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My attempt at the easiest part, the titles (some are written as quiestions without question marks, some as incomplete sentences). Godard’s voice is a bit hard for me to understand clearly. -—————————————— It was when No There was what Yes The Captain’s Daughter The hélix and the idea The land of miracle Rediscovering America The birth of music The best of worlds Architecture of Apocalypse The celluloid and the marble Metaphore Cardinal virtue of Cinemascope The bandit philosopher Who’s fault Things as they are Harriet’s blue dress Vanity that painting Spirit of christianity Cinema, art of space The rosegarden Maurice Schérer
Thanks ReyPeste. A lot of those intertitles are titles of Rohmer’s (aka Maurice Scherer’s) essays as a critic.
The Bandit Philosopher! Thanks so much ReyPeste!
Thank you ReyPeste!
Godard’s voice over… or what I can decipher. Lots of names which I don’t recognise. “Do you remember the name of the café? When was it? What? (…) It’ll come back to me. There was the Royal Saint Germain. [long inaudible part] And this lunch at (…) with with two in the dining room, and the mother eating in the kitchen. And then, Place Monge, the woman eating in the kitchen, and the two friends in the dining room. Yes. And Adamov, a profound man. No. So the model girls, Josette Saint Clair, Guy Deret, Joseph Kéké (?). No. (…) But when? What name? This hotel. When yesterday he passed in front of it. When he left the Sorbonne university and walked toward the great men. No. It’s when he walked down to the right of the Sorbonne and found the police prefecture, going back up on the left of (…) There were the first record players (…) [long inaudible part] The man with a flower in his mouth. Jean Gruault. Jacques Auclair. Free Henri Martin. No. No. Yes. That’s it. I know. I found it. The café was called The Old Ship. No. This café was (…). Yes, with Monsieur (…)’s two sisters. Yes. Yes, with Monsieur (…)’s two sisters. Yes. Ah, it’s the best we had, says Frederic. Yes, it’s the best we had, says (…)."
Many thanks, Laurent! A lot of things to decipher there. I assume the Royal Saint Germain is the cafe of the same name; a lot of references to specific places here, probably old haunts of their cine-club days. Not sure who Jacques Auclair is, but the juxtaposition of Gruault with the Communist Henri Martin is interesting in and of itself.
And the reference to record players is pretty interesting, too. Godard has a cameo in Rohmer’s first film, The Sign of Leo, where he appears at a party-goer sitting next to a record player, listening to the same part of a record over and over again, moving the needle back to the beginning every time the bit of music he wants to hear ends. Supposedly this was based on an actual practice of Godard’s at the time.
Via Richard Brody’s Twitter: Gruault was briefly a Communist, which would explain the Henri Martin reference, and he also introduced Rohmer to Jacques Rivette.
So the model girls, Josette Saint Clair, Guy Deret, Joseph Kéké Further info from Brody: De Ray (“Deret”), Keke and Sinclair (“Saint Clair”) were all involved in Rohmer’s first attempt at making a feature film, Les Petites Filles Modeles (“the model girls”), in 1952. The film project ended when the producer ran out of money. Brody suggests that the “Auclair” may be Jacques Mauclair, another actor.
Here is a transcription, in French. There are still some blanks and probably a few mistakes… " Vous vous souvenez du nom du café? C’était quand? Non. Quoi? Employer le verbe avoir. Ca reviendra. Il y avait le Royal Saint-Germain. Non. Le CCQL, Frédéric Frechel, Non. Anthony Barier. Non Arvoulechko. Non Les esclaves du désir, au Cluny. Oui ça se peut. Zerbi ou chez la comtesse boulevard saint-germain. Non. rue de () avec la vache dans la salle de bain. Non. On allait taper taplan pour l’avocat, oui. La savate à kotcher, non. Mais les Bérénices oui. Et ce déjeuner à Tulle, les deux dans la salle à manger. Et la mer qui mange dans la cuisine. Hein? Et après place Monge. La femme qui mange dans la cuisine. Les deux amis dans la salle à manger. Et Adamov, un homme profond, non. Alors les petites filles modèles, Josette Saint-clair, Guy deret, Joseph Kéké, non On montait au 5ème de… au 5ème de l’hotel de… mais quand? Mais quel nom, cet hôtel? Pour qui aime passer devant… quand il sortait de la Sorbonne et allait vers les grands hommes. Non, c’est quand elle descendait à … à droite de la Sorbonne et qu’elle tombait sur la préfecture de police en remontant à gauche vers () Il y avait les premiers tourne-disques chez Raoul Vidal Et il y avait le () aussi () L’or des noctambules, Henri Pichette, Gérard Philippe L’homme à la fleur à la bouche, Jean Gruau, Jacques Mauclair Libérez Henri Martin. Non, non. Ah ça y est, je sais. Je sais, j’ai retrouvé. Il s’appelait “le vieux navire” ce café. Non ce café c’était () Oui, avec les deux soeurs ramacciotti, oui Oui, avec les deux soeurs ramacciotti, oui. Ah, c’est ce qu’on a eu de meilleur, dit Frédéric Oui c’est ce qu’on a eu de meilleur, dit les lauriers " And a few references…. CCQL stands for Ciné-Club du quartier Latin (éphilie) Les esclaves du désir aka Les impures (1954) Jacques Mauclair Jean Gruault used to play in Mauclair’s theatre company Henri Martin
Someone needs to revisit the translation from Pierre Yves’ transcript. I obviously missed quite a few things and mispelled names.
