signed lingua franca by the end of the nineteenth century, Mallery’s situation seemed especially urgent. Convinced that PISL would “surely and speedily decay” as the American nation fulfilled its manifest destiny in the West—and convinced that knowledge of PISL was likely to suffer in the absence of adequate sign language representation—Mallery began experimenting with a mixed-media approach in his ethnographic work, sparing no expense to supplement his studies with visual aids.15 As Mallery explained his general method in an 1880 collection, “description[s] of minute and rapidlyexecuted signs, dictated at the moment of their exhibition, were. . .taken down by a phonographer [i.e., a stenographer], so that there might be no lapse of memory” when a sign talker demonstrated his art to an observing ethnologist.16 These descriptions were subsequently translated into explanatory diagrams that enhanced the clarity of the final published study, which included both images and text. Around this time, Mallery also began photographing sign talkers who visited the Bureau’s offices in Washington, DC , securing photographic prints of PISL positions and comparing them to his written descriptions as “evidence of their accuracy” (see Figure 9.1).17 Drawing on the work of the photographer Eadweard J. Muybridge, he even encouraged ethnologists and collectors to arrange these individual images sequentially, hoping to represent something of the language in implied serial motion. In this sense, preserving PISL raised basic questions about the limits of ethnographic representation that the century’s newest visual media— chronophotography and, later on, cinema—seemed able to answer.18 Mallery eventually compiled these varied experiments in mixed-media ethnography to create the largest and most technologically diverse body of sign language materials then collected—approximately 3,000 PISL sign descriptions, illustrations and photographs in total, now held at the National Anthropological Archives in Suitland, Maryland. When he died in 1894, however, he left his culminating work on PISL unfinished.19 The project would lie dormant until Hugh Lenox Scott and Richard Sanderville picked it up decades later, with a new medium of recording at their disposal.

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Figure 9.1 Garrick Mallery, “Man in Native Dress (Son of the Star? or Rushing Bear?) Showing Sign Language Gesture” (1880). SPC Miscellaneous Sign Language 01309100, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

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Accustomed as we are to understanding the world’s cultures in the language of images, Mallery’s experiments now seem like commonsense solutions to the problem of representing PISL . Yet during the late nineteenth century, many observers remained skeptical of the visual image’s ability to salvage sign talk. Although a review in the American Journal of Philology had praised Mallery’s early work as the “first attempt in this country to treat sign-language scientifically,” the same article also warned readers to regard the diagrams in the Introduction to the Study of Sign Language with the “utmost caution” given the difficulty of “arriving as nearly as may be at the original forms of the signs.”20 A US Army captain named W. P. Clark wrote to the Bureau of Ethnology to criticize Mallery’s efforts on similar grounds. According to Clark, who went on to compile his own handbook of PISL gestures during the 1880s, military officers had attempted to use Mallery’s sign language images as guides for communicating with Indians throughout the Great Plains, but neither group could understand what the other was trying to say.21 Nonetheless, some likeminded thinkers still believed that Mallery’s visual experiments represented a major step forward for the field of linguistic anthropology. Alexander Graham Bell wrote to Mallery after reading Introduction to the Study of Sign Languages Among the North American Indians to report that he “felt sure that your [Mallery’s] researches will throw a flood of light upon the origin and mode of growth of all languages,” and a number of noted ethnologists began using Mallery’s visual methods in the study of sign talk around the same time.22 Frank Hamilton Cushing, one of the field’s luminaries, began photographing the Cheyenne dialect of PISL as early as 1879.23 The initial disagreements about the viability of Mallery’s experimental methods presage an important intellectual shift that took place in the field of anthropology in the years that followed. Around the turn of the twentieth century, ethnologists across the United States and Europe began questioning the efficacy of visual data. Some argued that images failed to capture the fundamental patterns of collective social practice that were most crucial to understanding the world’s cultures, like kinship patterns and belief systems.24 Others believed that images ran the risk of depicting visual information that threatened the professional sanctity of the human sciences.25 As Alison Griffiths has pointed out, such ideas help to explain why so many anthropologists were initially reluctant to adopt motion picture technologies in their work. Filming a belief system was (and still is) an impossible contradiction in terms, and in the early

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1900s moving images had not yet lost the aura of popular spectacle.26 Attempts to use images, both still and moving, in the service of preserving a disappearing language seemed counterintuitive in this context. Yet the PISL problem persisted. In the end, transcribing manual gestures and sequencing sign photographs were poor substitutes for seeing sign talk in motion. It was for this reason that US Army General Hugh Lenox Scott, Mallery’s unofficial successor at the Bureau of Ethnology, sought out the cinematic medium (see Figure 9.2). Much like Mallery, Scott believed in the evolutionist worldview, and was convinced that PISL was disappearing in accordance with the laws of historical progress. “While still used in some places, [sign talk] is rapidly dying out,” he lamented in 1915. “[L]ike the buffalo, the customs and religious beliefs of the old Indian will soon be a thing of the past.”27 The earliest extant records of Scott’s interest in film also suggest that evolutionist ideas inspired his ethnographic efforts. In 1922, Scott made the case to Jesse Walter Fewkes, Powell’s successor at the Bureau of Ethnology (by then rechristened as the Bureau of American Ethnology, abbreviated BAE ), that film was the only way to complete Mallery’s unfinished project. “It is my opinion that it will be a great loss to posterity if pictorial and other records of the sign language of the Plains Indians are not obtained before it is too late,” Scott explained. This [PISL ] is one of the great widely-spread, primitive American languages and the most interesting per se of all; it antedates the European on this continent and is almost unique in all the earth. . . . [M]oreover it has preserved its primitive nature so closely that its facts throw light on the beginning, life and growth of all language and will be of deep interest to philologists when they get to understand it. . . . If I were to be in contact. . .with an old sign talker [from the] Sioux, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow, and Blackfoot, I believe that we could. . . show the scope and quality [of sign talk] as well as what the language is capable of expressing.28

Scott’s debt to Mallery’s particular brand of evolutionism is clear. On one hand, Scott’s proposal makes a claim for PISL as a remnant of primitive times past. On the other, he also indirectly suggests that the language can only be recorded through visual means. In fact, Scott had long harbored an interest in the potential of cinematic (and proto-cinematic) technologies for sign language studies. The BAE ethnologist John Peabody Harrington recalled Scott having proposed using Eadweard Muybridge’s instantaneous photography techniques to record individual frames of PISL gestures sometime in the late 1890s, an extension of Mallery’s interest in serial photographic arrangement.29 An artist named

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Figure 9.2 “General Hugh L. Scott Gesturing in Sign Language, n.d.” SPC Miscellaneous Sign Language BAE 4720 01311000, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

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E.W. Deming may have even attempted to collaborate with Scott on a sign talk film as early as 1914.30 It was not until 1930 that Scott would have the chance to make a film of his own. In the late 1920s, he began lobbying Congress to fund a major conference of sign talkers that would result in the production of a movie. Scott found a sympathetic ear in Montana representative Scott Leavitt, chairman of the US House Committee on Indian Affairs. According to General Scott’s notes, Leavitt was “acutely aware” that vast historical changes in the Great Plains region were “sweeping away with great rapidity everything aboriginal.”31 In 1930 Leavitt managed to appropriate $5,000 for the PISL film project—no small sum at the time—and working in conjunction with the Blackfeet nations, General Scott convened sign talkers from twelve different Plains Indian tribes in Browning, Montana, for the first-ever Indian Sign Language Council, held on September 4–6, 1930. By the time he exhausted the congressional appropriation, Scott had produced a film record of the proceedings in Browning, transcribed “some 2,000 subtitles of gestures” for the BAE ’s files, and started work in earnest on the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language, a compilation of film clips featuring examples of lexical signs and sign talk narratives.32 He died in 1934 before finishing the last phase of the project. Completed in 1930–31 under the title The Indian Sign Language, the Browning Sign Language Council film is a productive example of linguistic evolutionism’s persistence in the twentieth century, long after more relativist models of anthropological understanding were supposed to have supplanted it. The film also shows how sign talkers themselves resisted evolutionary thinking, even when faced with the loss of their language. The Indian Sign Language is divided into four main parts. Part I, likely filmed in Washington in the months after the Browning conference, features footage of Scott lecturing on the “origins and principles” of PISL . For the most part, Scott uses this section of the film to recount the theories that Mallery and his colleagues first proposed in the 1870s and 1880s. We learn not just that Plains Indians primarily use sign talk as an intertribal vernacular, but also that the language is “still in the primitive root stage once occupied by every member of our linguistic family,” having changed “little, if at all, since civilization.” As the film cuts to Part II , “The Council,” we also learn that sign talk is on the verge of disappearing. “Young men are not learning your sign language, and soon it will disappear from this country,” Scott signs in an introductory salvo to the conference participants, who sit in a large circle in the middle of a traditional

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lodge. “It is for us to make a record of it for those who come after us before it becomes lost forever.” The delegates then proceed to introduce themselves in front of the camera, with Scott translating for the audience in voice-over. Bitter Root Jim (Flathead) signs, “I have never seen these people here before, and cannot understand their language, but they are all my brothers”—and many of the other participants seem to derive a similar sense of solidarity in their shared discourse. “These people all use different languages. They are all my people,” signs Night Shoots (Piegan). “These people are all my brothers,” signs Strange Owl (Cheyenne). “We talk together. I love them all.” In Part III of The Indian Sign Language, titled “Sagas in Sign,” four of the Browning conference participants offer extended narratives in sign language. Addressing the camera as much as the sign council, Mountain Chief (Piegan) tells a traditional story of a buffalo hunt. Tom White Horse (Arapaho) makes an elaborate comparison between radio’s ability to communicate across distances and the Indian medicine man’s ability to communicate through dreams (see Figure 9.3). As Scott summarizes the story in the film’s voice-over, “This sign

Figure 9.3 Tom White Horse uses sign talk to “tell of things heard but not seen—by radio” in The Indian Sign Language (1931). Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Boxes 3–4, Film 106–13.

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language speaker makes a whimsical comparison between the medicine of the old-time red man, and that of the white man of today. He points out that the red men used to communicate with their medicine in sleep, thus hearing things that they could not see. Now comes the white man with another kind of medicine. . .radio. Note the long antenna [at this point, White Horse draws his hands apart to approximate an antenna]. Thus the white man, with his mechanical medicine, is also able to hear things that he cannot see.” Strange Owl relates another story of a dangerous buffalo hunt, and Bitter Root Jim closes this portion of the proceedings with a “renowned bear story.” The film then concludes in Part IV with what a final title card calls “inter-tribal by-play.” After the council members converse with each other in sign talk, Scott offers the film’s final words: “My children, you have come from every direction to help me record the sign language, to save it for those who come after us. Your young men do not know it. . . . If it is not recorded, it will be lost.” Scott’s concluding remarks reflect something of PISL’s slow decline in the early decades of the twentieth century, as sign talkers began to abandon the language in favor of spoken English. But the sign talkers on-screen seem to resist the inevitability of such an outcome. To understand this, we need only look as far as Tom White Horse’s signed story of the radio. Like Mallery before him, Scott firmly believed that the language was fated to die out, and he had also dismissed PISL as too “primitive” to reflect modern realities. “When we come to examine the sign language itself we find it to be. . .of considerable richness,” Scott remarked in his unpublished notes on PISL . “While of course not adapted to the discussion of such abstruse subjects as higher mathematics or the nature of wireless electricity, it is sufficiently rich, copious, and definite to satisfy the simple needs of those who employ it.”33 Yet White Horse takes pains to challenge such beliefs, offering a response to the evolutionist ideas that had held sway for decades in anthropological accounts of indigenous languages. At bottom, his signed narrative of the origin of radio represents sign talk as a living language—one with the ability not just to express “abstruse subjects,” but to respond and adapt to changing historical circumstances. If we trust Scott’s loose translation of the narrative, White Horse even goes so far as to dispute the “newness” of the new radio medium, claiming that the “red man” pioneered wireless communication long before the “white man” ever dreamed of the technology. There is nothing atavistic about the language that tells us such a story. Whereas Scott presents PISL as an object of primitive curiosity, White Horse deliberately performs sign talk’s modernity.34

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That Scott is the only figure in the film to say anything about PISL’s disappearance is telling. Aside from White Horse, many of the PISL council members seem to imply that their language has immediate relevance to the present—thus the frequent emphasis in their opening statements on sign talk’s ability to bridge tribal barriers, rather than on its apparent connection to the traditions of a bygone era. The gap between the anthropological apparatus that frames the proceedings and the sign talkers who perform in the film is also visible, somewhat paradoxically, in what is not represented on-screen at all. Standing behind the camera throughout the production of the film, translating and interpreting for Scott and his assistants, was Richard Sanderville (Chief Bull). Although Sanderville was known as an especially fluent sign talker—and although he had served as Scott’s primary informant for years—he was likely barred from appearing in the film because he was of mixed ancestry.35 Such a slight would have been consistent with early-twentieth-century anthropology’s commitment to biological definitions of cultural authenticity. Yet, when Scott died in 1934, leaving his work on the experimental Dictionary of Indian Sign Language unfinished, Sanderville was the first person whom the BAE contacted to carry the torch. Sanderville arrived in the nation’s capital in July 1934. He spent most of his time at the BAE working to tie up the loose ends of Scott’s various film projects.36 He translated parts of The Indian Sign Language and other manuscripts on the Blackfeet nations that the BAE had on file. He corrected more than 1,700 of Scott’s written sign descriptions. And BAE ethnologists photographed him performing 800 different lexical signs for the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language. Sanderville also made a film. Like Tom White Horse and the other sign talkers who had performed for Scott’s camera in Browning, Sanderville wanted to capture something of PISL’s continued vitality. For this reason, he set himself up in a chair on the lawn in front of the Smithsonian Institution and filmed himself signing three extended narratives: “Buffalo Lodge Transfer,” “The Chief ’s Daughter,” and “Buffalo Hunt.” The location would have likely had a great deal of significance since the main Smithsonian building sits on the south side of the national mall in Washington, DC —a site of mythic national memorialization that has long had an ambivalent relationship to the realities of federal Indian policy. The signed stories that Sanderville performed for the camera are even more suggestive. His “Buffalo Lodge” narrative, in particular, is consistent with the Browning council participants’ interest in representing PISL as a living language of cultural exchange (see Figure 9.4). “The buyer of the black buffalo

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Figure 9.4 Richard Sanderville (Chief Bull) signs his “Buffalo Lodge Transfer” narrative for the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language (1934). Richard Sanderville, “Contributions to Dictionary of Indian Sign Language,” Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Box 24, Film 106–25.

lodge goes to the owner, hands him the pipe, and asks for the lodge,” he signs for the camera, offering a rough English translation of the narrative on a chalkboard at the beginning of the footage. “The owner smokes the pipe,” he continues, and sets the day for making the sweat lodge. Then the buyer makes the sweat lodge. The owner and he go in. Buffalo stones are placed on top of the sweat lodge. The men sing eight buffalo stone songs. After this the lodges of the purchaser and owner are interchanged. They go to the black buffalo lodge and invite their relatives who help the purchaser pay for the lodge in horses, weapons, robes, or war bonnets. The owner and his wife and the purchaser and his wife exchange clothes.

At first glance, there is little to differentiate such an account from the thousands of Indian narratives that anthropologists at the BAE collected and translated at the height of the vogue for salvage ethnography. But it nonetheless seems noteworthy that Sanderville decides to film himself signing a narrative about trade and exchange: what the Buffalo Lodge ceremony was meant to do

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economically, PISL was meant to do culturally. More importantly, as the sign language scholar Jeffrey E. Davis has pointed out, Sanderville was likely offering “back translation” of this story for the purposes of the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language—that is, “Buffalo Lodge Transfer” was translated into PISL from an English approximation rather than vice versa, which better “allowed non-signers to follow the contents of the narratives.”37 Sanderville’s films were thus deliberately addressed to the future as much as they were to the present. Instead of preserving the PISL in the face of its extinction, his film footage was part of an attempt to pass the language on. Hugh Lenox Scott’s patron in Congress, Scott Leavitt, screened The Indian Sign Language for select members of the US House of Representatives on February 15, 1932.38 The BAE and the Department of the Interior received frequent requests for the film in the years that followed. Scientists and policymakers were drawn to Scott’s work as the “most comprehensive available presentation” of the sign language of American Indians, who had assumed a more visible role in national affairs following the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.39 Yet, the material instability of the original prints of The Indian Sign Language ended up rendering the film difficult to loan. By the end of the decade, the BAE ’s copy had already begun to deteriorate. In 1939, the US Department of Agriculture received modest funds to make a new soundtrack for the film, but when the agency discovered the film’s delicate state, it opted to make an emergency preservation transfer instead.40 Scott’s efforts were largely forgotten after that, languishing on the shelves of the US National Archives for the better part of the next fifty years. Sanderville’s contributions to the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language suffered much the same fate. But Sanderville himself, relegated to the footnotes of PISL’s public history, had also produced a record of the Indian Sign Language Council of an entirely different sort. At the 1930 Browning conference, Sanderville arranged for the sign talkers who appeared in the film to leave their footprints in cement as they left the council lodge. In a 1934 interview for the Washington Star, published in conjunction with his trip to the BAE , he outlined his plans to preserve each cement cast as part of a “language memorial” to be installed at the site of the conference.41 Sanderville helped dedicate this memorial on June 30, 1942, in a ceremony that included public talks on the history of the Browning sign language council and demonstrations of traditional PISL stories.42 The monument still stands today at the Museum of the Plains Indian, just outside of Glacier National Park.

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It is probably a stretch to say that Sanderville went to such lengths to memorialize sign talk out of an ambivalence about his role in the production of The Indian Sign Language, or out of some vague foresight that motion picture film may not have been the longest-lasting medium for representing PISL . But the memorial at Browning begs the question—whether for documentary preservation or cultural revitalization, what is the most effective way to record a signed language? And what legacies do Scott and Sanderville’s attempts to salvage PISL have for the contemporary moment? To answer these questions, it is instructive to consider, in closing, the work of the University of Tennessee linguist Jeffrey E. Davis, the first scholar to carry out intensive fieldwork on PISL in more than fifty years. An able inheritor of the documentary tradition that Mallery, Scott and Sanderville helped to inaugurate, Davis has made The Indian Sign Language and the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language central to his ongoing research, using grants from the National Science Foundation and the University of Tennessee to help digitize their contents. When I spoke with Davis by telephone in June 2014, he fondly recalled his first encounter with the PISL films in the early 1990s, after a surprise Washington snowstorm stranded him in the depths of the US National Archives. “Here I was, stuck in the library, and when I told [another researcher] about my work on sign language, she told me about some old films of Indians signing that no one had seen in years,” Davis remembers. “I was just blown away when I got my hands on them. It was immediately clear—at least to me—that they were a national treasure.”43 Despite his initial enthusiasm, Davis has found himself surprised by the range of responses that the PISL films have occasioned in the years since he first encountered them at the National Archives. He told me that many scholars who have viewed his digitized versions of The Indian Sign Language have questioned whether the members of the Browning sign language council are, in fact, demonstrating a fully fledged language—thus recapitulating an argument about PISL’s viability that Mallery, Scott and Sanderville all had to work against. Moreover, Davis also told me that many scholars express concerns that The Indian Sign Language perpetuates misleading stereotypes about Native Americans. Viewers who are sensitive to the politics of cinematic representation have had difficulty with the outmoded ceremonial attire that the sign talkers wear on-screen. Davis is quick to downplay these sorts of critiques, noting that the council members likely chose to don traditional garments to mark the importance of the occasion of the Browning conference. He reasons that by

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making portions of The Indian Sign Language and the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language available to contemporary viewers online, he is actually following the original wishes of the sign talkers who performed their language for Scott’s camera. “I don’t believe I’m perpetuating a myth—I’m perpetuating a language,” he underscores.44 To Davis’s point, it is clear that Scott and Sanderville’s films tell a story about linguistic survival that belies the evolutionist ideas that motivated cinema’s encounter with PISL in the first place. Based on comparisons of contemporary sign talkers with those featured in the films of the 1930s, the photographs of the 1880s and the earliest sign descriptions of the 1800s, Davis has actually been able to conclude that “the core lexicon of PISL has remained relatively stable for at least the last 200 years,” a measure of the language’s resilience amid changing historical circumstances.45 Furthermore, Davis has also used Scott and Sanderville’s films to determine that there is less than fifty percent lexical similarity between PISL and American Sign Language, which suggests not only that the two languages have different points of origin, but that both “language contact and lexical borrowing” likely occurred at crucial moments in the course of their development.46 Interestingly, Davis cites Sanderville’s 1934 film contributions to the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language as the “Rosetta Stone” of PISL research, since they allowed him to decipher the signs of the original participants of the Browning conference that Scott failed to translate.47 Without Sanderville’s efforts, the signs and stories captured in Scott’s film would have been totally lost to contemporary scholarly analysis. Perhaps more important than the films’ recent impact on the field of linguistics, however, is their potential to continue the tradition of sign talk in the contemporary moment. According to Davis, PISL legacy materials such as The Indian Sign Language and the Dictionary of Indian Sign Language represent “an irreplaceable. . .means to revitalize American Indian cultural traditions and languages.”48 His interest in digitizing Scott and Sanderville’s work is not just an attempt to preserve a set of historic films desperately in need of restoration. It is a way to give today’s native communities access to a vital record of their collective cultural past. When contemporary Plains Indians have encountered the digital versions of the 1930s PISL films, they have been quick to recognize the beauty of sign talk. They have been continually “amazed at the power of the signers,” Davis told me, even if few of them still use the language.49 This is an important reversal—a testament to the fact that the salvage ethnographic documents of the early twentieth century, produced for the sake of memorialization rather than

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perpetuation, have fluid meanings that change over time. Sign talk has not fully disappeared, and through Davis’s efforts, neither have the films that were made of the language. If anything, contemporary interest in reviving PISL may end up keeping the forgotten cinema of Scott and Sanderville alive.

Notes 1 The Indian Sign Language (1930), Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Boxes 3–4, Film 106–13. 2 Dictionary of Indian Sign Language (1930/1931), Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Boxes 4–6, Film 106–14; Richard Sanderville, “Contributions to Dictionary of Indian Sign Language,” Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Box 24, Film 106–25. 3 Jacob W. Gruber, “Ethnographic Salvage and the Shaping of Anthropology,” American Anthropologist 72, no. 6 (December 1970): 1289–1299. 4 See James Clifford, Virginia R. Dominguez and Trinh T. Minh-Ha, “Of Other Peoples: Beyond the ‘Salvage’ Paradigm,” in Discussions in Contemporary Culture 1, ed. Hal Foster (Seattle: Bay Press, 1987), 120–50. 5 Jeffrey E. Davis, Hand Talk: Sign Language Among American Indian Nations (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 15–17, 171–74. Davis is the first scholar to carry out fieldwork on American Indian Sign Language in more than fifty years. This essay would have been impossible to write were it not for his generous advice. 6 Jeffrey E. Davis, “Discourse Features of American Indian Sign Language,” in Discourse in Signed Languages: Sociolinguistic in Deaf Communities, ed. Cynthia Roy (Washington, DC : Gallaudet University Press, 2011), 179. 7 John Wesley Powell, “Human Evolution,” Transactions of the Anthropological Society of Washington 2 (February 1882–May 1883), 180. 8 Garrick Mallery, Introduction to the Study of Sign Language Among the North American Indians as Illustrating the Gesture Speech of Mankind (Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1880), 10. 9 Garrick Mallery, “Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared with That Among Other Peoples and Deaf-Mutes,” in The First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1879–1880, ed. John Wesley Powell (Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1881), 368. 10 Mallery, Introduction to the Study of Sign Language, 2.

202 11 12 13 14 15 16

17 18

19 20 21

22

23 24

25 26 27 28

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Davis, Hand Talk, 1–17. Mallery, “Sign Language Among North American Indians,” 346. Ibid., 398. Ibid., 397. My translation. Ibid., 326. Garrick Mallery, A Collection of Gesture-Signs and Signals of the North American Indians with Some Comparisons (Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1880), 7. Ibid. For more on the connections between Mallery and Muybridge, see Brian Hochman, Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), 56–63. Robert Fletcher, Brief Memoirs of Colonel Garrick Mallery, U.S.A., who Died October 24, 1894 (Washington, DC : Judd & Detweiler, Printers, 1895), 7–8. C.H. Toy, “Review of Introduction to the Study of Sign-Language Among the North American Indians,” The American Journal of Philology 1, no. 2 (1880): 206–7. W.P. Clark to Garrick Mallery (December 10, 1879), Garrick Mallery Collection on Sign Language and Pictography, Numbered Manuscripts 1850s–1980s, MS 2372, Box 2. Alexander Graham Bell to Garrick Mallery (March 5, 1880), Garrick Mallery Collection on Sign Language and Pictography, Numbered Manuscripts 1850s–1980s, MS 2372, Box 2. Mallery, Introduction to the Study of Sign Language, 17. See Elizabeth Edwards, “Introduction” to Anthropology and Photography, 1880–1920, ed. Elizabeth Edwards (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992), 3–4; and Anna Grimshaw, The Ethnographer’s Eye: Ways of Seeing in Anthropology (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 54. Deborah Poole, “An Excess of Description: Ethnography, Race, and Visual Technologies,” Annual Review of Anthropology, no. 34 (2005): 163–64. Alison Griffiths, Wondrous Difference: Cinema, Anthropology, and Turn-of-theCentury Visual Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), xxv–xxvi. Hugh Lenox Scott, “Notes on the Sign Language of the Plains Indians, November 5, 1915,” Hugh Lenox Scott Collection, MS 1799. Hugh Lenox Scott to Jesse Walter Fewkes (May 12, 1922), Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Series 1 (Letters Received, 1909–1949), Box 218, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. John Peabody Harrington, “The American Indian Sign Language,” in Aboriginal Sign Languages of the Americas and Australia, Vol. 2: The Americas and Australia, ed.

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30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

39 40

41

42 43 44 45 46

47 48 49

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D. Jean Umiker-Sebeok and Thomas A. Sebeok (New York and London: Plenum Press, 1978), 132. E.W. Deming to Matthew W. Stirling (August 2, 1937), Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Series 1 (Letters Received, 1909–49), Box 218. Hugh Lenox Scott, “Notes on Sign Language, General,” Hugh Lenox Scott Collection, MS 2932, Box 4. Ibid. Hugh Lenox Scott, “Notes on the Sign Language of the Plains Indians, November 5, 1915,” Hugh Lenox Scott Collection, MS 1799. Hugh Lenox Scott, “The Sign Language of the Plains Indian,” in Umiker-Sebeok and Sebeok, Aboriginal Sign Languages of the Americas and Australia, Vol. 2, 53–54. James Mountain Chief Sanderville, e-mail correspondence with author, August 23, 2011. John G. Carter to M.W. Stirling (July 16, 1934), Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology, “BAE Letters received and sent, 1909–50,” Box 76. Davis, Hand Talk, 80. Scott Leavitt to the Bureau of American Ethnology (February 6, 1932), Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Series 1 (Letters Received, 1909–49), Box 190. J. M. Power to the Smithsonian Institution (February 26, 1938), Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Series 1 (Letters Received, 1909–49), Box 218. Leigh H. Coen, “Report on the Scott and Sanderville Movies on Plains Indian Sign Language (1978),” “Scott and Sanderville Movie” Vertical File, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. Cited in John C. Ewers, “Richard Sanderville, Blackfoot Indian Interpreter,” American Indian Intellectuals, ed. Margot Liberty (St. Paul and Los Angeles: West Publishing Company, 1977), 122. John C. Ewers to Matthew W. Stirling (July 10, 1942), Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Series 1 (Letters Received, 1909–49), Box 218. Jeffrey E. Davis, telephone interview with author, June 2014. Ibid. Davis, “Discourse Features of American Indian Sign Language,” 193. Jeffrey E. Davis, “American Indian Sign Language Documentary Linguistic Fieldwork and Digital Archive,” in Keeping Languages Alive: Documentation, Pedagogy, and Revitalization, ed. Mari C. Jones and Sarah Ogilvie (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 80. Davis, Hand Talk, 78. Ibid., 31. Jeffrey E. Davis, telephone interview with author, June 2014.

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Works cited Clifford, James, Virginia R. Dominguez and Trinh T. Minh-Ha. “Of Other Peoples: Beyond the ‘Salvage’ Paradigm.” In Discussions in Contemporary Culture 1, edited by Hal Foster, 120–150. Seattle: Bay Press, 1987. Davis, Jeffrey E. Hand Talk: Sign Language Among American Indian Nations. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Davis, Jeffrey E. “Discourse Features of American Indian Sign Language.” In Discourse in Signed Languages: Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities, edited by Cynthia Roy, 179–217. Washington, DC : Gallaudet University Press, 2011. Davis, Jeffrey E. “American Indian Sign Language Documentary Linguistic Fieldwork and Digital Archive.” In Keeping Languages Alive: Documentation, Pedagogy, and Revitalization, edited by Mari C. Jones and Sarah Ogilvie, 69–82. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Edwards, Elizabeth, ed. Anthropology and Photography, 1880–1920. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992. Fletcher, Robert. Brief Memoirs of Colonel Garrick Mallery, U.S.A., who Died October 24, 1894. Washington, DC : Judd & Detweiler, Printers, 1895. Griffiths, Alison. Wondrous Difference: Cinema, Anthropology, and Turn-of-the-Century Visual Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Grimshaw, Anna. The Ethnographer’s Eye: Ways of Seeing in Anthropology. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Gruber, Jacob W. “Ethnographic Salvage and the Shaping of Anthropology.” American Anthropologist 72, no. 6 (December 1970): 1289–99. Harrington, John Peabody. “The American Indian Sign Language.” In Umiker-Sebeok Sebeok Aboriginal Sign Languages of the Americas and Australia, Vol. 2, 109–42. Hochman, Brian. Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. Mallery, Garrick. A Collection of Gesture-Signs and Signals of the North American Indians with Some Comparisons. Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1880a. Mallery, Garrick. Introduction to the Study of Sign Language Among the North American Indians as Illustrating the Gesture Speech of Mankind. Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1880b. Mallery, Garrick. “Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared with That Among Other Peoples and Deaf-Mutes.” In The First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1879–1880, edited by John Wesley Powell, 263–552. Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1881. Poole, Deborah. “An Excess of Description: Ethnography, Race, and Visual Technologies.” Annual Review of Anthropology, no. 34 (2005): 159–79. Powell, John Wesley. “Human Evolution.” Transactions of the Anthropological Society of Washington 2 (February 1882–May 1883): 176–208.

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Scott, Hugh Lenox. “The Sign Language of the Plains Indian.” In Umiker-Sebeok and Sebeok, Aboriginal Sign Languages of the Americas and Australia, Vol. 2, 53–54. Toy, C.H. “Review of Introduction to the Study of Sign-Language Among the North American Indians.” The American Journal of Philology 1, no. 2 (1880): 206–8. Umiker-Sebeok, D. Jean, and Thomas A. Sebeok, eds. Aboriginal Sign Languages of the Americas and Australia. Vol. 2. The Americas and Australia. New York: Plenum Press, 1978.

Filmography Contributions to Dictionary of Indian Sign Language. Directed by Richard Sanderville. 1934. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Box 24, Film 106–25. Dictionary of Indian Sign Language. Directed by Hugh Lenox Scott. 1931. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Boxes 4–6, Film 106–14. The Indian Sign Language. Directed by Hugh Lenox Scott. 1930. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 05–143, Smithsonian Institution, Motion Pictures c. 1927–50, Boxes 3–4, Film 106–13.

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Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles Juan Piqueras Translated with an introduction by Lisa Jarvinen

Introduction In June 1932, radical film critic Juan Piqueras (1904–36) published the first number of a new journal, Nuestro Cinema, in which the translated essay that follows, “Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles,” appears. Although Piqueras lived and worked in Paris, his new journal was entirely in Spanish and distributed primarily in Spain. In the opening editorial, he explained what he and his collaborators meant by the nuestro [our] of the title. In spite of what one might deduce from our title, “our cinema” can never be or, better said, we could never limit ourselves to our Spanish cinema nor even to Spanish-language cinema nor to that which is shown in our cinemas [in Spain].1

Instead, he continues, “our cinema,” that of the journal, would always be the cinema in the broadest sense. To make this distinction clear, he pointed to the crises of the commercial cinema and of sound film itself. Piqueras described the transition to sound initiated by Warner Brothers in the late 1920s as a desperate gamble that had temporarily spared the film industries of the United States and Europe from feeling the effects of the Depression that began in late 1929 and was hitting bottom by 1932. According to Piqueras, by this point, sound had been revealed as nothing more than a new technique that in itself added little to the cinema. He concluded that the commercial industries of the United States and Europe had arrived to a dead end financially, artistically, and above all, ideologically. Juan Piqueras came from a humble background as the child of rural day laborers in Valencia. Mostly self-educated, he had taken an early interest in film 207

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and began writing and publishing critical essays while in his late teens. He moved from Valencia to Barcelona and later to Madrid where he associated with members of the intellectual movement known as the Generation of ’27, which included poets, writers, artists and cineastes from Federico García Lorca to Luis Buñuel. Piqueras became deeply interested in Soviet and avant-garde cinema, and was an early proponent of the cine-club movement. He wrote extensively about film in the Spanish press before moving to Paris in 1930 as the agent of Filmófono, a production and distribution company started by Spanish producer and entrepreneur Ricardo Urgoiti in conjunction with Buñuel. In Paris, where most major European and American companies had offices and studios, Piqueras not only screened all the latest productions, but personally befriended directors, writers and critics. He championed Soviet cinema—and selected many Soviet releases for distribution in Spain through Filmófono—and harshly criticized the commercialism and what he saw as the falseness of most mainstream production.2 In “Poorly Timed Campaigns,” Piqueras takes up the questions of language and translation that sound had brought to the commercial cinema through a consideration of proposals in the Spanish press that the government prohibit voice dubbing of foreign films as a means of protectionism. Paramount had recently announced that it would cease production of multilanguage version films (in which a script was remade by casts who spoke the target language of major film markets), and instead, begin dubbing its new productions. Piqueras takes the Spanish press to task for having supported versions, a mode of translation that he declares “absurd.” While he also opposes dubbing and titling because of the violence they do to the artistic integrity of the original, he finds them less objectionable given the need of audiences to understand film dialogue. His principal point is that parsing the differences among these three modes of translation distracts from the more important issue of fomenting a national cinema. In this essay, Piqueras speaks to a larger debate that was ongoing in Spain about nationalism and cinema; one that also reflected the aesthetic concerns of the Generation of ’27 that sought to resolve the contradictions among the universality of art, the fragmentation of the modern, and the authenticity of national or regional cultural expression.3 Piqueras believed that the cinema had the potential to reveal a society to itself in a way that would allow it to overcome the backwardness and concomitant exploitation of the rural peasantry and the laboring masses of the cities, not by denying or belittling them, but by validating these realities and empowering the people to take control of their selfconceptions. This was what he believed that the Soviet cinema had accomplished

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and what he hoped that the Spanish cinema would be able to.4 The arrival of sound had complicated yet further the tension between the universal and the national as the specificity of language undermined the easy circulation of the silent cinema.5 When Piqueras states his opposition to versions, dubbing and titling, he means to suggest his more general suspicion of language alone as a substitute for national expression. Nowhere did he see this danger more clearly than in the multilanguage versions that Paramount had produced at its studios in Joinville, films that he saw as mass-produced commodities that served only the interests of the capitalist system. From 1932 on, Piqueras became increasingly committed to leftist positions in his advocacy for the social function of cinema. A member of the Communist Party, he would later travel to the Soviet Union, and after Nuestro Cinema ceased publication in 1935, he began writing film criticism for Mundo Obrero (Worker’s World), the Spanish party’s magazine. In 1936, deeply concerned about the political situation in Spain, Piqueras accepted the invitation of comrades to travel to Oviedo. He left on July 9, but became ill during the journey and had to stop off in rural Palencia. He was still at a train station hotel there when the Fascist uprising under Francisco Franco began on July 18. When Palencia fell to Franco’s forces, Piqueras quickly came under suspicion due to the visits he had received from well-known Spanish leftists and the correspondence he carried, including a telegram from Luis Buñuel to whom Piqueras had appealed for help. While the full details of his death remain unknown, Piqueras is believed to have been executed without trial on or about July 28, 1936.6

Notes 1 Juan Piqueras, “Itinerario de ‘Nuestro Cinema,’ ” Nuestro Cinema, no. 1 (1932): 1–2. 2 Juan Manuel Llopis, Juan Piqueras: El “Delluc” español (Valencia: Filmoteca de la Generalitat Valenciana, 1988), 27–100. 3 Núria Triana-Toribio, Spanish National Cinema (London: Routledge, 2003), 24–25. 4 María García Carrión, Por un cine patrio: Cultura cinematográfico y nacionalismo español (1926–1936) (Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de Valencia, 2014). 5 Lisa Jarvinen, The Rise of Spanish-language Filmmaking: Out from Hollywood’s Shadow, 1929–1939 (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2012), 1–5. 6 Román Gubern and Paul Hammond, Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1929–1939 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), 193–97, 246–52; Llopis, Juan Piqueras: El ‘Delluc’ español, 93–105, 120.

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Works cited García Carrión, María. Por un cine patrio: Cultura cinematográfico y nacionalismo español (1926–1936). Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de Valencia, 2014. Gubern, Román, and Paul Hammond. Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1929–1939. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. Jarvinen, Lisa. The Rise of Spanish-language Filmmaking: Out from Hollywood’s Shadow, 1929–1939. New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2012. Llopis, Juan Manuel. Juan Piqueras: El “Delluc” español. Valencia: Filmoteca de la Generalitat Valenciana, 1988. Piqueras, Juan. “Itinerario de ‘Nuestro Cinema.’ ” Nuestro Cinema, no. 1 (1932): 1–2. Triana-Toribio, Núria. Spanish National Cinema. London: Routledge, 2003.

“Poorly Timed Campaigns: Versions, Dubbing, Subtitles” (Original publication: Juan Piqueras, “Campañas a destiempo: Versiones, Sincronizaciones, Subtítulos,” Nuestro Cinema, no. 1 (1932): 7–9) The Spanish film press has started a campaign against the dubbing of foreign language films into Spanish. This has reached such alarming proportions at times that after begging the Government of the Republic to intervene, there have even been calls for economic protection for the Spanish cinema and certain amounts suggested—some smaller, some larger, depending on the claimant— that our economy might be able to supply. This campaign, like almost all that are undertaken by those in our cinematographic circles, seems to us poorly thought out and inopportune. Before starting such a campaign and taking it to these lengths, we might have considered its origins and causes. It’s absurd and unacceptable to make so much of a falsely sentimental patriotism in order to cover up unachieved goals and personal failures. In the face of good cinema, which is international, it’s completely idiotic to adopt such narrow and myopic attitudes. But it’s even more idiotic to try and fight the internationalism of good films by hiding behind a worn out romanticism that barely conceals unsatisfied personal ambitions. Let’s be more specific.

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This campaign started a few months after Paramount stopped making Spanish-language versions of its films and then announced—officiously—that it would dub ten films for the next season. The same actors who performed—we have to call what they did something— in the Spanish version films were the first to protest. Threatened with losing the chance at a new contract, they protested only because they thought that “dubbing” took less time than acting in a film and also paid less. This was damaging to their personal interests, and so with the same slavishness that earlier had led them to praise everything that came out of Paramount—directors, actors, films, studios, electricians, projects—they are now fighting against a technique being used by Paramount without even thinking about the pros and cons of it or what its use might mean. The press campaign was born out of these rumors that were going around cinema and theater circles in Spain. It’s strange to see how the same newspapers and journalists (ABC, Liberal, Heraldo) that for two years now have been cheering on those who thought up, directed, and acted in those absurd movies that tarnished our screens, are the same ones who have decided to make a fuss to cover up the fears caused by the unfulfilled expectations and excessive praise of what came before. This confirms for us our long held opinion that when it comes to the cinema, one need not scratch the surface much to uncover the real reasons behind all the controversies. We are opposed to versions, opposed to dubbing, opposed to subtitles. . . . Nevertheless, of all these plagues that have befallen the new cinema, we believe that versions are the most undesirable. Between a film that is completely translated, in both its audio and visual elements, and a film that only has its dialogue translated, we prefer the dialogue translation because this one retains more of the original elements of the film. It will always be worse to pretend that Imperio Argentina or Juan de Landa, for example, can truly duplicate roles played by Clara Bow or Wallace Beery, than it would be to have mediocre actors match their Spanish voices to those of the American actors. We would certainly prefer that there was less and better dialogue in films and that this little be translated by few and well written titles. But not all spectators think as we do. The public still likes to celebrate the “magic” of the cinema, still likes to feel the emotion of long, theatrical speeches, still cannot control its tears at the sighs and sad confessions of mothers and unhappy brides. . . . For this reason we cannot demand that the commercial studios eliminate versions or dubbing or reduce the number of superimposed titles. They would

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Figure 10.1 “Campañas a destiempo: Versiones, Sincronizaciones, Subtítulos.” An excerpt from the journal Nuestro Cinema no. 1 (1932).

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tell us that their public goes to enjoy their movies or to suffer along with their characters. They would add that no one else in the world thinks as we do, and this, for a producer, editor, or businessman, would weigh on their consciences. Nevertheless, we can ask of all those who are yelling, a little more calm, attention, and thought on the subject. In earlier seasons they praised those who produced these versions, which have brought us nothing but a wretched cinema—that is called Spanish—and the belief—foreign—that in Spain no one is interested in the cinema and that we don’t even know how to make these simple version films. This year they have changed tactics, given the failures of the press and of what before was excessively praised, and now they are fighting against a technique that might be unnatural and illogical, but is at least capable of making good films understandable to the masses. Next year, having ruled out dubbing, they’ll turn against subtitles. The following year, having wasted our time yelling and praising without thought or reason, we’ll have to close our cinemas for a shortage of foreign films and a total lack of national films. We spend so much time praising and fighting the others that we forget to acquire the necessary means of starting an even modest production of our own!

