the performance day

15H:30, October 17, it is today that the DVD set of my films is going to be launched. Coktail at 17H:00 and performance with Robert Marcel Lepage and René Lussier at 20H:00.

The beginning of the day was difficult. I arrived at La Société des arts technologiques at 10H:30 thinking that we were going to have all afternoon to quietly do a complete rehearsal of the piece and I found out that something else had been booked in the afternoon and that we were going to free the space at 13H:00. And Robert was to arrive just at 13H:00. so this meant no complete sound check before tonight after 18H:00 and no rehearsal.

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Herqueville completed

I have not been writing in this blog for a long time but a lot have been happening over the last month and a half or so.
The main thing is that Herqueville is finished. I got the HD and Betacam transfers on tuesday this week. I must say it was a happy ending. The work with Claude Beaugrand on the sound was intense like all the previous time we worked together (La Plante humaine, the 50th anniversary clip for the Montreal Art Council). I think I mentioned it, but Claude had to face a situation similar to what I myself experienced when I started working on the animation. His judgment was that Fred Frith’s music was totally doing the job and that he could not see what he could add to it. The music track seemed enough.

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Sound editing of Herqueville – 1

Last Monday, I went to Claude Beaugrand’s studio in Bedford to listen to what he had been doing during the week after our first meeting. Editing sound over the noise music of Fred Frith was quite a challenge. Dramatically, Fred’s music was absolutely doing the job. Actually, in the first place, the film was constructed according to the music so it was no surprise that there was a very strong organic connection between the music and the images and that it seemed that maybe nothing else was needed.

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Variations sur deux photographies de Tina Modotti – notes

Notes en réponse à des questions de Francesca Pirotta.

Il n’y a qu’une seule réponse à toutes vos questions au sujet de mon film Variations sur deux photographies de Tina Modotti et elle se trouve dans l’examen du processus assez singulier qui lui a «finalement»donné naissance. J’écris finalement parce que tout cela a pris plusieurs années et parce que le but initial n’était pas de faire un film. Le film est un «résultat» qui trouve sa nécessité dans tout ce qui a précédé et non dans une série de décision de réalisation que j’aurais prises pour elles-même.

Au point de départ, il y a eu une invitation de Louise Bédard, qui est une amie de longue date avec qui j’ai collaboré à plusieurs reprises par le passé. Il s’agissait donc d’élaborer un «film scénographique» (l’expression est de moi, cela veut dire que le seul élément de décors serait le film projeté sur le fond de scène) pour une Éuvre chorégraphique inspirée de la vie et de l’Éuvre de la photographe Tina Modotti. Cela s’inscrivait pour Louise dans un projet plus vaste sur des femmes artistes du début du vingtième siècle. C’est donc ainsi que j’ai croisé Tina Modotti que je ne connaissais pas auparavant.

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New version of Herqueville

The Herqueville project went through significant changes over the last weeks. Tentatively, it now has a new title Herqueville ou l’éblouissement d’Icare. I translated it by Herqueville or Icarius Dazzled. This is not a very good translation I think but a better one will come soon. When I resumed working on the film after my week and a half of holidays, I did a number of small detailed adjustments and additions to the animation, mostly without big consequences other then improved, more balanced fluidity. But there was one major development that has to do with the change of title. The more I had progressed in the making of the film, the more I was interested by one verse of one poem that referred to the fall of Icarus.

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Revisiting « The Subway »

For some time, there are talks between the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema (FNC) about doing something special during the next edition to underline the release of the DVD edtion of my films. This is why I have been working hard on Herqueville so that it is ready for the festival. One of the hypothesis is to put up a performance that would somehow revisit my older work. At first I was not too excited by the idea of looking backward although I understand that it would be appropriate for this DVD set that will cover all of my carreer. But if I was to do a performance, I thought I should rather move forward to something new. Then I had the idea of using elements of my film Songs and Dances from the inanimate world – the subway (NFB, 1984, 14 min.) along with something new based on shooting and photographs done with a cell phone in Montreal subway.

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Taking a rest from Herqueville

Last week it took until Thursday to get a proprer DVD version of Herqueville done. The passage from the HD 720p24 original version to a standard defenition NTSC 30 fr/sec version proved very laborious. I had a hard time finding the correct path to do it, finally first doing a conversion to the Apple HD 720p30 intermediary codec was a good idea, then going to 640×420 30 fr/sec was easy. But the first operation was finally hasardous because there seems to be a bug in it or I did not do it correctly (it was not doing the complete section I was asking and at times it would freeze part od the segments I was trying to convert, finally I wad to do it in sections). This took days. Getting a PAL version of it was easier. So I could quickly send a PAL DVD to Serge and Michelle in Brussels. I know they received the package yesterday and I am now waiting for their comments. So it was not until Thursday afternoon that I could stop thinking to Herqueville for a week and try to be in holiday. I have succeeded so far not to open my desk top computer which I use for editing and compositing.

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Herqueville, first tour of animation completed

This morning I animated a small little segment which completed the first tour of animation for Herqueville. I am going through the steps to make a DVD of it and send it around to get some opinions about this new phase of the film. I am strongly convinced that the animation layer that I created during the last month and a half is going to remain in the film. I don’t have much distance yet but I think it is very balanced. Most of it remains very discrete just filling the interstices of the previous version of the film made of live action, photographs and prints. I really enjoyed doing this very delicate work made of very small and short interventions but it needed to lead somewhere, to something that would be specific to the thread of animation.

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Follow up on Herqueville

There were several difficulties concerning the animation for Herqueville. The original idea was to continue what I had started to do in the two early exploratory performances that I did at the very beginning of the project. This was a while ago and it seemed hard to connect with what I did then. The momentum was lost. But the central idea sort of remain intact, the objective was to animate fire from within the rocks. Other objectives became apparent : creating a relationship between the live action shooting, the photographs and the prints, which means trying to work at the point of transition between those three, and creating more direct sync relationship with the music. Both of these objectives have to do with using the animated segments not as foreground elements but as much less noticeable interventions that would have mostly a relational role between other things. So that the animation would not be there for itself but for how it affects other things. It was somehow the contrary of what the animation is actually used for that is more or less for its spectacular character and for the production value it adds to the film.

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