I watched a collection containing roughly half of the Cinetracts, an anonymously-directed series of two-to-five-minute shorts. The first few seemed to be protest-photo montages, and I thought watching a bunch of these in a row would be tiresome so I spaced it out over a few weeks. Some are very different though, telling stories/poems with intertitles or scrawling words directly onto the photos, using different forms of movement and speeds of editing. Some use zooms and dissolves, bringing the photos to life, others are simply long takes of photos interspersed with titles, wordplay, pages from books.
Contributors supposedly included Godard, Marker, Resnais, Gorin, Philippe Garrel (same year he made Le RÃ©vÃ©lateur), Jackie Raynal (editor on half the Six Moral Tales), Jean-Denis Bonan (Jean Rollin’s editor at the time), Gerard Fromanger and Jacques Loiseleux (later cinematographer for Ivens, Pialat and Yves Boisset). Marker was busy – this project overlapped his SLON collective and Groupe Medvedkine.
Gary Elshaw has by far the most useful work on the Cinetracts online, even if it’s only about Godard’s contributions.
The purpose of the CinÃ©-Tracts, as with most of Godard’s 1968 film projects, was to offer a critically alternative source of ‘news’ or information in contrast to the commercially offered mediums available. … The state censorship of the media throughout the events of May necessitated communication along different lines than had existed before.
Other online writing on these tends to focus on determining which ones Godard made (and they can’t seem to agree).
Casque Bleu (1995)
Info dump by a cynical Frenchman who acted as a UN peacekeeper during one of the Yugoslav wars. He speaks rapidly in close-up, with occasional title cards for different topics and cutaways to a photo album.
“When you’re in a country at war, armed, and you have orders not to use weapons, in actual fact you are on the side of the aggressor, the one who’s trying to conquer the land.”
Description of a Struggle (1960)
Watched this again with much improved picture quality and English voiceover. Had been burning to see it again since watching Dan Geva’s Description of a Memory. Still great, but I think I prefer Sunday in Peking. Noticed this time when the voiceover said “bar kokhba,” which is apparently not only the name of a John Zorn music project.