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The Multilingual New Wave Alison Smith

It is received wisdom that the French Nouvelle Vague was the moment at which, in the words of Richard Neupert, “a handful of young directors [. . .] began to make movies that avoided some of the dominant constraints” of a French cinema which “was in a stagnant condition and needed a dramatic overhaul.”1 In so doing, they provided a response to an increasingly vocal and very widespread dissatisfaction with the state of the nation’s film industry. It was not only Cahiers du cinéma that was voicing concern about its health. As Neupert observes, “French films were winning fewer and fewer international awards, in contrast to the regained prestige among the Italians. The commercial French cinema was regularly condemned in the popular press as teetering, gasping, and even suffering from hardening of the arteries.”2 The general disquiet led to adjustments to the funding structure and the legal organization of the French cinema, with a view to reducing the institutional constraints on the medium and opening the way to more innovative approaches; the institution of the Avance sur recettes (repayable government funding available for interesting projects) in 1959 is symptomatic of this desire to offer new opportunities. All these demands for innovation and competitivity started from the unquestioned fact that the issue of concern was the French cinema, a national entity which needed to reconfirm its profile on an international stage where its products were in competition with other national “brands.” International coproduction may have been recognized as standard practice, enshrined in intergovernmental agreements such as the 1949 Franco-Italian Agreement,3 but the end served by such agreements was always to increase the resources and audience for national product. The critical rhetoric of Cahiers du cinéma was, in this respect, no different from the rest of the film press: the controversial force of Truffaut’s “certaine tendance du cinéma français”4 lay in its assault on French creative pride, and its implied encouragement to its French readers to prefer 215

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other, more imaginative, non-French films available on French screens. When the young writers shared with their readers their admiration for American or Italian films, they positioned themselves as an audience with international tastes, but always within a French production/distribution/reception context in which their writing might effect real reaction and their own creative aspirations might eventually find a place. The Nouvelle Vague thus developed in a national context. It is the purpose of this chapter, however, to offer a transnational reading of the movement’s work, showing how the linguistic strategies of the New Wave both register and interrogate the Franco-French context in which its films appeared. The readjusted film-funding structures put into place in France in 1959 are unsurprisingly nationally focused. The legal texts establishing the Avance sur recettes list four criteria that define a film as “French” and thus eligible for support, and the first of these is language: a French film must “be made by French producers with the original version recorded in the French language.”5 Coproduction agreements were allowed to override this provision, and there was even the possibility of ministerial waiver (a loophole that was specifically closed for the language criterion in 1967);6 in practice, however, the equation French film equals French language was deeply embedded not only in law but also in culture. And yet, for anyone living in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s—let alone for anyone working in the film industry—it was impossible to maintain the illusion of a monolingual life experience. The attraction of the French capital had already drawn a substantial expatriate community even before the war. In its aftermath, bitter memories of a Germanophone occupation were set aside by the arrival of Anglophone “liberators.” English was the language of overwhelmingly influential economic allies at the start of the period of economic boom generally referred to as the Trente Glorieuses. The political necessities of the Cold War ensured that at a political level America’s interest in maintaining not only contacts but good and close relations with its allies increased, while, boosted by American economic aid, all Europe entered a period of rising living standards and rampant consumer capitalism. Widening aspirations to car ownership and the rapid development of commercial air travel made Paris accessible to an ever-increasing number of both Europeans and Americans only too willing to succumb to the romantic appeal of the ville-lumière. These years also brought the famous calls for workers from the French colonies to come to France to provide labor for postwar reconstruction projects, while the expatriate community of political exiles was swelled by new political tensions related to the Cold War.7

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How could a young, modern French cinema, with access for the first time to technology that permitted direct recording of the sounds as well as the sights of contemporary life, ignore the cosmopolitan, multilingual city in which it was developing? André Bazin’s critical work had already registered discomfort with the almost universal traditional practice of monolingual dubbing. Commenting on André Cayatte’s Les Amants de Vérone (The Lovers of Verona, 1949), a FrancoItalian update of Romeo and Juliet set on Murano and released, at least in France, in French, he comments: “Before the war, an implausibility of this sort might have been tolerable. But cinematic realism has made progress, and even the general public is used to considering language as a documentary element as natural as the stones and the trees.”8 Bazin is seeking what Carol O’Sullivan, following Meir Sternberg, refers to as “vehicular matching”—an acknowledgement of the language spoken in the world of the film.9 In 1949, in the wake of such films as André Malraux’s L’Espoir (1945) and Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà (Paisan, 1946), it may have seemed that linguistic realism was indeed taking hold, but by 1954, Bazin could not ignore the fact that even Rossellini had abandoned the practice. In a 1954 Esprit article on the Anglo-French coproduction Monsieur Ripois (Lovers, Happy Lovers!, René Clément, 1954), his attempts to rationalize this change leads him to a fascinating complication of his basic demand for realism. The subject of Monsieur Ripois, a young Frenchman in London, required and received bilingual treatment, but Bazin recognizes immediately that the film’s linguistic success is not simply a matter of realism. Monsieur Ripois was released in different versions in Britain and France, both of them bilingual but representing two varieties of bilingualism: simple realism would preclude such a difference. Bazin briefly has recourse to the conventional, commercial explanation that no doubt commanded this practice in practical terms: “The same version could not be used in both countries, since English exoticism would be satisfied with a few words of French and vice versa.”10 So far, so utilitarian, but the similar impression left on Bazin by both bilingual versions leads him to apply to language one of the most constant problems of his critical life, namely, the relationship between realism and artistic control: “With realism and abstraction thus no longer mutually exclusive but on the contrary maintaining an always-resolved dialectical tension, the very realism of language became relative.”11 He then proceeds to consider his beloved Rossellini’s latest production, and arrives at the vitally important conclusion that a film’s linguistic mix, or lack thereof, is a creative choice, made in a world that is “the complete opposite of films made before the war which predate the Tower of

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Babel,”12 and in which neither vraisemblance nor “convention” can simply be taken for granted. This article, with all its unresolved paradoxes, shows that the critical ambit of the Nouvelle Vague was prepared to perceive the complexity of a film’s linguistic choices. Of course, not all the innovative filmmakers of the new decade were equally interested in the issue, and the priority of innovative camerawork and subject matter certainly outweighed it. In addition, all of them were subject, to a greater or lesser extent, to the constraints posed by national industries on the languages that could be heard and sometimes by their own linguistic and budgetary limits. Jacques Rivette, for example, was obliged to cast young French actors as the Americans in Paris nous appartient (Paris Belongs to Us, 1961), and their exchanges in English are therefore reduced to an awkward minimum. Nonetheless, collectively the new, modern French cinema of the early 1960s shows acute consciousness that the language it speaks exists in a wider linguistic and cultural space. Films that do not include at least one language other than French are the minority. If these languages are always secondary, they are also always more than a simple reproduction of the environment, or conventional sops to the audience’s taste for exoticism; their presence, or noticeable absence, contributes to the construction of a “Nouvelle Vague world,” in which France, the French language and French culture are negotiating a place in a network of intersecting cultures. The picture that emerges is often exhilarating, sometimes anxious, certainly partial and Western-centric (only Agnès Varda seems to hear Arabic on the streets of Paris), but also reflective and implicitly (even, sometimes, explicitly) critical of the official insularity of French culture. What is more, this engagement with other languages is not dependent on coproduction, although when the films are international productions, they tend to make visible, and even occasionally to subvert, the complicated linguistic situation of the production itself. We will first look at the Nouvelle Vague’s representation of Paris, the movement’s home city and the setting for a great many of its films. The first observation here is a negative one: the Nouvelle Vague’s enthusiasm for a cosmopolitan Paris—as indicated for example by the names of its characters—is considerably greater than its openness to multilingualism. An interesting symptom of this is the development of Jacques Rivette’s project for Paris nous appartient, born in part from an idea of Rossellini’s to make a “documentary-fiction” film in and around the diverse student community housed in the Cité Internationale in Paris. Although La Cité was abandoned, internationalism remained key to Paris nous

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appartient, which begins with the suicide of a young Spanish musician and the dark suspicions on the subject harbored by a paranoid American journalist and shared by the young man’s Russian girlfriend. Given the subject, it is striking that the only language heard other than French is the accented English of Rivette’s fake Americans, and that in only two scenes. It seems that neither Rivette’s musical ear—very evident in the film’s haunting, spare score—nor his almost anthropological interest in the city, extends to hearing anything but French around him. Yet, this was not the case throughout the film’s development. In the first draft of the scenario, the opening scene is linguistically both complex and challenging. This version opens (as in the finished film) with the provincial student Anne in her room, struggling to memorize “Full fathom five” in furiously accented English. She then hears voices in the next room, speaking in Spanish but also including “some words in another language, which sounds as if it is from the Balkans.” Anne uses a dictionary to check these words and writes them down. The next frame reveals them to have strong political connotations: “brother,” “liberty,” “mission” and “West.” In this projected opening, not only is Anne’s Parisian world framed by three “foreign” languages, but the heroine herself is presented as a would-be linguist, eagerly listening to and recording all the intersecting words around her, and it is through translation that she begins to suspect danger in her surroundings. In the final film, only the few words of Shakespeare remain. It seems that Truffaut may have had a hand in restoring the hegemony of French. As potential producer of the troubled project, he suggested several cuts to the screenplay, including this incident as well as most of the explicitly political references in the early scenes of the film.13 Paris nous appartient thus ended up paradoxically as both one of the most international and one of the most monolingual of the Nouvelle Vague films. The foreigners, including the “Americans,” speak perfect or near-perfect French with a mere hint of an accent placed there for attractive exoticism. Michel Chion has commented on the French cinema’s partiality to actors with accents,14 particularly foreign accents which might be assumed to stand in for a language not spoken. The Nouvelle Vague used such actors at least as much as the more traditional French cinema. In both cases—and in contrast with Hollywood’s European practice at the time—an accent was not used to signal that the speaker is “really” speaking their own language, but as audible evidence of the assimilation of foreign nationals into the French universe. American characters such as Pierre Wesselrin, played by Jess Hahn in Rohmer’s Le Signe du lion (The Sign of Leo, 1962), speak French as comfortably as their French acquaintances. In À bout de

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souffle (Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard, 1959), Jean Seberg’s Patricia brings her linguistic difference uncharacteristically to the fore, but she is nonetheless fluent and expressive in French when she needs to be, and the words that give her pause serve to advance the conversation, through Michel’s revealing interpretations, rather than to interrupt it. In the first segment of the portmanteau film Paris vu par. . . (1965), this convenient American ease with the language is singled out for remark. Barbara Wilkin plays an American girl chatted up in turn by two young Frenchmen, one of whom asks her where she learned French. “In the States,” she replies. “You’re lucky: I’ve lived in France for fifteen years and I don’t speak English yet.” The exchange draws attention to the convention and turns it uncomfortably to France’s disadvantage. Such near-magical fluency, with its concurrent effect of reinforcing the power and universality of French in viewers’ minds, was a legally necessary compromise if an American (or any other non-French) protagonist was to be compatible with French funding. But whatever the French abilities of the average educated American in the capital, an honest representation of the soundscape of Paris could no longer be monolingual, if it ever could have been. Some of the Nouvelle Vague directors were not only willing but eager to turn their attention to this varied linguistic and cultural environment, and to what it might mean for the city’s inhabitants. The protagonist of Rohmer’s Le Signe du lion is impossible to identify by any national or cultural label: he is a trilingual American in Paris, with a French name and family connections in Austria and Switzerland. To his French friends, this makes him obviously suited to the transgression of borders: when he is in need of money, one such friend directs him to “Radesco, le Roumain,” who needs someone to do a little light smuggling. But throughout the film, this potential linguistic transgressor remains singularly faithful to French. On the other hand, as the Parisians leave the city for the summer, it is Paris that becomes an uncertain, multilingual environment. Thus, a girl casually met at a dance responds to Pierre’s opening gambit—“Il y a longtemps que vous êtes là?”—in English: “Just arrived.” “Swedish?” he asks after a while, in a rare, brief concession to English. “Non!” “English?” “Je suis française—et vous?” His reply, “Oh, je suis tout—américain, autrichien, suisse,” noticeably omits French while taking possession of the language. The whole exchange underlines the uncertainty and mutability of national identity among the summer wanderers on the Rive Gauche. Yet a multilingual, rootless Paris of tourists and émigrés does not prove congenial to the multilingual, rootless Pierre. His venture into the banlieue in

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search of Radesco leads him to an elderly woman who—unlike the Parvulesco of À bout de souffle—speaks Romanian. When, after rebuffing him in accented French, she calls back to someone in the house using the recognizable word “American,” he is doubly estranged, identified in a foreign language as a foreigner. From then on, a long series of brief sequences that cover two days and nights, and constitute the heart of Rohmer’s film, see Pierre wandering through Paris, silent, miserable and alone. Nondiegetic music gives his visually fragmented walk coherence, and we hear the conversation of the city penetrating his consciousness: exchanges of futilities and street cries in French of many shades, but also in English and at least once in Italian. This reminds us that background sound was a creative tool for the Nouvelle Vague, as a controlled part of a postsynchronized mix that sought to transmit authenticity, but also potentially to provide a responsive chorus to the action and even a trigger for it.15 In Le Signe du lion, the conversations that count are singled out, and the casual, foolish exchanges carry obvious bitter resonances for the penniless and hungry Pierre. Even though the English conversations tend to be briefer than the French, they contain the same oblique relevance: “I think we should be going home now, it’s getting a bit late”; or, bilingually, “Oh c’est trop dur. . . the stone is a little hard.” The sequence is extremely mobile and varied, but there is enough focus on Pierre’s face for us to understand that our consciousness is channeled through his; we know that the English is accessible to him, and thus paradoxically both inclusive, since he has privileged access to the multiple discourse of the tourists’ Paris, and alienating, since all he can hear is its irrelevance to his situation and the constant reiteration of his difference as he declines into homelessness. For the audience, the English and Italian sounds are unsubtitled, and yet designed to be audible. As such, they generate a desire for comprehension, but it is clear that no vital plot-point will be missed by not catching them. The film captures quite effectively the experience of an aural flâneur in a cosmopolitan city, registering the sounds of particular conversations and “tuning in” as appropriate. It is obviously very selective, with an overwhelming predominance of English, which we may be inclined to attribute to Pierre’s subjectivity. In its selectivity and its choice of subject matter, it suggests that multilingual Paris is both a temporary and a privileged affair, a product of August and of the tourist honeypots on the banks of the Seine. For a more complex—albeit brief—record of the cosmopolitan hum of Paris, we may turn to the Rotonde as eavesdropped by Agnès Varda in Cléo de 5 à 7 (Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962). As Cléo walks through the café tables, conversations rise and fall, and although the French ones are the

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most extensive and significant, an attentive ear can detect Portuguese, something that seems to be English, and Arabic, spoken by two recognizably Maghrebi customers. Although it was not rare for the new cinema to register the war in the distance, it is nearly unique to hear Algerian speech. Registering the presence of non-French sounds in postwar Paris is one thing; celebrating it is another. The boisterous adoption of stray phrases by Michel Poiccard in À bout de souffle suggests a positive—albeit frustrated—eagerness to incorporate the rich variety of European tongues. Michel is a past master in the art of “language display,”16 interspersing his French with the sounds of neighboring languages, which he shows no sign of being able to speak consistently. (At least, he never communicates with Patricia in English, and when she quotes Faulkner to him in English, she translates before he responds). The exuberant joy he invests in these phrases gives them a strong positive charge: “Buenas noches mi amor” (with the improbable s’s extremely audible), “As you like it baby,” or the ritual exchange of greetings or farewells with his accomplices in Paris: “Salut, fils,” “Ciao, amigo.” Michel may be impatient and self-absorbed, but he enjoys language, his own and others’, and the audience, in turn, is encouraged to enjoy his magpie reveling in random sounds from neighboring space. Sometimes a self-consciously militant Frenchman (especially when he corrects others’ linguistic mistakes), he comes to the capital to seek out his American girlfriend and to get money from his partners in crime, Antonio Berruti and Tolmatchoff; he indicates familiarity with the streets of Stockholm, London and the chief Swiss cities; and he plans to take off for Italy with the American girl whose Italian-sounding name he rolls around his tongue with delight. Although neither he nor the film (which also introduces us to a Romanian novelist and a Swedish model) ventures into language as varied as these vast horizons, Michel’s inventive babble suggests that the monolithic presence of the French language may be broken down by its own speakers, not just sharing screen time with other tongues but incorporating them into its structure. A similarly exuberant and celebratory pillaging of neighboring languages can be found in Adieu Philippine (Jacques Rozier, 1962). Rozier was a close friend of Godard, who introduced him to the producer Georges de Beauregard;17 the year after Adieu Philippine appeared, Rozier made an on-set documentary on the making of Le Mépris (Contempt, Jean-Luc Godard, 1963), the one Nouvelle Vague film that has become a regular reference for discussions of cinematic multilingualism.18 Adieu Philippine has often been singled out for its modernity and its sense of youth culture.19 The plot of the film is quite loose, following three

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young people from Paris, where the protagonist works in a television studio and awaits the draft, to Corsica, where they combine a holiday with pursuit of a dishonest producer who owes them money. Even more than À bout de souffle, the film depends on spontaneous interactions between the protagonists— a characteristic that led to production problems, since the film was postsynchronized. Unlike the other films discussed up to now, Adieu Philippine was a Franco-Italian coproduction. Although coproductions did not necessarily require the copresence of both languages, some Italian presence was imposed by the production conditions, and in any case, Rozier was an Italophile inspired by Renato Castellani.20 Rozier seems, however, to have deliberately played with any linguistic expectations imposed by the production constraints. His principal Italian actress, Stefania Sabatini, is given the role of a French girl, Juliette, and dubbed. Vittorio Caprioli, the biggest Italian name in the cast, speaks largely in French, albeit with a heavy accent, while the principal Italophone character is played by the French actor David Tonelli whose name is “Italicized” into Davide Tonelli for the purpose. The result is to detach language change from any actual or perceived production need for language change: any that takes place is apparently spontaneously generated by the speech patterns of characters and film, and is strongly associated with popular culture and energetic, slangy exchanges. Rozier’s Michel, like Godard’s, is adept at “Poiccardismes,” using the word “Go,” or even the Romany “Michto!”21 rather than “Allons-y.” The most lively linguistic exchange in the film takes place through popular songs, simultaneously diegetic and nondiegetic, in a scene in which the young protagonists are joined on their drive around Corsica by the Italian Horazio (Tonelli). Tonelli sings constantly, moving through a stream of current hits in Italian (Domenico Modugno’s “Io”), in French and in Anglo-Italian (Dalida’s “Love in Portofino”). While the girls participate happily, Michel is annoyed by the singer and expresses this through dark murmurs that ricochet, bilingually, off the songs. “Mi vedrai morir” leads to “c’est ce qui vous reste à faire, vous aussi!”—the latter comment ostensibly instructing all three passengers to push the car, while entering the bilingual dialogue as threat. Horazio is, in fact, dumped at this point, left to shout “Assassino!” helplessly as the others drive off, after which Juliette takes up the role of singer and switches language once again, to Spanish. Song lyrics thus figure as an easy passage from one language to another, in a Mediterranean cultural continuum that relies on music and on linguistic bridges such as the word partir. Even if the melodious Italian is mocked and left by the wayside, the scene exuberantly celebrates a sunny, shared, desirable multilingual popular culture.

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The early films of the Nouvelle Vague were made mostly outside the mainstream of the French film industry and thus also outside the structures of negotiated coproduction as well as on very low budgets: actual travel would have been unrealistically costly. But integration was not long in coming, especially since this self-conscious, cinema-centered production quickly attracted attention abroad. Italian production funding contributed to both Chabrol’s and Godard’s second films, although this long-established and flexible source of financing had little impact on their form. Truffaut, despite showing little interest in other languages in his early films and being instrumental, as we have seen, in bringing Rivette’s Paris back to monolingualism, took his characters abroad of his own volition, and without a coproduction agreement: to Germany in Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim, 1962) and briefly to Portugal in La Peau douce (The Soft Skin, 1963). While neither film is greatly concerned with potential linguistic problems— protagonists communicate with each other in French, and their only exchanges in the “local” language are brief and functional or, in the case of Jules et Jim, framed as quotations—linguistic ability is strongly positively coded in both. In La Peau douce, in particular, it marks a generation gap as scenes where Nicole speaks Portuguese designate her as open-minded and European in contrast to the older, much more cultivated, but monolingual Pierre. In 1963, Godard embarked on the ambitious multinational production of Le Mépris, which was to contain one of the most famous dissections of cinematic language policy of the period. The previous year, Chabrol had made L’Oeil du malin (The Third Lover, 1962), once again with Italian funding. Set in West Germany, it delivered a scathing attack on French linguistic complacency in a European context. Filming abroad brought the language practices of the new cinema into crisis. Linguistic exchange could no longer be treated as a game or an exercise in the construction of a European cool; characters needed to act, construct exchanges, carry a plot forward in a non-Francophone environment. If the films were to avoid falling into the trap denounced by Bazin in the 1950s, then they could not allow themselves to ignore this aspect of cultural exchange; on the other hand, production constraints continued to demand that the French language should govern French films. It was an ambiguous, problematic situation that demanded and elicited a reaction. Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1960) might superficially appear to evacuate the problem of the Japanese language, which is not heard on the soundtrack until the final minutes of the film. The heroine’s Japanese lover is apparently perfectly Francophone—although, unsurprisingly, with a strong and

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unfamiliar accent. Direct conversations are, in any case, subordinate to the heroine’s narrative voiceover. Duras’s elegant, literary screenplay could thus be submitted to the Commission de l’Avance sur Recettes, which the film received, in perfect conformity with the Commission’s French-language requirement. The artificiality of the situation is acknowledged only in one brief exchange, when She compliments his French only to have him respond that he would not have pointed out her lack of Japanese.22 But the completed film is more than the script, and the Japanese that we do not hear, we see. Soon after the film leaves the lovers’ entwined bodies to explore what She may have seen in Hiroshima, it invests the image in the form of placards waved by demonstrators, using archival footage of real demonstrations as opposed to the staged procession that takes place later in the name of the filmwithin-the-film. Over these images of demonstrations, She—or Duras—muses on “the anger of entire cities whether they like it or not, against the principle of inequality imposed by certain peoples onto others.” Other images show demonstrators shouting into loudspeakers, although their voices are not heard; Duras’s screenplay for this scene emphasizes these “silent speeches.”23 As the film

Figure 11.1 The silent voice of Japanese anger. (Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais, 1960).

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thus protests against the horrors of Hiroshima, it also stages the way in which it is itself imposing silence on the anger of the Japanese cities. Resnais’ Hiroshima is from the earliest scenes a city of the written word; a city of memory structured by the messages it directs at the authorities, but also at tourists and sightseers. The city is filled with verbal, trivial translations of its great trauma: signs in English offer commemorative postcards (Fig. 11.2); glossy tourist guides are displayed for sale alongside kitschy souvenir reproductions of the famous blasted dome; we see a bus set off on its “Atomic Tour.” The new Hiroshima is dramatically contrasted with Nevers, as Riva wanders through Hiroshima at night and shots of the two towns succeed each other in a montage across time and space. While in Hiroshima store-fronts, night clubs and other establishments announce themselves with wall-to-wall posters and garish neon signs, in Nevers, a tiny, illegible street-plate is the only visible presence of language. Hiroshima’s written text responds to the soundtrack’s elegiac French visually, in Japanese and English. When the messages are blatantly touristic as in Figure 11.2, this offer of the city as a spectacle to its bombed and its bombers

Figure 11.2 Hiroshima as tourist text. (Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais, 1960).

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alike is certainly bitterly ironic. Yet Resnais uses the written landscape of Hiroshima to emphasize precisely that which the language policy of the French cinema was most concerned to minimize: that this is a foreign city that does not offer its text to be read by a French woman or by the audience. Toward the end of the film, as the lovers wander through the streets and bars of the town at night, the language literally comes between them; first as text, while She tells him that She cannot remain in Hiroshima (Fig.  11.3); and a few sequences later, incarnated in an old lady who sits between them in the station waiting room and asks him in Japanese about the woman beside him. When He replies to the old lady, He re-enters the linguistic space of the city, in which He is at home and She is not. Meanwhile, we hear the voice of a loudspeaker above their heads: it is no longer “silent” like the one in the early demonstration, but rather than political anger, it expresses only the routine circulation of arrivals and departures: it is the voice of the living city. A few minutes later, in a bar called the Casablanca, She is addressed directly in the city’s other language, the impersonal global English of the hotels and coach tours. This

Figure 11.3 The language barrier divides the lovers. (Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais, 1960).

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sad, anonymous pick-up attempt, to which She barely responds, only further underlines her displacement here. As Cathy Caruth has observed, the film also displaces a putative American audience, relegating the American war to the status of fiction (the Casablanca bar) even as it includes their language in its address.24 Caruth, however, never really considers the film’s written text, which arguably puts the American viewer in the uncomfortable position of global tourist—one to whom Hiroshima offers guided tours and warnings not to smoke in hotels, but who is excluded from the tearing communion of bitter memories that brings the French and the Japanese together against the odds. Thus, despite its almost monolingual soundtrack, Hiroshima mon amour dramatizes Hiroshima’s linguistic otherness quite effectively. Interestingly, Resnais does use written French once in the film—on a series of placards condemning the H-Bomb carried in the filmed, reconstructed demonstration procession. While this could be seen to reinforce the idea that this “international film about Peace” is a misconceived enterprise that misses the point of the city, it might be more fruitful to suggest that the French placards—which are shot from a low angle and fill all of the screen space—are linguistically detached from the narrative and geographic space of the film in order to make a direct, present address to the French audience, as a real demonstration in the street outside the cinema might do. Hiroshima mon amour has been criticized for the priority it gives to France and French concerns; it should be remembered, however, that the impossibility of giving an account of Hiroshima was a fundamental aspect of the project for both Resnais and Duras.25 The film’s negotiation of the necessary absence and presence of the Japanese language reinforces and deepens the early assertions that She has seen “everything” and “nothing” in Hiroshima, by forcing us to see the opacity of the city’s foreignness. At the same time, it represents a way for Resnais to dramatically foreground the linguistic constraints he was working under. This is a concern that recurs several times in Resnais’ work in the 1960s, most notably in La Guerre est finie (The War Is Over, 1966), the story of a middle-aged Spanish republican activist now based in Paris, which is constantly worrying about the proper place to afford Spanish in a story that is so very significantly set “not in Spain.” Je t’aime, je t’aime (I Love You, I Love You, 1968) sets its futuristic experiments in Flemish-speaking Belgium, adding a layer of disquieting unfamiliarity to the scientists’ conversations; and even the very French Muriel ou Le temps d’un retour (Muriel, 1963) gives a certain amount of

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screen time to the intrusions of English into the urban landscape of postwar Boulogne-sur-Mer. Chabrol’s L’Oeil du malin, on the other hand, uses its non-French setting to launch a direct attack on Francocentrism. The film tells the story of a young French journalist sent to a village in West Germany to report on “the new Germany,” in a spirit of postwar reconstruction. The young man fancies himself a writer, but speaks no German and has no interest in the country or in his assignment. Instead, he becomes fascinated with the famous German author who has a house in the same village, and gradually takes it on himself to infiltrate the man’s life and destroy his happy marriage to a French woman. To a postwar French audience, the sound of German was naturally charged with uncomfortable connotations. Paradoxically, it may have been the most frequently heard foreign language in French (and most European) films of the era as an inescapable part of the representation of Occupation and war. Indeed, in his earlier Les Cousins (The Cousins, 1959), in which a clique of dandyish students and ill-defined hangers-on, including a drunken Italian count, keep alive the shades of a not-long-vanished fascism, partly through a cult of the German language, Chabrol had made full use of those connotations to construct a picture of a “cosmopolitan” Paris very different from the slangy exuberance of Godard and Rozier. Chabrol told Cahiers du cinéma at the time: “The German aspect comes from the fact that I’m very aware of the war and the whole ‘German Romantic’ atmosphere which I find fascinating and alarming.”26 In L’Oeil du malin, Germany and German are chosen precisely as the most appropriate means by which to reject this unhealthy fascination with the past. The protagonist Albin Mercier is ostensibly in Germany to promote a cordial future in a new Europe; in fact, his self-absorbed indifference takes no account of past or future. The novelist Hartmann and his wife are traumatized by a past to which they are tied despite themselves through the mere fact of having lived in the time and place they did. The “‘German romantic’ atmosphere” is entirely absent here, though the assumption remains that it is through the German language that something can be said about fascism. Hartmann will eventually declare to Mercier in German that he fears him: Mercier’s unhappiness, resentment and Francocentric rejection of all that he does not understand represent a danger that the German novelist recognizes. It will prove to be a danger he cannot avert. The acknowledgement, or not, of the Other’s language is used in L’Oeil du malin as a dramatic symptom essential to the reading of individual characters. Both Albin and Hartmann are writers; language is their livelihood and their

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speciality. Both, ironically, are basically monolingual. Yet Hartmann, who is married to a Frenchwoman, adjusts to other languages with a flexible, open enjoyment, adopting the words and phrases he enjoys: “Ja, chérie,” “Ah, Cognac! Français,” “wir gehen schwimmen, we go swimming, nous allons nager.” Albin, on the other hand, is almost a caricature of the worst aspects of linguistic chauvinism. Although he is in a German-speaking country, the language barrier is other people’s problem. When subordinates are so inconsiderate as to speak German to him, he insults them: “Tais-toi vieille taupe,” [Shut up you old bat] to his housekeeper who has asked him if he wants to eat; “Je ne comprends rien, idiote,” when Hartmann’s maid has warned him that Hartmann “arbeitet.” Albin’s fury is aroused by comments so short and simple that they do not even require subtitles: this is a man, and a writer to boot, who has been several months in Germany and still has not learned the simplest tense of the simplest verb. Not surprisingly, the linguistic play between Hartmann and Hélène is incomprehensible to him. The film nonetheless relies on Albin’s chauvinism to maintain its own position as a French film. As in Hiroshima mon amour, we negotiate the foreign environment partly thanks to the protagonist’s narration. With all its prejudices and dismissals, it is our only guide to his situation in the village. He speaks over the German we hear, for our benefit, absolving us from listening to the foreign language if we choose to ignore it: for example, in the opening scene where the housekeeper recites an inventory of his flat. Also as in Hiroshima mon amour, a bicultural and bilingual partner is used to keep the story French. In this case, the partner, Hélène, is herself French—which constitutes her most obvious attraction in Albin’s eyes, but perhaps also underlies his destructive impulses: she is the traitor who has married a German and adopted another language. Unlike Japanese in Hiroshima, German is plentiful on the soundtrack, with Hélène often called on to translate Hartmann’s complex ideas for both Albin and the audience. When Hartmann condemns Albin, the significance of the scene is thus redoubled by repetition: the German underlines its gravity and gives it the authority of experience, while Hélène becomes the anxious mediator between the German past and the French present. L’Oeil du malin is one of the few films of the era to be explicitly concerned with the European ideal, and to recognize and foreground language as a fundamental issue in that context. It presents a plea for translingual listening, for translation, where necessary, but most of all for open-minded experiment and acceptance: European understanding will come, if it comes at all, through the ability to enjoy

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the language difference as Hartmann and Hélène do, without relinquishing their respective attachment to their own idioms. This ideal is contrasted both to Albin’s blinkered monolingualism and to the complete renunciation of difference represented by the Hartmanns’ Yugoslavian acquaintance: “She doesn’t understand German, she can’t remember her Yugoslavian, so she speaks French. The Americans appreciate her very much.” But the ideal is fragile, perhaps unsustainable: Albin succeeds in destroying the Hartmanns’ marriage and Hélène’s life. L’Oeil du malin practices its own ideal by offering the French audience a truly bilingual experience, in which German is shorn of its bitter associations with the Occupation and becomes rather a language that should be understood in order to incorporate and learn from that recent past and to look to the future. It takes its subject too seriously, perhaps, to be able to follow its own advice and “make the most of language difference as if it was a game.” We have seen, however, that the attitude of exuberant language-play was adopted by other films both before and after it. The following year with Le Mépris, Godard was to bring the languages of the film industry itself under the spotlight, and to make of them a serious game of translation and managed communication. We have thus seen that although the Nouvelle Vague years are often described in terms of a renewal of the French national cinema, the international impact of which resulted in a renewed presence of French content—and the French language—on screens around the world, the young cinema of the period was theoretically and practically ready to engage with cinema as an international product, including recognizing its roots in a multilingual society. In these years, which saw the cinema act as a significant player in the cultural recalibration of postwar Europe, the Nouvelle Vague showed itself ready to look beyond officially maintained national cultural boundaries, a responsibility assumed with both enthusiasm and solemnity.

Notes 1 Richard Neupert, A History of the French New Wave Cinema (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), xvii, xxii. 2 Ibid., xxiv. 3 See Anne Jäckel, European Film Industries (London: BFI , 2003), 7–8.

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4 François Truffaut, “Une certaine tendance du cinéma français,” Cahiers du cinéma, no. 31 (January 1954): 15–29. 5 Décret 59–1512 30 décembre 1959, Journal officiel 31/12/59, article 13, 12606. 6 Décret 67–692 16 août 1967, Journal officiel 18/8/67. In this text, a specific exception was also inserted recognizing the rights of the multilingual: the requirement for original French language now allowed for “l’exception des parties du dialogue qui seraient écrites dans une autre langue en fonction du scénario.” There is some evidence that both these adjustments reflected the practices that had developed since the early 1960s. 7 For discussion of the changes in French culture during these years, see, for example: Richard F. Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1995); Pascal Ory, L’Aventure culturelle française 1945–1989 (Paris: Flammarion, 1989); Rod Kedward, La Vie en bleu: France and the French since 1900 (London: Allen Lane, 2005). 8 André Bazin, “Les Amants de Vérone: de l’échelle de soie à la grosse ficelle,” L’Ecran français, no. 194 (15 March 1949): 11. 9 Carol O’Sullivan, Translating Popular Film (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 20. 10 André Bazin, “Monsieur Ripois: avec ou sans Némésis,” Esprit 22, nos. 217–18 (August–September 1954): 313–21. 11 Ibid., 166. 12 Ibid., 167. 13 Archives BiFi Paris, TRUFFAUT 562–B320. Both Rivette’s scenario and Truffaut’s comments are preserved here. 14 Michel Chion, Le Complexe de Cyrano: la langue parlée dans les films français (Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 2008), 17–18. 15 See Douchet’s 1959 review of Chabrol’s Le Beau Serge, in La Nouvelle Vague, ed. Antoine de Baecqueand and Charles Tesson (Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 1999), 29. 16 Carol Eastman and Roberta Stein, “Language Display: Authenticating Claims to Social Identity,” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 14, no. 3 (1993): 187–202. 17 Charlotte Garson, Adieu Philippine de Jacques Rozier: Dossier de Lycéens et Apprentis au cinéma: Jacques Rozier (Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma/CNC , 2010), 3. http://www.cnc. fr/web/fr/dossiers-pedagogiques/-/ressources/3899530. 18 See, for example, Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “The Cinema After Babel: Language, Difference, Power,” Screen 26, nos. 3–4 (1985), 46, 53; Mark Betz, Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 79; O’Sullivan, Translating Popular Film, 81, 180–83. Writers on Godard’s

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20 21 22

23 24 25 26

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oeuvre, starting with the filmmaker himself, are even more inclined to emphasize the linguistic elements: see Jean-Luc Godard, “Scénario du Mépris,” in JLG par JLG (Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 1985), 244; Douglas Morrey, Jean-Luc Godard (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), 18–19. For Freddy Buache, the film made Rozier “un chantre de l’air du temps.” Freddy Buache, Le Cinéma français des années 60 (Renens: Hatier, 1987), 128. The film’s reception was however disappointing, and several authors have pointed out that by the time it appeared the “Nouvelle Vague” was already dissipating: see Emmanuel Burdeau, Jacques Rozier: le funambule (Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 2001), 12–13; or Geneviève Sellier’s very critical assessment in La Nouvelle Vague: un cinéma au masculin singulier (Paris: CNRS Editions, 2005), 107–9. Garson, Adieu Philippine, 3. Ibid., 11. Ironically, the actor Eiji Okada in fact spoke little or no French, and learned his lines phonetically. See Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 50–52. Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima mon amour (Paris: Gallimard, 1960), 31. Caruth, Unclaimed Experience, 49. Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima mon amour and Une Aussi Longue absence, trans. Richard Seaver and Barbara Wright (London: Calder and Boyars, 1996). Jean Collet, et al., “Entretien avec Claude Chabrol” (1962), Cahiers du cinema no. 138, reproduced in de Baecque and Tesson, eds, La Nouvelle Vague, 129.

Works cited Austin, Guy. Claude Chabrol. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999. Bazin, André. “Les Amants de Vérone: de l’échelle de soie à la grosse ficelle.” Published in L’Ecran français, 15 mars 1949. Reprinted in Le Cinéma français de la Libération à la Nouvelle Vague, 114–17. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 1998a. Bazin, André. “Monsieur Ripois: avec ou sans Némésis.” Published in Esprit, August– September 1954. Reprinted in Le Cinéma français de la Libération à la Nouvelle Vague, 158–70. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 1998b. Betz, Mark. Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Buache, Freddy. Le Cinéma français des années 60. Renens: Hatier, 1987. Burdeau, Emmanuel. Jacques Rozier: le funambule. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 2001. Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

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Chion, Michel. Le Complexe de Cyrano: la langue parlée dans les films français. Paris: Cahiers du cinéma, 2008. Collet, Jean, Michel Delahaye, Jean André Fieschi, André S. Labarthe and Bertrand Tavernier. “Entretien avec Claude Chabrol.” Cahiers du cinéma, no. 138 (December 1962): 2–19. de Baecque, Antoine, and Charles Tesson, eds. La Nouvelle Vague. Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 1999. Duras, Marguerite. Hiroshima mon amour. Paris: Gallimard, 1960. Duras, Marguerite. Hiroshima mon amour and Une Aussi Longue absence. Translated by Richard Seaver and Barbara Wright. London: Calder and Boyars, 1966. Eastman, Carol M., and Roberta F. Stein. “Language Display: Authenticating Claims to Social Identity.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 14, no. 3 (1993): 187–202. Garson, Charlotte. Adieu Philippine de Jacques Rozier: Dossier Lycéens et apprentis au cinéma. Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma/CNC , 2010. http://www.cnc.fr/web/fr/dossierspedagogiques/-/ressources/3899530. Godard, Jean-Luc. “Scénario du Mépris.” In JLG par JLG. Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 1985. Gruault, Jean. Ce que dit l’autre. Paris: Julliard, 1992. Jäckel, Anne. European Film Industries. London: BFI , 2003. Journal officiel. Décret 59–1512. 30 décembre 1959, 31/12/59. Article 13: 12606. Journal officiel. Décret 67–692. 16 août 1967, 18/8/67. Kedward, Rod. La Vie en bleu: France and the French since 1900. London: Allen Lane, 2005. Kuisel, Richard F. Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1993. Morrey, Douglas. Jean-Luc Godard. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005. Neupert, Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002. O’Sullivan, Carol. Translating Popular Film. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Ory, Pascal. L’Aventure culturelle française 1945–1989. Paris: Flammarion, 1989. Ross, Kristin. Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1995. Sellier, Geneviève. La Nouvelle Vague: Un Cinéma au masculin singulier. Paris: CNRS Editions, 2005. Shohat, Ella, and Robert Stam. “The Cinema After Babel: Language, Difference, Power.” Screen 26, nos. 3–4 (1985): 35–58. Truffaut, François. “Une certaine tendance du cinéma français.” Cahiers du cinéma, no. 31 (January 1954): 15–29.

12

Language and National Identity in New Tunisian Cinema: Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace (1994) and Férid Boughedir’s A Summer in La Goulette (1996) Robert Lang

In an interview Tunisian filmmaker Férid Boughedir gave in 2002, he remarked that “an adult society is one that is capable of looking at itself in the mirror,” adding that modern Tunisia seems to have lost its way and regressed when it comes to the question of self-identity.1 He suggested that although Tunisians have historically had a genius for cultural “métissage,” going back to the days of Carthage, their colonial encounter with France would appear to have made “cultural bastards” of them. “One part of the population,” he observed, “has its eyes fixed on Cairo and reads everything that is written about the Middle East,” while another part “reads Le Nouvel Observateur or Le Monde. There’s a real split!”2 Boughedir’s observation about the cultural hybridity of his society has appeared as a persistent theme in the New Tunisian Cinema, as the filmmakers attempt to articulate a tunisianité that reflects their self-image as a society standing at the “crossroads of the Islamic and European worlds.”3 The New Tunisian Cinema is the cinema of a generation of filmmakers for the most part making films during the Ben Ali era (1987–2011), namely, the authoritarian regime of President Habib Bourguiba’s last days and the two decades of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorship that followed. While this designation is approximate, there is general agreement that the New Tunisian Cinema begins with Nouri Bouzid’s Rih Essed (Man of Ashes, 1986) and starts to come to an end around the time of Moncef Dhouib’s La télé arrive (The TV Is Coming, 2006) and Nouri Bouzid’s Making Of (2006), when the filmmakers of this cohort begin decisively to change their strategies of subversion vis-à-vis the Ben Ali regime. One of the most obvious indicators of the cultural hybridity 235

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explored in the New Tunisian Cinema is the way in which multilingual interactions occur in the films to reveal ongoing tensions among the dominant discourses shaping the question of Tunisian national identity. Two films that each consider a moment of political crisis in Tunisia’s history are analyzed here—Moufida Tlatli’s Samt al-Qusur (The Silences of the Palace, 1994), which recalls the time of Tunisia’s independence from France in 1956, and Férid Boughedir’s Un été à La Goulette (A Summer in La Goulette, 1996), which is set on the eve of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War—and I conclude with a brief look at how the debate about the role of language and national identity became central again in Tunisia at the time of the revolution in 2011.4

Language, literacy and modernity The official Tunisian rhetoric proclaims that Tunisia, by nature, is exceptional, a status deriving from the perfect equilibrium it has achieved among three components: Western modernity, a nationalist identity, and its belonging also to the Arab and Muslim worlds. Many Tunisians like to believe that this equilibrium, or synthesis, is signified by their reformist tradition, which goes back to the midnineteenth century and the policies of the country’s greatest precolonial reformer, Khayr ed-Din al-Tunsi, Mohamed Bey’s prime minister from 1873 to 1877, who tackled administrative, financial and tax reform. Khayr ed-Din is best known today for writing The Surest Path to Knowledge Concerning the Condition of Countries (1868) and for founding Sadiqi College in Tunis in 1875, which was dedicated to the formation of a bilingual bureaucratic elite. Reformism and tunisianité are understood to be inseparable, and together, they symbolize Tunisian specificity. For Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia’s first president, it would appear that bilingualism was a necessary aspect of the modern Tunisian identity he hoped to forge for all of Tunisia’s citizens, although in reality, this proved difficult to achieve, partly because Arabic already had a legitimate claim as the national language, and French—notwithstanding the very real entrée it offered to the West, and beyond—had been the language of the colonial oppressor.5 There is a scene in Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace that illustrates some of the contradictions attending the choices with regard to language that confronted Tunisians at the time of their independence from France in 1956. One of the first requirements of a modern society, we know, is that its members be literate; and

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the momentous scene in which the film’s heroine, Alia (Ghalia Lacroix/Hend Sabri), learns to write her name (in Arabic) can be seen as pivotal to the film’s meanings. The Silences of the Palace is set in the melancholy present of the mid-1960s and the highly charged past of a decade earlier, during the last days of the French occupation. In an autobiographical series of flashbacks, it narrates Alia’s memories of growing up among the servants in a beylical palace as an illegitimate daughter of one of the resident princes, who, in a conspiracy of silence with the servants and his own family, will not acknowledge his paternity.6 The film’s many overlapping and intersecting discourses—chief among which are the status of women in contemporary Tunisia, the problems of social class and political power in an ostensibly emerging democracy, Tunisia’s complex relationship with its Ottoman heritage and colonial past as a French protectorate, as well as a discourse on the contemporary malaise produced by the country’s corrupt and decadent leadership—are grouped around the idea of samt, or “not to speak”: the “silence(s)” of the film’s title.7 This silence refers, finally, to the repression and self-censorship that characterize Tunisia at the time of the film’s making, not so much as legacies of Ottoman or French colonialism, but as features of a neopatriarchal society with a long history of authoritarian government that have crippling effects on men and women alike. It is Lotfi (Sami Bouajila)—a young revolutionary committed to the overthrow of Tunisia’s French overlords, and tutor at the palace of Selim and Sarra, the legitimate children of one of the princes—who teaches Alia how to write. One day, from his ground-floor classroom in the palace, Lotfi hears Alia singing in the garden. When she finishes her song, Alia passes in front of the barred window of the classroom, and he takes the opportunity to compliment her: “You have a beautiful voice,” he says. “Pity it’s locked up inside.” She smiles at him, and replies: “You’re locked up, too. Why don’t you live with your family?” He explains that his family lives in El Kef, and she asks, “Where is El Kef?” Lotfi’s reply—“It’s a city far away”—speaks volumes not only about Alia’s profound ignorance of the world beyond the palace gates (El Kef is a well-known hill town west of Tunis, close to the border with Algeria), but also about Lotfi’s reflexive condescension as a tutor. In a manner of speaking, Lotfi will always be her tutor; it is his preferred role, and he wants Alia to be educated, but not so educated that his role as her (soonto-be) teacher will be rendered obsolete. (They will eventually leave the palace, when Tunisia becomes independent, and live as an unmarried couple in an apartment in Tunis.) It is perhaps not too much to say that his reply is an

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unconscious neopatriarchal strategy to keep Alia ignorant—for, as he says the words, a gentle lute melody rises on the soundtrack, and the two young people look into each other’s eyes. He reaches through the window bars, and gently touches her cheek. She pulls back, a gesture that the film treats as an appropriately demure response: it is precisely Alia’s innocence and vulnerability that Lotfi finds so attractive; and the viewer understands that, if at any moment in the future, after they have become a couple, the balance of their relationship should shift to reduce Alia’s dependency on Lotfi, their relationship will founder. The second time we see Alia and Lotfi meet—when Alia learns how to write her name on the blackboard in Lotfi’s classroom—the notion of literacy as an important step toward human liberation and self-determination in the modern world is underlined. Following his example, Alia writes her name. He tries to hold her hand while doing this, but she says: “Let me do it myself!” She writes the word, and he congratulates her: “You see! It’s easy!” Then he asks: “Can you write your last name?” The smile fades from Alia’s lips (because she does not know who her father is), and she turns away from him. As the camera pulls back, we see that the blackboard behind Lotfi is filled with writing in French, traces of his earlier lesson with his aristocratic pupils Selim and/or Sarra.

Figure 12.1 Lotfi (Sami Bouajila) teaches Alia (Hend Sabri) how to write her name. Samt el qusur (The Silences of the Palace, Moufida Tlatli, 1994).