Unless I am mistaken, the last two lines in the French transcript, -—————- Ah, c’est ce qu’on a eu de meilleur, dit Frédéric Oui c’est ce qu’on a eu de meilleur, dit les lauriers -—————- is a reference to the end of Flaubert’s ’’Sentimental Education, “That was the happiest time we ever had.” Which is first said by the hero Frederic Moreau and then confirmed by Deslauriers,
Arthur S. — you’re right. From A Sentimental Education: — " C’est là ce que nous avons eu de meilleur ! " dit Frédéric. — " Oui, peut-être bien ? C’est là ce que nous avons eu de meilleur ! " , dit Deslauriers.
The music: the Kreutzer Sonata, by Beethoven (title of Tolstoy story; Rohmer filmed it, mid-fifties). Names: Frédéric Froeschel: founded the CCQL Anthony Barrier: a pseudonym for Rohmer, who tried to raise money at the CCQL for a film that “Barrier” wanted to make. Parvulesco: a friend of Godard and Rohmer; the name is in Breathless; the person is in The Tree, the Mayor, and the Mediathèque.
Further footnotes: Et Adamov, un homme profond, non. Arthur Adamov, the playwright. Il y avait les premiers tourne-disques chez Raoul Vidal That’s the “record player” line. Raoul Vidal was a popular record store in Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Les esclaves du desir (slaves of desire) was the name of a forgotten film by Pierre Chevalier, presumably one Godard and Rohmer saw together: Parvulesco makes sense, but I hear “La rue lescot,” (la rue pierre lescot), traditionally (long before the 50s) a center of philosophizing young students to come together and talk. As opposed to “la comtesse boulevard saint germain,” referring to Paris’ royalty street, typically populated by Balzac’s comtesses. “On allait taper taplan pour l’avocat, oui.” I can’t figure this out. This is phonetically accurate, but “taplan” isn’t a word, and it would have to be “ton plan,” or “ton plant” to make any sense. “La savate à kotcher, non.” This isn’t what I hear at all, though I am definitely not French and don’t understand what I do. Could that be “cocher”? I hear something closer to “grotte-seul.” “ramacciotti” This isn’t a word either… what is it? What/who are les Berenices? Could that be “l’heure des noctambules” – “the hour of the nightowls”? Joseph KeKe would presumably be Josef K, K, Kafka’s two major non-heroes. What does it mean that at the end that Godard attributes his own recording to another date and time, July 20, 2009, long before Rohmer died or his health declined? What’s being remembered, invoked, recreated? Who’s the girl who falls onto the prefecture of police, gets up, and heads the other way? Why are certain figures and friends not permitted into this memory? Presumably Godard wants to remember something more precise than the spirit of the times, disembodied faces and figures: he wants to remember what cafe and when it was they met, but ends up invoking a whole web of personal connections from the time anyway. The Godard dialectic of “oui,” “non” is one he’s used a lot, as in this bluejeans commercial ( where a guy and a girl reject the entire Western Canon for a busted model and jeans logo in the course of 15 seconds. Here, it’s something else, sort of a tracking shot through the currents of the time, and figures in flux (the mother becomes a wife… perhaps the same person perceived differently) into a specific “cafe.” Wouldn’t be surprised if that “cafe” the whole video spins around is another Godardian pun–not just trying to remember the cafe, but the coffee, his own variation of a Proustian Madelaine in 2 ou 3 choses….
