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The French transcription and English translation of a new short film by Jean-Luc Godard, made in response to a Swiss prize.
MESSAGE DE SALUTATIONS: PRIX SUISSE / REMERCIEMENTS / MORT OU VIF by Jean-Luc Godard (world premiere 13.03.2015)
[MESSAGE OF GREETINGS: PRIX SUISSE / MY THANKS / DEAD OR ALIVE] by Jean-Luc Godard (world premiere March 13th, 2015)
On Friday, March 13th, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, Jean-Luc Godard was awarded the  2015 “Prix d’honneur du cinéma suisse” with its corresponding allotment of 30,000 Swiss francs (at present = €28189,46 EUR or $29,909.52 USD), on the basis of being a “visionary filmmaker,” “a virtuoso of film-editing,”  whose “avant-garde” works have done much to inspire the young. A remarkable laurel, given that Godard is, at 84, the greatest filmmaker in the history of the cinema since Renoir, and I can’t name another Swiss director besides Anne-Marie Miéville. Of course he didn’t attend, citing, for the ump-teenth time in so-many years, health reasons; regular right-hand-man / DP / one-man technical wizard / JLG-ambassador Fabrice Aragno appeared in Godard's stead to accept the award.
Of course, the health reasons cited were only so evident as the 5-minute film* that Godard stars in, worked on, edited, crafted might in the end suggest: and this opens another debate for another time, especially given the high physical comedy exhibited by the would-be frail author of Soigne ta droite and the gorgeous thank-you note sent to the National Society of Film Critics (in the USA) for awarding Adieu au langage the greatest film of 2014.
The new film, which may or may not possess a title that starts with “MESSAGE DE SALUTATIONS” (although this exists as the embedded work’s header at the “Schweizer Filmpreis” website), and may or may not, from there, assume as its (sub)title (although if so, amply so): “PRIX SUISSE / REMERCIEMENTS / MORT OU VIF,” or: “PRIX SUISSE / MY THANKS / DEAD OR ALIVE” — is here embedded, and its sound-track, all in French, transcribed, and accompanied by an English-language translation.
One extended footnote before the French-language, and English-language-translation, transcriptions are posted: The French-language transcription was undertaken 12 hours before this writing by the great French critic (and major, as they say, “Godardian”) Arthur Mas, who at this point in time stresses to me that his hearing of “Fernandel” may or may not be precise. Aside from that, Arthur told me the following, which is very useful and interesting: In the section near the end regarding the four confédérés—and here is perhaps where Godard’s text delves most directly into Swiss (and canton-Vaudian) history—this is some small context that might be helpful to the non-Franco-Swiss viewer:
"Godard is doing a « jeu de mots » ['word-play'] when speaking of the 'toute jeune Eve,' which can also be heard as 'Genève' (Geneva). He is actually listing the four Swiss districts and historic personalities he feels linked to as a true 'confédéré': Jura (with Humbert-Droz), Genève ('Jeune Eve', with Michel Servet), le Pays de Vaud (with Abraham Davel), and Nidwald (with Winkelried). — But it is quite tricky to translate.”
Bonne streaming.
[French-language transcription by Arthur Mas / English-language translation by Craig Keller. PDF with parallel text translation available to download here.]
*(Side-note for further pursuit from someone [but not just anyone] else: Can we be done, if not for 2015, then by 2016, with the pedantic OCD-impulse one-upmanship of dyed-in-the-wool “materialist”/“formalist" critics describing works shot digitally as “video,” when most filmmakers at this point understand the term “film” has perhaps, as happens in language, expanded?)
vous vous souvenez ?
Ballabio !
Ballabio !