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“Are you scared?” he asks. “It’s you I’m scared of,” she replies. “Then don’t be,” he says. The film’s boldly conceived allegorical strategy, which designates Alia as Tunisia on the eve of its independence, is signaled when he continues: “You’re as indecisive as your country! One word thrills you, the next scares you.” Lifting her head up by her chin and looking into her eyes, he says: “Things are going to change. A new future awaits us. You will be a great singer! Your voice will enchant everyone!” But nothing essential will change for Alia; after independence, she will continue to suffer a nameless sense of oppression. (Throughout the film, for example, in the strand of the narrative that takes place in the present, Alia has a headache, which is allegorically suggestive of the postcolonial melancholy afflicting the country. At one point, when she struggles to explain to Lotfi why she has a headache, Alia blurts out, almost as a non sequitur: “You always have to win!”) Lotfi represents the revolution that will bring about Tunisia’s independence from France—and as we have said, The Silences of the Palace suggests that literacy will be a tool of liberation for Alia. But if the film gives us a (brief) image of Alia learning how to write, it never gives us an image of her learning how to read. In Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society, Hisham Sharabi points out that in the Arab world, traditional patriarchal culture never promoted the reading of the Qur’an (Sharabi’s emphasis): “To this day it is still recited, chanted, and repeated by heart but not, or rarely, read. . . . In this context, attention should be drawn to the subversive and liberating function of reading, and the primary concern of all established orthodoxy to protect itself against all critical reading or interpretation, that is, understanding.”8 Arabic—Classical, or Modern Standard Arabic (‫ ﺍﻟﻔﺼﺤﻰ‬/ al-fushā)—is not the language Alia already speaks. The everyday colloquial language she speaks is an (unwritten) Arabic dialect that is “structurally related but essentially different” from the language Lotfi will teach her, which, as for all Arabs everywhere who seek to become literate in their official language, she will have to “appropriate . . . as another language, much as a foreign language.” Sharabi points out the astonishing fact that “there is no other society in the world today that uses its traditional classical language practically unchanged [since the Islamic medieval period] as its basic means of bureaucratic communication and formal discourse.”9 The implications of this for Alia’s destiny (and for the revolution) are enormous. (We have already seen that the film acknowledges the class difference between Alia and her aristocratic cousins by revealing that at least some of Sarra and Selim’s lessons are conducted in French.10) The teaching of Modern Standard

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Arabic—or Lotfi’s role in Alia’s education as her tutor—becomes a metaphor in the film that explains why Lotfi does not, or cannot, “save” Alia from subalternity. “If language structures thought, classical Arabic structures it in a decisive way,” argues Sharabi: This is not only because of the essentially ideological character of this language with its rigid religious and patriarchal framework, but also because of its inherent tendency to “think itself,” that is to say, to impose its own patterns and structures on all linguistic production. It is a “received language,” “a language of others,” and it favors, as Halim Barakat puts it, “literary over scientific writing and rhetoric over the written text and speech over writing.”11

The relevance of these insights to my analysis of The Silences of the Palace is striking. When Sharabi suggests that the monologue is central in all forms of neopatriarchal discourse, and that this mode appears in the very structure of the discourse itself—“not just authority produces the monological discourse, but also the language itself, in that it privileges rhetoric and discourages dialogue”12— we have the key to why, as Tlatli remarked, “the possibility of escape” that Lotfi seems to offer Alia turns out to be an “illusion.”13 He is “unable to live out his revolutionary ideals” (Tlatli) because he is a neopatriarchal male, which is to say: when it comes to gender equality, and all that it implies, he is the very opposite of a revolutionary, as suggested by Sharabi’s description of the role Arabic plays in the maintenance of neopatriarchy: The monological discourse may be expressed in different forms and articulated in different voices, depending on its setting. Thus in the household the father’s is the dominant discourse, in the classroom the teacher’s, in the religious gathering or tribe the sheikh’s, in the religious organization the ‘alim’s, in the society at large, the ruler’s and so forth. This discourse derives its perceived sense of signification from the structure of language itself rather than from the individual utterance. While the structure reinforces authority, hierarchy, and the relations of dependency, it also produces oppositional forms typical of the neopatriarchal discourse: gossip, backbiting, storytelling, and silence.14

When Lotfi predicts for Alia that “things are going to change,” and that “a new future awaits us,” he fails to take into account that he will have to change, if they are not to reproduce a new version of the old order. In the event, he does not learn to think “outside the box” of traditional discourse, the aim of which, Sharabi tells us, is “to bring about not awareness, understanding, self-consciousness but its opposite—to reinforce an affective, noncritical state rooted in external

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dependence and inner submission.”15 And the challenge for Alia, to echo Laura Mulvey (whose 1995 interview with Tlatli in Sight and Sound pursues this question),16 will be: how to fight the unconscious structured like a language (formed critically at the moment of arrival of language) while still caught within the language of the patriarchy.17 Indeed, Mulvey’s classic thesis about the cinema as an advanced representation system in the service of (primarily heterosexual) male interests might be applied to the languages of neopatriarchy in Arab societies, among which Arabic itself, Sharabi tells us, plays a central role. Like Sharabi’s argument about Arabic— which, even in its “modernized” form (what he calls “newspaper” Arabic, a language that is “streamlined to fit the requirements of the times”), is “in structure and tone essentially the same as the classical language of medieval Islam”18—the language of neopatriarchy (also “modernized” to fit the requirements of the times) is a language that reflects the antidemocratic social formation it serves: The claim that the “newspaper” Arabic of neopatriarchal society constitutes a synthesis between the colloquial and the classical . . . is an exaggeration [writes Sharabi], more wishful thinking than reality. This simplified classical Arabic, like the social formation it reflects, is neither fully traditional nor really modern; it is an uneven combination of the two. . . . This fact has been instrumental in preserving the social and cultural divisions of neopatriarchal society, in maintaining the epistemological compromise of the Arab Awakening, and in blocking the possibility of a genuine break with the patriarchal discourse. Clearly, under these conditions, no breakthrough toward full modernity was possible.19

Quoting the Maghrebi scholar Mohamed Arkoun, Sharabi believes that written and spoken Arabic itself needs to be reconceived: “Change must involve the way in which reality is expressed in and by language. Language must be changed, that is, it must be secularized and rationalized.”20 In the film, the language of patriarchy, as we see it hold sway in the household of the beys, is monological (to use Sharabi’s word) and not innovative in the least. Among the servants, various tribulations and tragedies are usually explained as being “the Will of God”; and among the aristocrats, the hierarchical order of things is understood to be determined by “tradition,” which is perpetuated by patriarchal prerogatives according to which husbands have dominion over wives and children, and the word of the father who is most senior in the hierarchy of the extended family has final authority. When Sarra, for example, excitedly tells Alia that she is engaged to be married, Alia asks her who her fiancé is. Sarra tells her

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that it is her cousin, Mehdi. “Do you love him?” Alia asks. Nonplussed by the question, Sarra replies: “My father chose him.” Of course, the film does not show how Sarra’s marriage will turn out, because—allegorically speaking (i.e., because she is a princess)—Sarra is from the beginning a marginal figure. History tells us that hers is a doomed class. Sarra does not represent “Tunisia”/the future, as Alia does, and so, once Alia leaves the palace (on the night of Sarra’s engagement party), Sarra for all intents and purposes ceases to exist. The Tunisia that Sarra represents in the allegory—a decadent, feudal society—cannot be saved by another of what Alia will call “these terrible marriages.” As it happens, Alia will not be saved either, for she is trapped within the language of the neopatriarchy. If the film implies that for some Tunisians a mastery of French will open doors to a wider world, it also suggests that for women—ordinary women, most women—it will make no difference. Whether they learn French or Arabic will make no difference in the struggle for subjective and social freedom because the important thing is not whether a person can put a sentence together in French, or write her name in Arabic, but whether she (or he) knows how to read, that is, how to think critically.

Tunisia: a “mediterranean” society For Boughedir, there is no confusion about which side of his society’s linguistic/ cultural split he is on. The key to his conception of tunisianité, like that of Bourguiba, can be found in the bilingual/bicultural education they both received at Sadiqi College. As Boughedir explains in an interview with Tunisian cultural commentator and film critic Hédi Khélil: My ideal of perfectly mastering both the East and the West is something I got from my education at Sadiqi College, which was committed to making us completely bilingual. It was my father who made me learn French, believing it would help me get ahead more quickly. He thought I would pick up Arabic later, and thanks to French, I could have a respectable career as a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. Afterwards, I should learn Arabic, because I live in an Arab country. . . . What you call “métissage,” I prefer to call “synthèse.” It’s a kind of synthesis that says ours is basically a popular culture, one that is exceptionally rich, and which was, curiously enough, very coherent before independence. Thanks to my education, I am able as a filmmaker to steal from the West the modernity of its cinema and offer Tunisian citizens a mirror in which they may see themselves

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and their culture—a Tunisia they can embrace, but not a simplistic, caricatured, naive, or folkloric Tunisia.21

This Tunisia that Boughedir portrays—in both his first feature-length film, Halfaouine (1990), and the film he made five years later, A Summer in La Goulette—is redolent with nostalgia for a Tunisia that, in the director’s own words, is “a Mediterranean society, exuberant and affectionate, where humor and eroticism always have their place, along with tolerance.”22 The nostalgic tone of both films betrays a rueful acknowledgment that Tunisia is not as “Mediterranean” as it used to be. We observe that hybridity and its related tropes, such as “tolerance,” emerge as an official discourse at the very moment that they are disappearing as realities of Tunisian social life. The Tunisia we see in a film such as A Summer in La Goulette, for example, no longer exists—just as the Algiers and Tunis described by the authors of a 1969 history textbook used in Tunisia’s secondary schools no longer exist. “Algiers in the seventeenth century,” they write, “was a prosperous and cosmopolitan city with a rich and intense life, where people from all over the Mediterranean and Europe mingled,”23 and “Tunis, like Algiers, was a cosmopolitan city, where Turkish and dialectical Arabic were spoken, and also the lingua franca, a mélange of Provençal, Italian, and Spanish, with Turkish and Arabic words as well.”24 In A Summer in La Goulette—which takes its title from the setting of the story, the port city of La Goulette, about twenty minutes from downtown Tunis— the characters all understand Tunisian Arabic, and for the most part, speak in this dialect with each other; but they often speak French or Italian as well (or a mixture of all three languages), according to the social context. The plot revolves around the friendship among three seventeen-year-old girls: Tina, a Catholic Tunisian of Sicilian ancestry; Gigi, a Jewish Tunisian also of Italian ancestry; and Meriem, an Arab-Muslim Tunisian (whose ancestry is never specified). The film is schematically organized into symmetries: the three girls (the first letter of each girl’s name—T, G and M—making the acronym of the passenger train that connects Tunis, La Goulette and La Marsa); three boys (the girls’ younger brothers); three older boys, who are the girls’ cousins; the girls’ fathers, who are close friends; the girls’ mothers. Each trio has a fourth member, slightly outside the circle: Lucette (Gigi’s older sister, who leaves the household when she marries the Orthodox Jew Maurice); Mery Glass (Jojo’s sister, who is the widowed mother of Chouchou and the famously good-looking “Maxo,” who has just returned from an extended stay in Italy); Hamouda, the café owner (who is good friends with the girls’ fathers); and so on.

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The girls speak French with each other; their younger brothers speak Tunisian Arabic with each other, but speak (rather bad) French when addressing the girls; Catholic Tina’s parents speak Italian at home (for Tunisian audiences, there is the additional national/private pleasure in recognizing the multilingual GreekTunisian actress Hélène Catzaras as Tina’s mother); Jewish Gigi’s parents speak French at home; Muslim Meriem’s parents speak Tunisian Arabic with each other (but are amused and slightly scornful of the “Oriental” accent affected by their landlord, “the ‘Double Hadj,’ ” who has recently returned from two years in the Mashreq); and, it seems, everybody understands everybody else, no matter what language they are speaking. The girls’ male cousins speak Tunisian Arabic with each other, but French when talking to the girls en groupe. The cast of characters includes an eccentric, and apparently homeless, Jew (played by the Tunisian-born, Jewish French actor and comedian, Michel Boujenah), who speaks only French (but listens to “Radio Cairo”—which is surely not in French— on his transistor radio); a boyish, middle-aged bachelor, Miró (played by Mohamed Driss, who reprises his character in Boughedir’s Halfaouine, except this time he speaks Italian, and is in love with the widowed Jewess, Mery Glass); and a cameo appearance by Claudia Cardinale (playing herself), as a returning visitor to La Goulette, the town of her birth, where, we are told, she lived with her Italian family until she was eighteen. (Cardinale speaks French to her friends and fans in the film.) There is much that we can say about both Halfaouine and A Summer in La Goulette as exercises in nostalgia for a “lost” Tunisia, but for our purposes, it is enough to remark that Boughedir’s personal “ideal of perfectly mastering both the East and the West” is one that, for a majority of Tunisians, was perhaps never really possible. Indeed, the “split” he identifies in contemporary Tunisia— between one part of the population, which “has its eyes fixed on Cairo and reads everything that is written about the Middle East,” and another part, which “reads Le Nouvel Observateur or Le Monde”—was, if not inevitable, then certainly made wider by specific historical events.25 In A Summer in La Goulette, Boughedir pinpoints the decisive moment when Tunisia’s cosmopolitan character (which, in any event, was never as extensive as the film’s setting in La Goulette and allegorical intentions might suggest) began to unravel and dissolve. He suggests that if the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 did not succeed in destroying the multicultural/multilingual society that he believes was Tunisia’s hallmark and was the basis of its “rich” and “coherent” popular culture “before independence,” then the 1967 Arab-Israeli War twenty years later was the nail in

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the coffin of this Tunisia. The film ends on the eve of the Six-Day War, and the final title card reads: Nous sommes le 4 juin 1967, veille de la 2ème guerre Israëlo-Arabe du ProcheOrient. Après les Chrétiens, les derniers Juifs de Tunisie vont décider de quitter leurs pays natal . . . Ils n’oublieront jamais La Goulette . . .26

The nostalgia for a cosmopolitanism of yesteryear that pervades this film is articulated not only through the dialogue—the wit and wordplay of the characters, all speaking different languages, or switching from one language to another, often in mid-sentence—but also through cuisine. There are several scenes involving food—and in the same way that the denizens of La Goulette speak and/or understand each other’s language, they appreciate and often exchange dishes from each other’s other national cuisine. Only the “Double Hadj” (the villain in the film) refuses to eat “Jewish” food. (It must be noted, however, that he has his separatist counterpart in the character of Lucette’s fiancé Maurice, who restricts his diet to kosher foods according to the requirements of Jewish law.) Hamouda’s dictum, which suits his occupation as the proprietor of a café— “Politics is about patriotism, not religion”—is essentially nationalist, but it implies that national identity should be inclusive. Indeed, it is the film’s main point. Israeli identity, in the final analysis, is based on religion, just as Saudi Arabian national identity—through its jealous guardianship of “the holy cities of Makkah, the birthplace of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, and Madinah, the Prophet’s burial place”—is also based on religious exclusivity.27 (The villainous “Double Hadj,” as his nickname suggests, has made two pilgrimages to Mecca, which in the context of the narrative is meant to reveal that he is both vain and intolerant.) Boughedir, thus, is unequivocal in his condemnation of religions and national identities that are exclusive—and chief among his means of promoting a tunisianité that is inclusive, is his representation of a society (albeit a “lost” one) that celebrates linguistic diversity. If Boughedir’s dream of a cosmopolitan Tunisia began to crumble in 1948 and never recovered from the flight of its non-Muslim populations after 1967, we can identify a new kind of cosmopolitanism that has emerged in what we call globalization (understood as “the rapidly developing and ever-densening network of interconnections and interdependences that characterize modern social life”)28—which in some crucial respects is a pale shadow of the real thing.29

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In A Summer in La Goulette, Michel Boujenah’s character, the news junkie who listens all day to his transistor radio, and who lives in a constant state of anxiety about “tensions in the Middle East,” prefigures the citizen of our contemporary world who has access to satellite television and the Internet, and is plugged into a wide range of social media networks. The neighborhoods of La Goulette, with their networks of interconnections and interdependences—represented so lovingly by Boughedir in images of groups of friends gossiping, picnicking on the beach, sharing a beer at the local café, dancing at each other’s weddings and so on—will give way to new networks of interconnections and interdependences that are no longer rooted in time and place. Something becomes lost, certainly: the immediacy of face-to-face communication (the other’s presence) will be replaced by a representation. And the compensation for this loss of the other’s physical presence will be another kind of instantaneity. The new communications technologies both bring us together and divide us: we can be in each other’s virtual presence, and we have the immediacy of now, but we are really both farther and further apart because

Figure 12.2 On the boardwalk at La Goulette. From L. to R.: Gigi’s father, Jojo (Guy Nataf), the homeless Jew (Michel Boujenah), Meriam’s father, Youssef (Mustapha Adouani), Hamouda (Tarak Harbi), and Tina’s father, Giuseppe (Ivo Salerno). Un été à La Goulette (A Summer in La Goulette, Férid Boughedir, 1996).

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the other is not physically present. The other’s “presence” is mediated, or feels more than usually mediated.

“We mustn’t say we’re only Muslims. We are a lot of other things as well.” When the Tunisian Revolution occurred in early 2011, the filmmaker Nadia El Fani was in the middle of making a documentary in Tunisia, which became Neither Allah, nor Master! (Ni Allah, ni maître!, screened at the Cannes Film Festival 18 May 2011—the title, shortly after its release, changed to: Laïcité, inch’Allah!).30 Near the beginning of the film, she records a crowded scene on the Place du Gouvernement in Tunis that includes a group of demonstrators holding up their signs (“NO WAR AGAINST RELIGIOUS SIGNS ”) and chanting as they march: “Our constitution is the Qur’an, our motto is Islam!” We hear El Fani’s murmured observation in voiceover: “Islamists. There are only men. . . .” Her camera cuts to a bearded young man wearing an Afghani pakul (“rebel hat”) and sporting a keffieh around his neck, who explains (in halting French) what is happening: Young Man: Here, then, are Islamists who want to come and take over Tunisia. There is no place for them—first, because the people are opposed to this. They are opposed to an Islamist government. But not to a Muslim government. Because we are Muslims. El Fani:

The problem with our current constitution is that Article 1 states that

the religion of the Republic is Islam.31 But what about the atheists? What about the Christians? Young Man:

There’s room for everyone.

El Fani: And the Jews? What about the Buddhists . . . who are Tunisian? Young Man [clearly at a loss]: We never had problems. El Fani:

We mustn’t say we’re only Muslims. We are a lot of other things as well.

Everyone has the right to live in peace, to express himself. Young Man [looking very uncertain now]: As it has been for centuries. El Fani:

But it must be written down. It’s important.

Young Man [almost inaudible]: Yes.

El Fani’s film records a moment of flux in the ongoing narrative about Tunisian national identity. This young man she interviews speaks in French because El

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Figure 12.3 A demonstrator on the Place du Gouvernement in Tunis during the Tunisian Revolution in early 2011. Laïcité, inch’Allah! (Nadia El Fani, 2011).

Fani addresses him in French, her choice of language being a conscious one to signal the very issue at the heart of the uprising and of her film: Tunisian national identity—which she insists should be ethnically, religiously and linguistically inclusive. El Fani’s bearded interviewee seems conflicted—ambivalent, uncertain—as he concedes that what El Fani says (“We mustn’t say we’re only Muslims. We are a lot of other things as well.”) is true. Taking “a subjective look back” in 2012 at the Tunisian films represented in the 2010 Carthage Film Festival, Africultures editor Olivier Barlet observes: “[It is] a Tunisian cinema that is going in circles; but this is not surprising, in a country where everything was ossified, and where the cultural policy was nepotistic and discriminated against the best [artists], like Nouri Bouzid, that eternal nonconformist [empêcheur de tourner en rond], whose Making Of was in perfect sync with the preoccupations of Tunisian society, especially its youth.”32 The fear that Tunisia’s leading filmmakers had lost their gamble with destiny— that the liberal values they sought to promote in their films would, in a democratic moment, be overwhelmed by “feudal ideas”33—was given voice during a roundtable discussion among filmmakers, scholars and critics held in November 2011 at the Festival des cinémas d’Afrique in Apt, France, and is perhaps summed up by Amine Chiboub when he says:

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In Tunisia as well, different groups didn’t talk to each other, [but] during the revolution, everybody was fighting for the same thing. Struggling against a common enemy brought people together. But when [the enemy] fell, everything changed, and everyone went back to his own group and its definition of things. We forget that we are all Tunisians. The reality has changed. Freedom of expression is fundamental, but it is an enormous responsibility, and we have to know how to use it. Today, we can freely talk about politics, but as soon as it touches on religion, there is a problem.34

Chiboub goes on to make the crucial point that it is not always, or only, the Salafists who are the “problem,” but rather a widespread and deeply rooted conservatism that more accurately describes what the liberal secularists are up against. When, for example, on October 7, 2011, the animated film Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, 2007) was dubbed into Tunisian Arabic and aired by the Tunisian private television company Nessma, it provoked a demonstration in front of the station the following day, and Nessma TV ’s owner subsequently faced trial in Tunis on charges of “violating sacred values” and “disturbing the public order.”35 “We assumed they were Salafists,” Chiboub says, “but they were clean-shaven people [des gens sans barbe], like you and me, who were protesting and claiming that as Muslims they were offended. We don’t know our own society. There were police in every mosque. The average Tunisian is profoundly conservative and attached to his Muslim values. It’s the reality. We should not express ourselves to the point where we will be prevented from expressing ourselves at all! If we are moderates, we need to find a way to get our message across without provoking people.”36 As long as there are filmmakers in Tunisia who share the values of the generation responsible for the New Tunisian Cinema—that is, filmmakers who (still) believe in Bourguiba’s vision of a modern, liberal, secular society that, while remaining true to its essentially Arab and Muslim roots, might successfully embrace “the best of the West”37—we shall see films in which multilingualism plays a prominent role in the debate about national identity.

Notes 1 Férid Boughedir is best known as the director of Halfaouine (1990): the most successful film ever made in Tunisia, it sold a record 500,000 tickets in the first six months of its Tunisian release.

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2 Boughedir, interviewed by Hédi Khélil, in Hédi Khélil, ed., Le parcours et la trace: Témoignages et documents sur le cinéma tunisien (Salammbô, Tunisia: MediaCom, 2002), 166. 3 This phrase echoes the title of a book about Tunisia by Kenneth J. Perkins, Tunisia: Crossroads of the Islamic and European Worlds (Boulder, CO : Westview Press, 1986). 4 The best book about the upheaval in Tunisia in 2010–11 is Nouri Gana’s edited volume, The Making of the Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013). See, in particular, Tarek Kahlaoui’s contribution, “The Powers of Social Media,” 147–58, in which the author, using the pseudonym “Taher Laswad,” began blogging and writing anti-regime articles in 2004. From 2007 onward, however, he used his real name, and started blogging in Arabic and the Tunisian dialect, which, he tells us, “was one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Tunisian blogosphere compared to the ‘old media’ ” (156n6). The two major Tunisian Facebook pages (“Ma Tunisie” and “Tunisia_‫_ﺗﻮﻧﺲ‬Tunisie,” their names suggesting that at least three languages—French, Arabic, and English—were used) would become a platform for sharing and conveying information to a wider public, which counted around two million Tunisian users out of a total in-country population of eleven million (153). 5 According to the 2007 report by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, 6,360,000 Tunisians out of a total population of 10,383,577 speak French. This number is remarkably high, suggesting that Bourguiba’s dream of a bilingual, if not bicultural, society has come a long way toward being realized in Tunisia. In 1996–97, President Ben Ali implemented a policy that requires English to be taught in schools. French is introduced as a foreign language in the third of the nine years of basic school (when pupils are nine years old), and English is taught for six years, starting in the eighth year of basic school (when pupils are thirteen years old). 6 The beys were not princes, although, following the French after 1881, the Tunisians liked to think of their ruling Bey (the Ottoman-appointed governor of Tunisia) and his family as royal. 7 The title of the film in Arabic, ‫ ﺻﻤﺖ ﺍﻟﻘﺼﻮﺭ‬/ Samt al-Qusur, translates as: “The Silence of the Palaces” (not, as the French and English titles would have it, “Les Silences du palais”/“The Silences of the Palace”), which far better suggests Tlatli’s intention that the film reveal something about the status of women in Tunisia, or of Tunisians in general, and not just of the women in the palace of her story. 8 Hisham Sharabi, Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 87. 9 Ibid., 84–85. 10 I am not suggesting that Alia (or the emerging, independent Tunisia she represents in the allegory) would be “saved” if she simply jettisoned Arabic as

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her language of bureaucratic communication and formal discourse, and switched to French. Sharabi, Neopatriarchy, 86. Sharabi is quoting from Halim Barakat, Contemporary Arab Society (in Arabic) (Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies, 1984), 246. Ibid., 87. Moufida Tlatli, “Moving Bodies: Interview with Laura Mulvey,” Sight and Sound 5, no. 3 (1995): 20. Sharabi, Neopatriarchy, 88. Ibid., 96. In the interview, Mulvey comments, for example: “But though Arabic culture may not be a culture of the image, poetry makes use of images through its metaphors and symbols, as you implied. One finds images inside poetic language.” Tlatli replies: “I think that poetry and an oral tradition are particularly significant for Arab culture. Poetry was something that existed in the spoken word. At the same time it frequently had to make use of symbols and metaphors to express something that could not otherwise have been spoken. . . . Perhaps cinema is the same. It too has to make use of metaphors and symbols, in keeping with this lack of directness that so characterizes Islamic [sic] society” (Tlatli, “Moving Bodies,” 18). Elsewhere in the interview, Mulvey remarks: “It’s hard to think of a film which uses the potential variety of meaning in looks to the extent you do here,” to which Tlatli replies: “For me, the women’s silence is a silence through the inability to speak. . . . [So] I wanted to make their eyes speak—and say a great deal” (20). Mulvey originally posed this question in her landmark 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” reprinted in Visual and Other Pleasures (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 14. Sharabi, Neopatriarchy, 97. Ibid., 98. Mohamed Arkoun, quoted by Sharabi, Neopatriarchy, 108–9. Emphasis added. Boughedir, interviewed by Khélil, Le Parcours et la Trace, 145. Boughedir, in publicity material for Halfaouine to accompany the screening of the film at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. Jacques Grell, Rachid Toumi and Hattab Sedkaoui, Les XVIe et XVIIe siècles, pour la quatrième année de l’enseignement secondaire (Tunis: Société tunisienne de diffusion, 1969), 104. Grell et al., Les XVIe et XVIIe siècles, 114. One cannot fail to recall the scene in Julien Duvivier’s Pépé le Moko (1937) in which “the Casbah” of Algiers is introduced to the viewer. A French colonial police inspector describes the city as having “a population of 40,000 in an area meant for 10,000. [They are] from all over the world. Many, descended from the barbarians [Berbers], are honest traditionalists. . . . [There are]

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Chinese, Gypsies, Stateless, Slavs, Maltese, Negroes, Sicilians, Spaniards. And girls of all nations, shapes, and sizes.” Before A Summer in La Goulette begins, a title card offers the following statement from the director: “Comment pour moi, Arabe et Musulman vivant en Terre d’Islam, parler le plus justement possible de l’Amitié et de la Tolérance vécue entre Juifs et Arabes, entre Musulmans et Catholiques en Tunisie, à l’heure où dans le Monde on s’entretue pour sa religion et où l’intégrisme voudrait imposer partout une Pensée Unique? [. . .].” “It’s June 4, 1967, the day before the 2nd Arab-Israeli War. After the Christians, the last Tunisian Jews left the country of their birth. They’ll never forget La Goulette.” From the website of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC . http:// www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/Islam/guardian_of_the_Holy_ Places.aspx. Accessed 5 May 2012. Though Mecca is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Muslim world, non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city. In Saudi Arabia, there is a prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions, and conversion by Muslims to another religion carries the death penalty. John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 2. See Will Hanley, “Grieving Cosmopolitanism in Middle East Studies,” History Compass 6, no. 5 (September 2008): 1346–67, which I think is an accurate assessment of the main characteristics of cosmopolitanism in Middle East historiography. Boughedir’s cosmopolitanism, we infer—like that of so much Middle East scholarship on the subject—is a concept that, in the final analysis, is reserved for an elite (or localized) stratum of society. It designates ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity, and entails nostalgia for a more tolerant past, along with grief over the modern-day society. A useful and interesting roundup of responses to the film in the French and Tunisian press, “ TUNISIE : Ni Allah ni maître (Nadia El Fani),” can be found on the brightsfrance.org website, at: http://www.brightsfrance.org/forum/viewtopic. php?f=10&t=2331. Accessed 28 August 2011. “Article 1—Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state. Its religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and its type of government is the Republic.” Olivier Barlet, “Le cinéma tunisien à la lumière du printemps arabe,” in Les cinémas du Maghreb et leurs publics, ed. Patricia Caillé and Florence Martin (Paris: Editions L’Harmattan, 2012), 273. The phrase, “feudal ideas,” comes from the founding director of the New Tunisian Cinema, Nouri Bouzid, who insisted: “Cinema is the mode of expression associated with the best period of liberalism. This is very important: cinema does not sit well with feudal ideas. . . . Cinema is the art of an era, of democratic and liberal ideas, and if it’s not free, it dies.” Bouzid, Sources of Inspiration, Lecture 5 (Amsterdam:

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SOURCES , an Initiative of the MEDIA program of the European Union/Dutch Ministry of Culture, 1994), 46–47. Amine Chiboub in “Cinéma et Révolution,” the 2011 Festival des cinémas d’Afrique roundtable discussion led by Barlet and Tahar Chikaoui. Printed in Caillé and Martin, eds., Les cinémas du Maghreb, 337–38. The fact that the film, a French production based on Satrapi’s celebrated graphic memoir about her Iranian childhood, had been dubbed into Tunisian Arabic may very well have exacerbated the protestors’ antipathy toward it; and the scene that purportedly outraged the protesters most particularly is one in which God appears before a young girl (Satrapi) to teach her about forgiveness. The three hundred people who attacked Nessma’s offices and tried to set fire to them claimed that the film denigrated Islam. Chibouh, “Cinéma et Révolution,” 338. Bourguibism, which refers to Bourguiba’s mixture of reformism and pragmatism, was underpinned by his belief that Islam and democracy are not a contradiction, and includes his belief that, wherever possible, Tunisia should embrace “the best of the West.”

Works cited Barlet, Olivier. “Le cinéma tunisien à la lumière du printemps arabe.” In Les cinémas du Maghreb et leurs publics, edited by Patricia Caillé and Florence Martin, 270–80. Paris: Editions L’Harmattan, 2012. Barlet, Olivier et al. “Cinéma et révolution” (roundtable discussion led by Tahar Chikaoui and Olivier Barlet at the Festival des cinémas d’Afrique, Apt, France, 6 November 2011). In Les cinémas du Maghreb et leurs publics, edited by Patricia Caillé and Florence Martin, 330–40. Paris: Editions L’Harmattan, 2012. Bouzid, Nouri. Sources of Inspiration. Lecture 5. Amsterdam: SOURCES , an Initiative of the MEDIA program of the European Union/Dutch Ministry of Culture, 1994. Chambers, Iain. Mediterranean Crossings: The Politics of an Interrupted Modernity. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2008. Gana, Nouri, ed. The Making of the Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013. Grell, Jacques, Rachid Toumi, and Hatteb Sedkaoui. Les XVIe et XVIIe siècles pour la quatrième année de l’enseignement secondaire. Tunis: Société tunisienne de diffusion, 1969. Hanley, Will. “Grieving Cosmopolitanism in Middle East Studies.” History Compass 6, no. 5 (September 2008): 1346–67. Kahlaoui, Tarek. “The Powers of Social Media.” In The Making of the Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects, edited by Nouri Gana, 147–58. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013.

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Khélil, Hédi, ed. Le parcours et la trace: Témoignages et documents sur le cinéma tunisien. Salammbô, Tunisia: MediaCom, 2002. Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975). In Visual and Other Pleasures, 14–26. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989. Perkins, Kenneth J. Tunisia: Crossroads of the Islamic and European Worlds. Boulder, CO : Westview Press, 1986. Ruoff, Jeffrey. “The Gulf War, the Iraq War, and Nouri Bouzid’s Cinema of Defeat: It’s Scheherazade We’re Killing (1993) and Making Of (2006).” South Central Review 28, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 18–35. Sharabi, Hisham. Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Tlatli, Moufida. “Moving Bodies: Interview with Laura Mulvey.” Sight and Sound 5, no. 3 (1995): 18–20. Tomlinson, John. Globalization and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

13

Cinema of Reindividuation and Cultural Extraterritoriality: “Chinese” Dialect Cinemas and Regional Politics Victor Fan

“Chinese” cinemas, since the advent of sound, have been multilingual. Yet we often use this term uncritically to describe our object of study, despite the fact that, as Rey Chow argues, it defines an epistemological space that has been historically configured by colonialism, Orientalism and nationalism. “Chinese cinemas” thus erases contesting linguistic, cultural, ethnic, racial, geopolitical and social values that circulate under the umbrella of “China,” “Chinese,” or “Chineseness.”1 Alternative terms such as “Chinese language cinema” and “Sinophone cinema” have been proposed and debated.2 However, most models assume a priori that the various topolects and languages used in Chinese cinemas are variations of a shared linguistic root. They have yet to fully examine how the relationship between a “dialect” and its Chineseness has been constructed historically in the cinema, understood as a public sphere—a space where contesting private opinions are shared, disseminated, exchanged and negotiated.3 In my research in the history and contemporary conditions of the Hong Kong Cantonese cinema, I am especially fascinated with how a dialect cinema (a contestable term) actively reimagines the relationship between the self and the other, the regional and the national.4 In this chapter, I argue that dialect cinemas, as a form of cultural extraterritoriality, insist within Chinese cinemas as a potential force that resists the historical tendency to incorporate regional cinematic practices into a larger national imaginary. Rather, they engage themselves in a process of reindividuation by performing the failure of any state or institutional attempts to contain these linguistic practices within a national model. In the following pages, I first introduce the history of the Hong Kong Cantonese cinema and the critical debates around it. I then examine the theories that have been applied to this topic. 255

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Finally, I explicate my conceptual framework of extraterritoriality and use the film Duzhan (Dukzin/ Drug War, Johnnie To, 2013) as a case study of how contemporary Hong Kong multilingual films function as a cinema of reindividuation.

Dialect cinemas before the 1960s The term “national cinema” emerged in China in the 1920s.5 Between 1926 and 1928, the Kuomintang (KMT, aka Guomindang or Nationalist Party), under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), was engaged in the Northern Expedition in an attempt to unify the eastern seaboard. The ideologues of the KMT adopted the idea of political thinker Ch’en Kung-po (Chen Gongbo), who believed that in order to fight against colonial capitalism in the urban areas and feudalism in the rural regions, the nation should be reconceived as a production machine, and each biological life should be physically trained, educated and disciplined as a national (guomin), a mechanical component integral to the national apparatus.6 This idea was espoused by Ch’en Li-fu (Chen Lifu), head of the Central Department of Propaganda (Zhongyang xuanchuan bu, established 1924), who propounded that the state should mobilize national cinema to instill a national consciousness into individual lives.7 Between 1930 and 1937, KMT’s Nanking (Nanjing) government (1927–37) set up a system of committees, departments and offices to regulate and manage film production, distribution and censorship.8 Meanwhile, Peking (Beijing)-based theater-chain owner Lo Ming-yau (Luo Mingyou) put together a merger between the China Sun (Minxin) Motion Picture Company, the China Lilium (Da Zhonghua Baihe) Film Company, the Lo Hwa (Lehua) Film Company and his own Hwa Peh (Huabei) Film Company into the United Photoplay Service or UPS (Lianhua Film Company), as a first step toward unifying the Shanghai film industry.9 Nevertheless, the news that Cantonese-language films were being produced in the Canton (Guangzhou)-Hong Kong region reached Shanghai in 1930.10 The emergence of the Cantonese film was regarded as a business challenge to the Shanghai film industry. Before the KMT promoted Mandarin as national language (guoyu) in 1932, Mandarin films could only be understood in Shanghai, Peking and other northern cities. Meanwhile, Cantonese films could be marketed in the densely populated and economically prosperous areas of Kwangtung (Guangdong), Kwangsi (Guangxi), Fukien (Fujian), Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the diasporic

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communities in North America and Europe.11 As a result, the Shanghai film industry allied with the KMT cadres to try banning the production of Cantonese films, with the excuse that dialect cinemas were detrimental to nation building. In spite of such an accusation, studio executive Runje Shaw (Shao Zuiweng) moved his Shanghai company Unique (Tianyi) to Hong Kong, renamed it the South Sea (Nanyang) Film Company, and produced the Cantonese feature Bai Jinlong (Baak Gamlung or White Golden Dragon, 1934). In response, Lo Ming-yau, Star’s executive Zhou Jianyun, and other Shanghai filmmakers started a series of media tirades against the Cantonese films, accusing them of being coarsely made and excessively produced (cuzhi lanzao). Nonetheless, the Kwangtung-Kwangsi region was a semi-autonomous republic under the leadership of Hu Hanmin, whereas Hong Kong was a British Crown colony. The KMT and the Shanghai film industry could do very little to control the situation.12 The death of Hu Hanmin in May 1936 finally allowed KMT ’s Central Department of Propaganda to send representatives to Canton to prepare for the ban. In response, Cantonese filmmakers, led by Runje Shaw and director Lee Fa (Li Hua), established the Association of Rescuing the Cantonese Film (Huanjiu Yuepian lianhe xiehui or Waangau Jyutpin lyunhap hipwui). Shaw, Lee, and other filmmakers went to Shanghai and Nanking to meet Lo Ming-yau, Zhou Jianyun, Ch’en Li-fu and other KMT ideologues in order to convince the government to postpone the ban. Shaw and Lee argued that before Mandarin could be widely understood and spoken in the Kwangtung-Kwangsi region and the diasporic communities, Cantonese cinema was a much more effective tool to promulgate national consciousness.13 For the Shanghai filmmakers and the KMT cadres, a nation is a centralized production machine managed by the state. Meanwhile, for the Cantonese filmmakers, a nation is a conglomeration of communities that speaks different languages and embraces different sociopolitical beliefs, and the cinema is a public sphere where contesting notions of communal belonging are negotiated. Such disagreement on how a nation should be defined has since then become a determining factor in the way Cantonese cinema is positioned vis-à-vis the larger national imagination. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), the Central Studio (Zhongyang zhipianchang) in Chungking (Chongqing) sent filmmakers Tsai Chu-sang (Cai Chusheng) and Situ Huimin to Hong Kong to advocate the South China national defense cinema (Huanan guofang dianying). Yet, despite the effort, period drama, folktale films, gods and demons films, horror films, and erotic films dominated the Cantonese market.14 After 1945, leftwing filmmakers who either worked under the sponsorship of the Chinese Communist Party

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(CCP ) or had socialist tendencies still considered the Cantonese film an inferior cultural practice. However, around 1950 and 1951, the CCP decided not to take the sovereign authority over Hong Kong and advocated the use of the Cantonese film as an educational tool to promote “soft” socialist thoughts. The establishment of the Union Film Enterprise (Zhonglian dianying gongsi or Zunglyun dinjing gungsi) in 1953, a cooperative operated by Cantonese filmmakers and actors, helped shape leftwing Cantonese cinema into a social-realist art form until the production of Cantonese film was halted by a recession in the 1960s.15

Theorizing multilingualism in “Chinese” cinemas The gradual recession of the Cantonese film industry in the 1960s inspired film critics to problematize the term “Chinese” cinemas. On October 6, 1967, Kam Ping-hing’s (Jin Bingxing) article “Zhongguo xindianying de qiwang” (“Zunggwok sandinjing dik keimong” or “My Expectations for the New Chinese Cinema”) was published in the Zhongguo xuesheng zhoubao (Zunggwok hoksaang zaubou or Chinese Students Weekly), a newspaper that features debates on politics, art, cinema and literature. Kam argues that Chinese cinema lacked any innovation not because of its “national character”—that is, cultural conservatism—but because of the limitation of industrial filmmaking and narrational codes, a problem common both in Hong Kong and Hollywood.16 Kam’s criticism implicitly rejects the idea that a national cinema should be defined by its “national character.” This inspired Lam Nin-tung (Lin Niantong) to rethink Chinese cinema as an epistemological space. Lam points out that there were three terms used in the critical discourse at the time: “national-language cinema,” “Chinese cinema,” and “Chinese-language cinema.” For him, the term “national-language cinema,” used frequently to indicate Mandarin films, denotes only one kind of film made by Chinese directors and effectively excludes Cantonese cinema as part of the national discourse. Meanwhile, the term Chinese cinema fails to address the linguistic differences among various regions and cultural spheres; it also ignores the political contention between the People’s Republic of China (PRC ) and the Republic of China (ROC ).17 Lam argues that the term “Chinese-language cinema” carries a conceptual space derived from the English word Chinese, with its ambiguous reference to language, culture or nationality. Nonetheless, for Lam, while the concept of “Chinese language” aptly describes the spoken and written language system (yuwen or

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jyuman) used in these films, it fails to account for the actual dialogue (duibai or deoibaak) spoken in them. Lam reminds his readers that the idea of the “Chinese language” is in fact a constructed linguistic system based on Mandarin, but that in lived experience, everybody speaks a regional language. Even someone from Beijing, who is supposed to be a native Mandarin speaker, would still speak the local Beijing language. The very idea of a Sinitic linguistic system that is internally coherent and unified is, for Lam, a scholastic construction.18 In 1978, Lam raised this question again in “Wushi niandai yueyu pian yanjiu zhong de jige wenti” (“Ngsap nindoi Jyutjyu pin jingau zung dik geigo mantai” or “Several Questions on the Study of Cantonese Cinema in the 1950s”), published in the film magazine Da texie (Daai dakse or Close-up). Lam argues that similar to Mandarin cinema, Cantonese cinema should be considered a direct descendent of the New literary movement (Xin wenxue yundong, 1919–21). As a result of the call for vernacularizing Chinese literature, intellectuals and writers employed regional languages in their writings before Mandarin was recognized as the standard in 1932.19 Lam considers Cantonese cinema in the 1950s as a public sphere that negotiates the unique social and political conditions of the Hong Kong working class by using its vernacular language: Most of the Cantonese films produced in the 1950s employed the Cantonese language of the masses (Huanan dazhong yu or Waanaam daaizung jyu), a vernacular Cantonese commonly used by the working class. [We must acknowledge the Cantonese filmmakers’ focus] on not only the art and culture of the masses, but also on the vernacular dialect culture and art of the working class. It was a remarkable line of development out of the New literary movement. From such a perspective, the renaissance of Cantonese cinema [in the 1950s] should be studied with our attention to its [mass vernacularism].20

Lam’s theorization of the Cantonese cinema presaged the debate on Chinese cinemas that has taken hold in Euro-American film studies since the 1990s. A major contention against the national cinema model is that the very concept of the nation state has been historically a Euro-American construction. Its applicability in the studies of Chinese cinema is often questionable, as notions such as nationality, ethnicity, linguistic formation and cultural discourse have been in various processes of contestation under Euro-American colonialism, on the one hand, and on the other, under Chinese nationalism as a discourse and sociopolitical force constantly responding to colonialism and postcolonialism.21 Chris Berry argues that the term “national cinema” is often taken as a preconceived

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notion that assumes a collective agency, which then performs its constitutive power on a cinematic practice: Drawing on theories of the performative, I will argue that the making of “China” as national agency is an ongoing, dynamic, and contested project. In a paradoxical fashion . . . the complex significations of the cinema participate in the constitution of “China” as national agency by signifying the existence of this collective entity prior to the very statements that constitute them. However, the variety of such significations itself belies their frequent significations of “China” as singular, essential, and naturalized, revealing instead not that “China” is a nonexistent fiction but that it is a discursively produced and socially and historically contingent collective entity. In this sense, it is not so much China that makes movies, but movies that help to make China.22

In the same volume, Rey Chow argues that Chineseness is constructed by Sinologists as a fantasy of difference, first as the Other, as posited under the Eurocentric gaze and epistemological system, then as the exceptional, as asserted by Chinese scholastic and popular nationalistic discourses. Drawing from an observation by Haun Saussy, Chow argues that such a myth of exceptionalism has been taken for granted as an epistemological space in which fantasies are described, analyzed and understood as realities.23 The terms “Chinese cinema,” “Chinese national cinema,” and “Chinese language cinema” therefore implicitly accept the constitutive power of the term “China” (or “Chinese”) as a historically and sociopolitically naturalized entity, and its otherness with respect to Hollywood or even European cinemas. When these terms are pitted against the term “dialect cinema,” the idea of the Chinese language as a scholastic construction vested with the political power of constituting subjectivity is effectively “put under erasure.”24 In this sense, Shumei Shih argues that the construction of Chineseness is not only a nationalistic reaction against Euro-American colonialism, but also a legacy of the Qing Empire’s (1644–1911) colonial conquests in its “frontier” states (such as Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia), its settler colonialism in Southeast Asia, and the construction of a belief that migrants who have been en route to North America, South America and Europe are ultimately rooted in China as a social, cultural and linguistic homeland.25 Shih suggests a replacement of the term “Chinese” in Chinese studies by “Sinophone,” derived from the linguistic term “Sinitic-Tibetan language” and modified by European colonial and postcolonial concepts of Francophone and Anglophone spheres. It indicates our object of study as a construction, made out

