FrancofoniaDVD - 2016 | French
From the critics
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So the German army has entered Paris. Yes, 1940. Summer... Summer.
The army creeps forward, creeps without any great haste. Paris is now an open city. Yet someone knew it would turn out this way. How many more are to come? Yes, they're neighbors, we know them, but we weren't expecting them, didn't invite them.
For some reason, Europeans developed the wish, the necessity, of painting people, faces... With a brisk whistle, he will have the forbidden light extinguished. Why is this study so important to Europeans, while other people, such as the Muslims, don't have it at all? Who would I have been, had I never known or seen the eyes of those who lived before me?
At the start of the War, the French apparently didn't want to believe in a total and ferocious war with their European sister. The young French soldiers resisted as best they could, but their politicians struggled among
themselves and forgot about their land. The state yields to Nazi force. The state restrains its army. French losses for this period:
tens of thousands of soldiers. Millions of refugees. The map of the French Republic. And this is already a different country. It's called the French State. It's no longer a republic. Parliament is dissolved. There is no president. This line is where German troops decided to stop. From then on, the country consisted of two parts: the occupied, and the not yet taken.
This is what the border between them looks like. The government of new France is formed in the small town of Vichy. It's a resort... waters, clinics...
The beauty of an ancient world. These are but fragments of that civilization. Assyria. All of this once decorated the king's palace in the Assyrian capital. That state is long gone, but these messages from 700 BC summon numerous strange feelings. Lamassu, winged bulls. Threatening and naive, like in the fairy tales. The fear of power. Fear in the face of power. Brilliance of craftsmanship, the perfect creation of fear. In the 19th century, all this was brought by ship from afar to the Louvre. Some items were bought... some were war trophies. But on that long voyage, in severe storms, overloaded ships sank to the bottom. Uncounted are the creations hidden from us in the suffocating depths, and uncounted the seamen who perished. What a price... And for what?
M. Jaujard told me in detail how the Louvre's collection was evacuated to various chteaux. They have lots of space, no risk of bombings, huge cellars. I'm visiting Chteau de Sourches tomorrow. Would you care to accompany me?
Do you think Paris may be bombed? London and Rotterdam were bombed.
Look at the photos on my desk back there. Did you know in Germany that the Louvre was empty?
-What do you think? They packed 6000 crates, how could it be a secret?
The human search for form, the battle against imitation. The screams and moans. The discovery of the soul... and the incomprehension as to what to do with the mortal and now superfluous body. The hand is truly smarter than the head. It forms and creates faster than a thought is born. This sculpture is 9000 years old. And it was found in Jordan, in 1972.
To this very piece of land, a little over one square kilometer, these French kings and architects are to cling, as if following a premonition, and will work this land, build on it, rebuild it, and pass it on, one to the next, without relenting. Chteaux, palaces, palaces, chteaux... a museum. They will never lose ground, regardless of revolution or elemental force, until it can finally be proclaimed: Our Louvre has been built. That hardest, most tormenting time, the Revolution. Executions, killings... Great names flimmered, blood was spilled... Grand words were spoken. Human rights, citizens, constitution. Famine, guillotine, republic, democracy. The young Napoleon decided war would save the land. War. ... It was he who transformed the Louvre into an official museum, the place where artistic war trophies are kept. Suddenly the state understands that it cannot exist without museums.
We do have such extraordinary writers, philosophers. Our artists are such visionaries who dearly love humans. And in the Louvre, everything is about
how people struggled, loved, killed, repented, lied and cried.
France, France... How lucky you were that your sister, Germany, recognized your right to exist. What will become of those whose human nature she does not acknowledge? Bolshevik Russia, for example. Oh, that Bolshevism, the Bolsheviks... how they resisted... fought for every Russian village and city. The German military followed Hitler's orders:
Art monuments on the Eastern Front have no significance and shall be consigned to destruction. The huge European city of Soviet Russia, Leningrad, was encircled by a blockade. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, museums, libraries, theaters, universities, sciences, music, life... Bombardments, artillery fire... famine... cold.
An occupation: one party is strong, one is weak. What is to be done? To grow, one into the other, conserving one's culture, so finally a common state can be formed? The French-German Union, or even, German-French Union. Finally, the warring will come to an end.
The Hermitage Museum, the Russian Renaissance, is frozen into the history of the Blockade. In its cellars the wounded are treated, in its halls, coffins are built. Bombardments, artillery fire. Here too, the greatest treasures had been sent away. Soldiers are brought from the front...
REMBRAND to walk among the empty frames:
This is an El Greco.
This one is a Leonardo.
M. Jaujard, you seem permanently stressed.
Metternich was sincere in quoting Hitler: The interests of conservators coincided with the ideology of a totalitarian state.
Count Metternich obtained from command a ruling governing conservation and protection of artistic treasures in occupied lands. Here's the result,
a memo to all German soldiers:
German soldiers! Throughout France, you encounter many manors and other historic buildings, which have served and will serve as temporary housing. Many of those buildings are exceptional monuments of an' and history. Observe these rules:
Be careful while heating! Burned-down castles are a cause to blame German soldiers. Be careful during the installation of electric wires.
Handle works of art with care, do not burn broken furniture or damaged wallpaper. Bronze chandeliers are not to be used as coat hangers.
Demonstrate that you are the same Germans who defeated Bolshevism in the East.
SummaryAdd a Summary
Sokurov is talking via Skype with a certain Captain Dirk who is commanding a container ship in stormy seas, bearing the entire contents of a museum. Which museum? Whose? Captain Dirk is profoundly disturbed by his eerie, uncanny cargo – an entire nation’s mind and heart – and it could be that Sokurov is saying that this is what museums are: container ships with vast amounts of vulnerable freight. Perhaps that is what our minds are: containerships stocked with museum-quality memories.
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