Just reread Ignatiy’s comment, that is Joseph Keke, so no Kafka…
One answer: “Intent on their private understandings, the poem need not seek excuse for its closed quality, for its habit of curving away from readers of the book. The late mediaeval metaphysicians of love voiced a bravado of hermeticism, the song comprehensible (it asserted) only by men fit to comprehent it. “A”-11 is more tactful. If we do not wholly comprehend, it is not that our understandings are unfit; it is merely that we are not of the family, and are overhearing family conversation." - Hugh Kenner on Louis Zukofsky
les Bérénices: certainly Poe’s, which Rohmer filmed in 1954, and maybe Racine’s, which Godard wanted to film for French TV in 1964.
« La savate à kotcher » (heh, BTW…) = « la sonate à Kreutzer » (i.e., as identified by Richard Brody, the music heard in the clip.)
Le “Royal St Germain” and Le “Old Navy” were 2 different cafes.At the time unpretentious and cheap.Many intellectuals and cinephiles met there.The line is :"Il s’appelait vieux navire ce café,non c’etait le “Old Navy” The girl does not fall on the Prefecture,she “lands” or “gets to” or “reaches”,I am not sure it is a girl.There is a reference also to "l’hotel des grands hommes " facing La Sorbonne. La mère mange das la cuisine (in Tulle) taper taplan pour l’avocat=borrow money from Kaplan (a friend) to pay the lawyer. Les sœurs à Maciotti Guy Deray not Deret
All texts on screen are the titles of the articles Rohmer wrote in Cahiers du Cinema during the 50’s: La Fille du Capitaine is the critique of a western by H. Hawks; L’Helice et l’idée is his great article about Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo, etc. La Roseraie is a script Rohmer wrote with his friend Paul Gegauff that never was filmed. Maurice Scherer was the real name of Eric Rohmer.
There are two “oui” which are missing from the transcription. One after “salle à manger” and the other after “Raoul Vidal”. Les deux amis dans la salle à manger. Oui. (…) Il y avait les premieres tourne-disques [ ] chez Raoul Vidal. Oui.
Thank you all for this interesting information on film’s references (as well as for the transcription and translation)! I can add some more: - “Pour qui aime passer devant… quand il sortait de la Sorbonne et allait vers les grands hommes.” It is rather: “Canguilhem passait devant quand il sortait de la Sorbonne et … (etc)”. Georges Canguilhem is a french philosopher ( Godard (who studied at the Sorbonne) refers here to his famous phrase: “Quand on sort de la Sorbonne par la rue Saint-Jacques, on peut monter ou descendre ; si l’on va en montant, on se rapproche du Panthéon qui est le Conservatoire de quelques grands hommes, mais si on va en descendant on se dirige sûrement vers la préfecture de Police.” (If you leave the Sorbonne by the rue Saint-Jacques you can either go uphill or downhill. If you go uphill you may reach the Pantheon, a shrine to a few great men; the downhill road leads inescapably to the Prefecture de police.) - Here is an excerpt from a Godard’s interview which explains a connection beetwen Boulevard Saint-Germain and “The Model Little Girls”: “It is my’ habit of an evening to stroll down the Boulevard Saint-Germain. There, the day before yesterday, I met my friend Eric Rohmer, the filmmaker. He had just returned, he told me, from Normandy, and was filming Les Petites Filles modeles, from the story by the Comtesse de Segur.” - “Les esclaves du désir, au Cluny.” Cluny is the Cluny-Palace which was used thursdays by the CCQL for their film projections. By the way it’s also situated in the Boulevard Saint-Germain (in the 5th district of Paris (“On montait au 5ème de…”) as well as Place Monge, the Sorbonne). - L’or des noctambules, Henri Pichette, Gérard Philippe I don’t know what this “gold” means but the “noctambules” is certainly Le Théâtre des Noctambules (also in the 5th district). In 1947 in this theatre Henri Pichette’s “Les Épiphanies” was staged starring Gérard Philippe. - Tulle is Rohmer’s native town.
Maybe it’s this: “il avait les premiers tournedisques PORTABLES chez Raoul Vidal”. On Rohmer’s first feauture, Le signe du lion, Godard makes a short appeareance next to a portable turntable as the boy who repeats time and time again the same phrase on the record:
Hi! Im still trying to figure out what Godard is saying… but still, no subtitles available anywhere. Regardless, the short film makes me wanna cry.

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