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of a history of Chinese and Euro-American colonialism, an active discourse of migration, settlement and self-redefinition, and processes of resistance in some cases, and integration in others. It “takes as its objects of study the Sinitic-language communities and cultures outside China as well as ethnic minority communities and cultures within China where Mandarin is adopted or imposed.”26 Sinophone studies can therefore be understood as a scrutiny of the very process of negotiation between a Mandarin hegemony and the constitutive and constituting forces that configure both the communities under pressure and the hegemonic power itself. Shih’s notion of the Sinophone takes the idea of the Sinitic language system as a given, but also demands that we remind ourselves of the historical and sociopolitical constructedness of such a concept. In literary studies, such conceptual tension is well instantiated since Shih’s initial object of study is the spoken and written language (yuwen). The difference between the written script and its enunciation in literature is precisely the locus along which such tension is negotiated. Yet, as Lam Nin-tung argues, in the cinema, language is always already enunciated as dialogue. Throughout its history, Cantonese cinema has put into question the very sense of belonging of Cantonese to the Sinitic linguistic system by reminding its viewers of the failure of any attempt to reduce it to a Sinitic script.27

From theory to practice I have recently used the term “cultural extraterritoriality” to theorize Hong Kong cinema’s relationship with the larger national configuration.28 The term “extraterritoriality” has its historical roots in a juridical mistranslation between the Qing Empire (1644–1911) and the Euro-American nation-states. According to the Qing codes, individuals had the right to be judged in court in accordance with the law of the ethnic or geopolitical communities to which they belonged. When two individuals from different communities were judged, a mixed court (huishen) would be set up. Meanwhile, from the seventeenth century onward, European juridical theorists believed that “Oriental” empires practiced legal systems that were fundamentally incompatible with European law. Hence, they demanded that European citizens have the right to be judged by the laws of their respective nation states. When the United States demanded this in the Treaty of Wanghia (Wangxia), the Qing court defined it as the right to be judged in a

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mixed court (huishen quan), whereas the European nation states considered such rights a colonial privilege.29 Legal historians Pär Cassel and Teemu Ruskola argue that European colonialism in coastal China took the form of a complex and disorganized system of extraterritorialities, which effectively eroded Chinese sovereignty.30 Mutually conflicting extraterritorial rights were, in fact, the basis of what Shih would call China’s semicolonialism: trading ports in late Qing and Republican China (1911–49) were characterized by competing and fragmented legal systems, administrations, linguistic formations, cultural discourses and economic privileges.31 I argue that the result is the configuration of an extraterritorial consciousness: a social, cultural and economic consciousness doubly or multiply occupied by conflicting notions of identities and senses of belonging, each putting the other “under erasure.” The “extra” in extraterritoriality does not indicate outsideness; rather, it refers to the contesting and mutually incompatible notions that one is posited both outside the larger national entity—or even, because of those colonial privileges and pleasures one enjoys or used to enjoy, “above” the national community—and inside the sovereign authority which one finds alienating.32 Cultural extraterritoriality, I propose, can help us rethink, rehearse and reconfigure the conflicting political affects, the senses of belonging and alienation, that have shaped not only the postwar generations of Hong Kongers, but also the post-1997 tension between Mainland China and Hong Kong. Extraterritorial cinema performs the failure of the national imagination as a constitutive force when used on subjects that maintain this inside-outside relationship with the sovereign state. However, as Thomas Elsaesser suggests, failure should not be understood negatively; rather, as cinema instills sensorial stimulations into the sentient bodies of the spectators, it offers an opportunity for conflicting political affects to be grafted onto these bodies as lived experiences, thus encouraging spectators from sociopolitically conflicting communities to rehearse these failed experiences and work toward mutual understanding.33 Hong Kong cinema has been legally defined by the PRC as “foreign films,” which are subject to importation quota for theatrical release. In 2003, the Beijing government signed the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA ) with the special administrative region governments of Hong Kong and Macau, thus allowing coproductions between Mainland and Hong Kong companies to be considered domestic. While CEPA allows Hong Hong-based productions to receive Hollywood-standard studio funding and resources, they are also

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subject to the market demands and censorship of the PRC . Hong Kong film scholars and critics often complain that post-CEPA coproductions led to the “Mainlandization” of Hong Kong cinema in its aesthetics, political message, narrational style, and social values, while Mainland scholar Yang Yuanying also believes that the challenge for post-CEPA productions is the need to find a kind of narrative that could negotiate the conflicting sociopolitical beliefs within the Mainland and Hong Kong communities, respectively.34 Linguistically, many Hong Kong filmmakers toy with multilingualism as a tool to open up a discursive space. For example, Drug War, which appeared in a Mandarin version in the Mainland, was released in Hong Kong in a bilingual version in which Hong Kong actors spoke Cantonese. The result is an uncanny sense of narrative incongruence, with Cantonese-speaking characters speaking Cantonese to Mandarin speakers as though they could understand each other without any interlocutor. This practice is highly unusual in mainstream Chinese-language cinemas, and was first attempted by Ang Lee in E’hu canglong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000), where actors from different Sinophone communities around the world spoke Mandarin in their respective accents. It was used again in Peter Chan’s Wuxia (Dragon, 2011, in Sichuanese and Mandarin) and Wong Kar-wai’s Yidai zongshi (Jatdoi zungsi/The Grandmaster, 2013, in Cantonese and Mandarin). Both of them are Mainland-Hong Kong coproductions directed by Hong Kong filmmakers in which the linguistic incongruence among characters highlights the cultural plurality and the regional conflicts within “China” as a national space. However, these individual dialect-speaking characters do have an interlocutor: the dialect-speaking spectator. In fact, the process of interlocution is built into the narrative itself. In Drug War, Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) is a drug dealer from Hong Kong, who is arrested by Mainland officer Zhang Lei (Zhang Honglei) after an explosion in Timmy’s meth factory. In order to avoid getting the death sentence, Timmy agrees to cooperate with the Mainland police. As I argue elsewhere, Drug War dramatizes and negotiates the conflict between two homines sacri—bare lives that stand outside the law, and can therefore kill or be killed as animal lives without breaking the law. In this sense, Timmy, as a drug dealer, stands outside the law of the PRC by breaking it, but also outside the protection of the law of Hong Kong (based on the British colonial law). He can therefore be managed, controlled, used, and eventually executed as an animal life. Meanwhile, Zhang Lei also occupies a position outside the law in order to enforce it; a position from which he can manage, control, use, and eventually,

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execute Timmy by means that would otherwise be considered illegal. In the film, state power is made sensible by a constant threat that Timmy could at any time be executed by the law of the PRC , and that Zhang Lei would exercise the authority bestowed on him by the sovereignty to rein this Hong Konger into the law of the land.35 Linguistically, before he meets his Hong Kong cohorts toward the end of the film, Timmy is the only character that speaks Cantonese, and he delivers his lines to his Mandarin-speaking counterparts as though there were no linguistic barrier. The unbelievability of such a situation effectively disconnects the addresser (Timmy) and the addressee (his Mandarin-speaking counterparts) in the diegesis. This narrative incongruence becomes especially remarkable when the dialogues are conveyed in the classical shot-reverse-shot structure (see Figures  13.1 and 13.2). In visual terms, the action shots in which Timmy delivers his Cantonese lines are disconnected from Zhang Lei’s reaction shots. Such linguistic and visual discontinuity requires an interlocutor who can understand both languages in order to reconnect and suture them into an imaginary whole.36 As a consequence, in one register, the Cantonese-speaking spectator would reconnect these fragmented conversations into a believable reality, but in another register, they become hyperaware of their in-between-ness in a

Figure 13.1 Timmy speaks to someone off-screen (supposedly Zhang Lei) in Cantonese. Duzhan (Dukzin/Drug War, Johnnie To, 2013).

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Figure 13.2 Zhang Lei speaks to someone off-screen (supposedly Timmy) in Mandarin. Duzhan (Dukzin/Drug War, Johnnie To, 2013).

linguistic environment that mirrors their lived experience—as a speaker of a minoritized language who insists as a symptom within a pressurizing linguistic, and by extension, social, cultural and political hegemony.

From extraterritoriality to individuation If the individuality and subjectival autonomy of a Hong Konger has again and again been compromised in a top-down process of sociopolitical integration, economic partnership and linguistic erosion, what these extraterritorial films do is engage the spectators in a process of reindividuation. This is not a process in which one becomes an individual again like one used to be before the boundary between the self and the other was eroded or even effaced. Rather, as Gilbert Simondon suggests, the process of reindividuation is more like putting a rock candy back into a saturated solution in order to allow it to recrystallize. It acknowledges the ontogenetic connection between the candy and the solution, yet with such acknowledgment, the new crystal form (the reindividuated rock candy) acquires different critical points, shapes, forms, sense of space, as well as material density.37 In Drug War, and in fact throughout the history of the Cantonese film, the spectator is at once absorbed into a negotiating process with a Mandarin-speaking hegemony (the

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saturated solution), and engaged into an active process of verbal and visual interlocution through the Cantonese soliloquies and monologues. This gives rise to a process in which the spectator begins to take a new shape and form with a renewed awareness as an individual who constantly instantiates and performs the failure of any kind of sociopolitical imaginary unity. In this sense, the Cantonese cinema, as one of the many dialect cinemas that practice multilingualism under the hegemonic national and Mandarin discourse, is both a form of cultural extraterritoriality and a process of cinematic reindividuation.

Notes 1 Rey Chow, “On Chineseness as a Theoretical Problem” (1998), in Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader, ed. Brian Bernards, Shu-mei Shih, and Chien-hsin Tsai (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 43. 2 Sheldon H. Lu and Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, “Introduction: Mapping the Field of Chinese-Language Cinema,” in Chinese Language Film: Historiography, Poetics, Politics, eds., Sheldon H. Lu and Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005), 1–5; Chien-hsin Tsai, “Issues and Controversies,” in Bernards, Shih, and Tsai, eds., Sinophone Studies, 17–18. 3 Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere. An Encyclopedia Article” (1964), trans. Sara and Frank Lennox, New German Critique, no. 3 (Autumn 1974): 49; Miriam Hansen, “The Mass Production of the Senses: Classical Cinema as Vernacular Modernism,” Modernism/Modernity 6, no. 2 (April 1999): 59–77. 4 See, for example, Victor Fan, “CEPA qianhou Xianggang dianying duiyu Gangren yuwai yishi de jiaoshe” (Negotiating Extraterritorial Consciousness in Hong Kong Cinema Before and After CEPA ), Dianying yishu (Film Art), no. 356 (2014): 24–31; Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015), 153–94. 5 Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 156–57; Zhiwei Xiao, “Constructing a New National Culture: Film Censorship and the Issues of Cantonese Dialect, Superstition, and Sex in the Nanjing Decade,” in Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922–1943, ed. Yingjing Zhang (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 184. 6 Ch’en Kung-po (Chen Gongbo), “Muqian zenyang jianshe guojia ziben” (How do we build up our national capital now?), in Chen Gongbo xiansheng wenji (Anthology of essays written by Master Ch’en Kung-po) (Hong Kong: Yuandong tushu gongsi or Jyundung tousyu gungsi, 1967), 38–66; Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 46, 81–82; Fan, “The Cinema of Sun Yu: Ice Cream for the Eye . . . But with a Homo Sacer,” Journal

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8 9

10 11

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of Chinese Cinemas 5, no. 3 (2011): 222–23; Margherita Zanasi, “Chen Gongbo and the Construction of a Modern Nation in 1930s China,” in Nation Work: Asian Elites and National Identities, ed. Timothy Brook and André Schmid (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), 125–58. Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 46; Fang Zhi, “Zhongyang dianying shiye gaikuang” (An Overview of Central’s Film Business), in Zhongguo dianying nianjian: 1934 (China film year book: 1934), ed. Zhongguo jiaoyu dianying xiehui (National Educational Cinematographic Society of China or NECSC ) (Beijing: China Radio and Television Publishing House, 2008), 555–56; Matthew Johnson, “International and Wartime Origins of the Propaganda State: The Motion Picture in China, 1897–1955” (PhD diss., University of San Diego, 2008), 83–156. Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 44–45; Fan, “The Cinema of Sun Yu,” 228; Johnson, “International and Wartime Origins of the Propaganda State,” 83–156. Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 45; Fan, “The Cinema of Sun Yu,” 220; Anon., “Lianhua dashi ji” (“U.P.S. Events”) in Lianhua nianjian: Minguo 22–24 nian (U.P.S. Year Book: 1933–34) (Shanghai: United Photoplay Service, 1935), 12–18. Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 156–57; Zhiwei Xiao, “Constructing a New National Culture,” 184. Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 158; Yao Dehuai, “ ‘Guifan Putonghua’ yu “Dazhong Putonghua” ’ (“Regulated Putonghua” and “Mass Putonghua”) Yuwen jianshe tongxun (Language Construction News), no. 57 (October 1998). Anon., “Xue yu Nanyue Gongsi hezuo guocheng baogao” (“Sit jyu Naamjyut Gungsi hapzok gwocing bougou” or Report on the Collaboration between Sit Kok-sin and South China), Youyou (Jaujau), no. 2 (August 18, 1935), n.p.; Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 159–61; Xiao, “Constructing a New National Culture,” 185. Anon., “Qiao Gang shenshang jiaoyu xinwen gejie hezu Huanzhu Yueyupian lianhe hui” (“Kiu Gong sansoeng gaaujuk sanman gokgaai hapzou Wunzo Jyutpin lyunhap wui” or Gentry, Businessmen, Educators, and Journalists in Hong Kong Put Together the United Association for Rescuing Cantonese Cinema), Ling xing (Ling Sing) 7, no. 15 (June 26, 1937): 8; Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 160–61; Lee Fa (Li Hua), “Shang Jing qiangjiu Yueyu pian lizhan Hu yingshang jingguo” (“Seong Ging cinggau Jyutjyu pin likzin Wu jingseong gingguo” or The Nanking Visit: How We Fought against the Shanghai Studio Executives in Order to Save the Cantonese Film), Ling Sing, no. 203 (1937): 2–4; Sung Kim-chiu (Song Jianchao), “Yuepian you sannian huanjin shuo” (“Jyutpin yau saamnin wungam syut” or The Ban against the Cantonese Film May Be Postponed for Another Three Years), Yilin (Art Lane), no. 9 (July 1937), n.p.; Xiao, “Constructing a New National Culture,” 187–90. Anon., “Dianying qingjie yundong” (“Dinjing cinggit wandung” or Film Cleansing Movement), Diansheng zhoukan (Dinsing zouhon or Movietone) 4, no. 41 (October 11, 1935): 1015; Anon., “Pumie shenguaipian! Pumie Hanjian!” (“Pokmit sangwaaipin!

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18 19

20 21 22

23 24 25 26 27 28 29

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Pokmit Hongaan!” or Eliminate the Gods and Demons Film! Eliminate the Traitors!), Ling Sing 8, no. 14 (August 15, 1938): 1; Anon., “Wuhu! Shenguaipian” (“Wufu! Sangwaaipin” or Alas! Gods and Demons Films!), Ling Sing 8, no. 14 (August 15, 1938): 2–3; Anon., “Yueyu pian zhengming yundong” (“Jyutjyu pin zingming wandung” or Rectification of the Cantonese Film Movement), Ling Sing 7, no. 15 (June 27, 1937): 2; Fan, Cinema Approaching Reality, 161–62; Maautou (Maotu), “Suowei yingpian qingjie yundong” (“Sowai jingpin cinggit wandung” or So-called Film Cleansing Movement), Youyou (Jaujau), no. 10 (November 15, 1935): 9. Anon., “Wu Chufan tan Yuepian” (“Ng Chofaan taam Jyutpin” or A Talk on Cantonese Cinema by Ng Cho-fan), Zhonglian huabao (Zunglyun waabou or Union Film Pictorial), no. 8 (April, 1956): 8–9. Kam Ping-hing (Jin Bingxing), “Zhongguo xindianying de qiwang” (“Zunggwok sandinjing dik keimong” or My Expectations for the New Chinese Cinema), Zhongguo xuesheng zhoubao (Zunggwok hoksaang zaubou or Chinese Students Weekly), no. 794 (October 6, 1967): 11. Lam Nin-tung (Lin Niantong), “You guoqing xiangqi de Hanyu dianying, fangyan dianying” (“Jau gwokhing soenghei dik Honjyu dinjing, fongjin dingjing” or From National Day to Chinese-language Cinema, Dialect Cinema), Zhongguo xuesheng zhoubao (Zunggwok hoksaang zaubou or Chinese Students Weekly), no. 794 (October 10, 1969): 10. Ibid. Lam, “Wushi niandai yueyu pian yanjiu zhong de jige wenti” (“Ngsap nindoi jyutjyu pin jingau zung dik geigo mantai” or Several Questions on the Study of Cantonese Cinema in the 1950s), Da texie (Daai dakse or Close-up), no. 59 (1978): 2. Ibid., 3. Chow, “On Chineseness,” 45–46. Chris Berry, “If China Can Say No, Can China Make Movies? Or, Do Movies Make China? Rethinking National Cinema and National Agency,” Boundary 2 25, no. 3 (Autumn, 1998): 131. Chow, “On Chineseness,” 45–46; Haun Saussy, The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 27, 31. Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie (1967; repr. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1997). Shu-mei Shih, “Introduction: What Is Sinophone Studies?,” in Bernards, Shih, and Tsai, eds., Sinophone Studies, 11–14. Shih, “Introduction,” 11, Shih’s emphasis. Lam, “From National Day to Chinese-Language Cinema,” 10. Fan, “Extraterritorial Cinema: Shanghai Jazz and Post-War Hong Kong Mandarin Musicals,” The Soundtrack 6, nos. 1–2 (2013): 38. Pär Kristoffer Cassel, Grounds of Judgment: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012),

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33 34

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39–62, 85–114; Fan, “CEPA qianhou Xianggang dianying duiyu Gangren yuwai yishi de jiaoshe,” 24; Fan, “Extraterritorial Cinema,” 38; Teemu Ruskola, Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2013), 152–235. Cassel, Grounds of Judgment, 39–62, 85–114; Ruskola, Legal Orientalism, 152–235. Shih, The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917–1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 34–35. Fan, “CEPA qianhou Xianggang dianying duiyu Gangren yuwai yishi de jiaoshe,” 25; “Extraterritorial Cinema,” 38–39; Thomas Elsaesser, “Real Location, Fantasy Space, Performative Place: Double Occupancy and Mutual Interference in European Cinema,” in European Film Theory, ed. Temenuga Trifonova (New York: Routledge, 2009), 47–61. See Fan, “The Unanswered Question of Forrest Gump,” Screen 49, no. 4 (Winter 2008): 460–61. Chen Yun-chung and Mirana M. Szeto, “Mainlandization and Neoliberalism with Post-colonial and Chinese Characteristics: Challenges for the Hong Kong Film Industry,” in Neoliberalism and Global Cinema: Capital, Culture, and Marxist Critique, ed. Jyotsna Kapur and Keith Wagner (New York and London: Routledge, 2011), 239–60; Yang Yuanying, ed., Beijing Xianggang: Dianying hepai shinian huigu (Beijing, Hong Kong: A Ten Year Retrospect of Coproduction) (Beijing: Zhongguo dianying chubanshe, 2012), 10–24. Fan, “Cultural Extraterritoriality: Intra-Regional Politics in Contemporary Hong Kong Cinema,” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (2015), forthcoming; Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1995), trans. Daniel HellerRoazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). Kaja Silverman, “ ‘Suture’ excerpts” (1983), in Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader, ed. Philip Rosen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 219–35. Thomas LaMarre, “Afterword: Humans and Machines,” in Muriel Combes, Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual, trans. Thomas LaMarre (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2013), 84–85.

Works cited Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1995). Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998. Anon. Huanghou dianying (Wonghau dingjing or The Queen’s Theatre Gazette), no. 511 (December 1930a): 1.

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Anon. Zhongyang Xiyuan Shengguang zhoukan (Zungyoeng Heijyun Singgwong zauhon or Central Theater Weekly) 1, no. 28 (December 14, 1930b). Anon. “Xianggang yingtan zhi weilai guan” (“Hoenggong jingtaan zi meiloi gwun” or The Future of Hong Kong Movie Theaters). Xiyuan zazhi (Heijyun zaapzi or The Theatre Guide), no. 2 (February 1, 1932): 11–12. Anon. “Xue yu Nanyue Gongsi hezuo guocheng baogao” (“Sit jyu Naamjyut Gungsi hapzok gwocing bougou” or Report on the Collaboration between Sit Kok-sin and South China). Youyou (Jaujau), no. 2 (August 18, 1935): n.p. Anon. “Dianying qingjie yundong” (“Dinjing cinggit wandung” or Film Cleansing Movement). Diansheng zhoukan (Dinsing zouhon or Movietone) 4, no. 41 (October 11, 1935): 1015. Anon. “Lianhua dashi ji” (“U.P.S. Events”). In Lianhua nianjian: Minguo 22–24 nian (U.P.S. Year Book: 1933–34), 12–18. Shanghai: United Photoplay Service, 1935. Anon. “Qiao Gang shenshang jiaoyu xinwen gejie hezu Huanzhu Yueyupian lianhe hui” (“Kiu Gong sansoeng gaaujuk sanman gokgaai hapzou Wunzo Jyutpin lyunhap wui” or Gentry, Businessmen, Educators, and Journalists in Hong Kong Put Together the United Association for Rescuing Cantonese Cinema). Ling Sing 7, no. 15 (June 26, 1937): 8. Anon. “Yueyu pian zhengming yundong” (“Jyutjyu pin zingming wandung” or Rectification of the Cantonese film movement). Ling Sing 7, no. 15 (June 27, 1937): 2. Anon. “Pumie shenguaipian! Pumie Hanjian!” (“Pokmit sangwaaipin! Pokmit Hongaan!” or Eliminate the Gods and Demons Film! Eliminate the Traitors!). Ling xing (Ling Sing) 8, no. 14 (August 15, 1938a): 1. Anon. “Wuhu! Shenguaipian” (“Wufu! Sangwaaipin” or Alas! Gods and Demons Films!). Ling Sing 8, no. 14 (August 15, 1938b): 2–3. Anon. “Wu Chufan tan Yuepian” (“Ng Chofaan taam Jyutpin” or A Talk on Cantonese Cinema by Ng Cho-fan). Zhonglian huabao (Zunglyun waabou or Union Film Pictorial), no. 8 (April, 1956): 8–9. Berry, Chris. “If China Can Say No, Can China Make Movies? Or, Do Movies Make China? Rethinking National Cinema and National Agency.” Boundary 2 25, no. 3 (Autumn, 1998): 129–50. Cassel, Pär Kristoffer. Grounds of Judgment: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Ch’en, Kung-po (Chen, Gongbo). “Muqian zenyang jianshe guojia ziben” (How do we build up our national capital now?). In Chen Gongbo xiansheng wenji (Anthology of Essays Written by Master Ch’en Kung-po), 38–66. Hong Kong: Yuandong tushu gongsi or Jyundung tousyu gungsi, 1967. Chen, Yun-chung, and Mirana M. Szeto. “Mainlandization and Neoliberalism with Post-colonial and Chinese Characteristics: Challenges for the Hong Kong Film Industry.” In Neoliberalism and Global Cinema: Capital, Culture, and Marxist Critique,

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edited by Jyotsna Kapur and Keith Wagner, 239–60. New York and London: Routledge, 2011. Chow, Rey. “On Chineseness as a Theoretical Problem” (1998). In Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader, edited by Brian Bernards, Shu-mei Shih, and Chien-hsin Tsai, 43–56. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Derrida, Jacques. De la grammatologie. 1967; repr. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1997. Elsaesser, Thomas. “Real Location, Fantasy Space, Performative Place: Double Occupancy and Mutual Interference in European Cinema.” In European Film Theory, edited by Temenuga Trifonova, 47–61. New York: Routledge, 2009. Fan, Victor. “The Unanswered Question of Forrest Gump.” Screen 49, no. 4 (Winter 2008): 450–61. Fan, Victor. “The Cinema of Sun Yu: Ice Cream for the Eye . . . But with a Homo Sacer.” Journal of Chinese Cinemas 5, no. 3 (2011): 219–51. Fan, Victor. “Extraterritorial Cinema: Shanghai Jazz and Post-War Hong Kong Mandarin Musicals.” The Soundtrack 6, nos. 1–2 (2013): 33–52. Fan, Victor. “CEPA qianhou Xianggang dianying duiyu Gangren yuwai yishi de jiaoshe” (Negotiating Extraterritorial Consciousness in Hong Kong Cinema Before and After CEPA ). Dianying yishu (Film Art), no. 356 (2014): 24–31. Fan, Victor. Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015a. Fan, Victor. “Cultural Extraterritoriality: Intra-Regional Politics in Contemporary Hong Kong Cinema.” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 1, no. 3 (2015b): 389–402. Fang, Zhi. “Zhongyang dianying shiye gaikuang” (An overview of Central’s film business). In Zhongguo dianying nianjian: 1934 (China film year book: 1934), edited by Zhongguo jiaoyu dianying xiehui (National Educational Cinematographic Society of China or NECSC ), 555–89. Beijing: China Radio and Television Publishing House, 2008. Habermas, Jürgen. “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article” (1964). Translated by Sara and Frank Lennox. New German Critique, no. 3 (Autumn 1974): 49–55. Hansen, Miriam. “The Mass Production of the Senses: Classical Cinema as Vernacular Modernism.” Modernism/Modernity 6, no. 2 (April 1999): 59–77. Johnson, Matthew. “International and Wartime Origins of the Propaganda State: The Motion Picture in China, 1897–1955.” PhD dissertation. University of San Diego, 2008. Kam Ping-hing (Jin, Bingxing). “Zhongguo xindianying de qiwang” (“Zunggwok sandinjing dik keimong” or My Expectations for the New Chinese Cinema). Zhongguo xuesheng zhoubao (Zunggwok hoksaang zaubou or Chinese Students Weekly), no. 794 (October 6, 1967): 11. Lam, Nin-tung. “You guoqing xiangqi de Hanyu dianying, fangyan dianying” (“Jau gwokhing soenghei dik Honjyu dinjing, fongjin dingjing” or From National Day to Chinese-language Cinema, Dialect Cinema). Chinese Students Weekly, no. 794 (October 10, 1969): 10.

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Lam, Nin-tung (Lin, Niantong), “Wushi niandai yueyu pian yanjiu zhong de jige wenti” (“Ngsap nindoi jyutjyu pin jingau zung dik geigo mantai” or Several Questions on the Study of Cantonese Cinema in the 1950s). Da texie (Daai dakse or Close-up), no. 59 (1978): 2–5, 47–51. LaMarre, Thomas. “Afterword: Humans and Machines.” In Muriel Combes, Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual, translated by Thomas LaMarre, 79–108. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2013. Lee, Fa (Li, Hua). “Shang Jing qiangjiu Yueyu pian lizhan Hu yingshang jingguo” (“Seong Ging cinggau Jyutjyu pin likzin Wu jingseong gingguo” or The Nanking Visit: How We Fought against the Shanghai Studio Executives in Order to Save the Cantonese Film). Ling Sing, no. 203 (1937): 2–4. Lu, Sheldon H., and Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh. “Introduction: Mapping the Field of ChineseLanguage Cinema.” In Chinese Language Film: Historiography, Poetics, Politics, edited by Sheldon H. Lu and Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, 1–24. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2005. Maautou (Maotu). “Suowei yingpian qingjie yundong” (“Sowai jingpin cinggit wandung” or So-called Film Cleansing Movement). Jaujau, no. 10 (November 15, 1935): 9. Ruskola, Teemu. Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2013. Saussy, Haun. The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993. Shih, Shu-mei. The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917–1937. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001. Shih, Shu-mei. “Introduction: What Is Sinophone Studies?” In Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader, edited by Brian Bernards, Shu-mei Shih, and Chien-hsin Tsai, 1–16. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Silverman, Kaja. “ ‘Suture’ excerpts” (1983). In Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader, edited by Philip Rosen, 219–35. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. Sung, Kim-chiu (Song, Jianchao). “Yuepian you sannian huanjin shuo” (“Jyutpin yau saamnin wungam syut” or The Ban against the Cantonese Film May Be Postponed for Another Three Years). Yilin (Art Lane), no. 9 (July 1937): n. p. Tsai, Chien-hsin. “Issues and Controversies.” In Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader, edited by Brian Bernards, Shu-mei Shih, and Chien-hsin Tsai, 17–24. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Yang, Yuanying, ed. Beijing Xianggang: Dianying hepai shinian huigu (Beijing, Hong Kong: A Ten Year Retrospect of Coproduction). Beijing: Zhongguo dianying chubanshe, 2012. Yao, Dehuai. “ ‘Guifan Putonghua’ yu “Dazhong Putonghua” ’ (“Regulated Putonghua” and “Mass Putonghua”). Yuwen jianshe tongxun (Language Construction News), no. 57 (October 1998).

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Xiao, Zhiwei. “Constructing a New National Culture: Film Censorship and the Issues of Cantonese Dialect, Superstition, and Sex in the Nanjing Decade.” In Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922–1943, edited by Yingjing Zhang, 183–99. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. Zanasi, Margherita. “Chen Gongbo and the Construction of a Modern Nation in 1930s China.” In Nation Work: Asian Elites and National Identities, edited by Timothy Brook and André Schmid, 125–58. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

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Politics

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Empire, Language, and Nationhood: Japanese Colonial Cinema in Korea and Manchuria Kate Taylor-Jones

At its zenith in 1942, the Japanese Empire was a vast, multinational, multiethnic and multilingual structure that covered over 7,400,000 square kilometers and contained nearly six percent of the world’s total population. Unique as the only non-Western empire of modern times,1 the Japanese Empire began with the cession of Taiwan in 1895. It rapidly expanded to include Karafuto/Sakhalin (colonized in 1905); Korea (colonized in 1910 after a period as a “protectorate”); German Micronesia (colonized in 1914); and Manchuria, also known as Manchukuo (transformed into a protectorate in 1931).2 Japan’s initial success in the Pacific War would also see Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and British Malaya come under Japanese rule. This chapter examines the specific cinematic application and engagement of the language laws and ideologies of this imperial period. Throughout the Japanese imperial period, cinema was utilized as “a vehicle for disseminating images and ideologies of Empire”3 across the controlled territories. The mechanisms of the Empire’s engagement with the multiplicity of languages in its territories, and the consequences of these approaches, can be charted within the films that were produced during this period. The Empire, however, was not a monolith, and this chapter examines the differences between two of the largest and most important Japanese territories: Manchuria and Korea. The distinction between colonialism and imperialism is important to highlight at this juncture. In basic terms, colonialism refers to practices (conquering of land, exploitation of resources and so on), while imperialism refers to the (political, economic, but also ideological) ideas driving these practices. The Japanese Empire was both colonial and imperial in nature, and it is essential to evaluate and examine the different territories with this in mind. Because Japan’s relationship to Manchuria was imperial rather than colonial, the linguistic approach adopted by Japan in 277

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this territory differed from that present in Korea, which had been an official colony since 1910 (and a controlled territory since 1876). Multilingualism for many is a positive term: the ability to converse and engage across linguistic boundaries speaks to the current popular global ethos of connectivity. In the moment of Empire, however, the notion of multilingualism becomes imbued with different and often negative systems of meaning and modes of articulation. Japanese language education came hand-in-hand with the move toward Empire and was a key marker in Japan’s development from a rural and closed society to a modern imperial power in under fifty years. Compulsory education was implemented in Japan throughout the 1870s following the Meiji Restoration (1868) and focused on the standardization of Japanese. Regional dialects were strongly discouraged, and the languages of the Ainu and the Ryukyuans (ethnic groups living in northern Japan and Okinawa) were actively repressed and nearly eradicated.4 The “official” Japanese that emerged from this period was heavily (and often violently) promoted across the Imperial territories,5 and language policies were closely interlinked with the Empire’s approach to the assimilation and integration of non-Japanese colonial and imperial subjects. As Carol O’Sullivan has recently argued, language in the cinema (both written and spoken) exists as both a “signifying code or vehicle and always an object of representation.”6 Cinematic language is therefore an institution “deeply embedded in multiform relations of power,”7 and in the colonial or imperial movement, a benchmark of the dominant discourse. Cinema in the Japanese territories would be influenced not only by the language of production, but also by the linguistic forms that it would be asked to present and support. New terms and their correspondent ideologies, such as Tōa renmei (East Asian League), Tōa kyōdōtai (East Asian Community), Dao-Tōa Kyōeiken (Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere), gozuku kyōwa (five ethnic groups living in harmony) and Hakko Ichiu (All Eight Corners of the World under One Roof), had not previously existed in the popular lexicon. Even the very name Manchuria/Manchukuo was a creation from this period: a translation of the Japanese word Manshū, it was seen as so loaded with symbolism that it would be rejected in China after the decline of the Japanese Empire. While language issues were present in all aspects of the Japanese Empire, cinema, as a key visual and auditory medium, was a site where the language debate became highly visible, forcing the film industry to tackle head-on the language policies and laws. This emerged simultaneously with the attempt to entertain a diverse

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audience, both in Japan and in the territories it controlled, and of course, to turn a profit. Films made in the colonial/imperial moment therefore needed to elucidate and celebrate the key tenets of the Japanese imperial rhetoric while trying to be commercially successful. This chapter examines how the linguistic construction of the Japanese Empire affected production and reception, and, through a focus on specific examples from Manchuria and Korea, charts the development that emerged in the Japanese filmic language policies from 1937 to 1945. In doing so, it argues that multilingualism in colonial Korea and Imperial Manchuria was a complex and mutable issue that simultaneously supported and challenged the very ethos of the Japanese Empire.

Colonial Korea Korea was colonized in 1895 and opened to cinematic production in 1897. The Korean cinema of this period was therefore heavily intertwined with the politics of the region and cannot be extricated from Japanese influence. This does not mean, however, that a Korean cinema did not exist in its own right: although often censored, Korean cinema successfully operated throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, with a number of studios making silent films. The introduction of commercial sound in the late 1920s posed a challenge that Korean cinema struggled to negotiate, but in 1935, Lee Myeong-woo’s retelling of the classical tale of Chunhyang-jeon allowed the Korean audience to hear its own language on screen for the first time. The arrival of sound, although a great step forward in cinematic modernity, raised issues for the colonial government, particularly in relation to language policies and the continual pressure to enforce Japanese as the main language of the peninsula. Gradually, artistic freedom was eroded, and by August 1, 1940, all films in Korea came under the rigorously enforced Chosun Film Laws. Based on the 1939 Japan Film Laws, the key tenets in the legislation were designed to censor, and potentially, ban any films that were perceived to criticize Japan; Japanese symbols, such as the Emperor; or Japan’s economic, cultural, military and foreign policies. Acts perceived as potentially corrupting morals or challenging authority were also prohibited. Staff was required to register for a work card in order to be employed in the film industry, and all citizens were expected to use their official Japanese names rather than their Korean originals. All film production and distribution became consolidated under the official Chosun Film Production Company and the Chosun Film

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Distribution Corporation, and in 1942 attending “educational films” became compulsory for Korean citizens. Alongside this practical control of production, distribution and exhibition, there emerged a clear desire to eliminate “Korean-ness” from the locally produced films.8 Despite the fact that many Koreans were far from fluent in Japanese, with numerous older or less educated people unable to operate at all in the language,9 1938 saw the colony move officially from a bilingual policy to a monolingual one— including ending all mother-tongue education and threatening members of the Korean Language Research Society with arrest and jail.10 In line with this shift, the film laws demanded that all productions be conducted in the “national language” of Japanese.11 The use of “national language” (kokugo) rather than simply the “Japanese language” (nihongo) implied a vision of a united nationhood rather than an enforced shift to a second or foreign language. Assimilation entailed embracing Japanese as Korea’s “national language” rather than seeing it as a foreign language. In 1925, Aoyagi Tsunatarō, a highly influential right-wing newspaper editor, made a statement that succinctly summarizes the aims of the language policies: Our great national abilities can advance the Korean culture; they can also raise the achievement of Korean development. By creating an harmonious balance between intellectual and moral education, within 50–100 years that which is known to be Japanese-Korean will cease to exist, and we shall see on the Asian continent an intermarriage assimilation (tsūkon dōka) of perfect harmony among the peoples of the greater Japanese race.12

Films from 1936 to 1945 were all clearly developed to promote the concept of naeseon ilche (in Korean) or naisen ittai (Japanese): in other words, “Japan and Korea as one body.” This “one body” approach was in reality nothing more than an attempt to condition Koreans to become Japanese citizens (albeit second class ones), and hence to assist in Japan’s mobilization for total war. I have chosen here to engage with the fictional recruitment films that were seen in the Korean cinemas from 1941 onward. This isolation of the recruitment drive encouraging Korean citizens to join the Japanese army allows for a focus on the narratives that were being told to the Korean population about their relationship to Japan and the Empire. By 1937, the Second Sino-Japanese War was beginning to take its toll, and it was becoming clear that Japan needed more bodies on the ground. As a result of this lack, Korea became the site of manpower to feed the military machine. The volunteer program was constructed as an idealized “right” that Japan was magnanimously granting its Korean (male) citizens, an approach that was certainly in keeping with the tone of paternalistic

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love that Japan apparently felt for the nation it perceived as its less civilized and less developed colonial child. The sentiment is clearly illustrated in a 1942 article published in the Asahi newspaper: Due to the ever-strengthening trend towards the incorporation of Korea as an Imperial nation, and in response to the ardent loyalty of heart shown by Koreans, the government has decided to extend military conscription to Korea.13

In addition, by 1941 Japanese linguistic policies banned the use of the Korean language in all public spaces, including cinemas, while the heavily enforced Chosen Film Production Codes constricted all films made in Korea to be solely in Japanese, with no indication that Korea was ever a bilingual nation save for the actors’ often stilted and heavily accented rendering of Japanese lines. The recruitment films ranging from late 1940 to 1945 are therefore particularly interesting for tracing the move from bilingualism to monolingualism within the period of one year, and are ideal subjects to chart the changing linguistic policies and the tensions they raised. The first of the recruitment films, Ji-wonbyeong (Volunteer, Ahn Seok-young, 1940; released in 1941) was produced at the beginning of the military recruitment program and distributed across Korea four months before conscription was due to begin.14 With the average cinema audience numbers in 1940’s Korea equaling more than 20 million, the power and effectiveness of this mode of cinematic propaganda should not be overlooked.15 Volunteer follows the life of Chun-ho, a patriotic individual who dreams of joining the Japanese army. It takes place in the period just before Koreans were allowed to enlist and follows Chun-ho as he laments being unable to fulfil his patriotic duty and suffers from pained (and fairly homoerotic) imaginings of rows of marching soldiers parading under the Japanese flag. Chun-ho refuses to make a firm commitment to his fiancée Bun-ok and struggles to support his mother and younger sister. Finally, his dreams are realized and he is allowed to enlist in the army. Admiring of his “patriotic sprit,” his previously unsympathetic landlord agrees to help support his mother and sister, and Chun-ho leaves via a large bedecked troop train as the loving Bun-ok and his Japanese mentor wave to him. This overt propaganda piece offers a very positive spin on the collaboration and integration of Korea and Japan via military recruitment. For Chun-ho, the ability to join the military offers a chance to demonstrate his love for the Empire and his commitment to the objectives of the colonial government. The following quote from the film clearly articulates its tone and ideology (dialogue is conducted in Korean with Japanese subtitles):

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Chun-ho: The annexation is complete now but young Koreans should serve the Empire at war too. Even if we want to, we are not allowed to do so. We are not eligible. How can we really work in unity like this? Chang-sik: If such time comes are you willing to step forward? Chun-ho: Don’t you know me yet? When we were kids we swore we would walk the same path. If you become a driver in Seoul, you should serve at the front. We have our duty.

This process of extrapolation of the duties of the colonial subject was directly aimed at the audience members and was in keeping with rhetoric presented in newsreels, local newspapers and pamphlets. The dialogue also articulates the desire that the colonial subject feels for Japan in the film. Michael Baskett has adroitly labeled the Japanese Empire as an “Attractive Empire”—one that aims to inspire its citizens—and this is what is clearly being presented here. Accordingly, the language of the film, although conducted for the most part in Korean, is littered with terminology (such as naeseon ilche) related to togetherness and cooperation. Yet the film’s function as a propaganda tool also raises some key

Figure 14.1 Japanese language subtitles and Korean language merge in the Chun-ho’s patriotic speech in Ji-wonbyeong (Volunteer, Ahn Seok-young, 1941).

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issues related to the biopolitics of colonial power. There is a question of exteriority at the heart of the colonial: in short, is there an outside to power? The Foucauldian notion of power as not “something that is acquired, seized or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away,” but rather as something that is “exercised from innumerable points”16 is here helpful. The articulation of colonial power becomes one and the same as the articulation of resistance to that very power. In Volunteer, Chun-ho, as the film’s main contact point between the colonial subject and the imperial narratives, becomes the site where resistance and dominance are intertwined. Rather than presenting a united front, the film in fact highlights the tensions between kominka (Japan as a unique and superior nation) and naisen ittai/naeseon ilche, as Chun-ho’s inability to join the army, and the problems that stem from this, deliberately raise the question of the inequality inherent in the system. For the volunteer, this potentially problematic situation is easily resolved when the edict banning recruitment is lifted and he can finally join the Japanese army. Nevertheless, the question of inequality has been raised, and while it is resolved within the film itself, in the wider world the Korean audience members would have been more than aware that the inequalities presented were deeply embedded in everyday reality. The linguistic makeup of the film becomes pertinent as we see the characters move between Korean and Japanese with ease, while Japanese subtitles are provided for the large swathes of the film conducted in Korean. Yet, although the film was made before 1942 (the point where only Japanese could be spoken), no Korean subtitles are provided when Japanese is spoken or Japanese newspapers are shown. Volunteer therefore suggests that all citizens should be able to understand both written and spoken Japanese. A linguistic hierarchy is established where Japanese, as the perceived lingua franca, is the normative mode through which people can converse and operate. This is further consolidated by the frequent addition of Japanese terms and phrases that had become integrated into the Korean language over the period of colonization.17 Personal indicators (aite, koibito) and words such as karuma (car), kao (face), ijimeru (to bully), kaimono (to shop) are heard, as throughout other films from this period. This is accompanied by the transference of many Japanese grammar rules and lexicons (nouns, verbs, idioms) into the Korean syntax.18 Volunteer represents Korean as a secondary language (and by extension, a secondary nationality), and although the film is one of the last made under occupation to extensively feature spoken Korean, it nonetheless manifests the move toward the eradication

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of the Korean language and the radical assimilation of the Korean people as a separate entity. Prior to the enactment of the language laws, linguistic markers were one of the few ways that the audience could clearly distinguish between Japanese and Korean citizens. Physically, the two nations’ inhabitants were almost identical, so once this marker of language was removed, it would be up to the plots of the films to construct a Korean subject who spoke Japanese and had a Japanese name but was not, ironically, a Japanese citizen. Although the mostly Japanese Bōrō no kesshitai (Suicide Squad on the Watchtower, Imai Tadashi, 1943) does in fact offer a small amount of Korean, the latter’s inclusion is more telling than its absence in other films. The Korean troops are asked to speak some of “their own language” and then perform a Korean dance for their Japanese superiors; their language and culture are thus reduced to little more than an amusing party trick. This lack of Korean as a “proper” language is further emphasized via written signs (most notably the one in the school) that frequently remind the citizens to use only kokugo. Once again, the notion of Korean as a secondary and obsolete language (and by extension culture) is reinforced through the film’s diegesis. At one point, for example, the film highlights the problems with pronunciation that a young Korean boy is having while studying Japanese. This, alongside the signs encouraging the use of the national language and the focus on the need to speak Japanese correctly as a sign of a good education, makes it clear that the language policies posited the fluent knowledge of Japanese as vital to achieving success under the colonial regime. This emphasis is equally pronounced in Wakaki sugata (Portrait of Youth, Shiro Toyota, 1943; entirely in Japanese), where school and language education again play an important role in the encouragement and molding of young Korean men into upstanding Japanese citizens, while at the same time illustrating the benevolence and care of the Japanese rulers. For many politicians in Japan the importance of encouraging/forcing the colonial populations to speak Japanese was clear. In 1939, Education Minister and General Araki Sadao directly referenced Ueda Kazutoshi’s theory of language as the “spiritual blood” of Japan and expounded the belief that this blood would trickle down and help form the new Japan-led East Asian order.19 Indeed, one of the key idiosyncrasies of the recruitment films is that although assimilation is apparently the main narrative aim, there is a constant need to distinguish between the two nationalities in order to maintain a narrative of development and of the superior role of Japan. The multilingual nature of the Empire would,

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ironically, have been a great card to play in the battle to win hearts and minds entailed in Japan’s ideology of Hakko Ichiu, were it not that the imperialistic and nationalistic narrative of kominka ensured the repression of any language and culture that was not Japanese. As a result, Japan’s language policies in this period were never able to fully deal with the basic contradiction that if language was the “life-blood” and “heart” of a unique Japan and Japanese culture, what did it mean when those who were not Japanese claimed the language as their own? This tension was never resolved and the language politics of the period reflect the contradiction of maintaining a distinction between the two nationalities while encouraging their conflation into one united “Japanese” identity. Not surprisingly, the films made from 1941 onward are marked by the poor pronunciation and general lack of language fluency of many of the actors. For the Korean audience, the sheer fact of being forced to speak Japanese became a linguistic signpost of its own repression, while for the Japanese audience it provided a further indication of the lack of sophistication of the Empire’s Korean citizens. In this way, language itself became an unacknowledged marker of colonial suppression rather than colonial assimilation, highlighting difference rather than eradicating it. The subaltern is denied a voice, denied the right to speak, except in the words of the colonizer. Not surprisingly, language education also became a tool through which the colonial subject was placed into the role of child at the instructive hands of the father. An illustrative example of this can be found in Byeongjeongnim (Dear Soldier, Baek Un-Haeng, 1944), one of the last films made during the war period, in which no Korean is spoken. Dear Soldier follows a group of young recruits who have been drafted into the army as they train with their Japanese commanders, and finally, depart for the Chinese Front.20 The extract below is taken from a scene in which a young solider returns home to visit his sick father and makes the decision to address his village about the positives of military life. When I first entered the army, our sergeant and commander told me that an army squad is like a home to its soldiers. According to my experience it is. The commander is my father, the major my mother, the lieutenant my brother, our sergeant my sister. I even learned to wipe myself in the toilet from my sergeant. I’m not joking. I had to learn how to protect myself from getting a contagious disease. If you follow the orders of your superior officers and do your best at the tasks given to you, military life is neither strict nor difficult . . . so don’t worry, and go and get yourselves examined. Be proud to enlist. And parents, you can rest assured and send your precious sons to the Army.

