Film-Philosophy

International Salon-Journal (ISSN 1466-4615)

Vol. 9 No. 43, July 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garin Dowd

 

Carax and Deleuze -- Shuffling the Decks:

A Short Reply to Hainge

 

 

Greg Hainge

'Carax and the Ambiguities -- A Book That Needs To Fail, Perhaps: On Daly and Dowd's _Leos Carax_'

_Film-Philosophy_, vol. 9 no. 41, July 2005

http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol9-2005/n41hainge

 

In my capacity as *one* of the individuals named as an author of _Leos Carax_ I would like to comment on several misleading descriptions of the book made by Greg Hainge in his review, confining myself to matters of fact rather than of interpretation (insofar as this is possible).

 

Contrary to what is implied in his discussion of the 'exergue' on the four fundamental principles of the baroque (45-48), neither the section nor the discussion more generally is *especially* indebted to the work of Christine Buci-Glucksmann (the importance of whose contribution is nonetheless signalled on several occasions in the book); rather they draw (both explicity and implicitly) on the work of a range of thinkers who contributed to the debate on the Baroque and an alleged neo-baroque in the 1970s and 1980s. Among the contributions -- many of them preceding Buci-Glucksmann's _La Raison baroque de Baudelaire ˆ Benjamin_ (1984), _La Folie du voir_ (1986) and (with Fabrice Revault d'Allonnes) _Raoul Ruiz_ (1987) -- one might mention: Gilles Deleuze (_Le Pli: Leibniz et le baroque_ [1988]), Severo Sarduy (_Barroco_ [1975]), Guy Hocquenghem and RenŽ SchŽrer (_L'Ame atomique: pour une esthŽtique d're NuclŽaire_ [1986]), Daniel KlŽbaner (_L'adieu au baroque_ [1979]), and Omar Calabrese (_L'etˆ neobarocca_ [1987]). In addition, the discussion draws on the work of Walter Benjamin (_Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels_ [1928]), Jean Rousset (_La littŽrature de l'‰ge baroque en France: CircŽ et le paon_ [1953]), and others such as JosŽ Antonio Maravall (_La cultura del Barroco_ [1975]). Buci-Glucksmann, as far as I am able to tell, is not quite the *eminence grise* for whom Hainge takes her, either in _Leos Carax_ or in the literature pertaining to the 'neo-baroque'.

 

Contrary to what Hainge states, the book does not claim that Carax's films -- or any other films for that matter! -- represent a break with 'Renaissance principles'. An analogy *is* drawn between the innovations in a cinema characterised as 'neo-baroque', and the (historical) Baroque's rupture with Renaissance principles (say as exemplified by Rousset poetically as: 'What is a baroque faade? It's a Renaissance faade plunged in water; or more precisely, its reflection in agitated water . . . the entire edifice undulating to the rhythm of waves' [La littŽrature de l'‰ge baroque en France]). It is for the reader to judge whether or not the analogy stands up to scrutiny, but the book is not guilty of as flagrantly a-historical a statement as Hainge asserts.

 

Hainge is selective in his reference to one of the intertextual resonances mentioned briefly in the course of what he calls the book's attempt to 'establish profound genealogical links' (in this case between Carax and Claire Denis). By misrepresenting the way in which the book makes one link in particular (80), Hainge seeks to cast doubt on the whole endeavour (of intertextual exegesis as undertaken *in this book*). Is it really so preposterous to think that vestiges of a particular character (or an actor's approach to a character) previously played by an actor might persist in a subsequent performance? Similarly, the comparison with Lars von Trier (20-1) is not as sweeping, contentious, or slapdash as Hainge implies, occurring as it does in the Introduction (a place in books, incidentally, wherein, *pace* Hainge (apparently), preparatory digression arguably has a part to play) and being limited as it is to asserting that _Pola X_ belongs to a group of recent films (including some by von Trier) which might be loosely classified as 'naturalist' (one of the key concepts in chapter 3 of _Leos Carax_) in Deleuze's sense.

 

Thames Valley University, England

 

 

Copyright © Film-Philosophy 2005

 

Garin Dowd, 'Carax and Deleuze -- Shuffling the Decks: A Short Reply to Hainge', _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 9 no. 43, July 2005 <http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol9-2005/n43dowd>.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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