entre Denges et Denezy
un soldat rentre au pays
a marché 
a beaucoup marché

on le félicite à l’arrivée 

on donne des écus dorés

il se dépêche de partager

chiens perdus sans collier
chats rejetés 
oiseaux blessés
et d’autres encore
venez victimes disait Fernandel 
mais la partie n’est pas gagnée

il faut encore remercier

il est très étrange de donner un prix
 du cinéma suisse,
puisqu’il n’y a pas de cinéma suisse, 
oh il y a des films suisses, il y a des
 films bulgares aussi,
des films finlandais, des films 
mais le cinéma c’est autre chose. 
les grecs avaient quatre éléments,
la physique moderne pareil,
les quatre murs de la maison du
la gravité, les forces faibles,
et les forces fortes, 
les forces électro-magnétiques,
quatre murs en Occident pour 
 soutenir encore un peu
le XXIème siècle

mais pas de toit,
pas de toi et moi, et des peuples 
 entiers sans
protection de l’imaginaire
alors qu’il y a cent ans
les quatre grandes cinématographies,
la russe, l’allemande,
la française et l’américaine,
assuraient la foi des nations en 

le temps passe, le temps passe,
et les USA, à force
de Guerre Froide avec Staline,
les américains découvrent qu’à force
 de quantité,
on peut faire s’en aller la qualité,
on dit Hollywood n’est-ce pas,
et on respire à l’abri
des guerres civiles

pardonnez-moi, mais 
il y a encore autre chose :
comment est-ce qu’un
Conseil fédéral peut
légiférer au nom 
d’une Confédération ?
oui, sans doute que le monde va mal
 n’est-ce pas, alors je préfère penser
tous ces écus dorés viendront
de l’héritage d’anciens confédérés, 
quatre suffiront là aussi,
celui du Jura et d’Humbert-Droz,
celui d’une toute jeune Ève
dont Michel Servet fit circuler 
 le sang, 
et encore,
le sang du major Abraham Davel,
et j’ajoute le pauvre Winkelried,

on dit qu’il faut se faire une raison

alors je rentre à la maison

avec Les Cendres de Gramsci

un poème de Pasolini

ça parle de l’humble corruption
do you remember?

between Denges and Denezy
a soldier goes back to his country
has walked
has walked a great deal

he’s congratulated upon his arrival

is given gilded emblems

he’s eager to share

stray dogs without collars
cats turned out
injured birds
and others still
come, victims, said Fernandel
but victory is not in hand

thanks must be given again

it’s odd to give out an award for
 Swiss cinema
since there is no Swiss cinema,
oh there are Swiss films, there are
 Bulgarian films too,
Finnish films, African
but cinema is something else.
the Greeks had four elements,
modern physics the same:
the four walls of the house of the
gravity, the weak forces,
and the strong forces,
the electromagnetic forces:
four walls in the West for keeping
 propped up, somewhat,
the XXIst century

but no roof overhead,
no you and me, and entire populations
the protection of the imaginary
whereas a hundred years ago
the four great cinematographies –
the Russian, the German,
the French, and the American –
assured nations’ faith in

time passes, time passes,
and the USA – as a result
of the Cold War with Stalin –
the Americans discover that as a
 result of quantity,
you can get away from quality,
they speak Hollywood, don’t they,
and they take their breath under cover
of civil wars

excuse me, but
there’s something else still:
how is it that a
Federal Council can
legislate in the name
of a Confederation?
yes, no doubt the world’s going to hell,
 isn’t it – therefore, I prefer to think
all these gilded emblems will come
from the inheritance of past confédérés;
four will suffice here, too:
that of Jura and Humbert-Droz,
that of a very young Eve
whose blood Michael Servetus spread
 all over,
and what’s more,
Major Abraham Davel’s blood,
and I’ll add poor Winkelried,

they say there must be a reason

and so I’m going home

with The Ashes of Gramsci

a poem by Pasolini

it speaks of humble corruption
The part about sharing refers to the way Godard’s splitting up the prize money (30 000 Swiss Francs): He’s giving 7500 Fr. to Amnesty International, 7500 to a animal’s rights organisation in Nyon, 7500 to a organisation that protects birds in Etoy, Switzerland, and he’s keeping 7500 for himself.
Thank you for that information, Pascal.
I’m glad he’s still somewhat fit for an 84-year-old who uses a cane – most people that age can’t lie on the floor and then get themself up again.
The opening is taken from Ramuz’s text fro Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale.
Fernandel is for sure: it’s his line from “Regain” by Marcel Pagnol.
Don’t brag about not knowing other Swiss filmmakers e.g. Alain Tanner, Claude Goretta, Daniel Schmid, Richard Dindo, Ursula Meier,
If you can watch the whole thing the introduction by Federal Councillor Alain Berset makes Godard even funnier.

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