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As the above quote illustrates, the alignment of the Korean troops with infants and children is made clear throughout the film. The inability to care for one’s own bodily functions and the requirement of instruction in this area is an ideal means of inscribing the Korean body as a site of masculine lack. In Japan, Korean masculinity was subordinate in both a literal and theoretical sense. Korean men were denied access to the central components of masculinity—that is, patriarchal power and authority—and reduced to the status of infants, politically, legally, socially and verbally. The repression of language and the suppression and denigration of Korean customs resulted in a Korean masculinity that was unable to define itself in any positive light except in relation to the Empire. Yet the bodily and cultural separation that marked everyday colonizer/ colonized relations could, as the military recruitment films show, be eradicated in the embrace of the imperial military uniform. Joining the army could forge a path to equality between Japanese and Korean men. Yet if we observe the films’ linguistic aspects, it becomes clear that this equality was a fallacy. Rather than presenting Korean subjects who were active in their engagement, the language politics of the later films resulted in subjects who were nothing more than imitations of a notion of the Korean subject—a subject without a name and without original voice. The aim of the volunteer films, and indeed, of the Korean Film Laws more broadly, was to produce a normative linguistic, aesthetic and cultural template that could be applied across the wider Korean cultural frames. To this end, films such as Dear Soldier were heavily restricted in their subversive potential, but they did, via their very failure, enable the creation of what Louis Althusser has termed “the bad subject”: that is, the subject “who sees though the interpellative function of ideology and begins to counter-identify with it.”21 In Dear Soldier, the Korean subject is denied an authentic voice while masquerading as an idealized citizen. These films therefore function as an elucidating text on the loss of language just as a language is being spoken. While the language is fluent, the accents are not. They thus serve only to further remove the Korean subjects from the role (of loyal Japanese citizens) that they are being asked to undertake. This leads to an “undermining (of) the intended ideological and historical determination of [the subject’s] identity,”22 to quote Mpalive-Hangson Msiska, and allows us to see the “unveiling of the very real terms by which the colonial truth is constituted.”23 The film therefore presents a symbolic distance between inside and outside, naichi (homeland) and gaichi (colonies), reality and delusion; in short, between Korea and Japan.

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Imperial Manchuria While attempts to eradicate the colonial Korean language were made under the name of assimilation, a different approach was required for the imperial territories. Although Manchuria was entirely controlled by the Japanese, it was in fact not a colony in the traditional sense, but officially a civilian nation-state that was specifically articulated as “independent” for a variety of political reasons. Though highly nationalistic in approach, the Japanese Empire had kept at its heart the notion of East Asian cooperation as justification for the imperial project, and various terms were utilized over the years to try to capture this desire for togetherness. The East Asian league (Tōa renmei) and the East Asian Community (Tōa kyōdōtai) were gradually formed into the well-promoted ideology of the Dao-Tōa Kyōeiken or Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere. The narrative of Manchuria as an “independent” state with its own ruler (the puppet monarch Puyi), working hand-in-hand with Japan to build a new and successful modern country, was exactly what the Japanese Imperial system wished to present to Western powers. This in no way meant that Japan was willing to let areas of East Asia refuse its “friendship” and leadership, or that it in any way refuted Japanese ideals about the country’s clear superiority over the rest of Asia, but it did complicate the relationship that was supposed to exist between Japan and Manchuria. In Manchuria, as in Korea, cinema would be seen as a key means by which to present the Empire’s objectives, but industrial and artistic development would play a much more crucial role than it did in the Korean context. Films from this region hoped to be more than just propaganda: they also sought to raise the bar in terms of entertainment and to challenge the domination of Hollywood across the wider Asian sphere. The Manshu Eiga Kyokai (Manchukuo Film Association Ltd, henceforth Man’ei) was based on the UFA , Hollywood and Cinecittà models of vertically integrated production, distribution and exhibition, and was thus more than a typical propaganda unit. Man’ei was founded in 1937 as a joint venture between the Manchukuo government and the South Manchurian Railway company, and its named Head, Amakasu Masahiko, was determined to create a studio that would be the most modern in Asia. The territory itself was a complex one. As Prasenjit Duara suggests, Manchuria was a transnational phenomenon, a site where several imperial powers nourished ambitions for political hegemony. The invasion of China proper in 1937 (until which time Japan had restricted herself to Manchuria) saw the commencement

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of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and Manchuria became the key supply base for the Japanese offensive. Mass immigration from Japan to Manchuria (ensuing from the promotion of Manchuria as an inhabitable space that could compensate for Japan’s own lack in these terms), would result in increasing tensions between the local inhabitants and the new settlers. Although the regime in Manchuria was undeniably brutal, the aim, unlike in Korea, was not to completely assimilate the local population. The approach in Manchuria was premised on the integration of the Chinese community, with Japan controlling the region’s vast land and potential resources; in short, on the creation of obedient citizens rather than necessarily loyal ones. In a further divergence from its Korean policies, Japan never legislated an official language for Manchuria. Japanese here was seen more as a possible goodwill lingua franca—kyōeiken-go or coprosperity language—that would unite everyone under the auspices of the coprosperity sphere. Although idealized as harmonious, language was thus, in fact, a clear point of tension. The very ideological concept of Gozuku kyōwa (five ethnic groups living in harmony) itself indicated the problem: the prospect of five languages living in accord would seriously struggle if no common method of communication could be established. People’s ability or inability to communicate with each other was a problem that the film industry would have to cope with, and would become one of the key barriers to coproductions between Chinese and Japanese studios. Language too would become a site of tension as Chinese was often poorly rendered by Japanese actors, and even in those cases where a fluent Chinese speaker could be found, the films’ narratives would seek to offer controversial representations of Chinese nationals. Manchuria was as much a fictive ideal as it was a reality, and quickly became a focal point for the development of a new national culture that operated in line with the narratives of togetherness and pan-Asian development. Duara notes: “Culture, as produced in the new nationalism, represented an important and novel form of knowledge to address problems generated by the divergence of imperialism and nationalism.”24 This culture, which was first envisioned and then promoted, rested on the construction of a hierarchical cultural sphere, with Japan at the top and the Japanese language as the dominant mode of communication, and the other languages of the region (Chinese and Korean) “relegated to semi-colonial status.”25 This contradiction was further exacerbated by the fact that the positive vision of Manchuria, whose landscape held a particular place in Japanese popular imagination as a wide space of romance, excitement and opportunity, was marred by the often-vehement racism that

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many Japanese people felt toward the region’s inhabitants. Despite Japan’s great designs for Manchuria, violence, murder, repression, rape, and economic and cultural marginalization were rife across the territory. One of the key players in this proposed national narrative was Yamaguchi Yoshiko/Ri Kōran. Born to Japanese parents in Manchuria and fluent in Chinese, she was the leading star of Man’ei during the 1930s and 1940s, and is certainly one of the most widely discussed and debated stars of this period in global scholarship.26 Ri Kōran operated across cinematic boundaries, and her films were screened across Japan and its colonies. Linguistically, she was a living symbol of the Empire’s desire for transnationalism, and indeed, her very name changed in accordance with the territory she was working in. She was variously known as Li Xianglan or Li Hsiang-lan (China), Ri Kōran (the Japanese pronunciation of her Chinese name) and Yamaguchi Yoshiko. She would later work in the United States as Shirley Yamaguchi. In Yamaguchi’s films, multilingualism became a political narrative of imperialism (through her promotion of Japanese imperial ideologies), vaguely disguised as collectivism and collaboration: in short, she was there to sway hearts and minds toward acceptance of the Japanese Empire. Yet, despite the nature of the films she starred in, Yamaguchi was tremendously popular with Chinese audiences. Her Chinese was so fluent that after the war she would be tried as a collaborator until her Japanese identity could be clearly proven. She was also an acclaimed and very popular singer (and is to date within the Chinese territories), and many of the songs from her films gained commercial success and enduring popularity. Significantly, though films in this period often contained both Chinese and Japanese, bilingual stars were few and far between—a lack that Yamaguchi herself would later comment on.27 The tremendous differences between spoken Chinese and Japanese resulted in poorly rendered, often-incomprehensible Chinese that frequently appeared comical to Chinese audiences, while in Japan the similar lack of appeal for badly rendered Japanese meant that home-grown stars were seen as bigger box-office draws than any Chinese actor. In the light of these limitations, Yamaguchi held great value in both economic and ideological terms, and functioned as a symbol of “borderless fantasy” in an idealized construction of an East Asian state.28 As Shelley Stephenson notes, she operated as a “colonizer passing for colonized,” and as a result, “her border-crossing mobility and variable identity elicited a utopic Greater East Asia imaginary where national boundaries and the ethnic and linguistic markings were erased.”29 This borderless fantasy was not, of course, without tension.

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Nessa no chikai (Vow in the Desert, Watanabe Kunio, 1940) is unusual in that the Japanese workers’ lack of communication skills and their basic inability to engage with their Chinese counterparts are illustrated as negative and potentially problematic. The film focuses on two brothers, Ichiro and Kenji, both engineers, who move to China to focus on the development of the Mainland Chinese infrastructure. The love interest Ho-ran (Yamaguchi) serves as a key narrator and reflector of the benefits that alignment and cooperation with Japan will bring. Language in the film oscillates between Chinese (spoken by the workers and occasionally Ho-ran) and Japanese. A key moment occurs when Ichiro is shot and killed: surrounded by Chinese workers with whom he cannot communicate, Kenji comments “If only I could speak their language, I could make myself understood.” The road is saved by Ho-ran who, as a bilingual subject, rushes outside and communicates Kenji and Ichiro’s message of “peace” and their desire to develop China into a modern nation. Albert Memmi’s argument that the colonizer is as trapped as the colonized has resonance here: although the inability to function inside a multilingual environment is shown as a logistical and ideological problem for the imperial subject, the narratives of superiority that so marked the Japanese “right” and “need” to be in Manchuria resulted in a limited desire to learn and adapt to China, leading to tremendous resentment and conflict between Japanese and Manchurian citizens. Yamaguchi frequently acts as a translator in the fantasy of cooperation, and yet her very presence as a platform for inter-cultural communication points to the problems inherent with the Empire. She alternates between being an active agent of assimilation and an object to be assimilated, and it is her flux between these two that allows her role as interpreter to illuminate the power structures at the very foundation of the imperial moment. As Abé Mark Nornes notes, in the act of translation the “inter-cultural nexus is surging with the flux of power as well, and the translator is caught in the spotlight.”30 Indeed, Yamaguchi’s very presence opens up the problematics of assigning static categories to all the participants operating in Manchuria. In Vow in the Desert, Yamaguchi functions as an agent of assimilation, her language skills allowing the Japanese engineers to communicate their desire to help improve Chinese infrastructure; in Yingchun hua (Winter Jasmine, Yasushi Sasaki, 1942), she literally acts as a translator and agent of cultural communication as she teaches her Japanese lover some key phrases and helps him to understand Manchuria. It is telling, however, that when her lover actually tries out some of the phrases on a local rickshaw puller, his pronunciation renders him unintelligible.

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There is a sense that for the Japanese citizen, China and its languages will remain ultimately unknowable, and thereby, relegated to a symbolic realm rather than being integrated into the discourse of Empire in any meaningful way. This notion of China as a symbol is most clearly illustrated in the goodwill films, in which Yamaguchi operates as a symbolic entity whose sole purpose is to be assimilated. Shina no yoru (China Nights, Osamu Fusmitzu, 1940), Soshū no yoru (Soshu Nights, Hiromasa Nomura, 1941) and Byakuran no uta (Song of White Orchid, Kuio Watanabe, 1939) all maintain a clear notion of the Chinese people (personified by Yamaguchi) overcoming their initial hostility and gradually understanding the “true” nature and intentions of the Japanese Empire. In China Nights, one of the most notorious of the continental trilogy, Yamaguchi plays the role of Keiran, a young orphan Chinese girl who, initially portrayed as “a real Japanese hater,” is transformed once she sees the love and care that is given to her by Hase, a Japanese naval officer. In Soshu Nights, she plays the head of an orphanage who reverts from her anti-Japanese stance once she sees the care a Japanese doctor devotes to the local population. And in Song of

Figure 14.2 Yamaguchi as cultural translator in Soshū no yoru (Soshu Nights, Hiromasa Nomura, 1941). When the local Japanese doctor is injured she realizes his “true intentions” toward the Chinese people.

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White Orchid, she plays an initially pro-Japanese singer who, after a series of miscommunications with her Japanese lover, is persuaded to join the Chinese guerrillas by her brother. Ultimately, of course, she rejoins her Japanese lover and they die side-by-side defending Japanese interests from the Chinese insurgents. In all of these cases, the translator is placed at the heart of the imperial narrative: through her ability to transcend linguistic barriers, Yamaguchi opens up the discourse to both sides of the spectrum. This opening between the Chinese and Japanese citizens shuts down the closed circuit that the imperial propaganda machine hoped to tell. Although the goodwill films were often insulting to China, they became more than the sum of their parts, and ultimately failed as propaganda. Michael Baskett has commented that because of the struggle Man’ei had in balancing success and ideology, the messages that the goodwill films were giving “had an ambivalence that opened them up to a variety of possible readings.”31 In line with this potential for alternative readings, Yiman Wang has noted the films’ affective power, not just as propaganda, but also as sites of entertainment, romance and escape. Focusing on their musical aspects, Wang observes that music “was so elevated that it was seen as an art form that would potentially outlive and transcend.”32 Through the linguistics of the musicals, language itself became not the site of repression, but rather a means by which the structures of imperialism could be put on show, ultimately allowing for multiple possibilities of reinforcing, derailing or reconstituting political discourse.33 In this way, Yamaguchi’s borderless linguistic crossing allows for the emergence of a debate on the specific context of its production and dissemination. The colonizer and the colonized are caught in the same nexus of political power; the translator, personified by Yamaguchi, becomes the symbol through which this discourse is played out, rather than a means to circumvent it.

Notes 1 Ramon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie. The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895–945 (Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1987), 6. 2 Please see later sections on the exact definitions under which Manchuria was occupied and controlled. 3 James Chapman and Nicholas J. Cull, Projecting Empire: Imperialism and Popular Cinema (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 1. 4 Four out of the six Ryukuan languages have been labeled as “definitely endangered” while the other two are deemed “critically endangered” by UNESCO.

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5 Chen Ping, “Policy on the Selection and Implementation of a Standard Language as a Source of Conflict in Taiwan,” in Language Planning and Language Policy: East Asian Perspectives (Richmond: Routledge Curzon 2001), 95–110; Akiko Matsumori, “Ryukyuan. Past, Present and Future,” in Multilingual Japan, ed. John C. Maher and Kyoko Yashiro (Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 1995), 19–45. 6 Carol O’Sullivan, Translating Popular Film (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 17. 7 Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “The Cinema After Babel: Language, Difference, Power,” Screen 26, nos. 3–4 (May 1985): 35–58. 8 Karashima Takeshi quoted in Brian Yecies and Ae-Gyung Shim, Korea’s Occupied Cinemas, 1893–1948: The Untold History of the Film Industry (London and New York: Routledge, 2011), 133. 9 See Sonia Ryang, “Inscribed (Men’s) Bodies, Silent (Women’s) Words: Rethinking Colonial Displacement in Koreans in Japan,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 30, no. 4 (1998): 3–15. 10 Nonetheless, the Korean Language movement—in short, the desire to speak and promote the Korean language in its own right—was one of the few nationalist movements that enjoyed support from nearly the entire Korean population. See Choong Soon Kim, A Korean Nationalist Entrepreneur: A Life History of Kim Songsu, 1891–1955 (New York: SUNY Press, 1998), 93. 11 Broadly, we can see nihongo to be the neutral term to describe the Japanese language. Nihongo is used to describe the language as it is taught as a second language or to foreigners “whilst kokugo is the language taught to Japanese people in Japanese schools.” From the “Translators notes” in Lee Yeoun-suk, The Ideology of Kokugo, translated by Maki Hitano Hubbard (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i press, 2010), xv. 12 Aoyagi quoted in Mark Caprio, Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009), 115. 13 Asahi Shinbun (May 10, 1942). 14 Yecies and Shim, Occupied Cinemas, 121. 15 Samcheolli (January 1941) quoted in Yecies and Shim, Occupied Cinemas, 163. 16 Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge (London: Penguin, 1979), 94. 17 M.J. Ree, The Doomed Empire: Japan in Colonial Korea (Aldershot: Ashagate, 1997), 58–59. 18 See Kumatani, Akiyasu, Kaihōsen chōsengo ni taisure nihongo no gengo kanshō, Bunka Kunkyū 6 (1991), 215–65; and Rhee, The Doomed Empire, 58. 19 Wakako Higuchi, The Japanese Administration of Guam, 1941–1944 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2013), 133. 20 As the war continued past 1942, the recruitment drive went from volunteer to compulsory and a draft system was implemented.

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21 Althusser, Lenin, 115–124. 22 Msiska, “Genre: Fidelity and Transgression in the Post-Colonial African Novel,” in Locating Postcolonial Narrative Genres, ed. Walter Goebel and Saskia Schabio (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), 78. 23 Ibid., 78. 24 Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, 17. 25 Annika A. Culver, “Manchukuo and the Creation of a New Multi-ethnic Literature: Kawabata Ysunari’s Promotion of Manchurian Culture, 1941–1942,” in Sino-Japanese Tranculturation, ed. Richard King, Cody Poulton and Katushiko Endo (Lanham, MD : Lexington Books), 192. 26 See note 41 for a list of just a few of the English language studies. Key Japanese studies include Yomota Inuhiko’s Ri Kōran no higashi (Tokyo: Tokyo Saigaku Shuppankai, 2001) and Nihon no joyū (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2000). Yamaguchi herself also published several autobiographies. 27 Quoted in Michael Baskett, The Attractive Empire: Transnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008), 77. 28 See also Yiman Wang’s “Between the National and the Transnational: Li Xianglan/ Yamaguchi Yoshiko and Pan-Asianism,” IIAS Newsletter 38 (2005): 7–8; and “Screening Asia: Passing, Performative Translation, and Reconfiguration,” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 15, no. 2 (September 2007): 319–43; and Shelley Stephenson, “ ‘Her Traces Are Found Everywhere’: Shanghai, Li Xianglan, and the ‘Greater East Asian Film Sphere,’ ” in Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922–1943 (Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press, 1999), 222–45. 29 Stephenson, “Her Traces,” 242. 30 Abé Mark Nornes, Cinema Babel: Translating Global Film (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 35. 31 Michael Baskett, “Goodwill Hunting: Rediscovering and Remembering Manchukuo in Japanese ‘Goodwill Films,’ ” in Crossed Histories: Manchuria in the Age of Empire, ed. Mariko Asano Tamanoi (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005), 22. 32 Yiman Wang, “Affective Politics and the Legend of Yamaguchi Yoshiko/Li Xianglan,” in King, Poulton and Endo, eds., Sino-Japanese Tranculturation, 147. 33 Ibid., 163.

Works cited Althusser, Louis. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (1969). Translated by Ben Brewster. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001. Baskett Michael. “Goodwill Hunting: Rediscovering and Remembering Manchukuo in Japanese ‘Goodwill Films.’ ” In Crossed Histories: Manchuria in the Age of

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Empire, edited by Mariko Asano Tamanoi, 120–149. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005. Baskett Michael. The Attractive Empire: Transnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008. Caprio, Mark. Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011. Chapman, James, and Nicholas J. Cull. Projecting Empire: Imperialism and Popular Cinema. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2009. Culver, Annika A. “Manchukuo and the Creation of a New Multi-ethnic Literature: Kawabata Ysunari’s Promotion of Manchurian Culture, 1941–1942.” In Sino-Japanese Tranculturation: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the End of the Pacific War, edited by Richard King, Cody Poulton and Katushiko Endo, 189–210. Lanham, MD : Lexington Books, 2011. Duara, Prasenjit. “Why is History Antitheoretical?” Modern China 24, no. 2 (1998): 105–20. Duara, Prasenjit. Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern. Lanham, MD : Rowman and Littlefield, 2003. Foucault, Michel. History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge. Translated by Robert Hurley. London: Penguin, 1979. Higuchi, Wakako. The Japanese Administration of Guam, 1941–1944. Jefferson, NC : McFarland, 2013. Kim, Choong Soon. A Korean Nationalist Entrepreneur: A Life History of Kim Songsu, 1891–1955. New York: SUNY Press, 1998. Kumatani, Akiyasu. “Kaihōsen chōsengo ni taisure nihongo no gengo kanshō.” Nihon Bunka Kunkyū, no. 6 (1991): 215–65. Lee, Yeoun-suk. Kokugo to iu shisô: Kindai Nihon no gengo ninshiki. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996. English language edition published as The Ideology of Kokugo: Nationalizing Language in Modern Japan. Translated by Maki Hirano Hubbard. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007. Matsumori Akiko. “Ryukyuan. Past, Present and Future.” In Multilingual Japan, edited by John C. Maher and Kyoko Yashiro, 19–45. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 1995. Memmi, Albert. The Coloniser and the Colonised. London: Souvenir Press, 1974. Miura Nobutaka, ed. Tagengoshugi towa nanika (What is Multilingualism?). Tokyo: Fujiwara Shoten, 1997. Msiska, Mpalive-Hangson. “Genre: Fidelity and Transgression in the Post-Colonial African Novel.” In Locating Postcolonial Narrative Genres, edited by Walter Goebel and Saskia Schabio, 76–91. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. Myers, Ramon H., and Mark R. Peattie. The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895–1945. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1987. Nornes, Abé Mark. Cinema Babel. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. O’Sullivan, Carol. Translating Popular Film. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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Ping, Chen. “Policy on the Selection and Implementation of a Standard Language as a Source of Conflict in Taiwan.” In Language Planning and Language Policy: East Asian Perspectives, edited by Namette Gottlieb and Ping Chen, 95–110. Richmond: Routledge Curzon 2001. Ree, M.J. The Doomed Empire: Japan in Colonial Korea. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997. Ryang, Sonia. “Inscribed (Men’s) Bodies, Silent (Women’s) Words: Rethinking Colonial Displacement in Koreans in Japan.” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 30, no. 4 (1998): 3–15. Shohat, Ella, and Robert Stam. “The Cinema After Babel: Language, Difference, Power.” Screen 26, nos. 3–4 (May 1985): 35–58. Stephenson, Shelley. “A Star by Any Other Name: The (After) Lives of Li Xianglan.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 19, no.1 (Spring 2002): 1–13. Stephenson, Shelley. “ ‘Her Traces Are Found Everywhere’: Shanghai, Li Xianglan, and the ‘Greater East Asian Film Sphere.’ ” In Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922–1943, edited by Yingjin Zhang, 222–45. Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press, 2007. Wang, Yiman. “Screening Asia: Passing, Performative Translation, and Reconfiguration.” In Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 15, no. 2 (September 2007): 319–43. Wang, Yiman. “Between the National and the Transnational: Li Xianglan/Yamaguchi Yoshiko and Pan-Asianism.” IIAS Newsletter, no. 38 (2005): 7–8. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009. Wang, Yiman. “Affective Politics and the Legend of Yamaguchi Yoshiko/Li Xianglan.” In Sino-Japanese Tranculturation: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the End of the Pacific War, edited by Richard King, Cody Poulton and Katushiko Endo, 143–66. Lanham, MD : Lexington Books, 2011. Yecies, Brian, and Ae-Gyung Shim. Korea’s Occupied Cinemas, 1893–1948: The Untold History of the Film Industry. London and New York: Routledge, 2011. Yomota Inohiko. Nihon no joyū. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2000. Yomota Inohiko. Ri Kōran no higashi. Tokyo: Tokyo Saigaku Shuppankai, 2001.

15

Star Talk: Anna May Wong’s Scriptural Orientalism and Poly-phonic (Dis-)play Yiman Wang

With film’s transition to sound at the end of the 1920s, an actor’s linguistic ability and elocution skills came under increasing scrutiny by the film industry, the media and audiences. In the context of Hollywood, a foreign actor’s accent and a native English-speaking actor’s insufficient elocution skills could severely jeopardize their careers. On the other hand, actors whose careers had previously been limited by their physiognomic attributes could potentially seize the emerging talkie technology as a new opportunity if they managed to accomplish a multifaceted vocal performance. Unlike the predominantly visual understanding of one’s physiognomic attributes, which tend to essentialize these attributes and associate them with fixed character types, an actor’s vocal performance allows more flexibility in constructing different identities, which in turn facilitate multifaceted registers of audience address based on the actor and the viewer’s shifting relative positioning. A case in point is Anna May Wong, a Chinese-American stage and screen performer who ventured into screen acting in 1919 at the age of fourteen. Within less than two years, she became known to the Hollywood directors as “a pip of a type”: “We need a Chinese slave girl; send for Anna May Wong. We need a Chinese princess; send for Anna May Wong.”1 Her ability to fit into any Chinese “type,” according to the Los Angeles Times report, was attributed to her Oriental physique: “She is slender, has hands of ivory, carved as delicately as an idol’s, and her face is not made of cheeks, ears, eyes and lips, but of petals.”2 In his seminal work Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon deployed the notion of “racial epidermal schema” to diagnose the white colonial gaze directed toward black people. That is, the white discourse of the “black essence” is constructed on the premise of the pseudo-scientific assignment of meanings to black phenotypic differences.3 Similarly, we might say that a white-oriented “racial epidermal 297

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schema” meant that Wong’s social identity and star persona were ineluctably tied up with her skin color and her racialized physiognomic attributes. However, as I demonstrate in this chapter, Wong’s star image is particularly inspiring in that she strove to rupture this schema partially through her poly-phonic performance. The compulsive pigeonholing of Wong as a Chinese or a broad “Oriental” type, as dictated by the “racial epidermal schema,” disregarded her experience of being born and raised in Los Angeles, which contributed to her immersion in the jazz age ethos and her embodiment of the flapper image. Nonetheless, her Americanness, especially as inscribed in her linguistic ability, was frequently noted by American journalists—even if they ended up writing off her perceived vocal-visual incongruence as a bankable eccentricity. A 1929 report in Atlantic City Gazette summarized Wong as “an American girl with a Chinese epidermis”: the Chinese epidermis referring to her “slim ivory grace” and eyes that “are brown bamboo butterflies, glinting oriental mysteries”; and the Americanness crystallized in her “glib American speech, mannerisms and smart attire.”4 Similar befuddlement with Wong’s enigmatic composite image can be found in Walter Benjamin’s 1928 article on his meeting with Wong in Berlin. This article manifests Benjamin’s epistemological crisis on encountering the uncategorizable Wong, with “her Chinese face and American colloquialisms,” which precipitated the philosopher’s struggle for words to describe and comprehend the conundrum.5 While Euro-Americans oftentimes expressed surprise at her command of idiomatic English (and for the British audience, her Californian accent—more on this later), her lack of Mandarin Chinese was seen as a linguistic deficiency— evidence of her inadequate Chineseness—by nationalist-minded Chinese. And the fact that her limited Taishan dialect (her ancestral language) was marred by the American accent was a source of displeasure for her father.6 Both the Western surprise at her fluent English and the Chinese discontent with her linguistic deficiency shared the same assumption of lingual-ethnic isomorphism. That is, one’s racialized physiognomy was deemed as determining one’s linguistic abilities (and even cultural and national identity). Wong’s Chinese ethnicity therefore was assumed to be an automatic guarantee of her Chinese language ability. When this linkage was broken in Wong’s English and poly-phonic performance, the journalists and audiences found themselves facing a vocalvisual mismatch—an enigma that simultaneously stemmed from and defied the reifying racial epidermal schema. Wong’s significance as an ethnic performer working within the Euro-American mainstream entertainment industry

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consisted precisely in her ability to simultaneously play into the Orientalist imaginary and to throw it into question. Her paradoxical agency congealed in the strategies of (dis)playing and dis-playing Orientalist Chineseness. By dis-play, I refer to her subtle destabilization of Orientalist stereotyping through playing it up to the degree of exposing the seams of its constructedness and contrivance, which in turn leads us to delineate and critique the ideological, formal and media-specific technological circumstances that gave rise to such reiterative acts of stereotyping. Importantly, in order to recognize Wong’s ability to affirm her agency and to dis-play through displaying her “Chineseness,” we must avoid naturalizing her power in terms of individualism, or seeing it as transcending the constraints that governed Hollywood’s race films. Instead, it is only by staying constantly vigilant about these constraints and carefully delineating Wong’s strategic negotiation with them that we may start to understand her dis-playing effect. In this light, my analysis of Wong’s performance should not be taken as originating purely from her individual decisions, but rather as the composition of forces resulting from her interactions with the overdetermined processes of media entertainment. Furthermore, I, as a viewer and film historian-critic, do not pretend to be neutral or transparent. I emphasize my own bilingual and bicultural position, and my heightened awareness of the complex power dynamic underpinning my lingua-cultural shuttling between the Sinophone and the Anglo-American spheres. This power dynamic, at once constricting and stimulating, enables me to interpret and mobilize Wong’s performance with the specific agenda of historicizing and understanding her minoritarian agency within the mainstream system. I believe that the position of minoritarian agency does not exist as a matter of fact; instead, it becomes legible and activated only through encountering and interacting with a viewer position that aims to unpack the circumstances and implications of a minority performer’s multivalent performance.

Scriptural Orientalism: the palimpsest of agency In this chapter, I unpack Wong’s performative agency as staged in her scriptural Orientalism, poly-phonic (dis)play and dis-play. By scriptural Orientalism, I refer to Wong’s Chinese handwriting, especially her autograph in Chinese characters, (part of) which was also sometimes stitched into her outfit as a decorative detail.

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Her Chinese autograph, mostly addressed to non-Chinese-speaking Westerners, was not expected to be understood semantically. Instead, it figured as an enigmatic sign that evoked the inscrutable Oriental Other, thereby ostensibly reinscribing the Orientalist fantasy. On closer analysis, however, Wong’s self-Orientalization performed a subtle double entendre that enabled a subversive move. Salient examples can be found in her last silent film, Piccadilly (E.A. Dupont, 1929), produced by British International Pictures (BIP ). In this film, Wong plays a working-class Chinese girl, Sho Sho, who is initially employed in a scullery, but successfully makes her way up to the dance floor as an Oriental attraction (or what her contract calls an “eccentric dancer”) in the trendy Piccadilly Club. The upward mobility soon leads to her doomed affair with the white club owner, which results in her death. Three moments in the film demonstrate what I call “scriptural Orientalism.” The first is when Sho Sho writes down the name of a Chinese shop where she wants her dance costume procured. A close-up shot reveals her writing Chinese characters in the classic vertical order; then a cut to a medium shot shows her looking at the club owner, realizing his white Otherness is excluded by the Chinese script. A tolerating smile on her face, her hand on the edge of the frame motions to cross out the script; another cut to a close-up shows her hand scribbling on the pad, gradually revealing the English words. Finally, we are

Figure 15.1 Piccadilly (E.A. Dupont, 1929).

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presented a close-up shot juxtaposing the English writing (left) with the Chinese script crossed out, yet still legible (right). The image of the writing pad evokes Freud’s palimpsest, modeled on the mystic writing pad. While the previous writing is (partially) removed to make space for the newer writing, the removed past remains permanently engrained in one’s memory. In the close-up shot of the page, the juxtaposition of two languages (one crossed out, the other present) literally stages their copresence and mutual entanglement. The Chinese script, crossed out due to its inaccessibility to the Western eye, remains visible and partially legible. It is visible as a mark of Wong’s “Chineseness,” which she and her character apparently flaunt to pander to the Western viewer’s Orientalist expectations. It is also legible for those who know Chinese (even if such viewers were not the film’s intended audience at its release). This insider knowledge enables the Chinese-speaking viewer’s special rapport with Wong, instigating the shared pleasure of recognizing themselves as belonging to the same minority group that not only understands the “inscrutable” code, but can also play, display, even dis-play it. Furthermore, the juxtaposition visualized Wong’s self-translation, from the enigmatic Chinese to the intelligible English. This translation process encapsulated the premise of her identity performance across the racial/ethnic and national boundaries. To appeal to the white audience, her performance hinged on constant negotiative self-positioning, offering variant points of audience identification and fascination across geopolitical and historical distance. In this sense, her Chinese writing did not signal an essentialist racial/ ethnic identity, but rather one of the positions she strategically adopted and performed, through which she differentially addressed her transnational audiences of varying lingua-cultural, racial/ethnic and national backgrounds. In other words, her self-translational writing highlighted her flexible interstitial positioning, which she maneuvered for maximum effects. A specific form of Wong’s Chinese writing is her Chinese signature, which is captured in close-up twice in the film: first in the contract that her character, Sho Sho, signs as the formally employed “eccentric dancer” in Piccadilly Club; then, in the greeting card that she sends to the white dancer whom she threatens to replace. In both cases, Wong the actress signs, in Chinese characters, her real Chinese name “Huang Liu Shuang,” which has nothing to do with her character’s name, Sho Sho (although this English name does also appear in the greeting card next to Wong’s Chinese name). In my 2005 article on Anna May Wong’s screen passing in the form of “yellow yellowface” performance, I argued that Wong’s

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smuggling of her Chinese name into the film apparently reifies her perceived “Chineseness,” but that the indexical signature actually “inscribes her agency into the film in two ways: first by acknowledging her personal presence in the film via the proxy of Sho Sho, and second, and more important, by metaphorically authoring the entire film.”7 To further develop this argument, I maintain that Wong’s agency by no means signals individualist free will. There is no doubt that her role and narrative function were constrained by the overall Orientalist film culture and the broader sociopolitical ambience. Yet such ideological overdetermination could not and must not preclude moments of dis-play, including rupture, subversive and perverse gestures; nor should it forestall our against-the-grain interpretations. Based on the fact that Wong’s Chinese signature is not specified in the shooting script, we may deduce that it might have been Wong’s own decision to insert her Chinese name into the contract, and the film.8 The deliberate conflation of the performer with the character accentuates their analogous career trajectories from humble entertainer to overnight star: just as Wong moved from the United States to Europe, so Sho Sho ascends from the scullery to the dance floor. Wong’s signing Sho Sho’s contract in her own name also echoes the film contracts she had signed with the European film studios. This extra-diegetic and metacinematic allusion enables her to stake her authorship of the film by literally planting her signature in it. This authorship consists not simply in being (i.e., Wong being Sho Sho on account of their reified Chineseness), but rather in performing; that is, Wong uses her name to highlight her presence independent of Sho Sho’s, and it is her performative agency and strategies that bring Sho Sho into being. Arguably, Wong’s authorship claim could be legible even to her non-Chinesespeaking audience, insofar as her autographed publicity photos, which featured her name in both Chinese and English, were widely circulated in Europe and America. Thus, while the non-Chinese-speaking audience may not have recognized the three Chinese characters, it may nonetheless have been familiar with the autograph’s visual form as an icon associated with Wong’s selfpresentation. To that extent, Wong’s Chinese script went beyond a mere decorative inscription of the “inscrutable Orient” to become a visual icon of her name and agency presented to her transnational audiences. This point becomes abundantly clear in the close-up shot of Sho Sho’s greeting card to the white female dancer played by Gilda Gray. The card reads, “To Miss Mabel: a thought— from one who was in the kitchen. Sho Sho 黄 柳 霜.” The writing of the message

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manifests two important disjunctures and ambivalences. First, the English part (including the signature “Sho Sho”) is a generic typeface, which Wong customizes or claims as her own through her Chinese autograph. Second, the signature in the message suggests equivalence between Sho Sho and 黄 柳 霜 (or Huang Liushuang). For non-Chinese-speaking viewers who encountered Wong’s Chinese name for the first time, this equivalence could be taken at face value. But for those who were familiar with her Chinese autograph (either visually or semantically), including her non-Chinese-speaking colleagues and audiences, the equivalence between the two names would be contingent on their complicity with its make-believe nature. Assuming Gilda Gray, the actress playing the white dancer and the recipient of the greeting card, was familiar with the visual form of Wong’s Chinese name, her reading of the card would likely be profoundly divided. Diegetically, she could read the card as Sho Sho’s; extra-diegetically, her knowledge of Wong’s Chinese autograph would remind her of Wong the performer behind the role, which could then puncture the diegetic illusion. If Gilda Gray can be taken as a stand-in for non-Chinese-speaking viewers familiar with the visual form of Wong’s signature, then her divided experience of the written message may well have been paralleled in the experience of Wong’s fan audience as well. Wong’s scriptural Orientalism became still more elaborated and multifunctional when she wore off-screen outfits that had her Chinese autograph stitched into them (especially in the collar area and the hat), and also when she offered to write “your name in Chinese” for ten cents during China’s war relief campaign. Undoubtedly, Wong cashed in on the Chinese script’s picturesque appeal, converting it into an ornament with which to embellish her outfits, while deploying it as part of her performative identity. However, her offer to write other (presumably Western) names in Chinese suggested a more specific political move—her support for China’s war against Japanese invasion, which started fullscale in 1937. The event of advertising Chinese writing by translating Western names into Chinese characters raised the American public’s consciousness of the war in China. Meanwhile, it also created a publicity occasion for Wong while enabling her to symbolically raise funds for China war relief. Wong’s selfconscious scriptural Orientalism, therefore, was staged both on and off the screen and the stage, and it took on different functions at different historical conjunctures.

