Je Proclame la Destruction

JE PROCLAME LA DESTRUCTION | 2014 | 03 min loop

Dois planos do filme “Le diable probablement” (1977), de Robert Bresson, são repetidos em um loop, criando um cíclico e interminável raccord. A constante repetição da frase “Je proclame la destruction” (Eu proclamo a destruição) revela um mantra anarquista de poder universal e atemporal.

Two shots from Robert Bresson’s The Devil, Probably (1977) alternate in an endless loop in Arthur Tuoto’s Je proclame la destruction. The first shot is of a militant political speaker shouting out the words that form the piece’s title. The second is of the film’s protagonist (not) reacting in a crowd of activist young folk. Once you start watching, it’s difficult to break out of this loop, even as a spectator. The shots mesmerize in their repetition which seem to temporally bend and flex concurrently with your evolving observations. The bold declaration of the speaker loses its meaning (if it ever had one to begin with) as you hear it over and over ad nauseam, and the cycle of speaker and listener seemingly trapped in their one-way discourse (and never freed to action beyond these frames) effectively articulates and emphasize a pre-existing notion in Bresson’s film.
Adam Cook, Notebook (MUBI.com)

One scene, dissected into two shots. In seemingly endless repetition we see the same thing over and over: a middle-aged man walks up to a podium. In front of him in rear view, a group of mostly young people. Behind the man a table and a chair, as if a lecture had just finished. It seems to be in a basement vault, or in a factory hall at least. The situation has a conspiratorial quality, the audience seems like students. Countershot to a closeup of three faces. A young man wants to move up closer, next to him is another young man, a woman – the only one it seems – is just behind him. Then the man walks up to the podium once again, goes to the microphone again, speaks his sentence. The crowd cheers, roaring with approval, cut to the closeup of the young man. “I declare the destruction,” says the man at the podium – not in rage, not screaming, just assertively and quite clearly. What he wants to destroy is withheld from the audience, since we find ourselves in an endless loop of waiting, declaring, and verbally articulated approval. It all lasts exactly 18 seconds. Arthur Tuoto puts this into his film ten times, so that the end would be reached after three-and-a-half minutes. But the film starts all over agin, it becomes timeless, endless, imperative. The mantra, perhaps a bit anarchistic, starts up again; timelessness and endlessness are completely suspended in its presentational form. We can’t even match up the two shots, Tuoto has cleverly pulled the applause form the first shot into the second, so that we cannot fix any before and after. The exclamation remains without context, becoming more pressing each time. Anyone who knows Robert Bresson’s Le diable probablement (The Devil, Probably), from which this scene is taken, might know a bit more, but knowing this isn’t crucial. About the Bresson film, J. Hoberman once wrote, “Religion is a farce, the world is shown as coming to an end.” But this is a new, a different film. Reduced to a moment.
Toby Ashraf, Forum Expanded – Berlin International Film Festival