Traité de Bave et d'Éternité (On Venom And Eternity)

Isidore Isou

Botosani, Romania, 1925 - Paris, France, 2007
  • Date: 
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  • Media description: 
    35 mm film also transferred to video (Betacam Digital, DVD and Hard disk drive)
  • Duration: 
    123 min.
  • Colour: 
    Black and white
  • Sound: 
    Optical sound
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
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Film was one of the languages that aroused most interest among the Lettrists, as well as being one of their causes of disagreement. Lettrism’s aim was to proclaim the death of cinema in order to bring it back to life through transgression of film language and film stock, and to then turn film production into a debate about the medium itself. Traité de bave et d’éternité (Treaty on Venom and Eternity) is the movement’s first film, presented by Isidore Isou as a film-manifesto. Isou’s voiceover in the film sets out the basic principles of Lettrist cinema theory and practice: ‘discrepant’ editing (in which sound and image are not connected), ‘chiselling’ (the manipulation of the stock through scraping and scratching) and incorporating discarded film stock. The film sets itself up as a call to arms against the tyranny of image over sound, in an attempt to smash the foundations of cinematic language. “I would like to separate the ear from its cinematic master: the eye” is a line spoken by the film’s main character, the author’s alter ego, making his opening speech against a background of booing, noise and phonetic rhythms.

Lola Hinojosa