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Linguistic cosmopolitanism and poly-phonic performance: from (dis)play to dis-play Wong’s de-essentializing identity performance developed further in her polyphonic (dis)play and dis-play both on the screen and on the stage. This enabled her to challenge racial epidermal determinism by presenting a composite identity that differentially addressed her transnational audiences. Encountering constant comments on her visual-vocal mismatch, Wong strategically turned this perceived discrepancy into an idiosyncratic brand of cosmopolitanism, or what I call linguistic cosmopolitanism. She achieved linguistic cosmopolitanism in two ways: by expanding her language repertoire, and by undertaking polyphonic performance on the screen and the stage. The exceptional opportunity for Wong to expand her linguistic repertoire and to venture into different media formats (from film to theater) and media technologies (from the silent to the talkie era) coincided with her first European tour. While the occasion prompting her departure from the United States to Berlin in 1928 might initially have seemed inconsequential (she received a one-picture contract with a German studio, for a film based on Schmutziges Geld, specially written for her by the German novelist Karl Vollmöller), this occasion soon snowballed into multiple films and plays in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Austria, all featuring her as the leading star. This unexpected stardom was partially related to the emerging “Film Europe” project triggered by the transition to sound. “Film Europe” brought European studios to work together across national boundaries in order to stave off the Hollywood onslaught.9 For this purpose, the studios needed to cultivate stars that commanded border-crossing appeal, while also investing in multiple language versions of the same narrative, using crews and casts of different national backgrounds. Wong’s arrival in Berlin in 1928 proved to be an important opportunity for the “Film Europe” project. Promoted as an ethnic Chinese with the flair of an American flapper, Wong felicitously yoked together the traditional and the modern, the exotic and the familiar, the East and the West. This composite identity was further enhanced by her linguistic cosmopolitanism and poly-phonic performance, transforming her into a polysemous star of versatile appeal. Her best known linguistic accomplishment was learning German in order to play the lead role in her first talkie, Hai Tang (Flame of Love, Richard Eichberg, 1930), shot in three language versions—German, French and English. For the German version, she also performed the theme song, “Einmal kommt das

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Wunder der Liebe.” Prior to making this talkie and shortly after arriving in Berlin in 1928, Wong wrote in a September 26 letter to Carl Van Vechten—a New Yorkbased photographer with whom she maintained a decades-long correspondence relationship—that British International Pictures had finally decided to make the new talkie in England’s Hollywood, Elstree, while she was “speaking German like nobody’s business” in preparation for the film.10 Wong describes learning German as “mastering what formerly seemed like an impossibility,” and notes that this linguistic accomplishment surprised even herself.11 In an interview published in the German film magazine Mein Film shortly after the premiere of Hai Tang, Wong was reported as addressing the interviewer in “delightfully chatty German with an English accent,” while her German in the film was lauded as “graceful, understandable and good.”12 Another Mein Film interview, which came out after the release of the French version of Hai Tang, described Wong as “the most Parisian of all women,” self-consciously stressing the importance of a pleasant feminine voice and physical appearance: “For a start, she should be pleasing to the eye, then the ear, through the melodious sound of her speech and laugh, though these won’t be disruptive if she’s prudent. Finally, a woman should smell like flowers.”13 This statement, reportedly made by Wong, seemingly embraces the ideology of decorative femininity, and encourages the myth of Oriental femininity. However, Wong’s hyperbolic rhetoric, combined with the methodical “recipe” for femininity, conjures an ironic tone that evokes the myth of femininity only to deconstruct it by enumerating the hard (and nearly nonsensical) work required for its construction and maintenance. Nevertheless, this appeal to hard work recast Wong as a diligent and motivated professional performer, which countered her naturalized feminine image, and further challenged the perception that her charm was simply based on her seemingly ready-made Oriental identity. The report humorously foregrounded this aspect, describing Wong as a hard worker, “learning the [French] vocabulary and lines for her role” under a French teacher whose “mean, displeased look through her horn-rimmed pince-nez” instantly put an end to the interview. The reporter further played up Wong’s determination to study the difficult language by stating “There’s nothing Chinese in [French] words, and thus it’s completely foreign to her.”14 This comment, intentionally funny, problematically rehearsed the habitual reference to Wong’s Chinese heritage, while ignoring her American upbringing and the fact that her native language was English, not Chinese. Nonetheless, the report did effectively accentuate (if only through Orientalist dramatization) Wong’s linguistic cosmopolitanism, that is, her

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versatility and work ethic in adapting to her ever-shifting environment in order to rise up to the challenge and best take advantage of emerging work opportunities. Beyond language acquisition, Wong also demonstrated linguistic cosmopolitanism by improving her elocution for different media formats and media technologies as well as paying attention to different pronunciation systems of the same language. In one interview, Wong vividly recalled her trepidation in uttering her very first German word in Hai Tang, stating that, unlike one’s visual performance in a silent film, which could be quite faithfully transmitted through a close-up shot, the emerging talkie technology produced unpredictable sound effects on one’s vocal performance. Hence, she emphasized, the importance of perfecting one’s pronunciation and modulation.15 Pronunciation and elocution had already emerged as key issues in March 1929, when she performed in her first play, The Circle of Chalk, with Laurence Olivier at London’s New Theatre. Wong was selected as the female lead for the stage play based on her photo in the press release of her last silent film, Piccadilly. However, the transition from silent film acting to stage acting proved to be as much a challenge as the transition from silent to sound film. While London reviewers mostly affirmed her physical acting (including her lotus dance), which could be appreciated in a similar vein to her silent film performances, they severely criticized the shockingly Californian accent that, according to one reviewer, incongruously fell from her “Celestial lips.” The same reviewer further described her voice as “an undistinguished one, clipping words, leaving many of them almost inaudible. She got no variety into the long speeches.” He concluded that Wong “was at her most effective when silent,” and that he would return to her dance “as a real experience.”16 Interestingly, Wong’s accent also drew fire from an American critic, who lashed out at her for ruining the Orientalist fantasy by destroying lingua-ethnic isomorphism: “Her voice is guttural and uncultivated in comparison to the lightness and delicacy of her bodily makeup. Instead of a high bell-like quality with a slight Oriental accent, she has the tone quality of a middle western high school girl. Anna in the talkers will not be the same as Anna of the silent screen.”17 Such criticism derived from two factors. First, as discussed earlier, the racial epidermal schema led the Anglo-American reviewers to see Wong’s combination of American English speech and Chinese looks as vocal-visual incongruity, which inconveniently deflated the dramatic illusion. Second, Wong’s lack of elocution training made her ill-adapted to theater and talkie performance. Encountering these ideological and medium-related difficulties, Wong strategized to effectively

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resuscitate her career and further expand her transnational appeal. As she recalled in a 1931 interview shortly after her return to the United States, “I explained [to the British audience] I was sorry I had offended their ears and would try not to do it again. My next move was to get a coach. And that was how I happened to learn 200 guineas’ worth of English.” Wong retained the British accent for the rest of her career, for it was an “investment” she was determined to “protect.”18 Inasmuch as her adoption of the British accent pacified the critics, it is clear that they did not have a genuine desire for a realistic Chinese character who would speak a Sinitic language (instead of British English). As Wong incisively pointed out in the same 1931 interview, “since the play [The Circle of Chalk] was Chinese, even an English accent would have been out of place.”19 Thus, she exposed the Anglo-American criticism as nothing but a colonialist desire to fit her into what Ella Shohat has called a “spectacle of difference,” which reduces ethnicity to consumable pleasure rather than engaging with it in its specific historical and sociopolitical configurations.20 Herself aware of being seen as a “spectacle of difference,” Wong responded by heightening her strategic racial/ethnic identity performance, instead of simply striving to present a realistic Chinese character. The decision to adopt British English seemed to uphold Anglo hegemony. On closer analysis, however, it produced yet another visual-vocal mismatch, this time between her Chinese looks and the British accent. Since the British English rendered her difference a digestible spectacle, this newly invented visual-vocal mismatch was not only approved of by the British critics, but also instigated a successful cosmopolitan career for Wong. Moreover, this new composite vocal-visual persona, like her previously heavily criticized composite image, continued to challenge transparent racial legibility and lingua-ethno-national isomorphism. As a performative strategy, this new cosmopolitan composite persona boosted her transnational appeal while maintaining a wittily critical stance toward Anglo hegemony. Wong’s elocution training also constituted a serious engagement with performance methods required by theater and talkies. Her performance of the German theme song in Hai Tang, for instance, culminated her efforts to expand her linguistic repertoire and improve her elocution skills for her first talkie. The film opens with Wong’s solo performance of the German song “Einmal kommt das Wunder der Liebe,” initiated by the striking of a gong and some singsong-ish notes, which are then joined by a melodious voice that delivers the song in German, evoking the nineteenth-century Lieder tradition. Disembodied at the opening of the film, the singing voice expresses pensive meditation and lofty

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melancholy without conventional Oriental identifiers. It also flows through a wide spectrum of tonalities, flaunting its untethered sentimentality, while playing with different media’s capacities and interactions. On the one hand, the voice draws on the operatic tradition and uses the singer’s body as the resonating medium that carries the sound to the distant audience. On the other hand, the fact that the film was a talkie meant that sound-recording played a crucial role in mediating the voice. The combination of Wong’s body-based elocution and the film’s machine-based sound-recording showcased both Wong’s vocal skills and the new talkie technology. Importantly, because the singing voice is initially disembodied, the operatic style and the German song construe an image of a Western singer only to refute it when the image track shows Wong in close-up giving the performance. Here, the film showcases Wong’s perceived vocal-visual mismatch while unfolding an improbable narrative of a female Chinese entertainer performing in Russia in the German language. This highly contrived narrative, though premised on Orientalism, serves to loosen the racial epidermal schema, creating space for Wong’s poly-phonic performance. Wong’s newly minted poly-phonic cosmopolitanism was not only well publicized in Europe, but also highly praised in the United States. In 1930, American journalists covering her return to the United States unanimously expressed infatuation with her linguistic achievement and European-branded refined sophistication. This rhetoric continued through the following years. One report enthused: “[Wong] speaks English like a lady professor as well as French and German,” with “mature acting powers” and “a mellow voice.”21 Another relayed Wong’s own words—“I speak German very well, French with a trace of nervousness. And I learned 200 guineas’ worth of English”—and concluded “Europe . . . has made quite a linguist of Anna May.”22 With these praises came her first talkie contract in Hollywood—the Paramount picture Daughter of the Dragon (Lloyd Corrigan, 1931), co-starring Sessue Hayakawa. Interestingly, while both Hayakawa and Wong had recently spent substantial time working and living in Europe, Wong’s image in the film was seen as “modern” and “no longer even look[ing] Oriental,” as opposed to the “completely Oriental” Hayakawa.23 Furthermore, Wong’s high-class English was contrasted to Hayakawa’s heavy accent.24 Hayakawa, originally from Japan, ventured into film acting in 1914, playing the male protagonist in a series of films, and soon established himself as one of the best paid Hollywood male stars of the 1910s. He also owned his own production company, Haworth Pictures

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Corporation, from 1918 to 1921.25 The stardom and power he found in the emerging Hollywood largely eluded Wong. However, as the review of Daughter of the Dragon suggests, while Hayakawa’s career was crippled by the transition to sound, Wong’s career took on a new life due to her linguistic cosmopolitanism, instigated by the talkie era and her venture into stage acting. On the New York stage, she was reported to address her audience in five different languages. She later carried her stage performance to Europe, touring Italy and Northern European countries with her one-woman vaudeville shows from December 1934 to February 1935, and occasionally performing in Italian, Swedish and Norwegian. Such indefatigable language cruising often involved phonetically memorizing a song or a few lines; and it was driven by her desire for more work opportunities and broader transnational appeal. In other words, when Hollywood once again failed to provide her with satisfying contracts, she deployed her linguistic cosmopolitanism and poly-phonic performance to expand her career on the stage and in European entertainment. Her labor-intensive linguistic cosmopolitanism facilitated her transatlantic selfempowerment, which in turn reconfigured her dramatic personae beyond the racial epidermal schema. The above analysis shows that Wong’s linguistic virtuosity created a significant tension with her largely Chinese roles. I argue that this tension enabled her to flip the ostensible (dis)play of Chinese stereotypes into a process of dis-playing these same stereotypes through knowing ironic performance. This held true not only in her screen and stage performances in European languages, but also in cases where she performed in Taishan—her ancestral Chinese dialect. A salient example of the latter can be found in her first talkie in Hollywood, Daughter of the Dragon. In sharp contrast to her first European talkie, Hai Tang, in which she demonstrated her performative virtuosity by playing the Chinese role in German, French and English (including performing the theme song in German and British English), Daughter of the Dragon shows her performing a song in Taishan dialect, of which she only had limited knowledge, and which she spoke with a heavy American accent. Like her scriptural Orientalism, discussed in the previous section, Wong’s Taishan vocal performance ostensibly catered to Orientalist expectations (to not only see but also hear her being racialized and exoticized). Yet, again, as in her de-essentialist German and French performances, one must take into consideration her double entendre, that is, dis-play through display of her Chineseness. In the case of the Taishan vocal performance in Daughter of

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the Dragon, Wong’s dis-playing of her exoticized Chineseness operated in three ways. First, her inadequate command of Taishan dialect rendered her vocal performance a mockery of Hollywood’s fetishization of her iconic Chineseness. At issue here was not simply Wong’s inadequate Chinesenesss (as contended by many nationalist-minded Chinese critics at the time), but rather her interstitial identity and the corresponding linguistic (in)abilities that threw into disarray Hollywood’s convenient yet reductive model of Orientalist representation. Second, in the sequence of Wong’s vocal performance, she sings to Sessue Hayakawa, who plays a Chinese detective working for Scotland Yard. In view of Hayakawa’s famous “Japanese” acting style, established at the acme of his career in the 1910s, and Wong’s iconographic Chineseness, one can hardly buy into the illusion of the two “Chinese” characters flirting with each other through a shared understanding of a Taishan song. Aware of the actors’ glaring mismatch, exacerbated by Hayakawa’s lack of fluency in Taishan dialect (or any Chinese dialect), the filmmakers resort to visual patching-up, dressing both characters in heavily embroidered robes that supposedly suggest their archaic, mysterious Chinese core. Yet such hyperbolic visualization, combined with the static shot framing them as the performer and the listener, only serves to accentuate the stagy quality, which again works against the intended dramatic illusion. Paired with Hayakawa’s histrionic “Chinese” drag, Wong’s Taishan song becomes nothing short of an analogous identity masquerade that threatens to dis-play her Chineseness, despite the film’s obsession with her racial-epidermal physiognomy. This leads to a third dimension of Wong’s dis-play of Chineseness, namely, her reiterative performance of this same song in three instances. Following Daughter of the Dragon, Wong did another rendition of the song in Paramount’s short musical comedy Hollywood on Parade (June 5, 1932), and once again, twenty-eight years later, in the “China Mary” episode of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (March 15, 1960).26 The narrative occasions for Wong’s vocal performance in the feature film, the short comedy and the television episode are different. In Daughter of the Dragon, Wong performs the song to lure Hayakawa’s character. In Hollywood on Parade, she performs the “Chinese poem” behind the host, who reacts with comic confusion. In the television episode, Wong’s character, China Mary, performs the song solemnly to a Buddha statue after having to kill her secret gangster son. On all three occasions, Wong’s character is dressed in a gown suggestive of the old Orient; and she performs the

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solo song with utter absorption. The effects, however, differ widely, ranging from schemingly seductive, to utterly befuddling to lonely and sorrowful. Why then did Wong choose to sing the same song (albeit with some variations) in these different contexts across a span of nearly three decades? Given her limited Taishan dialect, one may speculate that this was the only complete Taishan song she knew. What is more significant, however, is that this limitation was more than simply a liability. Rather, it determined the synecdochic and performative relationship between the Taishan song and her “Chineseness” in the Western eye. That is, Wong performed a displaced and decontextualized partial image of a southern Chinese lingua-culture, which was then received by the non-Chinese-speaking Western audience as a legible vocal-visual icon of generic “Chineseness.” This Western interpretation was enabled by the elision of the specificity of different regional lingua-cultures in China, and more importantly, by an inability to recognize or understand Wong’s performative reiteration of the iconic synecdoche.

Becoming the audience for the dis-play To understand Wong’s paradoxical agency, we must suspend the compulsive desire for indexicality, or the assumption of one-to-one correspondence between her acting and her generic Chineseness. Instead, we must transcode her synecdochic representation into a self-conscious performative act. This enables us to delineate how Wong’s innovative spectacle dis-played and deconstructed naturalized “China” imagery even when she seemed to display it in a complicitous manner. Here, Thomas Elsaesser and Warren Buckland’s formulation of spectacle is instructive. In revisiting the received binary of spectacle versus narrative, Elsaesser and Buckland contend that the former is not simply visual excess or a mere desire to show. Rather, it connotes a different kind of self-display or “knowingness,” a special sort of awareness of the codes that govern classical representation and its genre conventions, along with a willingness to display this knowingness and make the audience share it, by letting it in on the game. This type of spectacle manifests itself, among other things, in the deployment of what we called the sliding signifier, an excess of signification and meaning-making that attaches itself to the visual, verbal and sonic material and makes it available for semantic play (puns) and surface display (glossy look), as well as for special (sound) effects and special (pictorial) effects.27

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This formulation of spectacle accurately captures Wong’s knowing display of Orientalist Chineseness as a “sliding signifier” and a synecdoche shot through with irony and double entendre. Wong’s performances beckoned the audience to see beyond the charade, and to understand her display and dis-play of the “China” image as the two sides of the Moebius strip, their differentiation ultimately leading to their mutual constitution and conversion. Nevertheless, given the transnational and increasingly transhistorical makeup of her audiences, the reception of Wong has varied and continues to vary drastically depending on the audience’s historical, sociopolitical and linguacultural background. The sliding signifier that characterized Wong’s performative act also takes on a widening spectrum of possible interpretations. What appears to be a straightforward reinscription of Orientalist stereotyping to some viewers may very well suggest double entendres, where extra layers of meanings become possible due to Wong’s knowing and often ironic deployment of the vocal-visual spectacle. To make legible and activate the turn from display to dis-play, we must create space for audience interaction with and mobilization of Wong’s vocalvisual performance. Fostering such a proactive mode of spectatorship differs from doing empirical reception studies that privilege material records of actual viewers and critics’ comments. Instead, it unleashes creative and interpretive strategies that reactivate and resignify Wong’s performance both in her own historical period and in the present day. As such, it is transhistorical, but not ahistorical. To the extent that Wong’s scriptural Orientalism and poly-phonic performance self-consciously challenged her audience’s ability to live with tension and ambivalence, it behooves us—the present-day viewers and critics— to learn to stay on our toes in order to fully engage with her multilingual cosmopolitanism.

Notes 1 Timothy G. Turner, “Dips Her Ivory Hands in Suds,” Los Angeles Times (July 24, 1921): 118. 2 Ibid. 3 Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lam Markmann (New York: Grove, 1967), 112, 116. 4 Jack Jungmeyer, “Anna May Wong Seeks to Recapture Her Recial [sic] Mannerisms and Modes,” Atlantic City Gazette (Dec. 2, 1929), n.p.

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5 See Shirley Jennifer Lim, “‘Speaking German Like Nobody’s Business’: Anna May Wong, Walter Benjamin, and the Possibilities of Asian American Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of Transnational American Studies, 4, no. 1 (2012): 1–17. Benjamin’s attempt to understand the uncategorizable Wong is registered in his contortionist language, as illustrated in his hyperbolic explication of Wong’s name: “May Wong—the name sounds colorfully edged, vital and light like the petite sticks are, which develop into an unscented blossom within a tea bowl.” See Walter Benjamin, “Gespräch mit Anne May Wong,” in Die Literarische Welt (July 6, 1928): 1. I thank Sabine Crawford for her help with translating this article into English. 6 Anna May Wong, “True Life Story of a Chinese Girl (Part 2),” Pictures (September 1926): 35. 7 Yiman Wang, “The Art of ‘Screen Passing’—Anna May Wong’s ‘Yellow Yellowface’ Performance in the Art Deco Era,” Camera Obscura 20, no. 3 (2005): 159–91, see 175. 8 See the Piccadilly shooting script held at the British Film Institute, London. 9 Tim Bergfelder, “Negotiating Exoticism: Hollywood, Film Europe and the Cultural Reception of Anna May Wong,” in “Film Europe” and “Film America”: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange 1920–1939, ed. Andrew Higson and Richard Maltby (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1999), 302–24. 10 See Wong’s letter to Carl Van Vechten, dated Sept. 26, 1929, held in Beinecke Library Special Collections, Yale University. 11 Ibid. 12 Anna May Wong, “Bambus oder: Chinas Bekehrung zum Film,” Mein Film, no. 222 (1930): 3–4. 13 H.J., “Anna May Wong Learnt Franzölilch,” Mein Film, no. 236 (1930): 7. 14 Ibid. 15 Anna May Wong, “Mein Erstes Wort im Sprachfilm,” Mein Film, no. 239 (1930): 4. 16 Hubert Griffith’s review in Evening Standard, quoted in Philip Leibfried and Chei Mi Lane, Anna May Wong: A Complete Guide to Her Film, Stage, Radio and Television Work (Jefferson, NC : McFarland & Company, 2010), 149. 17 See Barrie Roberts, “Anna May Wong: Daughter of the Orient,” Classic Images, no. 270 (Dec. 1997): 21. 18 Harrison Carroll, “Oriental Girl Crashes Gates Via Footlights,” Los Angeles Evening Herald Express (June 6, 1931), reprinted in G.D. Haman, ed., Anna May Wong in the 1930s (Hollywood, CA : Filming Today Press, 2002), 9. 19 Ibid. 20 Ella Shohat, “Gender and Culture of Empire: Toward a Feminist Ethnography of the Cinema,” Quarterly Review of Film & Video 13, nos. 1–3 (1991): 45–84, see 63.

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21 David P. Sentner’s report in Los Angeles Evening Herald Express (April 11, 1931), quoted in Hamann, ed., Anna May Wong, 8. 22 Carroll, “Oriental Girl.” 23 Motion Picture (1931), quoted in Shirley Jennifer Lim, “ ‘I Protest’ Anna May Wong and the Performance of Modernity,” in Lim, A Feeling of Belonging: Asian American Women’s Public Culture, 1930–1960 (New York: New York UP, 2006), 47–86, see 57–58. 24 Ibid., 58. 25 For a detailed study of Hayakawa’s career, see Daisuke Miyao, Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom (Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2007). 26 This TV series was the first “adult” Western produced by ABC , beginning its six-year run in 1955. See Leibfried and Lane, Anna May Wong, 171. 27 Thomas Elsaesser and Warren Buckland, Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 78, my emphases.

Works cited Bergfelder, Tim. “Negotiating Exoticism: Hollywood, Film Europe and the Cultural Reception of Anna May Wong.” In “Film Europe” and “Film America”: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange 1920–1939, edited by Andrew Higson and Richard Maltby, 302–24. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1999. Carroll, Harrison. “Oriental Girl Crashes Gates Via Footlights.” Los Angeles Evening Herald Express (June 6, 1931). Reprinted in Anna May Wong in the 1930s, edited by G.D. Haman, 9. Hollywood: Filming Today Press, 2002. Elsaesser, Thomas, and Warren Buckland. Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Press, 1967. Griffith, Hubert. “Review of The Circle of Chalk (Evening Standard).” Quoted in Philip Leibfried and Chei Mi Lane, Anna May Wong: A Complete Guide to Her Film, Stage, Radio and Television Work, 149. Jefferson, NC : McFarland & Company, 2010. H.J. “Anna May Wong Lernt Französisch.” Mein Film, no. 236 (1930): 7. Jungmeyer, Jack. “Anna May Wong Seeks to Recapture Her Recial [sic] Mannerisms and Modes.” Atlantic City Gazette (December 2, 1929). Lim, Shirley Jennifer. “ ‘I Protest’ Anna May Wong and the Performance of Modernity.” In A Feeling of Belonging: Asian American Women’s Public Culture, 1930–1960, 47–86. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

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Lim, Shirley Jennifer. “ ‘Speaking German Like Nobody’s Business’: Anna May Wong, Walter Benjamin, and the Possibilities of Asian American Cosmopolitanism.” Journal of Transnational American Studies 4, no. 1 (2012): 1–17. Miyao, Daisuke. Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2007. Piccadilly (1929) shooting script. Held at British Film Institute, London. Roberts, Barrie. “Anna May Wong: Daughter of the Orient.” Classic Images, no. 270 (December 1997): 21. Sentner, David P. “Report on Wong.” Los Angeles Evening Herald Express (April 11, 1931). Quoted in Anna May Wong in the 1930s, edited by G.D. Hamann, 8. Hollywood: Film Today Press, 2002. Shohat, Ella. “Gender and Culture of Empire: Toward a Feminist Ethnography of the Cinema.” Quarterly Review of Film & Video 13, nos. 1–3 (1991): 45–84. Turner, Timothy G. “Dips Her Ivory Hands in Suds.” Los Angeles Times (July 24, 1921): 118. Wang, Yiman. “The Art of ‘Screen Passing’—Anna May Wong’s ‘Yellow Yellowface’ Performance in the Art Deco Era.” Camera Obscura 20, no. 3 (2005): 159–91. Wong, Anna May. “True Life Story of a Chinese Girl (Part 2).” Pictures (September 1926): 34–35, 72, 74–75. Wong, Anna May. Letter to Carl Van Vechten, dated Sept. 26, 1929. Held in Beinecke Library Special Collections, Yale University. Wong, Anna May. “Bambus oder: Chinas Bekehrung zum Film.” Mein Film, no. 222 (1930a): 3–4. Wong, Anna May. “Mein Erstes Wort im Sprachfilm.” Mein Film, no. 239 (1930b): 4.

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Out of Many, One: The Dual Monolingualism of Contemporary Flemish Cinema Jaap Verheul

The regional cinema of Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, has flourished since the early 2000s. The region witnessed a proliferation of films targeted at its domestic market, while the public’s broadening interest in these Flemish productions secured their financial success. As the Flemish audiovisual sector gradually professionalized itself, its moving image culture increasingly explored the apparently distinctive identity of the Flemish region. This cinematic reawakening coincided with the growing political popularity of the separatist Flemish Movement, which, since its materialization in the nineteenth century, had advocated for an independent Flemish state. The renewed political interest in a culturally restrictive notion of Flemishness thus corresponded with a new wave of films that examined the specificities and peculiarities of a presumed Flemish identity. Language was a key component in the formation of an imagined Flemish community, and the rediscovery and subsequent celebration of Flanders’ vast array of regional dialects of the Dutch language accompanied a linguistic turn in Flemish cinema, which, for the very first time, began to cultivate this southernDutch vernacular. Flemish cinema gradually articulated what I am calling the region’s dual monolingualism: Flanders’ desire to linguistically differentiate its Flemish dialects of the Dutch language from both Standard Dutch, which it rejects as the official language of the Netherlands, and French, which it regards as the language of its perceived Walloon antagonist in the southern part of Belgium. If this linguistic turn imbued Flemish cinema with a renewed sense of authenticity, it also reduced the region’s export potential to the Netherlands, which shares with Flanders the same official language, Dutch, but nonetheless considers the language barrier, comprised of different Dutch and Belgian dialects of the Dutch language, as too great an obstacle—an experience shared by their 317

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linguistic Flemish counterparts, who equally reject the northern-Dutch vernacular of Dutch cinema. To counter this linguistic obstacle to cinematic exchange, production companies in Flanders and the Netherlands have begun to remake each other’s hits according to their own cultural contexts, relying on national celebrities and regional dialects of the Dutch language to sell these remakes to a, respectively, Flemish or Dutch audience. This strategy has proved highly successful, and thereby put into question not only the exportability of Flemish cinema to the Netherlands, and vice versa, but also the idea of a Dutch geolinguistic identity. This chapter argues that the linguistic turn in contemporary Flemish cinema professes the dual monolingualism of a discursive Flemish identity that rejects the, respectively, Dutch and French vernaculars of the Netherlands and Wallonia, while also defining itself linguistically in relation to these perceived adversaries. In addition, I demonstrate that the Dutch-Flemish remake cycle—exemplified by films such as Loft (Erik Van Looy, Belgium, 2008) and its remake Loft (Antoinette Beumer, Netherlands, 2010)—signifies the social, cultural and linguistic ties between Flanders and the Netherlands, yet simultaneously reveals the increasing erosion of the Dutch language area. In pursuing these two objectives, this chapter posits the dual monolingualism of Flemish cinema as a locus of multilingual negotiation.

The historical development of the Dutch language Throughout the Middle Ages, the Germanic peoples of both Germany and the Low Countries, comprised of modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, referred to themselves as Deutsche/Duits(ch)ers and to their language as Deutsch/Duits(ch). From the seventeenth century onward, Holland designated its language as Nederduits (Low German), while the mostly Saxon based dialects of northern Germany used the term Niederdeutsch to distinguish themselves from the southern and central regions of modern-day Germany that spoke Hochdeutsch, the standardized written and spoken language developed to facilitate communication across all German-speaking regions. With the inauguration of the Dutch Republic in 1581, the English language began to differentiate Dutch from German, with the former signifying the Low Dutch of the Republic. In Holland, however, the use of Nederduits lingered well into the late nineteenth century, thus implying its etymological affiliation with the

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Niederdeutsch of Germany’s northern territories. It is only in the early twentieth century that the term Nederlands, or what is now known as Dutch, officially replaced the more ambiguous Nederduits.1 Nederlands, or Dutch, has been standardized as the official language of the Netherlands and Flanders ever since. Nonetheless, there has been much confusion over the status of Vlaams, or Flemish, which, according to Bruce Donaldson, designates either the Dutch dialects of the Belgian provinces of West and East Flanders, the dialect of the region of French Flanders in the north-west of France, the Dutch as spoken in Belgium as perceived by both Belgians and Dutchmen, or the misinterpretation of Flemish as a separate yet related language to Dutch. All four meanings of the Flemish dialects of Dutch are, according to Donaldson, the result of the historical development of the northern and southern Netherlands, now known, respectively, as the Netherlands and Belgium.2 The origins of this linguistic division are to be found in the Treaty of Verdun of 843, which separated the county of Flanders, a predominantly Dutch-speaking territory, from the Low Countries and incorporated it into the French-speaking realm. As Flanders flourished when Philip of Alsace (1168—91) modernized its institutions and expanded its territory, the Dutch written word originated in the medieval Flemish cities of Ghent and Bruges, which transformed the county, according to Donaldson, into a French-Dutch language border where “Dutch and French met head-on and where the nobility and many of the up-and-coming middle class were undoubtedly bilingual.”3 The consecutive Burgundian period, which reunited Flanders with the other Dutch provinces under the Spanish crown in 1430, facilitated the further cultural and economic development of the Low Countries. The installation of Brussels as its French-speaking Princely Capital threatened the position of Dutch, for although Brussels was geographically located in the Dutch-speaking duchy of Brabant, the usage of French dominated political life. When Burgundy was integrated into France in 1477, it was transferred to control by the House of Habsburg and thus became a territory of the Holy Roman Empire of Charles V, whose son, Philip II , inherited the Spanish Empire and the Low Countries. The Spanish rule under the House of Habsburg soon generated discontent among the Dutch provinces, whose socioeconomic concerns culminated in an uprising against the reign of Philip II , known as the Eighty Years’ War, in 1568.4 Led by William I of Orange, the northern provinces of the Low Countries signed the Union of Utrecht in 1579 to establish the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, also known as the Dutch Republic, while the Act of Abjuration of 1581

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subsequently declared the independence of the northern provinces from the Habsburgian realm. It is at this point, Donaldson argues, that “the histories of Holland and Belgium part ways and the linguistic situations in both countries follow different paths too.”5 When the Eighty Years’ War finally came to an end, and Spain and the Republic signed the Treaty of Münster in 1648, the Habsburg Netherlands were divided into two parts. In the north, the Republic encapsulated most of the modern-day Netherlands, while present-day Belgium, Luxembourg and Nord-Pas-de-Calais (the northwestern region of France) remained under Spanish rule and were renamed as the Spanish Netherlands, demarcated by Antwerp in the north. This formal geographical split coincided with the further disintegration of the Dutch language area. While Dutch became increasingly standardized in the Republic, the south, centered on Brussels, preserved the hegemony of French, which, in addition to the multitude of regional Dutch dialects in Flanders, hampered the standardization of Dutch in the Spanish Netherlands. This potpourri of regional Dutch dialects defines Flanders to this very day.6 The incorporation of Flanders into Napoleon’s French Republic in 1794 further tarnished the status of Dutch in the southern Netherlands. The language nonetheless retained a pseudo-official status in Flemish public life, especially in smaller towns and in the lower classes of Flemish society, whose members did not master the French language and thus lacked the privilege to abandon Dutch, which paradoxically secured its survival in the southern Netherlands. After Napoleon’s defeat in 1814, the Congress of Vienna reunited the northern and southern Netherlands. Now under Dutch rule, King William I strove to integrate the two regions under one common Dutch language, and this period is referred to as one of vernederlandsing (“Dutchification”). Although only partially successful, William I’s language decrees (Taalbesluiten) assured the implementation of Dutch for education, jurisdiction and administration from 1823 onward. However, the growing dissent among the southern Netherlanders, who regarded William’s rule as despotic and were dissatisfied with the northern Dutch domination over the Kingdom’s economic, political and social life, eventually led to the Belgian Revolution of 1830. On February 7, 1831, the Belgian Constitution established the Kingdom of Belgium, now independent from the Netherlands, as a constitutional monarchy under the reign of king Leopold I. Although the new constitution guaranteed Belgians freedom of language choice, French soon became the country’s official language. Dutch was never formally abolished, however, and unlike most newly-formed nation-states, the Belgian government did not pursue a single language policy.

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Furthermore, esteemed literary figures such as Jans Frans Willems and Guido Gezelle inspired Flanders’ intelligentsia to organize into a Flemish Movement that advocated for the greater equality of Dutch in Belgium and for a Flemish dialect distinct from the standardized Dutch of the northern Netherlands. If this latter strand, known as “Flemish particularism,” sought to create a written language that distinguished itself from northern-Dutch through the standardization of autochthonous Flemish dialects, “Flemish integrationists” promoted a linguistic alliance with the Netherlands to advance the position of Dutch in Belgium. By the early twentieth century, the integrationist course of action had prevailed, and ever since, Flanders and the Netherlands have worked together to further develop the Dutch standard language.7 The Flemish Movement’s struggle for linguistic equality reflected its aspiration to emancipate Flanders politically and economically. Throughout the nineteenth century, Flanders was a relatively poor region paralyzed by high levels of unemployment, mostly due to the decline of its formerly prosperous textile manufacturing. By contrast, the industrial development of Wallonia’s coal and steel sectors brought Belgium’s southern region substantial fortune and spawned a wave of migration from Flanders to Wallonia. Consequently, Vogl and Hüning argue, “the image of the ‘backward Fleming’ and his second-class language proliferated.”8 This profound experience of socioeconomic discrimination spurred the Flemish Movement to push for a greater level of social and political participation for the Flemish community through the implementation of the gelijkheidswet (equality law) in 1898 to secure the formal legal equality of Dutch in the Flemish region.9 The Movement obtained additional concessions during both the First and the Second World War, when it actively collaborated with the German occupier to advance Flemish legal and linguistic equality in Belgium. During the interwar years, the language laws of 1932, which introduced a policy of unilingualism that required civil servants to be proficient in only one of the two national languages, marked the beginning of what Donaldson refers to as “linguistic federalism.”10 The 1960s witnessed the reawakening of the Belgian language wars. While Flanders had been rejuvenated economically through investments in new industries, the postindustrial steel and coal sectors of Wallonia plummeted into economic depression, which bestowed on the Flemish government economic leverage in federal negotiations. The language laws of 1962–63 installed the language border between Flanders and Wallonia and divided Belgium into four language areas, which, although multilingual on the federal level, would

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essentially be governed in the native language of each area’s majority population: Dutch in Flanders, French in Wallonia, German in the small German-speaking region of Eupen-Malmedy (geographically located in Wallonia), and both Dutch and French in the officially bilingual capital region of Brussels. Currently, the extremist party Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang) and the separatist party New Flemish Alliance (NVA , Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie) represent the Flemish Movement politically and advocate for an independent and monolingual Dutch Flemish state that includes the capital of Brussels.11 Hence, if Belgium is a historically multilingual country that unites the Dutch, French, German and bilingual language communities under one federal state, Vogl and Hüning argue that the Flemish Movement’s language policy also divides the country into Flemish and Walloon subnations defined by a, respectively, Dutch and French monolingualism. This continuing policy of linguistic territoriality makes the Flemish language doubly monolingual, for as this historical account has demonstrated, the Flemish region has sought to distinguish its Flemish vernacular from both its French-speaking, southern antagonist in Wallonia and its Hollandish-speaking, northern neighbor in the Netherlands.12

The Dutch and Flemish dialects of the Dutch standard language Dutch linguistics has referred to the northern and southern regional dialects of the Dutch language as streektalen, or regional languages, which diverge from the Dutch standard language through local articulations of vocabulary, pronunciation and idiom. The dialects of Dutch can be divided into two linguistic families. The river Ijssel, a branch of the Rhine in the west of the Netherlands, has historically constituted the language barrier between the Saxon-based dialects in the north and the sociologically more important Franconian dialects in the southern and western regions of the Low Countries: Zeeuws, Flemish, Brabants, Limburgs and Hollands, which has become the basis of the Dutch standard language. Belgian dialects of the Dutch language are, according to Donaldson, even more idiosyncratic than their Dutch counterparts because Flanders’ Dutch-speaking communities traditionally cultivated their regional vernaculars more vigorously while relying on standardized Dutch mostly for official communication. The four Belgian dialects of Dutch are, with exception of the capital region of

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Brussels, predominantly confined to the five northern, Dutch-speaking provinces of Flanders: West Flemish (West Flanders), East Flemish (East Flanders), Brabants (Flemish Brabant, Antwerp) and Limburgs (Limburg), with the latter two forming a continuum with the southern dialects on the Dutch side of the border.13 It is important to emphasize, Donaldson reminds us, that these regional dialects of the Dutch standard language in Belgium and the Netherlands “are not deviations from the standard language [. . .] but that the standard is in fact the product of those dialectical variations.”14 Until the 1970s, the Dutch standard language was commonly referred to as Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands (ABN ), or General Cultured Dutch. The reference to a “cultured” language signified the social distinctions inherent in Dutch language usage. Mastery of ABN ’s “proper” speech and writing often implied one’s educated, affluent, urban and “cultured” position in the Dutch and Flemish social order, while local articulations of regional dialects, and particularly those from the southern provinces of the Netherlands and Flanders, suggested one’s rural and ultimately “uncultured” lineage. To mitigate these socioeconomic connotations, the term “Cultured” was removed in the 1970s, and Algemeen Nederlands (AN , General Dutch) became the dominant classification until 2005, when it was replaced by what is now known as Standaardnederlands or Standard Dutch. With so many regional varieties in such a geographically concentrated area, the institutionalization of any Dutch vernacular as “standard” continues to be a highly hegemonic and exclusionary practice, with important implications. The formerly dominant definition of General Cultured Dutch, which assumed that the “proper” use of standardized Dutch would not disclose the speaker’s or writer’s region of origin, no longer applies, for it erroneously positioned pronunciation as a determining factor, and thereby ignored the correct usage of Standard Dutch with a Brabants or East Flemish accent. Thus, although different from northern-Dutch in pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax, the Flemish dialects of Dutch are often, and accurately, referred to as a southern-Dutch language that oscillates, according to Frans Van Coetsem, “between a sort of purified dialect and, in a few cases, a Dutch that is to all intents and purposes pure ‘northern’ Dutch.”15 Under the auspices of the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union), founded by the Netherlands and Belgium in 1980 (and joined by Suriname in 2005), Standard Dutch has been solidified as the official language of both the Netherlands and the northern region of Flanders in Belgium. Although the

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Taalunie seeks to translate this political synchronicity into a cultural and linguistic integration of both Dutch language areas on the European continent, different enunciations of Dutch continue to persist and have become more articulated. This has, in turn, led to important regional differences in Dutch language standardization. Flemish dialects, for example, continue to be affected by French vocabulary, grammar and syntax, and are typically distinguished from northernDutch by their pronunciation, word order, the feminine gender of many nouns and their opposition to English loanwords that dominate northern-Dutch. In addition, the many regional dialects of Flanders consider the written word as the antecedent of the spoken word, develop the latter from a more traditional vocabulary, and thus sound more static than their northern-Dutch counterparts.16 While Belgian Dutch, commonly referred to as Flemish, cannot be considered a language of its own, as it is comprised of multiple southern dialects of the Dutch language, I argue that it nevertheless operates as a proper language discursively. As I have demonstrated, the Flemish vernacular has historically sought to differentiate itself politically, culturally and linguistically from both the French language of Wallonia and the northern-Dutch language of the Netherlands. The linguistic turn in contemporary Flemish cinema reflects this dual monolingualism of the Flemish region.

Toward a monolingual Flemish cinema The aforementioned equation of language with ethnicity has a twofold effect on Flanders’ regional cinema. First, Flemish cinema’s recent linguistic turn toward the use of regional southern-Dutch dialects has imbued it with a renewed sense of authenticity. Until the early 2000s, most Flemish productions, both popular and art-house, occupied an ambiguous linguistic realm in which the characters’ speech held the middle ground between Standard (southern-)Dutch and the local vernacular of the story’s setting. Yet, because Flemish enunciation was and is still dominated by dialect speech, the cinematic affiliation with Standard Dutch appeared contrived, archaic and imprecise, for it represented neither the official language for communication in Flanders, Standard (southern-)Dutch, nor the common speech of Flemish everyday life, which occurs in either East Flemish, West Flemish, Brabants or Limburgs, with each of these four major dialects further fragmented into a variety of urban, rural and subregional vernaculars such as Antwerps, Aalsters or Gents. Although 1992’s Daens (Stijn Coninx,

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Belgium/France/Netherlands, 1992), for example, is set in the East Flemish city of Aalst and offers a dramatization of the struggle of a Catholic priest, Adolf Daens, for better labor conditions in the city’s late nineteenth-century textile industry, the French-speaking aristocracy, bilingual clerics, and Dutch-speaking, lowerclass factory workers all communicate with each other in some peculiar hybrid of Standard Dutch and East Flemish. The factory workers thus refer to Daens as “Meneer Pastoor” (“Mister Priest”), while Daens exclaims “koop haar een kist” (“buy her a coffin”) when he orders the local community to buy a coffin for a child who was fatally injured while working in one of the factories. This imaginary cinematic vernacular is not only historically improbable, but also challenges the Flemish audience’s suspension of disbelief as it obscures the distinctive dialect of the city of Aalst, which constitutes an urban subdialect of East Flemish. By contrast, 2009’s De Helaasheid der Dingen (The Misfortunates, Felix van Groeningen, Belgium/Netherlands, 2009) is set in an imaginary East Flemish town near Aalst, albeit one century later, and indulges in its Aalsters dialect, which not only adds to the film’s linguistic authenticity but also to its cultural credibility, for the film’s self-conscious cultivation of Aalsters accurately communicates the underprivileged socioeconomic status of Aalst’s postindustrial working class in the late 1980s. When the Strobbe brothers, the film’s main protagonists, organize a self-invented drinking game, they count their steps in Aalsters rather than Standard Dutch: “ien, twie, droi” instead of “een, twee, drie” (“one, two, three”). Similarly, one of the brothers, who is hospitalized after the debauchery, tells his mother in Aalsters that “ ’k hadde k’ik vier trappist’n nevest mekander gezetj,” instead of “ik had vier trappisten naast elkaar gezet” (“I had placed four beers next to each other”). This relatively recent attention to linguistic authenticity is by no means limited to cinematic representations of East Flanders. Recently, such popular Flemish films as Ex Drummer (Koen Mortier, Belgium/ France/Italy, 2007) and Rundskop (Bullhead, Michael R. Roskam, Belgium/ Netherlands, 2011) were shot entirely in the vernacular of their stories’ settings (respectively, West Flemish and Truierlands). These films nourish their local dialects to such an extent that Flemings from other regions have occasionally expressed difficulty in understanding the dialogue, and consequently admitted to the necessity for subtitles. Erik Van Looy’s Loft (Belgium, 2008) also celebrates its linguistic and cultural Flemishness. Loft centers on a group of five married male friends who buy a loft in Antwerp to obtain a secret space where they can meet up with their mistresses. When the body of a murdered woman is found in the apartment, the five friends

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begin to suspect each other as they are the only ones with keys to the premises. In addition to the film’s remarkable production values, especially by Flemish standards, Loft’s plot and style follow the conventions of a genre-thriller, while its use of regionally specific Flemish stars (Koen De Bouw, Matthias Schoenaerts), settings (Antwerp), and dialects (Antwerps, East Flemish) renders it as a distinctively Flemish film. All members of its production team participate in the Flemish cultural community. The film’s director and screenwriter, Erik Van Looy and Bart De Pauw, are popular Flemish celebrities affiliated with the Flemish production house Woestijnvis. The company constitutes a private syndicate of audiovisual talent in Flanders, and its financial self-sustainability, a rarity in the Flemish audiovisual sector, enabled it to invest in Loft. In addition, the film’s calculated placement of well-known Flemish actors and its engagement with their star texts also enhance its discursive Flemishness. Equally significant is that each star has been cast in terms of his or her star persona, which connects their character to different social positions within contemporary Flemish society. Reminiscent of the use of the Aalsters dialect in The Misfortunates, these sociocultural connotations are partially communicated through the use of regional Flemish dialects of the Dutch language. Marnix (Koen De Graeve, who also starred in The Misfortunates), for example, speaks in a distinctively East Flemish dialect, underlining his provincial and lower-class background, while Vincent’s (Filip Peeters) accent betrays his urban and educated roots in Antwerp. Loft is thus a linguistically Flemish film, for it rejects the conventional use of Standard Dutch and favors instead regional Flemish dialects. Given that Flemish speech is still based on the written word, it is perhaps ironic that the subtitles for the DVD -version of Loft translate these regional southern-Dutch dialects into Standard Dutch, thereby indicating the complex linguistic identity of both Flanders and the Dutch language area. And although the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders constitutes but one region of an officially trilingual federal Belgian state, French and German-speaking Walloon characters, as well as bilingual Bruxellois protagonists, are altogether absent. As Loft demonstrates, contemporary Flemish cinema expresses a desire to protect and preserve the different Flemish dialects of Dutch. In doing so, it engenders a cinema that is doubly monolingual, for it seeks to differentiate itself linguistically from Standard Dutch, which is stigmatized and rejected as the official language of the Netherlands, and French, seen as the language of Flanders’ formerly aristocratic antagonist. This dual monolingualism of Flemish cinema signifies, in turn, the revived politicization of a normative Flemish identity since

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the early 2000s. Consequently, Loft, like other popular films such as Zot van A (Crazy about A., Jan Verheyen, Belgium, 2010) and Smoorverliefd (Head over Heels, Hilde Van Mieghem, Belgium, 2010), sets its story in Antwerp, which functions as the most culturally, economically and politically distinctive Flemish city in Belgium. If Brussels is the official capital of both Flanders and Belgium, Antwerp occupies that position in Flemish public discourse, for Brussels is geographically Flemish but culturally Walloon, or linguistically French, and thus, according to Flemings, not representative of their community. In addition, the city of Antwerp also holds historical significance for the Flemish region as it has long been one of the most important economic, political and cultural centers of the Low Countries. Following centuries of domination by successive foreign powers, most notably the Spaniards, French, Austrians and Dutch, Antwerp has positioned itself as an idiosyncratically Flemish city and, above all, as culturally and ideologically distinct from both the Netherlands and Wallonia. In 2012, Antwerp’s central position in the Flemish imaginary was solidified politically by the election of Bart De Wever, the populist chairman of the separatist New Flemish Alliance (NVA ), as mayor of the city; this local victory anticipated the NVA’s general election victory in the European, federal (Belgian), and Flemish elections of 2014. It is thus not surprising that contemporary Flemish cinema represents Antwerp, and Flanders, as a dynamic, cosmopolitan and attractive location characterized by modern architecture and remarkable residences— indeed, loft-spaces—by the Schelde river, which constitutes the artery of both the city of Antwerp, and due to its important harbor, the Flemish economy. The relatively recent emergence of a Flemish cinema that ideologically, culturally and linguistically asserts and even celebrates its “Flemishness” facilitated its increasing popularity with domestic audiences. As a result, its share of the Flemish exhibition market has grown steadily since the early 2000s. Flemish cinema held a minimal stake of one percent to three percent in the early 1990s, and it secured a substantially greater share of 4.80 percent in 2005 and of 9.35 percent in 2012, indicating the Flemish audience’s renewed interest in its domestically produced moving image culture. Although higher budgets, enhanced production values, and professionalism have contributed to a cinematic output of greater quality and variety, it is nonetheless important to situate the renewed domestic allure of Flemish cinema in the region’s recent political context. Since the early 2000s, the burgeoning popularity of Flemish cinema has coincided with the political growth of De Wever’s New Flemish Alliance. The increasing appeal of Flemish productions that, partially through

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language, articulate a certain notion of Flemishness should thus be seen as a political barometer for the intensified assertion of Flemish sovereignty.17 At the same time, a second consequence of Flemish cinema’s conflation of linguistic identity with ethnicity is that it presents international audiences with an essentialized and normative conceptualization of what it means to be Flemish, which, in turn, limits its appeal for spectators unfamiliar with the regional specificities and peculiarities of Flanders’ culture, politics and southern-Dutch dialects. Indeed, in 2012, “Made in Flanders:” The Export Potential of the Flemish Audiovisual Sector, an industry report commissioned by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, VAF ), argued that the Flemish film industry had one major shortcoming: the limited market potential of the relatively small Dutch linguistic community. The export potential of Flemish cinema on the international market has historically been limited to two or three films per year. In 2012, Flemish majority productions secured a market share of only 1.76 percent on the French market, 0.55 percent on the German market, 0.01 percent on the British market and 1.40 percent on the Dutch market. In spite of their shared language (Dutch), Flemish majority productions, with the exception of popular franchises for children, have a hard time competing on the Dutch market, as exemplified by the minimal revenues in 2012, when Flemish majority productions earned a mere 2,416,681 euro, most of which came from the aforementioned children’s franchises. Flemish productions thus fail to gain an audience abroad. To improve the situation, “Made in Flanders” suggested that the VAF should raise its budget for the promotion, marketing and distribution of Flemish films. Too often, Flemish films are rejected by international distributors who are afraid of the risk and would rather invest in productions from larger countries and linguistic communities. Finally, the report also warned against the tendency of Flemish cinema to “refer too strongly to a Flemish context or taste, which limits its export potential.”18 The Dutch-Flemish remake cycle and the emblematic case of Loft represent these limits of a monolingual Flemish cinema, and by extension, of a Dutch geolinguistic identity.19

The Dutch-Flemish remake cycle and the limits of a Dutch geolinguistic identity As both Flanders and the Netherlands share the same language, Dutch, the boxoffice sensations of each region were exported to the other in order to increase

