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Paris, January 2015

Overheard in the studio

by Hippolyte Hentgen

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H - Do you know it by heart, Blanqui's phrase used as copy-and-paste in all the press releases from our association?

H - I'd say it's something like: Same monotony, same immobility (...). The universe repeats itself endlessly and paws the ground in place. In infinity, eternity performs –  imperturbably – the same routines.

H - Speaking of written things, you do remember that we have to hand in the text for la belle revue; a portrait of a woman.

H - Palombella Rossa, that's been in my head since this morning, isn't that a portrait of a woman?

H - Nope, it's a film by Nanni Moretti. It's a wonderful film actually – funny, intelligent, a bit mad.

Does it mean “red woodpigeon”?

You must've seen it already. It's about communism, amnesia and water polo.

H - That's a weird synopsis.

H - Well, that's just the quick and dirty version... There's a beautiful Bruce Springsteen song in it.

"Hey little girl is your daddy home

Did he go and leave you all alone

I got a bad desire

ooh ooh ooh

I’m on fire."


H - Ah yes, I remember now. There's a very funny scene with a heart-wrenching excerpt from Doctor Jivago broadcast at the swimming pool in front of the supporters, who challenge its sad ending.

H - Yes, that's it.

H - I've seen it, but ages ago.

I like it when there are popular songs in films: Bruce Springsteen, Omar Sharif... they might bring people together more than a political discourse?

H - Did you know that Omar Sharif's real first name was Michel?

H - I don't really know what to say to that.

Getting back to the film, I’ve realised that I’m increasingly attached to artworks made of composite materials.

H - In our drawings, our work in general, it's increasingly present at any rate. Linear attempts have disappeared a bit.

H - Then again, there are two of us. I supposed it's because fragmented minds come with the territory when you’re working in tandem.

H - A film made up of flashbacks from thirty years ago and memories from the final days based on various materials, with a sketchy central character that is searching for the innocence of the utopian activism and rebellion of his lost youth – that seems like a good project.

H - That makes me think of the film Je t’aime, je t’aime by Resnais.

H - That's the tragic version of it.

Claude Rich is perfect in that film.

H - It's a shame that all the women are so terribly alike, though. It's not that true to life: same physique, same sadness, same pallor.

H - It is a science fiction film, but I agree.

Claude Ridder could've coped with some more vivid partners.

H - What will we do for the portrait of a woman in 3 000 characters for the magazine?

H - I don't know:

Valeska Gert, Pagu, Sally Ride, Karen Carpenter, Charmian Kittredge, Amelia Earhart, Emilie Davison, Ursula Bogner, Musa Guston Mayer, Sybil Seely?

H - Or there's always Delphine Seyrig, Lygia Clark, Karen Dalton, Tarpé Mills, Poto and Cabengo, Violeta Parra or Olive ?

Translated from the French by Anna Knight


Hippolyte Hentgen

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