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revenues. Yet while these films proved immensely popular in their respective country of origin, they failed to capitalize on this success abroad, and since the early 2000s, production companies in Flanders and the Netherlands have begun to remake each other’s hits to counter this trend. The defining characteristic of most of these Flemish-Dutch remakes is that they are genre films adapted to different national or regional contexts. Joram Lürsen’s In Oranje (In Orange, Netherlands, 2004), for example, tells the story of an eleven-year-old soccer player, Remco, who dreams of playing for the Dutch national youth team, while its Flemish remake, Buitenspel (Gilles, Jan Verheyen, Belgium, 2005), translates the exact same story to a Flemish context, replacing Remco with Gilles and the Dutch Orange Lions with the Belgian Red Devils, thus transforming, like soccer itself, colors and species into symbols of national or regional identification. In like manner, Lürsen’s follow-up hit Alles is Liefde (Love is All, Netherlands, 2007), a romantic comedy set in Amsterdam during the Dutch Sinterklaas (“Santa Claus”) celebrations, was remade as Crazy about A., which relocates the narrative to the Flemish city of Antwerp. Indeed, the “A.” in the Flemish title is a pun, for it refers both to the Flemish slang for you (thus, “Crazy about You”) and to the city of Antwerp, whose logo is a white “A” against a red background (thus, “Crazy about Antwerp”). A more contemporary example is provided by Van Mieghem’s Head over Heels, a romantic comedy set in Antwerp and remade in 2013, by Van Mieghem herself, in the Dutch city of The Hague. The most cited incentives to remake each other’s hits emphasize two fundamental deficiencies of both Dutch and Flemish cinema: if popular Flemish films fail to find an audience in the Netherlands, and vice versa, it is predominantly due to the language barrier and the negligible transnational appeal of Flemish and Dutch film stars. The different Flemish and Netherlandish dialects of the Dutch language are often seen as incommensurable, for they are officially considered “in-between-languages” of Standard Dutch, occupying an intermediary position between an informal regional dialect and the Dutch standard language. Indeed, both Belgian Dutch and Netherlandish Dutch are comprised of distinctive phonetic, lexical and grammatical elements that do not belong to Standard Dutch, which, in concrete terms, means that both linguistic subcommunities often have a hard time understanding each other if the Dutch standard language is absent from the communication process. To further complicate this situation, subtitling each other’s productions is also not an option (although it is becoming more widely accepted, especially for television productions). While spectators from both linguistic communities have often expressed the need for subtitles to help them to understand the dialogue,

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subtitling has discursively been constructed as unnecessary, given that Flanders and the Netherlands both belong to the same language area.20 Loft offers a striking example of the limited export potential of two small cinemas that nonetheless belong to the same language area. In 2008, Van Looy’s blockbuster emerged as the most successful film in both Flemish and Belgian film history, with 912,479 paying spectators on the Flemish market on a total audience of 1,968,418 that year. In spite of its incredible success in Flanders, however, Loft was not distributed internationally, except for an occasional screening at an international film festival and a DVD release in the Netherlands, where the film did not come out in theaters despite the country’s historical, linguistic and cultural ties with Flanders. In this regard, Loft was by no means an exception, for Van Looy’s previous hit, De Zaak Alzheimer (The Memory of a Killer, Belgium/ Netherlands, 2003), only reached an audience of 7,505 paying spectators on its release in the Netherlands, which is symptomatic of the limited commercial potential of the cinematic exchange between the two neighbors. Consequently, Woestijnvis was reluctant to distribute Loft in the Netherlands and opted instead for a remake produced by the Dutch film industry for a Dutch cultural context.21 If the lack of crosscultural stars and the Netherlandish-Flemish language barrier are cited as the two main reasons for remaking rather than distributing Flemish box-office successes in the Netherlands, and vice versa, it is not surprising that the modifications to the Dutch remake of Loft (Antoinette Beumer, Netherlands, 2010) are situated on these two levels. First, the Flemish cast is replaced with Dutch celebrities. The remake’s second modification concerns the adaptation of Bart De Pauw’s original screenplay by the popular Dutch crime novelist Saskia Noort. Noort preserved the plot of De Pauw’s script and predominantly focused on updating its dialogue and content to a Dutch context, as exemplified by the remake’s northern-Dutch vernacular, and specifically, by its infusion of the urban dialect of Amsterdams and AmericanEnglish idioms, which are more common in the Netherlands than in Flanders, where most Dutch loanwords have their origin in the French language. Similar to the Flemish original, the remake’s linguistic identity reflects its cultural politics. The Dutch Loft relocates the original’s setting from Antwerp to Amsterdam, and from the Schelde River to the Ij, the most important and most recognizable river in Amsterdam. Set in the Dutch capital, the remake cultivates the iconography of the city’s waterways and some of its most reputable landmarks while also celebrating its modern urban architecture—indeed, its trendy loftspaces—and its demographically diverse composition. If the Flemish original

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brushed a Bredaelesque canvas of a picturesque Antwerp, the Dutch remake similarly daubs a Ruisdaelian panorama of the Amsterdam cosmopolis.22 With 441,761 paying spectators in 2010 and 2011, the remake of Loft was a moderate success in the Netherlands, although it paled in comparison to the original’s commercial, industrial and cultural impact on the Flemish audiovisual sector.23 Akin to its Flemish predecessor, the Dutch Loft also failed to attract an audience in Flanders, where it was exhibited on a mere two screens, and withdrawn after one week. The remake of Loft thus represents the limited potential for cinematic exchange between Flanders and the Netherlands, and, by extension, signifies the disunity of the Dutch language area. Although this linguistic heteroglossia is by no means exclusive to Flanders and the Netherlands—for example, the limited distribution potential of Austrian and Swiss-German films in Germany is often attributed to a similar incompatibility of regional sublanguages and dialects—the Dutch-Flemish remake cycle further erodes the Dutch geolinguistic identity as it represents the political, cultural, economic and linguistic incongruities that have separated Flanders from the Netherlands since the Fall of Antwerp in 1585. Writing in relation to Latin America, John Sinclair has argued that a “geolinguistic region” comprises a singly regional cultural sphere defined by a homogeneity of language and culture, in which cultural products from the geolinguistic region circulate and distantiate themselves from the dominant geolinguistic region constituted by English. By contrast, the inexportability of the Flemish Loft and its Dutch remake illustrates the very local resistance to film texts from other regions or nations that nonetheless belong to the same cultural and geolinguistic community. Even though contemporary Flemish cinema is situated in a transnational European film industry and shares with the Netherlands a Dutch standard language, it is, above all, a distinctively Flemish cinema that is doubly monolingual. Neither French nor northern-Dutch, Flemish cinema has begun to protect, preserve and even celebrate the many local dialects that still dominate the everyday speech of most Flemings today. In doing so, however, Flemish cinema has also confused linguistic identity for ethnicity, and it has thereby at least implicitly supported the separatist agenda of a burgeoning Flemish Movement built on a historically essentialist notion of what it means to be Flemish.24 And yet this dual assertion of monolingualism may perhaps disclose, rather paradoxically, the inherent multilingualism of Flanders and its cinema. As Flanders strives arduously to politically externalize its culturally internalized Walloon and Dutch others, the Flemish vernacular continues to develop itself in

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relation to, and in opposition to, the French and northern-Dutch languages. What is more, the current wave of Flemish separatism ignores the historic bilingualism of Flanders and its code-switching people, who have always been capable of negotiating multiple linguistic codes at once, for their everyday communication occurred, often simultaneously, in their local dialects: Standard Dutch and official French. It is thus perfectly sensible that the Oscar-nominated Bullhead, which revels so gracefully in its subtle articulation of the Truierlands dialect of Flemish Limburg, explicitly incorporates the region’s inherent bilingualism into its plot. Its protagonist, the Limburgian farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts), consistently crosses the Dutch-French language border, switching between his Truierlands dialect and his commendable French as he travels back and forth between the Flemish region of Sint-Truiden and the Walloon region of Liège. This comes, of course, as no surprise to the attentive Flandrien, for half a century earlier, Jacques Brel, the bilingual Brusselse Ket par excellence, had already serenaded “zijn platte land, Vlaanderenland, entre les tours de Bruges et Gand.”

Notes 1 Bruce Donaldson, Dutch: A Linguistic History of Holland and Belgium (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 1983), 4–5. 2 Ibid., 6–7. 3 Ibid., 21. 4 Ibid., 21–23. 5 Ibid., 24. 6 Ulrike Vogl and Matthias Hüning, “One Nation, One Language? The Case of Belgium,” Dutch Crossing 32, no. 3 (2010): 234–35. 7 Ibid., 237–38; Donaldson, Dutch, 26–27; Guido Geerts. “Language Legislation in Belgium and the Balance of Power in Walloon-Flemish Relationships,” in Language Attitudes in the Dutch Language Area, ed. Roeland van Hout and Uus Knops (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011), 32–33. 8 Vogl and Hüning, “One Nation, One Language,” 237. 9 Ibid., 236–37. 10 Donaldson, Dutch, 27; Geerts, “Language Legislation,” 34–35. 11 Donaldson, Dutch, 30. 12 Vogl and Hüning, “One Nation, One Language,” 244–45. 13 Jan Goossens, Inleiding tot de Nederlandse Dialectologie (Groningen: WoltersNoordhoff, 1977), 11–30; Donaldson, Dutch, 11–17. 14 Donaldson, Dutch, 17.

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15 Frans Van Coetsem. “De rijksgrens tussen Nederland en Belgie als taalgrens in de Algemene Taal,” in Taal en spraak in stad en streek: algemene taal en dialecten, ed. B.W. Schippers (Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff, 1968), 103. As cited and translated by Donaldson, Dutch, 18. 16 Donaldson, Dutch, 33–34; Geert Booj, The Phonology of Dutch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 4–21, 53–95. 17 Gertjan Willems, “Filmbeleid in Vlaanderen en Denemarken: Een Comparatieve Analyse,” Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap 38, no. 2 (2010): 177; European Audiovisual Observatory, “European Union Cinema Attendence up 4% in 2006” (Strasbourg: European Audiovisual Observatory, February 21, 2007), accessed June 1, 2014. http://www.obs.coe.int/about/oea/pr/berlin2007.htm; Flanders Audiovisual Fund ngo, Annual Report 2012 (Brussels: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, 2013), 107–10. 18 Econopolis. “Made in Flanders:” Het Exportpotentieel van de Vlaamse Audiovisuele Sector (Antwerp: Econopolis, 2012), 11. 19 Ibid., 10–16, 37–46; Flanders Audiovisual Fund ngo, Annual Report 2012, 118–22. 20 Steven De Foer, “Nederlandse Versie is Gewoon wat Explicietere Kopie van de Vlaamse: Ook in Holland Staat een Loft,” De Standaard, December 16, 2010. 21 Flanders Audiovisual Fund ngo, Annual Report 2008 (Brussels: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, 2009), 10, 140; Ibid., Annual Report 2010 (Brussels: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, 2011), 156–60; Dana Linssen, “Moeizaam Grensverkeer tussen Nederland en Vlaanderen,” NRC Handelsblad, March 25, 2009, 8; Raymond van den Bogaard, “De Nederlander kan niet zonder Ironie,” NRC Handelsblad, May 7, 2010, 3. 22 Hugo Bernaers. “Een ‘Nieuwe’ Loft: Was Dat nou echt Nodig,” Filmmagie, no. 612 (2011): 35; Bor Beekman, “Remakes: De Verschillen tussen Nederlands en Vlaams Filmpubliek. Sentimenteler dan de Belgen,” De Volkskrant, June 1, 2010, 42–43. 23 Netherlands Film Fund, Annual Report 2010 (Amsterdam: Netherlands Film Fund, 2011), 96; Film Facts and Figures of the Netherlands. September 2011 (Amsterdam: Netherlands Film Fund, 2011), 14. 24 John Sinclair, “Geolinguistic Region as Global Space: The Case of Latin America,” in The New Communications Landscape. Demystifying Media Globalization, ed. Georgette Wang, Jan Servaes, and Anura Goonasekera (New York: Routledge, 2000), 19–32; Bernaers, “Een ‘Nieuwe’ Loft,” 35.

Works cited Beekman, Bor. “Remakes: De Verschillen tussen Nederlands en Vlaams Filmpubliek. Sentimenteler dan de Belgen.” De Volkskrant, June 1, 2010. Berdichevsky, Norman. Nations, Language, and Citizenship. Jefferson, NC : McFarland, 2004.

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Bernaers, Hugo. “Een ‘Nieuwe’ Loft: Was Dat nou echt Nodig?” Filmmagie, no. 612 (2011): 35. Bogaard, Raymond van den. “De Nederlander kan niet zonder Ironie.” NRC Handelsblad, May 7, 2010. Booj, Geert. The Phonology of Dutch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Coetsem, Frans Van. “De rijksgrens tussen Nederland en Belgie als taalgrens in de Algemene Taal.” In Taal en spraak in stad en streek: algemene taal en dialecten, edited by B.W. Schippers, 99–112. Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff, 1968. Donaldson, Bruce. Dutch: A Linguistic History of Holland and Belgium. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 1983. Econopolis. “Made in Flanders:” Het Exportpotentieel van de Vlaamse Audiovisuele Sector. Antwerp: Econopolis, 2012. European Audiovisual Observatory. “European Union Cinema Attendence up 4% in 2006.” Strasbourg: European Audiovisual Observatory, February 21, 2007. Accessed June 1, 2014. http://www.obs.coe.int/about/oea/pr/berlin2007.htm. Flanders Audiovisual Fund ngo. Annual Report 2008. Brussels: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, 2009. Flanders Audiovisual Fund ngo. Annual Report 2010. Brussels: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, 2011. Flanders Audiovisual Fund ngo. Annual Report 2012. Brussels: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, 2013. Foer, Steven De. “Nederlandse Versie is Gewoon wat Explicietere Kopie van de Vlaamse: Ook in Holland Staat een Loft.” De Standaard, December 16, 2010. Geerts, Guido. “Language Legislation in Belgium and the Balance of Power in Walloon Flemish Relationships.” In Language Attitudes in the Dutch Language Area, edited by Roeland van Hout and Uus Knops, 25–38. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011. Goossens, Jan. Inleiding tot de Nederlandse Dialectologie. Groningen: Wolters Noordhoff, 1977. Linssen, Dana. “Moeizaam Grensverkeer tussen Nederland en Vlaanderen.” NRC Handelsblad, March 25, 2009. Netherlands Film Fund. Annual Report 2010. Amsterdam: Netherlands Film Fund, 2011. Netherlands Film Fund. Film Facts and Figures of the Netherlands. September 2011. Amsterdam: Netherlands Film Fund, 2011. Sinclair, John. “Geolinguistic Region as Global Space: The Case of Latin America.” In The New Communications Landscape. Demystifying Media Globalization, edited by Georgette Wang, Jan Servaes, and Anura Goonasekera, 19–32. New York: Routledge, 2000. Vogl, Ulrike, and Matthias Hüning. “One Nation, One Language? The Case of Belgium.” Dutch Crossing 32, no. 3 (2010): 228–47. Willems, Gertjan. “Filmbeleid in Vlaanderen en Denemarken: Een Comparatieve Analyse.” Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap 38, no. 2 (2010): 172–86.

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Multilingualism and Indigenous Cinema in Northeast India: The Case of Kokborok Language Films Mara Matta

India has a long history of addressing issues of multilingualism and multiculturalism. Since the very beginning of its struggle for independence, the country has devised various policies meant to protect the languages and cultural practices of the ādivāsī (indigenous people), or Scheduled Tribes (ST ). Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and many other political leaders envisioned a multilingual Indian Subcontinent capable of transforming the “problem” of diversity into a point of pride, if not of political strength. At the grassroots level, however, this ideological debate has involved a much more complex resolution, and disputes regarding the national and official languages have intensified since 1947. Pakistan confronted the language riots of 1952, when the central government tried to impose Urdu as the national language, overlooking the fact that East Pakistan was mostly populated by Bengali speakers. What seemed a minor issue at the time led to a struggle for independence: in 1971, Bangladesh was created as an independent nation-state whose name means, precisely, “the country of the Bangla-speaking people.” Linguistic and ethnic identities became the core of the new nation, with religion (which had united East and West Pakistan into a Muslim nation in 1947) playing a secondary role. The linguistic factor went on to trigger other major revolts in the newly independent India, where the constitutionalists worked hard to devise a strategy for accommodating all the languages of the country within an effective educational policy. Nonetheless, the issue of the national language proved impossible to solve: the Sanskritized Hindi put forward by the Congress as the best candidate for the national language of India was immediately rejected by a large part of the population. This was partly on religious grounds, as it was a language associated with the Hindus, and partly on strictly linguistic grounds, as it was exogenous to 335

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many Indian citizens and, in its revised form, alien to the masses, having been forged from the more hybridized Hindustani that was colloquially spoken. In the end, Hindi became just one of the twenty-two official languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, a provision meant to safeguard the nation’s many languages and cultural practices.1 While more and more languages are now applying to be recognized and included in the Eighth Schedule, it would be almost beyond any realistic legal provision to account for all the tribal languages of India. According to the People of India project (POI ), there are 623 indigenous communities in India that speak more than 200 different languages.2 Most of them do not have a writing system and their literatures are, in fact, oratures, passed on from one generation to another through oral storytelling, singing and painting. At the same time, official languages are increasingly used not just as medium of instruction (MI ) in schools, but also in radio, television and cinema, leading to the erosion of tribal and minor mother tongues (MT ), whose cultural capital is curtailed by the elites for the purpose of reinforcing class hierarchies and social divides. This marginalization is deeply rooted in failed educational policies that so far have engendered “linguistic genocide,”3 the adoption of “anti-predatory strategies”4 by the tribal speakers who tend to restrict the use of their mother tongues to the home or in-group domains, and a general lack of pride in languages defined as minor and cultures portrayed as inferior. Tribal and minor mother tongues are thus particularly affected by what Ajit K. Mohanty has termed the “multilingualism of the unequals,” in which the maintenance and preservation of minority languages, when at all possible, comes at the very high cost of “identity crisis, deprivation of freedom and capability, educational failure [. . .] marginalization and poverty.”5 While many studies have explored the multilingualism of India, the impact of cinema on the country’s linguistic practices has been largely overlooked.6 This is particularly surprising given the role that Bollywood has played in making Hindi a pan-Indian language generally understood (when not fluently spoken) by the majority of the Indian people as well as among the NRI ’s communities around the world. This dearth of scholarship is still more acutely felt in the context of the other Indian cinemas in “minor languages”: independent and often low-budget works by scriptwriters and directors operating at the margins of the nation-state. This chapter highlights the crucial issue of India’s tribal languages in relation to the production of indigenous films, the politics of visuality, and the creation of a counter-hegemonic historical archive of “screen memories”7 in

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which the ubiquitous question of cultural identity and shifting positionalities takes central stage. These issues stand in contrast to the ethnocentric and monolingual tendencies in India’s filmmaking industry, where films in Hindi—or in other major regional languages such as Bengali or Tamil—do not contribute to the making of a polyphonic multilingual nation so much as they reinforce the effects of a reductionist language policy that leads many ādivāsī groups to commit what Anvita Abbi has termed “lingocide.”8 Producing films in languages other than the twenty-two recognized in the Eighth Schedule provides a means of opposing this trend and promoting cultural pluralism and multilingualism at a grassroots level. In particular, I discuss two Kokboroklanguage films produced in collaboration with the indigenous people of Tripura— one of the states of the vast area functionally labeled “Northeast India”9—whose release has drawn widespread attention to the need for safeguarding tribal languages and the crucial role that indigenous cinemas might assume in that endeavor.

Multilingual films for a multivisionary world India’s linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity has always appeared (in the minds of political leaders, at least) as a possible threat to the unity of the modern Indian nation-state. This is particularly true of an area like the Northeast, whose extraordinary diversity and liminal geographic position have contributed to the central government’s longstanding wariness of the region’s loyalty to the nation-state project as well as its efforts to target Northeast India’s conflicts as manifestations of ethno-nationalisms born out of the its internal diversities. Sanjib Baruah, among others, has cautioned the Indian State against this biased perception and the consequent military solutions, claiming that “extreme diversity is not the cause of Northeast India’s conflicts,”10 and emphasizing that languages in Northeast India have always shared common spaces, overlapped and influenced each other, and never impeded either communication or the emergence of shared political projects. The somewhat dystopic image of the Northeast in the national imaginary, and its political repercussions, might be contrasted by encouraging the development of culturally diverse artistic outputs, and thus, allowing the indigenous people to perceive themselves as “native citizen[s] of a multi-visionary world,” to adopt Mrinal Miri’s formulation11—a far more exciting prospect than being

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disempowered subjects of a multicultural nation-state that does not count their culture among the “representatives” of its ethos. In other words, instead of financing military operations to crush the “rebels,” sponsoring developmental projects that further impoverish the tribal lands and its inhabitants, and implementing inefficacious linguistic and educational policies far too distant from the way of living of the ādivāsīs, the Indian government should sustain local efforts to appropriate modernity in the tribal people’s own terms, encouraging the development of indigenous cultural practices that may reinforce a sense of pride in local languages and cultures, and situate them within the boundaries of the Indian nation (not at its margins, or worse, outside of/in contrast with it). If the people of postcolonial India perceive themselves as alien to the project of nationbuilding because their cultures, ethnicities and languages are constantly presented and represented as exogenous to a mythologized, hegemonic and homogenized Indian Culture, this only increases their resistance to the project of incorporation/ assimilation in the dominant cultural semiosphere12—a project that has been only superficially masked by the rhetoric of progress and social inclusivity. In light of these dynamics, sustaining a multilingual scenario in the field of Indian cinema appears increasingly important. Indigenous cinemas offer not only a means of presenting oppositional gazes and counter-hegemonic representations of tribal societies and cultural practices, but also a filmmaking current that might compete with Bollywood and counter its representational politics. In her book The Cinematic ImagiNation, Jyotika Virdi exposes the way Bollywood usually constructs the postcolonial nation “through a complex apparatus of metaphors, discourses, and modes of address” and “a stock set of tropes, symbols, characters, and narratives that are meant to first air, and then resolve, contemporary anxieties and difficulties.”13 Representations of India in Bollywood cinema are constructed through the use of a forged language (filmi Hindi) and a carefully manipulated semiotic frame that eliminates the nation’s “subaltern citizens.”14 Pushed into a linguistic and visual ghetto, the indigenous people are talked about or totally silenced, depicted as charming and exotic (even erotic), as primitive and superstitious, or as violent and untamed. This fabrication of community and of political subjects in mainstream Indian cinema tends toward a reductionist policy of relegating disadvantaged groups—such as those listed in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes—to the margins of the screen and thus curtailing the use of cinema to reclaim agency and the exercise of full citizenship for the whole population of India. As Ravi S. Vasudevan has pointed out in his discussion of

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the relationship between cinema and citizenship in postcolonial India, cinema is a site of reflection and refraction of political concepts constructed during colonial times and in need of being debunked or reformulated in the postindependence era.15 In the context of this neocolonial framework, indigenous artists and filmmakers embrace “the re-invention and re-connecting of cultural knowledge and memory suppressed or fetishized under colonial rule”16 as creative imperatives. While cinemas in major regional languages such as Tamil or Bengali, for example, have a large number of potential spectators and so present more chances for reasserting their languages, cultural capitals and worldviews, cinemas in tribal languages face greater challenges. Filmmakers who decide to shoot a film in a tribal language may be unable to find a producer, therefore having to rely on a very low budget to make a film that might never be screened or might alienate its potential audience because it is embedded in an alien culture, and does not employ the narrative and stylistic devices of more mainstream Hindi-language films. Even in the case of indigenous films that do endeavor to reproduce the Bollywood model, the use of a tribal language may drive away spectators unused to reading subtitles. This nonetheless does not stop filmmakers from the tribal communities from adopting Bollywood modalities of filmmaking; indeed, as Daisy Hasan has pointed out, viewing and imitating Bollywood is accepted as part of the fluid cultural practices of modern societies in the region.17 Yet these accommodating practices threaten to further curtail the local production space and diminish the cultural capital of indigenous cinemas that strive to create an original voice in one of the many tribal languages. Despite these difficulties, more and more independent filmmakers are producing films that employ different languages and multivisionary perspectives, largely thanks to the relatively low cost of digital productions. These works construct local counter-hegemonic narratives in order to debunk the homogenizing counter-insurgent images of Hindi-language films, through the strategic use of oppositional gazes and the creation of a multilingual cinematic landscape. Addressing the issue of India’s linguistic landscaping, N.H. Itagi and Shailendra Kumar Singh argue: [a] philosophy of deep multilingualism cannot distance itself from the philosophy of critical cultural pluralism; and together, these philosophies can serve as a transformative tool for illuminating the implications of our shared socio-cultural democratic ideal.18

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Such a philosophy of cultural pluralism can contribute to creating the “Indian identity,” but only when rooted in the multilingual framework that defines the specificity of India’s increasingly endangered language ecology. The main questions that now challenge the survival of tribal languages and pose dilemmas for indigenous groups are how to stop linguistic erosion,19 and how to employ indigenous cinemas to encourage the use of tribal mother tongues outside the domestic space, thus allowing them to function as viable platforms for conveying the cultural pluralism of a polyphonic India. Where educational policies have failed, indigenous cinemas may succeed in addressing important social, economic and political issues, but also in regaining a space for advocacy in purely linguistic terms. In order to do so, they must necessarily go beyond stereotyped images and monolingual narratives to discover—as Ella Shohat and Robert Stam have argued in a different context—a “dissonant, multilayered, contradictory, palimpsestic aesthetic,” a “dissonant nation.”20

Talking back: indigenous cinema as a language of grassroots politics The Northeast is one area where a polyphonic cinema is developing alongside an emerging multivocal literature, both conscious of language as a literary and visual semiotic system that—to echo Faye Ginsburg—has to be deployed in a “Faustian contract” with technology and media in order to create an indigenous cinema.21 People involved in producing films in Manipuri, Kokborok, Khasi, Monpa and other tribal languages are fighting a “battle over images” and over languages to find a way out from the ghettoized visual and linguistic regimes afflicting the indigenous people.22 A growing number of filmmakers from the Northeast (or in close collaboration with the ādivāsīs of this area) have started making films rooted in the ethos of the tribal people, using their indigenous languages and inscribing “their screen memories in media to ‘talk back’ to structures of power and state that have denied their rights, subjectivity, and citizenship.”23 The two Kokborok-language films that form the case study of this chapter— Mathia (The Bangle, 2002) and Yarwng (Roots, 2008)—were both shot in the northeastern state of Tripura by Father Joseph Pulinthanath, a filmmaker and Salesian priest from the southern state of Kerala who has been living in the Northeast for the last twenty years. These two films represent a crucial

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contribution to the development of an indigenous cinematic voice, as they pose at their center not just the issue of tribal language, but also that of the biased and distorted image of the Northeast, widespread in mainstream Indian cinema. They are also notable for being the first two cases of films written, directed and envisioned in close participation with the different ethnic and linguistic tribal communities of the Tripura state, whose diverse linguistic registers and complex worldviews they foreground. Father Pulinthanath’s innovative use of cinematic language capitalizes on the performative traditions of Tripura, working in close collaboration with local theater artists and consciously incorporating the different languages of the region’s diverse ethnic groups. It is worth pointing out here that the development of an indigenous cinema in Kokborok has been partly hindered by the existence of many variants of the language, associated with different ethnicities and questions of hierarchy and class.24 From 585 to 1949, Tripura was an independent royal kingdom of the Indian Subcontinent, whose official language was Kokborok (or Kók Borok). When the last Maharaja signed the annexing of the kingdom to the Republic of India, the official language became Bengali, while Kokborok remained widely used and was recognized as one of the state languages of Tripura in 1979. Nonetheless, and despite the fact that it now counts roughly one million speakers, Kokborok still lags behind in terms of its functional use in education, literature and cinema. As Ratna Bharali Talukdar reports, issues such as which script to use (Bengali or Roman alphabet) and which forms of Kokborok to teach have slowed down its affirmation on the modern stage.25 The Debbarma dialect, the language of the Royal Clan of the Debbarmas, is widely recognized as the standard form of Kokborok, yet the effort to promote it as the “noblest form” of the language has triggered resistance from groups conversant in other varieties. Given these problematics, the choice of which tribal language to adopt as the standard language of education, literature and cinema in Tripura is never a neutral one. The two films directed by Father Joseph Pulinthanath feature actors belonging to different ethnic groups and speaking variants of the Kokborok language, and thus mark a pronounced shift away from earlier practices and biases.26 As Pulinthanath observes: Until Mathia, there was a notion that film deserved the best form of spoken language. The Debbarmas thought theirs was the best form of Kokborok. The Jamatias thought theirs to be the purest form of Kokborok. The Reangs were quite earnest about holding on to their dialect and accent (Kau Bru), whatever the “language” of the film.27

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In the past, this had resulted in a practice of homogenizing language according to the ethnicity of the actors, on the basis of nonexistent linguistic rules that the director dismissed completely. Pulinthanath and the crew highlighted the importance of conveying a realistic image of the complex and variegated nature of tribal cultures and languages, rather than flattening or idealizing them. The filmmaker elaborates: We were, quite certainly, the very first to let people who belong to different tribes and speak different dialects walk in and out of the same film, thereby throwing to the wind the assumed notions of superiority of some tribes/dialects and also unnecessary caution about selection of actors. This is just another groundbreaking trend we started with Mathia and followed up in Yarwng.

In addition to their use of tribal languages, Mathia and Yarwng also stand out for representing tribal people not as alluring props or exotic specimens, but rather as main characters whose concerns and traditions are presented in a complex way, without shying away from criticizing obsolete customary laws and practices. Shot in Tripura by a mixed crew composed of locals and other technicians from Kerala and West Bengal, Mathia addresses the grievous issue of witch-hunting, a practice that is still rooted among certain tribal communities in the Northeast. The film’s plot revolves around a tribal girl, Kwchwngti (Meena Debbarma), who lives alone, ostracized by her community due to a series of misfortunes that occurred on her arrival in the village of Hathai Para. Only Banthu, a simpleminded young man, finds the courage to approach her: he initiates a relationship with Kwchwngti, until an illness snatches his mother’s life away and the villagers convince him that Kwchwngti is, indeed, a witch. Though he resolves to kill Kwchwngti by burying her alive, love ultimately triumphs over superstition, and the young couple are reunited and admitted to the village circle. This issue-based plot was devised through a participatory approach to storytelling. The filmmaker and part of the crew spent weeks speaking with the people of the villages where the casting was conducted, hearing their stories, their concerns, their beliefs, and their ideas of change and progress. After these discussions, Pulinthanath drafted the script, which was further modified during shooting, as the director and the crew remained open to negotiation and contestation. Mathia thus employed a participatory working method, involving the tribal community in every phase of the film’s production, from scriptwriting to editing. The collective effort to present an issue like witch-hunting, a sensitive topic easily manipulated to accuse the tribals of “backwardness” and “ignorance,”

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positioned cinema as a means of exposing the problems faced by tribal societies in contemporary times. Among other things, Mathia foregrounded the gender inequalities that, as Pulinthanath has pointed out, continue to persist despite the fact that the Tripura tribal communities “are quite egalitarian in their outlook and attitudes.”28 If it is true that the matriarchal system prevalent in some tribal communities guarantees a certain respect for women’s roles in society, this has more to do with safeguarding the purity of the tribe and the property of the clan/ family, rather than with feminist ideology. Pulinthanath has also noted the extent to which the issue of women “being left behind” is related to language and the poor literacy levels of tribal mothers—which, as discussed above, impinges on the education of their children, and thus forms part of the ongoing problem of the “multilingualism of the unequals.” Yarwng is similarly centered on a young tribal woman, here too played by Meena Debbarma, a professional Tripuri theater actress. The film starts with a flash-forward, showing the female protagonist, Karmati, being questioned by her husband about a past love affair that took place before the floodgates of change forced her into a new life. Karmati proceeds to narrate her story, set against the backdrop of the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Raima and Saima Rivers that causes a group of villagers to be displaced from their lands. The project is allegedly implemented to benefit the villagers by bringing industrial progress, such as electricity, yet it benefits only the inhabitants of the plains, while the tribal people are made to abandon their fertile agricultural lands and all their possessions, and move farther up the hills. The story is inspired by a real event that took place in the 1970s as a consequence of the Dumbur Nagar HydroElectric project on the Raima and Saima Rivers. The film is an experiment in oral history, where the tribals of Tripura narrate events that are usually obscured in the mainstream sociological and historical accounts of government-led programs meant to tackle issues of backwardness and deprivation. Reflecting on the decision to present this historical event as a fictional film narrative, Pulinthanath explains: The final reason for choosing fiction was simply because Kokborok culture needed it. A well-made feature film could become a work of art, a worthwhile asset to the meager cultural corpus of the community. In other words, having a nationally and internationally acclaimed work of art, in the form of a feature film, would boost the dwindling self-image and confidence of the Tripuri tribes. It would become a flagship for an entire race.

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This experiment in “social cinema,” as Pulinthanath calls it, is vital in countering the progressive marginalization of the Tripuri people,29 their relegation to the role of what Rashmi Sawney calls the “ultra-subalterns.”30 The filmmaker stresses that finding a voice capable of reclaiming a (political) space of active agency—no less than the ethical issue of giving a voice to “a voiceless and forgotten people”31— was of the utmost importance to the exegesis of the film, even if it meant “having to make unconventional decisions.”32 This went hand in hand with the imperative of filling a vacuum, of occupying a space (on the semiotic cinematic level and on the symbolic sociocultural level) where the tribals would not be victimized or talked about, but would be the main subjects of the world spoken by them, active political agents and real citizens of India. In Pulinthanath’s view, it is largely by avoiding “Bollywood conventions and perceptions of time, structure, climax, resolution,” that his films were able to capture the worldview of the indigenous communities of Northeast India: “In Yarwng, particularly, we made a conscious effort to ensure that the camera did not become an instrument for stealing the tribal image; rather, the camera became a tool in their hands to interpret to the world and to themselves their tryst with destiny.”33 This is an extremely important stance since Bollywood conventions and perceptions have become an almost overbearing model of narration in India, and official media just another weapon for annihilating tribal histories and cultures. “Talking back” to Bollywood and moving far from its representation of Northeast India in “pre-modern and orientalist terms,”34 Mathia and Yarwng stand as successful experiments in indigenous and social cinema, using tribal languages and newly fledged local modes of cinematic storytelling to reclaim a legitimate space of social and historical significance for the shifting of positionality from subaltern subjects. This effort to portray stories relevant to the Tripuri through their own languages has won both films prestigious awards and recognition. Saroj Chowdhury, a film critic and professor of Literature at the University of Agartala (Tripura), has reviewed Mathia as a film “comparable to the great Italian classics,” while Jiten Choudhuri (minister of the Government of Tripura) has praised it as a “daring and welcome contribution to social change.”35 Touching on the issue of re-injecting a sense of pride and honor in neglected languages, Anil Sarkar, another minister of the Tripura Government, has said, “Mathia has not only taken the Kokborok language to the international arena, but has made the people of the state proud.”36 Yarwng, on the other hand, has won not only the IFFI Special Jury Mention Award at the 2008 Mumbai Asian Film Festival, but also the National Film Award in the category “Best Film in a language other than

Multilingualism and Indigenous Cinema in Northeast India

Figure 17.1 Yarwng (Roots, Father Joseph Pulinthanath, 2008).

Figure 17.2 Yarwng (Roots, Father Joseph Pulinthanath, 2008).

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Figure 17.3 Yarwng (Roots, Father Joseph Pulinthanath, 2008).

the ones included in the VIII Schedule of the Indian Constitution.” The specific category of this award is particularly significant insofar as the film aimed precisely to bring attention to the necessity of preserving endangered indigenous languages and the issue of their inclusion in the Eighth Schedule, which is symbolic of the tribal communities’ political aspirations.37 If Bollywood cinema succeeded in legitimizing the use of Hindi as the national language of India at home and abroad, it is possible that the further growth of indigenous filmmaking might go far toward supporting the vindication of regional and tribal languages. Fostering a sense of pride in the use and maintenance of so-called minor languages, films such as Mathia and Yarwng convey the particular worldview of the indigenous people, and provide a ground for discussing issues or simply telling stories that were traditionally passed on through oral folk literatures and that the mainstream cinema cannot represent without bias. As Asha Sarangi has claimed, “it is not always the grammar, speech, communication, and vocabulary that determine the life and death of a language, but how people live in and through languages and their worldviews.”38 While northeastern writers are busy finding a suitable literary language (and devising acceptable alphabets) to write their oratures, indigenous filmmakers may be seen as developing cinematures, preserving the musical allure of the tribal languages and the symbolism of their images in a reappraisal of the moving image that could give birth to an entirely new way of making indigenous cinemas.

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Notes 1 For more details, see “Constitutional provisions relating to Eighth Schedule,” Ministry of Home Affairs (Government of India), accessed August 20, 2014, http:// mha.nic.in/hindi/sites/upload_files/mhahindi/files/pdf/Eighth_Schedule.pdf. 2 See N.H. Itagi and Shailendra Kumar Singh, “Introduction” to Linguistic Landscaping in India, with Particular Reference to the New States: Proceedings of a Seminar, ed. N.H. Itagi and Shailendra Kumar Singh (Delhi: Central Institute of Indian Languages and Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, 2002). 3 Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Linguistic Genocide in Education Or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? (Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000). 4 Ajit K. Mohanty, “Multilingualism of the Unequals and Predicaments of Education in India: Mother Tongue or Other Tongue?” In Imagining Multilingual Schools: Language in Education and Globalization, ed. O. Garcia, T. Skutnabb-Kangas and M. Torres-Guzman (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2006), 262–83. 5 Ibid., 266. See also Ajit K. Mohanty, “Multilingual Education for Indigenous Children: Escaping the Vicious Cycle of Language Disadvantage in India,” paper presented at the UNESCO -UNU International Conference on Globalization and Languages—Building on our Rich Heritage (Tokyo, August 27–28, 2008), 133. http:// archive.unu.edu/globalization/2008/files/UNU -UNESCO _Mohanty.pdf. 6 For a useful overview of this issue, see “The Language of Bollywood—Documentary On How Multilingualism Is Handled In Hindi Films (India),” Goethe Institute, accessed August 25, 2014, http://www.goethe.de/ges/spa/prj/sog/ver/en5356222.htm. 7 Faye Ginsburg, “Smoke Signals and Screen Memories,” in Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media, ed. Ella Shohat and Robert Stam (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003), 77–98. 8 Anvita Abbi, “Vanishing Diversities and Submerging Identities: An Indian Case,” in Language and Politics in India, ed. Asha Sarangi (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), 306. 9 Often collectively named the “Seven Sisters,” the Northeast includes the states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. 10 Sanjib Baruah, Postfrontier Blues: Toward a New Policy Framework for Northeast India, Policy Studies 33 (New Delhi: Centre for Policy Research and East-West Center Washington, 2007), 22. Accessed on August 10, 2014. http://www. eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/stored/pdfsPS 033.pdf. 11 Mrinal Miri, “Community, Culture, Nation,” Seminar 550 (2005): 55, quoted in Baruah, Postfrontier Blues, 22. 12 I am adopting this term from Juri Lotman, “On the Semiosphere,” trans. Wilma Clark, Sign Systems Studies 33, no.1 (2005), 205–29.

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13 Jyotika Virdi, The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003), 9. 14 Gyanendra Pandey, Subaltern Citizens and Their Histories: Investigation from India and the USA (London and New York: Routledge, 2010). 15 Ravi S. Vasudevan, “An Imperfect Public. Cinema and Citizenship in the ‘Third World,”’ Paper presented at the Van Zelst Lecture on Communication delivered at Northwestern University, Evanston in 1998. Shortened version available at: http://www.cronistas.org/ wp-content/uploads/2014/02/An-Imperfect-Public-Ravi-Vasudevan.pdf. 16 Ibid. 17 Daisy Hasan, “Talking Back to ‘Bollywood’: Hindi Commercial Cinema in NorthEast India,” in South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts, ed. Shakuntala Banaji (London: Anthem Press, 2010), 45. 18 Itagi and Singh, “Introduction,” 22. 19 See Abbi, “Vanishing Diversities,” 307. 20 Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality, and Transnational Media (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003), 13. 21 Faye Ginsburg, “Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract or Global Village?” Cultural Anthropology 6, no. 1 (1991): 92–112. 22 Baruah, Postfrontier Blues, 24. 23 Ginsburg, “Smoke Signals,” 92. 24 Binoy Debbarma lists eight distinct Kokborok dialects: Bru, Debbarma, Jamatia, Koloi, Murasing, Rupini, Tripura and Uchoi. See “Kokborok Is the Language of Borok People in Twipra India: A Brief Outline,” in Mukumu: A Souvenir on Ten Years in Service of the Borok People by the Kokborok Tei Hukumu Mission (Agartala: Kokborok Tei Hukumu Mission, 2003), 57–68. 25 Ratna Bharali Talukdar, “Tripura Promotes Kok-Borok in Tribal Schools,” India Together (September 26, 2007): n.p. 26 Kim, Amy, Seung Kim, Palash Roy and Mridul Sangma, The Tripura of Bangladesh: A Sociolinguistic Survey (SIL International, 2011), http://www-01.sil.org/silesr/2011/ silesr2011-038.pdf. 27 Interview with Father Joseph Pulinthanath (February 2010, Royal Tripura House, Kolkata). 28 Ibid. 29 See Subir Bhaumik, “Tripura: Ethnic Conflict, Militancy and Counterinsurgency,” Politics and Practices 52 (Kolkata: Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, 2012), 5. 30 Rashmi Sawney, “Cinema and the Adivasis of India,” Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 9, no. 1 (2009) (special issue on Chotro: Adivasi Voices and Stories), 104. 31 Interview with Pulinthanath. 32 Ibid.

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33 Father Joseph Pulinthanath, e-mail message to author (July 18, 2010). 34 Hasan, “Talking Back,” 46. 35 These comments are taken from the Mathia press kit, courtesy of Father Joseph Pulinthanath who made the DVD available to me in February 2010. 36 Ibid. 37 See Asha Sarangi, “Tribal Languages and Cultural Politics in Contemporary India,” Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 9, no. 1 (2009) (special issue on Chotro: Adivasi Voices and Stories), 7. 38 Ibid., 7.

Works cited Abbi, Anvita. “Vanishing Diversities and Submerging Identities: An Indian Case.” In Language and Politics in India, edited by Asha Sarangi, 299–311. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009. Baruah, Sanjib. Postfrontier Blues: Toward a New Policy Framework for Northeast India. Policy Studies 33. New Delhi: Centre for Policy Research and East-West Center Washington, 2007. http://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/stored/pdfs/PS 033.pdf. Bhaumik, Subir. “Tripura: Ethnic Conflict, Militancy and Counterinsurgency.” Politics and Practices, no. 52. Kolkata: Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, 2012. Debbarma, Binoy. “Kokborok is the Language of Borok People in Twipra India—A Brief Outline.” In Mukumu: A Souvenir on Ten Years in Service of the Borok People by the Kokborok Tei Hukumu Mission, 57–68. Agartala, India: Kokborok Tei Hukumu Mission, 2003. Ginsburg, Faye. “Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract or Global Village?” Cultural Anthropology 6, no. 1 (February 1991): 92–112. Ginsburg, Faye. “Smoke Signals and Screen Memories.” In Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media, edited by Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, 77–98. New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003. Hasan, Daisy. “Talking Back to ‘Bollywood’: Hindi Commercial Cinema in North-East India.” In South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts, edited by Shakuntala Banaji, 29–50. London: Anthem Press, 2010. Itagi, N.H., and Shailendra Kumar Singh, eds. Linguistic Landscaping in India, with Particular Reference to the New States: Proceedings of a Seminar. Delhi: Central Institute of Indian Languages and Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, 2002. Kim, Amy, Seung Kim, Palash Roy, and Mridul Sangma. The Tripura of Bangladesh: A Sociolinguistic Survey. SIL International, 2011. http://www-01.sil.org/silesr/2011/ silesr2011-038.pdf. Lotman, Juri. “On the Semiosphere.” Translated by Wilma Clark. Sign Systems Studies 33, no.1 (2005): 205–29.

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Miri, Mrinal. “Community, Culture, Nation.” Seminar, no. 550 (2005): 54–58. Mohanty, Ajit K. “Multilingualism of the Unequals and Predicaments of Education in India: Mother Tongue or Other Tongue?” In Imagining Multilingual Schools: Language in Education and Globalization, edited by O. Garcia, T. Skutnabb-Kangas and M. Torres-Guzman, 262–283. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2006. Mohanty, Ajit K. “Multilingual Education for Indigenous Children: Escaping the Vicious Cycle of Language Disadvantage in India.” Paper presented at the UNESCO -UNU International Conference on Globalization and Languages—Building on our Rich Heritage (Panel on “Education and Learning”), Tokyo, August 27–28, 2008. http:// archive.unu.edu/globalization/2008/files/UNU -UNESCO _Mohanty.pdf. Mohanty, Ajit K. “Languages, Inequality and Marginalization: Implications of the Double Divide in Indian Multilingualism.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 205 (2010): 131–54. Mohanty, Ajit K. The Other Side of Multilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2014. Pandey, Gyanendra. Subaltern Citizens and Their Histories: Investigation from India and the USA . London and New York: Routledge, 2010. Sarangi, Asha. “Tribal Languages and Cultural Politics in Contemporary India.” Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 9, no. 1 (2009) (special issue on Chotro: Adivasi Voices and Stories). Sawney, Rashmi. “Cinema and the Adivasis of India.” Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 9, no. 1 (2009) (special issue on Chotro: Adivasi Voices and Stories): 102–15. Shohat, Ella, and Robert Stam. Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality, and Transnational Media. New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003. Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove. Linguistic Genocide in Education Or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. Talukdar, Ratna Bharali. “Tripura Promotes Kok-Borok in Tribal Schools.” India Together (September 26, 2007): n.p. Tripura, Prabhangshu. The Tripura and Their Culture (original in Bengali). Publisher unknown, 2002. Vasudevan, Ravi S. “An Imperfect Public. Cinema and Citizenship in the ‘Third World.’ ” Paper presented at the Van Zelst Lecture on Communication delivered at Northwestern University, Evanston in 1998. Shortened version available at the URL : http://www.cronistas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/An-Imperfect-Public-RaviVasudevan.pdf as part of the Sarai Reader 2001: 57–67. Virdi, Jyotika. The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History. New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2003.

18

Programming Latin American Cinema in the United States: An Interview with Carlos A. Gutiérrez Lisa Patti

Carlos A. Gutiérrez is the cofounder and Executive Director of Cinema Tropical, the leading programmer of Latin American cinema in the United States. Founded in 2001, Cinema Tropical extends its programming practices beyond the theatrical distribution of prominent Latin American titles to the collaborative curation of special screenings, series and events; the circulation of the films in its library within nontheatrical and educational markets; and the promotion of a wide range of emerging Latin American films as they enter the United States and international exhibition circuits. In his role as Cinema Tropical’s Executive Director, Gutiérrez has worked as a distributor, programmer, publicist and advocate for important Latin American films, including Two Shots Fired (Martín Rejtman, Argentina, 2014), Bad Hair (Mariana Rondón, Venezuela, 2013), El Estudiante (Santiago Mitre, Argentina, 2011), The Last Christeros (Matías Meyer, Mexico, 2011), Purgatorio (Rodrigo Reyes, USA /Mexico, 2013), 7 Boxes (Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori, Paraguay, 2013), Viola (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina, 2012), Clandestine Childhood (Benjamín Ávila, 2012) and Nostalgia for the Light (Patricio Guzmán, Chile, 2010). Given the breadth of its creative and industrial practices and the global distribution strategies it charts, Cinema Tropical occupies an important position within an evolving network of filmmakers, distributors, exhibitors, critics and audiences. The opportunity to discuss contemporary film programming in the context of a collection on multilingualism and cinema draws attention to the ways that industrial and alternative approaches to the distribution and promotion of film shape film criticism. As Gutiérrez notes, film criticism as it is practiced both within and beyond the academy exerts a strong, and in many ways, limiting influence on 351

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film programming. His reflections invite a reconsideration of programming as a form or phase of film production; and as he persuasively asserts, the work of Cinema Tropical demonstrates the value of reframing cinema as a performance. Gutiérrez’s overview of the international networks that a film must navigate in order to reach a global audience, even, in the case of Latin American films, to reach a local audience, foregrounds the challenges of forging a multilingual film culture within the persistently monolingual US film industry. Cinema Tropical’s promotion of Spanish and Portuguese language films and multilingual films within the almost exclusively English language US theatrical market expands the theorization of cinematic multilingualism beyond the analysis of individual films and their production histories to include the conditions of their circulation and exhibition, acknowledging that many films will not circulate at all. Lisa Patti: You founded Cinema Tropical fifteen years ago. What observations about the place of Latin American cinema in US film culture motivated your entry into film distribution? Carlos A. Gutiérrez: Cinema Tropical is a not-for-profit media arts organization, dedicated to promoting, presenting and distributing Latin American cinema in the US . I cofounded Cinema Tropical with Monika Wagenberg in 2001. Monika and I were Cinema Studies students in the Masters program at NYU, and we met at a Brazilian cinema class taught by Professor Robert Stam in 1997. Given our respective Colombian and Mexican backgrounds, we were amazed by how little we knew about Latin American cinema. We discovered that there were few academic studies of Latin American cinema and very few that trace its long and rich history. We also realized that very few Latin American films had access to the international film festival circuit, and as a result, most films were unable to reach New York and the broader US market. With those observations in mind, we wanted to create a larger dialogue in the US with Latin American cinema, so we started as programmers working with local theaters in New York, beginning with the (now-closed) Pioneer Theater and then expanding to BAMcinématek, Museum of the Moving Image and Cinema Village. We have released films at Film Forum, The Museum of Modern Art, the IFC Center, Anthology Film Archives, Film Society of Lincoln Center and Quad Cinema. LP: Many of the conditions you describe—in terms of the theatrical and academic engagements with Latin American Cinema in the US and their points of

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intersection—still apply. A “world cinema” course may feature only one Latin American film, and US theaters still largely exclude non-English language films. Have you witnessed significant transformations in the relationship between film studies and film programming? CG : I remember taking a class that covered “Third World Cinema” in one semester while another course covered Hollywood cinema from 1939–1945. That curricular imbalance still defines many programs. The issues that we encounter as film programmers attempting to bring international films to the US market stem in large part from the ways that cinema is being taught at universities. The Eurocentric perspective is one of the biggest institutional problems we face, compounded by the fact that cinema studies remains so entrenched in both authorship and national cinemas as critical frameworks. These biases directly impact film programming at theaters and at nontheatrical venues where the focus is on the perspectives of so-called auteurs or on surveys of popular national cinemas. LP: There are now hundreds of films being produced in Latin America every year. How do you approach locating and selecting the few dozen that you might have the funding to program and promote in the US? Have you adopted a consistent curatorial strategy? CG : Last year [2014] more than 600 films—feature films—were produced in Latin America. I don’t think that we have ever had so many films produced in Latin America in one year. Cinema Tropical, however, acts in several different capacities. We offer distribution services, but we are also programmers, publicists and cultural activists. We work with individual filmmakers throughout the year, helping them to craft strategies for releasing their films on the festival circuit and elsewhere in the US . It would be difficult for me to estimate the number of films and filmmakers that we work with each year since we engage with different films at different stages of the distribution and exhibition process. We have created such a complicated and sophisticated system in the film world—from production to exhibition. The problem is that there are a lot of intermediaries working at various points in this system, and in many cases, they have conflicting agendas. The interests of a film agent are different from the interests of a programmer. Similarly, the programmers for large film festivals and the programmers for smaller film festivals and repertory programmers all have different agendas. The

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current system benefits different people in the film community, but not the filmmakers and not the audience. LP: Few people outside of the industry are aware of the positions and practices within film distribution that you are referencing, and the mystification of that process enables the illusion that distribution reflects an artistic meritocracy where the best films (regardless of their national origin or genre or language) earn critical praise at prominent festivals and then secure international distribution. CG : The validation process within the film world is upside down. Corrupted is a strong word, but I would certainly say that the process is self-serving. LP: When you define the context for your work at Cinema Tropical, you explicitly describe it as Latin American cinema. Are there fixed criteria for determining whether or not a film is Latin American? CG : No, that is why we chose the name Cinema Tropical rather than including Latin American in the name. It offers a more playful and open take on the programming we are doing. I think that we have to be very fluid. Working with Cinema Tropical has provided me with an important platform for rethinking Latin American cinema and global cinema, and even, to an extent, American and European cinema. LP: How important are Latin American film festivals or other international film festivals to that fluidity? CG : Film production, in general, is very globalized now. Filmmakers from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile have been watching films made by Korean, Japanese, American filmmakers. Film culture is bigger, and festivals have played an important role in that expansion. Festivals offer filmmakers not only exhibition opportunities, but also networking opportunities. As a result, you can now clearly trace the influence of Asian cinema on Latin American cinema, but this influence has not been adequately discussed or theorized. Film is a truly global art form, but film criticism is still limited by the idea of the national. LP: When you spoke at the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival earlier this year, you referred to the persistence of national cinemas as a “straightjacket” for

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filmmakers and programmers. What is the best strategy for combating the emphasis on either auteurs or national cinemas as the dominant ways of both theorizing and promoting world cinema? CG : We need to revisit the history of world cinema. To return to my comments about academic film studies, the history of cinema is presented as linear, insisting that film style has been propelled exclusively by national film movements—first the Soviets and then Italian neorealism and then the French New Wave, and so on. The current branding of national cinemas is tied to this longstanding fictional history of world cinema. There are a lot of very influential filmmakers who are virtually unknown to scholars and programmers, but the filmmakers are aware of each other and of other visual artists. I am very intrigued by how the visual arts are influencing cinema. Cinema as an apparatus is going through a process of transformation. As an artistic practice, cinema is thriving, but the structures for its circulation are completely outdated. We now see more visual artists working with video, incorporating other filmmaking practices into their work, and in some cases, making feature films. I think that as a film community we have a lot to learn from visual art—a field that operates outside of the industrial constraints that impact film production and distribution. LP: Would turning to the visual arts as a model for cinematic practice confine commercial Latin American films—for example, comedies—even more strictly to local or national circulation, or are there opportunities for a Spanish language comedy to be seen in the US? CG : The chances for a Latin American genre film to circulate in US theaters are very limited. Film programming in the US , especially for foreign language films, engages several dichotomies—art and commerce, national cinemas and auteurs, fiction and nonfiction. In the case of art and commerce, in the US , any film featuring dialogue in a language other than English automatically becomes an “art house film” —a completely ridiculous practice. However, for Cinema Tropical, it is easier to commercialize an arthouse film from Latin America than a genre film because there are more channels for it. Even though the majority of the films produced in the world are produced in languages other than English, they are presented in the US as a unified minority genre.

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LP: The term foreign film has been scrutinized with appropriate suspicion, but it has been replaced with categories like world cinema and transnational cinema that are supposedly more sophisticated, but can be equally problematic and misleading. To what extent does the distribution of Latin American cinema engage or challenge world cinema as a brand? CG : The art house market is dominated by French cinema, and to a lesser extent, by other Western European cinemas. Our main concern is how to compete with those films. LP: The art house circuit in the US increasingly showcases American independent films in English (including films produced by the art film wings of major Hollywood studios), leaving fewer screens available for films in other languages. So there is a shrinking market for foreign language cinema, and often languages, like French, that have more cultural capital among US cinephiles dominate those screens. Films in other languages and multilingual films are competing in micro-networks. CG : In response to globalization, the US film market has been closing down. In the ’70s, foreign language films accounted for almost ten percent of the US box office, and now they account for less than one percent. A lot of filmmakers and a lot of national cinemas outside of the US have used globalization to their advantage. As I mentioned earlier, Brazilian filmmakers are watching Korean films and being influenced by their work, but the US has closed down culturally. Other cultural areas have had a more successful crossover in the US —for example, the explosion of Mexican cuisine in the US in the past decade. Americans are more willing to embrace the complexity of Mexican cuisine. However, language-based cultural products have been unable to cross over into the American market—not just cinema, but also literature and music. LP: When you imagine cultivating an audience for the Latin American films you program and promote, are language and multilingualism central concerns? CG : One of the things that drew me to cinema was the opportunity to learn about the points of view of other people and other cultures. Growing up in Mexico, I would go to see Chinese films in order to connect briefly with another culture. Yet, in terms of film promotion, it boils down to markets. The secret is how to find “other” audiences. For me, programming as a creative practice offers

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a way out. I can create dialogues between different films and different venues without dwelling on language. LP: Many of your programming efforts are collaborations with other iconic New York cinema and arts institutions—such as the Museum of Modern Art and BAMcinématek. How significant have the cultural resources of New York been for your international film programming strategies? CG : New York has played a major role in the development of Cinema Tropical. It is impossible to imagine the same programming network in Los Angeles, Miami or Chicago. More and more, we are playing the role of publicist. We are hired by a lot of distribution companies when they have a Latin American film to market because we know how to tailor pitches for the same film to the New York Times and also to local Latino newspapers. New York is the capital of international film distribution—the only place in the world where you can release a film with only one print, and, based on its impact, secure an international release. That does not happen with other major film capitals. Yet, programmatically, we are not taking as many curatorial risks as we should, in large part because the international validation process begins somewhere else—in Cannes. These national and international tensions are rarely acknowledged. If you want to go to New York, you have to go to Europe first. Once your film is validated at Cannes, you can schedule a theatrical debut in New York, and then your film can travel internationally. A lot of Latin American films have to go through Europe and then the US before they can be shown in Latin America. Films have to develop a very complex strategy for traveling along these global networks. LP: How do your films reach people who do not live in New York City and who do not have access to the smaller festivals or the nontheatrical circuits like universities and galleries that are often primary sites for international film exhibition in the US? How do you reach audiences, including Spanish-speaking audiences, who might be interested in Latin American cinema but who have to rely on online exhibition? CG : I am less concerned about distribution as such because right now there are many more films available to us. The central question is: how do I look for a film online if I don’t know that it exists? It’s impossible. Once people are aware of a film, they will start looking for it. Because of technology, that is easier. There are

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a lot of Spanish-language films from Mexico and other Latin American countries readily available on YouTube, but you have to be looking for them. Access is secondary to information. LP: Your promotional efforts include the Cinema Tropical awards and the Cinema Tropical Festival (in partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image), replicating some of the standard Hollywood institutions for validating films, but on a different scale and with different goals. How do these critical and promotional practices fit within your overall programming agenda? CG : There are few people writing about film, in general, and even fewer writing about foreign language films, so the more you can provide familiar validating contexts the better. The impact of these promotional strategies in the US can cross national lines. If I program a screening in New York and publicize it well, news of the release will reach audiences and critics in Mexico and Brazil. More and more, I see cinema as a performance. To return to my reflections about the academic framing of cinema, I think that we need to rethink cinema as a performance, and place it within performance studies instead of within literary studies. The performance is the communion between the film and a particular audience at a particular time, and film festivals are arenas for performance. There is a vital programmatic aspect to cinema that has not been fully considered, and cinema is enabling many other artistic fields to thrive. If you go to museums and galleries, cinema as a format, language and structure has opened up an important door for visual artists. More and more photographers and musicians are making feature films. Even journalists are making feature films in response to the erosion of opportunities for long-form investigative print journalism. We as a film community have not understood how to absorb this creative input. These works may not be programmed as cinema, but they are largely cinema-based. They all envy film its ability to reach a wider audience.

Contributors Gian Piero Brunetta is Emeritus Professor of Film History and Criticism at the University of Padova, where he has taught since 1970. He has held numerous Visiting Professor posts internationally, including at the University of Chicago, New York University and Princeton University. He is the author of the seminal Storia del cinema italiano, in four volumes (1979–1982), and of Guida alla storia del cinema italiano (2003), translated into various languages and published in English as The History of Italian Cinema: A Guide to Italian Film from Its Origins to the TwentyFirst Century (2009). His most recent monographs include Il viaggio dell’Icononauta (1997), Gli intelletuali italiani e il cinema (2004) and Il ruggito del leone (2013). Érik Bullot is an experimental filmmaker and theorist. His most recent books are Renversements 2 (2013) and Sortir du cinéma (2013). He was visiting professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, 2009–2011. Currently, he teaches film at the École nationale supérieure d’art (Bourges, France) and is director of the postgraduate program “Document and Contemporary Art” at the European School of Visual Arts (Angoulême-Poitiers, France). Paul Coates is Professor in the Film Studies Department of the University of Western Ontario, and has taught also at McGill University and the Universities of Aberdeen and Georgia. His books include The Story of the Lost Reflection (1985), The Gorgon’s Gaze (1991), Lucid Dreams: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieślowski (ed.) (1999), Cinema, Religion and the Romantic Legacy (2003), The Red and the White: The Cinema of People’s Poland (2005), Cinema and Color: The Saturated Image (2010) and Screening the Face (2012). In 1997, he became only the second Film Studies academic to give a series of Gauss seminars at Princeton University. His latest monograph, Doubling, Distance and Identification in the Cinema, was published in 2015. T.J. Demos is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is also director of the Center for Creative Ecologies. The author of The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (2013) and Return to the Postcolony: 359

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Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (2013), he co-curated Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2015, and organized Specters: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting, at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014. He is currently finishing a new book, titled Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Political Ecology (2016). Victor Fan is Lecturer at the Department of Film Studies, King’s College London. His articles have been published in World Picture Journal, Camera Obscura, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Screen, Film History: An International Journal, CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, the anthology A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder and the film magazine 24 Images: Cinéma. He is the author of Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory (2015). David Gramling researches at the intersections of multilingualism, literary translation, mass migration, queer studies, nationalism and critical theory. He publishes regularly on multilingual film and literature, Turkish German migration and literary history, theoretical approaches to monolingualism, foreign language pedagogy, gender and LGBT studies, and the medical humanities. With Deniz Göktürk, Anton Kaes and Andreas Langenohl, he is co-editor of two major sourcebooks on migration and multiculturalism in Germany since 1955: Germany in Transit (2007) and Transit Deutschland (2011). He is also a working literary translator and a member of the American Literary Translators’ Association. His monograph The Invention of Monolingualism will be published by Bloomsbury in 2016. Carlos A. Gutiérrez is the cofounder and Executive Director of Cinema Tropical, the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the United States. A film/ video programmer, cultural promoter and arts consultant, he has presented film/ video series at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, BAMcinématek, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco) and Museo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City). He is a contributing editor to BOMB magazine, and has served as a member of the jury and selection committees for the Morelia Film Festival, Santiago Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Asian American International Film Festival and New Fest: The New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, among others. He holds an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University and a BA in Communications from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico City).

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Mary Harrod is Assistant Professor in French Studies at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on Western and transnational film and media, with an emphasis on popular modes and on the relationship between aesthetics and ideology. In addition to book chapters and journal articles, she is the co-editor, with Mariana Liz and Alissa Timoshkina, of The Europeanness of European Cinema: Identity, Meaning, Globalization (2015) and the author of From France with Love: Gender and Identity in French Romantic Comedy (2015). Brian Hochman is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University, where he also serves on the faculties of American Studies and Film and Media Studies. He is the author of Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology (2014), which was named as a finalist for the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero First Book Prize, as well as journal articles and review essays in American Literature, African American Review, Callaloo, Notes and Queries and Post45: Peer Reviewed. His current book project, All Ears: A History of Wiretapping in the United States, considers the history of electronic eavesdropping from the 1850s to the present. Lisa Jarvinen is Associate Professor of History at La Salle University in Philadelphia. She is the author of The Rise of Spanish-Language Filmmaking: Out from Hollywood’s Shadow, 1929–1939 (2012), the co-editor of Teaching America to the World and the World to America: Education and Foreign Relations since 1870 (2012) and has published essays in The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film and in Cinema and the Swastika: The International Expansion of Third Reich Cinema (1933–1945). She holds an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University and a PhD in History from Syracuse University. Robert Lang is Professor of Cinema at the University of Hartford. His most recent book, New Tunisian Cinema: Allegories of Resistance, was published in 2014. Tijana Mamula teaches Film Studies at John Cabot University in Rome. Her research focuses on the interactions between language and vision in the cinema, particularly in relation to exilic and experimental film, literary adaptation, and film theory. She has published articles and review essays in Screen, Studies in French Cinema, Avanguardia: Rivista di Letteratura Contemporanea, Transnational Cinemas, Bright Lights Film Journal and NERO magazine (Italy),

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where she is also a contributing editor. Her first book, Cinema and Language Loss: Displacement, Visuality and the Filmic Image, was published in 2013. Mara Matta is Lecturer in Modern Literatures of the Indian Subcontinent at the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” and Postdoctoral Fellow in South Asian Studies at the University of Naples “L’Orientale.” She is currently working on a research project on South Asian borderlands and indigenous literary and cinematic productions across the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and Northeast India. She is a member of NETPAC (the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, Delhi/Colombo) and of AMM (Archive of Migrant Memories, Rome). Lisa Patti is Assistant Professor in the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her research focuses on global media, multilingualism and translation; contemporary media distribution; and media studies pedagogy. She is the co-author (with Glyn Davis, Kay Dickinson and Amy Villarejo) of Film Studies: A Global Introduction (2015). Juan Piqueras (1904–1936) was one of Spain’s most important film critics and theorists. He was associated with the Generation of ’27 and wrote for leading publications such as Popular Film and Gaceta Literaria. He became involved in the radical politics of his time and advocated for Soviet cinema. In 1930, he moved to Paris, where he selected films for Filmófono, a Spanish film company, and for Madrid’s cine club while continuing to work as a film journalist. From 1932 to 1935, he published the influential journal Nuestro Cinema. When it closed for financial reasons, he began writing for the Spanish Communist Party’s Mundo Obrero. Masha Salazkina is Concordia University Research Chair in Transnational Media Art and Culture, and Associate Professor of Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema (Montreal, Canada). She is the author of In Excess: Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexico (2009) and has recently co-edited Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema (2014). Her current book project traces a trajectory of materialist film theory through the discourses of early Soviet cinema, institutional film cultures of the 1930s–1950s Italy, and critical debates surrounding the emergence of New Cinemas in Latin America. Alison Smith is Curriculum Lead for Film Studies at the University of Liverpool and Lecturer in French and Film Studies. She has written monographs on Agnes

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Varda (1998), on the French cinema of the 1970s (The Echoes of May, 2005), and with Douglas Morrey, on Jacques Rivette (2010). Her articles on aspects of multilingualism in French cinema have appeared in Studies in French Cinema and Journal of Romance Studies. Kate Taylor-Jones is Senior Lecturer in East Asian Studies at Sheffield University. Prior to this, she was Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture at Bangor University, Wales. She is the author of Rising Sun, Divided Land: Japanese and South Korean Filmmakers (2013) and editor-in-chief of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture. Forthcoming publications include an AHRC -funded study on Colonial Japanese Cinema and a study on bride kidnapping in contemporary global visual culture. Jaap Verheul is a PhD candidate in Cinema Studies at New York University, where his dissertation focuses on popular European cinema as it chronicles the dynamics of regional and national filmmaking in the European Union today. He has written on trauma and memory, fascist aesthetics, multiculturalism and violence in popular American television, and the representation of the European bourgeoisie in the work of Michael Haneke. For edited volumes, he has also contributed chapters on the co-production of a European heritage brand for television (Screening European Heritage, 2016), and on the fluctuating stardom of James Bond and George Lazenby (Lasting Screen Stars, 2016). Yiman Wang is Associate Professor of Film & Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Remaking Chinese Cinema: Through the Prism of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Hollywood (2013). She has published articles and chapters in Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Film Quarterly, Camera Obscura, Journal of Film and Video, Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Chinese Films in Focus (2003, 2008), Idols of Modernity (2010), The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement (2010), Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (2014), and China’s iGeneration (2014). James S. Williams is Professor of Modern French Literature and Film at Royal Holloway, London. He is the author of (among others) The Erotics of Passage: Pleasure, Politics, and Form in the Later Work of Marguerite Duras (1997), The Cinema of Jean Cocteau (2006), Jean Cocteau (a “Critical Life”) (2008), Space and Being in Contemporary French Cinema (2013) and Encounters with Godard:

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Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics (2016). He is also co-editor of The Cinema Alone: Essays on the Work of Jean-Luc Godard 1985–2000 (2000), Gender and French Cinema (2001), For Ever Godard: The Cinema of Jean-Luc Godard (2004), Jean-Luc Godard. Documents (2006) (catalogue of the Godard exhibition held at the Centre Pompidou, Paris) and May ‘68: Rethinking France’s Last Revolution (2011). He is currently working on a new monograph project titled The Battle Lines of Beauty: The Politics, Aesthetics, and Erotics of West African Cinema.

Index of Names and Titles 7 Boxes (film) 351 Abbi, A. 337 Abouna: Our Father (film) 173–5 À bout de souffle (film) 219–20, 221, 222, 223 Accattone (film) 138, 141–2, 143–4, 150, 151, 153 Adieu Philippine (film) 222–3 Adouani, M. 246 Aguid, H.M. 173–4 Akin, F. 39 Akomfrah, J. 58, 59 Alatriste (film) 75 Alles is Liefde (film) 329 Almanya (film) 39 Althusser, L. 286 Les Amants de Vérone (film) 217 Amarante, R. 40, 41 Le Amiche (film) 136 Anemic Cinema (film) 95 Antonioni, M. 7, 8, 113, 114, 115–22, 124, 129–31, 136 Apter, E. 25 Argentina, I. 73 Arkoun, M. 241 Arnheim, R. 125–6, 128–9 Artist, The (film) 7, 69–85 Art of Color and Design, The (Gaves) 121 Auf der anderen Seite/The Edge of Heaven (film) 39 Austin, G. 187–8 Ávila, B. 351 Babel and Babylon (Hansen) 4 Bad Hair (film) 351 Badou Boy (film) 161 Bai Jinlong/Baak Gamlung/White Golden Dragon (film) 257 Bakhtin, M. 58–9, 60, 68, 70 Balcerzak, S. 70 Baldini, G. 148

Bamako (film) 168–71 Bamba, Z. 170, 170–71, 172 Barakat, H. 240 Barlet, O. 167, 248 Barthes, R. 8, 69, 76, 157, 168 Barton Fink (film) 73 Baruah, S. 337 Baskett, M. 282, 292 Bataille, G. 67 Bausch, P. 7, 37–50 Bazin, A. 78, 128, 217, 224 Beauregard, G. de 222 Beautiful People (film) 39 Bechstein, J.M. 102 Beery, W. 211 Begone Dull Care (film) 99 Bejo, B. 70–85 Bekolo, J.P. 158 Belázs, B. 126, 129, 130 Bell, A.G. 190 Belmondo, J-P. 72 Ben Ali, Z.E.A. 235 Benjamin, W. 298 Berger, J. 116, 118 Berger, P. 70–85 Bergman, I. 75 Berlin, B. 118 Bernays, E. 68 Berry, C. 259–60 Bertolucci, B. 114 Beumer, A. 318, 330 Bey, M. 236 Biemann, U. 7, 62, 65–6 Bigelow, K. 77 Bigi, D.O. 44 Bingxing, J. 258 Black Skin, White Masks (Fanon) 297 Blancanieves (film) 7, 70–85 Blommaert, J. 50 Borderline (film) 96, 97, 98 Bõrõ no kesshitai (film) 284 Borom Sarret (film) 159, 160–62

365

366 Bouajila, S. 237, 238 Boughedir, F. 9, 235–42, 244, 245 Boujenah, M. 244, 246 Bourdieu, P. 43, 45, 85 Bourguiba, H. 235, 236, 242, 249 Bouzid, N. 235, 248 Bovier, F. 97 Bow, C. 211 Brakhage, S. 95 Brassier, R. 64 Brel, J. 332 Brice de Nice (film) 76–7 Buitenspel (film) 329 Bunuel, ˜ L. 4, 74, 75, 78, 79, 97, 208, 209 Burton, D. 101 Busoni, F. 96 Butler, J. 40 Byakuran no uta/Song of White Orchid (film) 291–2 Byeongjeongnim/Dear Soldier (film) 285, 286 Byram, M. 38 Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (Césaire) 165–6 Camus, M. 75 Caprioli, V. 223 Cardinale, C. 244 Caruth, C. 228 Cervi, A. 121 Cassel, P. 262 Castellani, R. 223 Catzaras, H. 244 Cayatte, A. 217 Century of the Self, The (film) 68 Césaire, A. 165, 171–2 Cet obscur objet du désir (film) 74 Chabrol, C. 224, 229 Chan, P. 263 Chedaleux, D. 77 Chiang Kai-shek 256 Chiboub, A. 248–9 Un chien andalou (film) 4, 78–9, 97 La Chinoise (film) 124 Chion, M. 77, 219 Chironomia (Austin) 187–8 Chow, R. 255, 260 Chowdhury, S. 344

Index Christie, J. 116, 118 Chu-sang, T. 257 Chusheng, C. 257 Cinema Babel (Nornes) 3, 20, 29 Cinematic ImagiNation, The (Virdi) 338 Circle of Chalk, The (play) 306, 307 Cissé, S. 163 Clair, R. 76 Clandestine Childhood (film) 351 Clark, W.P. 190 Clément, R. 217 Cleo de 5 à 7 (film) 221–2 Coen, E. 73 Coen, J. 73 Coninx, S. 324–5 Conrad, T. 105 Contras’ City (film) 161 Cormenzana, J. 79 Corrigan, L. 308 Cours de linguistique generale (De Saussure) 114 Les Cousins (film) 229 Curtis, A. 68 Cushing, F.H. 190 Daens, A. 325 Daens (film) 324–5 Dalì, S. 4, 97 Daney, S. 104–5 Daughter of the Dragon (film) 308, 309–10 Dauman, A. 123, 224–7 Davis, J.E. 198, 199–201 Death of a Discipline (Spivak) 25 de Baecque, A. 70 Debbarma, M. 342, 343 Deep End (film) 125, 126, 127 De Graeve, K. 326 Deleuze, G. 106–7 De Mandrot, H. 93 Deming, E.W. 191, 193 De Nesle, R. 159 Le Départ! (film) 125 De Pauw, B. 326, 330 Deren, M. 94 De Saussure, F. 114 Il deserto rosso/Red Desert (film) 114, 115–22, 127, 130 Desmond, N. 73

Index Desnos, R. 95 Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle/Two or Three Things I Know About Her (film) 122–5, 128 de Valck, M. 70 De Wever, B. 327–8 Dhouib, M. 235 Diawara, M. 160–61 Dickinson, E. 120 Dictionary of Indian Sign Language (film) 183, 185, 193–201 Dictionnaire des onomatopées (Nodier) 102–3 Diop, S. 161 Dizdar, J. 39 Donaldson, B. 319, 320, 321, 322, 323 Doolittle, H. 97 Down with Love (film) 75 Dreyer, C.T. 74, 98 Driss, M. 244 Duara, P. 287, 288 Duchamp, M. 57, 66–7, 95 Duchêne, A. 50 Dujardin, J. 70–85 Dulac, G. 94–5 Dupont, E.A. 300 Duras, M. 225, 228 Durham, S. 171 Ďurovicŏvá, N. 20–21, 29 Duzhan/Drug War (film) 10, 256–66 ed-Din al-Tunsi, K. 236 Efame, F. 148 E’hu canglong/Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (film) 263 Eichberg, R. 304 Eikhenbaum, B. 97 Eisenstein, S. 74, 93, 96, 97, 136 El Fani, N. 247–8 Elsaesser, T. 69–70, 72, 76, 160, 168, 262, 311 Empson, W. 43 Engels, F. 21 Epstein, J. 94, 96 Erice, V. 73–4 El espíritu de la colmena (film) 73–4 L’Espoir (film) 217 El Estudiante (film) 351

367

L’Étoile de mer (film) 95 Ex Drummer (film) 325 Exiles of Marcel Duchamp, The (Demos) 57, 66–7 Ezra, E. 77 Fa, L. 257 Fairbanks, D. 72 Fanon, F. 297 Far From Heaven (film) 75 Farocki, H. 65 Faulkner, S. 75, 222 Faux Amis (film) 105 Fewkes, J.W. 191 Finnegans Wake (Joyce) 98, 115 Fischinger, O. 99 Fisher, K. 78 Forest Law (Biemann and Tavares) 62 Forma e parola nel cinema (Brunetta) 8, 135–6 Foucault, M. 68 Frampton, H. 95 Freud, S. 62, 68, 97, 119, 301 Fusmitzu, O. 291 Gance, A. 74, 96 Gandhi, M. 335 García Carrión, M. 70–85 Un gars, une fille (television show) 77 Gaves, M. 121 Gezelle, G. 321 Ginsburg, F. 340 La Glace à trois faces (film) 96 Glossolalie (film) 103, 105 Godard, J-L. 8, 113, 114, 115, 120, 122–5, 127, 128, 130, 139, 219–20, 222, 223, 224, 229, 231 Gomes, M. 71 Gongbo, C. 256 Goodman, J. 73 Goodman, N. 123 Gray, G. 303 Griffiths, A. 190 Groeningen, F. van 325 Guattari, F. 106–7 Guelwaar (film) 162 La Guerre est finie (film) 228 Gulliver’s Travels (Swift) 100 Guzmán, P. 351

368

Index

Hadji, E. 162 Hagener, M. 70, 160, 168 Hahn, J. 219 Hai Tang (film) 304–5, 306, 307, 309 Halfaouine (film) 242–7 Halfon, S. 224–7 Halliday, M. 48, 50 Hamdan, L.A. 59–61 Handsworth Songs (film) 58, 59 Hanmin, H. 257 Hansen, M. 4 Haraway, D. 61 Harbi, T. 246 Haroun, M-S. 8, 160, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176 Harrington, J.P. 191 Harris, R. 117–22 Hasan, D. 339 Hayakawa, S. 308, 309, 310 Haynes, T. 75 Hazanavicius, M. 70–85 De Helaasheid der Dingen/The Misfortunates (film) 325, 326 Heller, M. 50 Heremakono (film) 165–7, 168, 169 Hiroshima mon amour (film) 224–8, 230 Hjort, M. 84 Hollywood on Parade (film) 310 Un Homme qui crie/A Screaming Man (film) 172 Hsiang-lan, L. 289–92 Hu, A. 38, 42 Hua, L. 257 Huang Liu Shuang see Wong, A.M. Hüning, M. 321, 322 Huth, J. 76–7 Huyghe, P. 67 Hwa Peh (Huabei) Film Company 256 Hyènes (film) 161 Imperial Eyes (Pratt) 19 Indian Sign Language, The (film) 183, 185, 193–201 In Oranje (film) 329 In the Dust of this Planet (Thacker) 64 Introduction to the Study of Sign Language Among North American Indians (Mallery) 187, 190 Itagi, S.H. 339

Jacir, E. 57 Jakobson, R. 93, 94 Janson, J. 123 Jessner, U. 50 Je t’aime, je t’aime (film) 228 Jianyun, Z. 257 Jieshi, J. 256 Ji-wonbyeong/Volunteer (film) 281–4 Johnson, B. 24 Joyce, J. 96, 98, 115 Jules et Jim (film) 224 Julien, I. 58 Kaboré, G. 163 Kafka, F. 106–7 Kai-shek, C. 256 Kay, P. 118 Kazutoshi, U. 284 Keathley, C. 76, 78 Keita, S. 163–4 Kelly, G. 72 Khélil, H. 242–3 Klinger, B. 23 Kohn, E. 63 Kokkinos, D. 44 Kōran, R. 10, 289–92 Kracauer, S. 4 Kramsch, C. 50 Kren, K. 94 Kubelka, P. 98 Kung-po, C. 256 Kunio, W. 290 El laberinto del fauno (film) 74 Lacroix, G. 237 Lagado (film) 100 Laïcité, inch’ Allah! (film) 247, 248 L’Alliance (film) 105 Lam, Nin-tung 258–9, 261 Lamko, K. 173–4 Lamy, A. 77 Landa, J. de. 211 Larkin, B. 23 Last Christeros, The (film) 351 Last Laugh, The (film) 98 Latour, B. 61 L’Attraction universelle (film) 102 Leavitt, S. 193, 198

Index L’Eclisse (film) 120 Lee, A. 263 Lennon, B. 50 Lévy, R. 123 Leye, T. 162 Liebman, S. 4, 97 Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The (television show) 310 Lifu, C. 256, 267 Limite (film) 96, 98 Limura, T. 94 Lobato, R. 23 L’Oeil du malin (film) 224, 229–31 Loft (film) 318, 325–7, 328, 330–31 Lorca, F.G. 208 Lürsen, J. 329 MacCabe, C. 70 McCaffery, S. 105 MacCormak, K. 105 McLaren, N. 99, 101 MacPherson, K. 96 McQueen, S. 57 Mallery, G. 186–9, 190–91, 193, 195, 199 Malraux, A. 217 Mambety, D.D. 161 Mamma Roma (film) 138, 150 Mandabi (film) 159, 162–3 Le Mandat (film) 159 Maneglia, J.C. 351 Man with the Movie Camera, The (film) 98 Marey, E-J. 96 Marx, K. 21, 105 Masahiko, A. 287 Mathia (film) 340–46 Mbembe, A. 158, 176 Medium Earth (film) 61, 62, 63 La meglio gioventù (Pasolini) 150 Mekas, J. 94 Melancholia (film) 64 Memmi, A. 290 Le Mépris/Contempt (film) 124, 125, 222, 224, 230 Mercer, K. 58 Mercy, D. 43 Metaphors on Vision (Brakhage) 95 Meyer, M. 351

369

Migrant Image, The (Demos) 57 Miller, P. 70–85 Ming-yau, L. 256, 257 Miranda, D. 44 Miri, M. 337–8 Mitre, S. 351 Mitry, J. 128 Mohanty, A.K. 336 Moholy-Nagy, L. 93 Molina, A. 74 Monsieur Ripois (film) 217 Mortier, K. 325 Moussa, A.M. 173–4 Mowitt, J. 20 Msiska, M-H. 286 Mulvey, L. 240–41 Munga, D.T.W. 158 Muriel ou Le temps d’un retour (film) 228–9 Murnau, F.W. 98 Muybridge, E. J. 96, 188, 191 Myeong-woo, L. 279 Naficy, H. 3, 70 Nataf, G. 246 Nehru, J. 335 Neilson, B. 24 Nekes, W. 100 Neopatriarchy (Sharabi) 239 Nessa no chikai/Vow in the Desert (film) 290 Network of Stoppages (Duchamp) 57 Neupert, R. 215 Niantong, L. 268–9, 261 Nihil Unbound (Brassier) 64 Nodier, C. 102–3 La Noire de . . .! (film) 159 Nomura, H. 291 Noorani, Y. 50 Noort, S. 330 Nornes, A. M. 3, 20, 21, 29, 290 Nostalgia for the Light (film) 351 Nueve cartas a Berta (film) 75 October (film) 96 Oedipus Rex (film) 140, 150 Olivier, L. 306 Orr, J. 127 OSS117 (film series) 73

370

Index

Ostrovsky, V. 106 O’Sullivan, C. 3, 217, 278 Ouédraogo, I. 163 Paisà (film) 217 Papier, E.H. 103 Paris nous appartient (film) 218–19 Parmenter, L. 38 Paronnaud, V. 249 Pasolini, P.P. 6, 8, 114, 135–55 Patino, B.M. 75 Paulhan, J. 106 Pavese, C. 136 Pavlenko, A. 50 La Peau douce (film) 224 Peeters, P. 326 Peixoto, M. 96 Persepolis (film) 249 Peterson, O. 99 Pfenninger, R. 99 Phipps, A. 40 Picayune, 45, 49 Piccadilly (film) 300, 306 Pierrot le fou (film) 139 Pina (film) 7, 37–8, 39–50 Pi n˜ eiro, M. 351 Poiccard, M. 222 Point Break (film) 77 Portal, M. 163 Pound, E. 95 Powell, J.W. 185–6 Pratt, M.L. 19 Prioville, F. 46–7 Prouvost, L. 66–7 Pulinthanath, J. 11, 340–46 Purgatorio (film) 351 Quartier Mozart (film) 158 Radiant, The (film) 64 Rameau, J-P. 101 Rameau’s Nephew (film) 101 Ray, M. 95 Ręce do Góry!/Hands Up! (film) 113–14, 125 Reed, P. 75 La Règle du jeu (film) 74 Rejtman, M. 351 Renoir, J. 74

Resnais, A. 224–8 Ressler, O. 65–6 Re-takes (Mowitt) 20 La Révolution de l’alphabet (film) 106 Reyes, R. 351 Richards, R.W. 83 Richter, H. 93, 96 La ricotta (film) 139, 142, 144, 147 Rifkin, N. 120 Rih Essed (film) 235 Rivette, J. 218, 219, 224 Rohdie, S. 116 Rohmer, E. 219, 220, 221 Rondón, M. 351 Rose, P. 100–101 Roskam, M.R. 325 Rossellini, R. 217–18 Rossiter, N. 24 Roux, B. 71–2, 84 Rowden, T. 77 Rozier, J. 222, 223, 229 Ruiz, R. 102 Rundskop/Bullhead (film) 325, 332 Ruskola, T. 262 Rythmetic (film) 101 Sabatini, S. 223 Sabri, H. 237, 238 Sadao, A. 284 Sakai, N. 26, 29 Salerno, E.M. 150 Salerno, I. 246 Şamdereli, Y. 39 Samt el qusur/The Silences of the Palace (film) 236–42 Sanderville, R. 9, 181–201 Sangaré, O. 169 Los santos inocentes (film) 75 Sarangi, A. 346 Sarkar, A. 344 Sarkar, B. 23 Sasaki, Y. 290 Sasportes, J. 48 Satrapi, M. 249 Saura, C. 75 Saussy, H. 260 Sawney, R. 344 Saxton, L. 171

Index Schawinsky, X. 93 Schoenaerts, M. 326, 332 Schroeter, W. 102 Scott, A.O. 37–8, 50 Scott, H.L. 9, 183–201 Secondary Currents (film) 100–101 Sembène, O. 159, 160–62, 172, 175 Seok-young, A. 281, 282 Seyama, A. 46–7 Sharabi, H. 239, 240, 241 Shaviro, S. 64 Shaw, R. 257 Shih, S-m. 260–61 Shina no yoru/China Nights (film) 291 Shohat, E. 2, 307, 340 Le Signe du lion (film) 219, 220, 221 Le Singe de la lumière (film) 102, 103, 104 Simondon, G. 265 Singh, S.K. 339 Sissako, A. 8, 159–60, 164–72, 173, 174, 176 Skolimowski, J. 8, 113–14, 125–9, 130, 131 Slater, D. 63 Smith, H. 102 Smoorverliefd/Head over Heels (film) 327, 329 Snow, M. 101, 102, 103–4 Solomon, J. 26 Soshū no yoru/Soshu Nights (film) 291 Sperb, J. 70, 85 Spivak, G. C. 24–5, 26–7, 171 Sshtoorrty (film) 101, 102 Stam, R. 2, 340, 352 Stanzak, J.A. 39–40 Stephenson, S. 289 Sternberg, M. 217 Steyerl, H. 57, 66 Storia del cinema italiano (Brunetta) 136 Un été à la Goulette/Summer in La Goulette, A (film) 242–7 Sunset Boulevard (film) 71, 73 Surest Path to Knowledge Concerning the Condition of Countries (ed-Din) 236 Swift, J. 100 Synchrony (film) 99 Tabu (film) 71–2 Tadashi, I. 284

Talukdar, R.B. 341 Tarkovsky, A. 122 Tavares, P. 7, 62 La télé arrive (film) 235 Thacker, E. 64 Thackway, M. 163 Theory of Film (Kracauer) 4 Theroux, A. 120, 121 Tlatli, M. 236–42 Tonelli, D. 223 Tongue Twisters (film) 105 Torremolinos 73 (film) 75 Touki Bouki (film) 161 Toyota, S. 284 Translating Popular Film (O’Sullivan) 3 Tra sole donne (Pavese) 136 Trecartin, R. 67 Trois faces (film) 106 Truffaut, F. 215–16, 219, 224 Tsunatarõ, A. 280 Turturro, J. 73 Two Shots Fired (film) 351 Uccellacci e uccellini/Hawks and Sparrows (film) 138, 141–2, 1 46, 148, 151 Ulysses (Joyce) 96, 98 Un-Haeng, B. 285 Urgoiti, R. 208 Vainieri, A. 42, 43, 49 Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (film) 144 Van Looy, E. 318, 325–7, 330 Van Mieghem, H. 327, 329 van Parijs, P. 46 Van Vechten, C. 305 Varda, A. 218, 221 Vasudevan, R.S. 338–9 Verdú, M. 70–85 Verheyen, J. 327, 329 Vertov, D. 98, 104 Vidal, J. 79 La Vie sur terre (film) 164–5, 168 Villalta, A. 78–9, 82 Viola (film) 351 Virdi, J. 338

371

372 Vitti, M. 117–22, 142 Viva Riva! (film) 158 Vivre sa vie (film) 122 Vlady, M. 123 Vogl, U. 321, 322 Vollmöller, K. 304 von Hofmannsthal, H. 114 von Trier, L. 64 Wagenberg, M. 352 Wahl, C. 3 Wakaki sugata (film) 284 Watanabe, K. 290, 291 Wenders, W. 7, 37–50 Wend Kunni (film) 163 Wilder, B. 71 Wilkin, B. 220 Willemen, P. 69, 70, 83, 84 Willems, F.F. 321 Wollen, P. 75 Wong, A.M.

372

Index World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (ĎuroviČová and Newman) 20–21 Wuxia (film) 263 Xala (film) 162 Xianglan, L. 289–92 Yaaba (film) 163–4 Yamaguchi, S. 10, 289–92 Yanes, A.D. 75 Yarwng (film) 340–46 Yeelen (film) 163–4 Yelolo, M. 173 Yidai zongshi (film) 263 Yildiz, Y. 42 Yingchun hua (film) 290 Yoshiko, Y. 10, 289–92 De Zaak Alzheimer (film) 330 Zot van A/Crazy About A (film) 327, 329 Zuiweng, S. 257

373

374

375

376