“Mahmoud Darwish in Film: Politics, Representation, and Translation in Jean-Luc Godard’s _Ici et ailleurs_ and _Notre musique_ ,” coauthored with François Mulot - [PDF Document] (2024)

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Cultural Politics, Volume 10, Issue 1, © 2014 Rebecca Dyer and François Mulot DOI: 10.1215/17432197-2397245

MAHMOUD DARWISH in FILMPolitics, Representation, and Translation in Jean-Luc Godard’s Ici et ailleurs and Notre musique

Rebecca Dyer and François Mulot

Abstract Focusing on two films by Jean-Luc Godard that feature the work of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, this essay analyzes the rhetorical effects of Godard’s choice to subtitle, translate, or speak over Arabic speech and highlights Godard’s decades-long working relationship with the translator Elias Sanbar, who also translated Darwish’s work from Arabic into French. It argues that both filmmaker and poet in Notre musique (2004) are engaged in autoquotation in that Godard is alluding to his earlier films, particularly to Ici et ailleurs (1976), his extensive “rethinking” of his 1970 trip to film the Palestinian intifada, and in that Darwish restates his published commentary from the 1990s in a staged interview with an actress playing an Israeli journalist. It analyzes as well the political implications of Darwish’s poetry being recited in English translation by Native American actors in Sarajevo’s destroyed library.

Keywords Palestinian-Israeli conflict; Mahmoud Darwish; Jean-Luc Godard; subtitles

As the controversies surrounding the November 29, 2012, United Nations vote in favor of Palestinian statehood

and the ongoing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign indicate, the conflict between Israelis and Palestin-ians has not been resolved since Jean-Luc Godard reflected on the crisis and quoted extensively from Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry in Ici et ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere ) (1976) and Notre musique (Our Music ) (2004). The conflict—heightened in recent years by Israel’s building of a separation wall reaching twenty-five feet in places, by settlers’ seizures of Palestinian

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land, by life-interrupting delays at Israeli checkpoints, and by many civilian deaths—was Darwish’s primary subject during his lifetime of writing poetry. Salma Khadra Jayyusi writes in a collection of critical essays and interviews published just before Darwish’s death in 2008 that he is known for “embracing not just art, but also history and life in general; more specifi-cally, Palestinian life, his own life, which has never allowed itself to be severed from that of his country and its plight” (2008: viii). At the same time, Jayyusi notes, he is a world poet rather than a propagandist, and thus “his commitment is not solely to a major political issue, but also—in fact, primarily—to revelation of the daily human tragedy springing from it” (2008: ix).1 We are revisiting Ici et ailleurs and Notre musique in part to mark the five-year anniversary of Darwish’s death, but also to examine Godard’s complex treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis from different periods of his long filmmaking career.2 Godard’s representations of Palestinians as well as the most famous poet from the region are significant because they demonstrate Godard’s continuing commit-ment to political cinema and to challenging what he sees as one of the last vestiges of colonialism on the planet.3 Godard’s use of Darwish’s poetry also enables the cele-brated filmmaker to connect a number of political and philosophical themes that he has returned to again and again in his films: the nature of power and oppression, media and cinematic representations of resis-tance movements, resistance fighters, and eloquent spokespeople for the resistance such as Darwish and even, in a self- ironizing mode, Godard himself.

In our examination of the rhetorical effects of subtitles or their absence, voice-overs, layering of different speak-ers’ voices, as well as Godard’s choices

surrounding the use of passages from Darwish’s poetry, such as the inclusion or absence of attributions and dramatiza-tion of translations, we are highlighting critically underexplored aspects of film-making, many of which have been seen by critics and viewers and even by many filmmakers as insignificant postproduc-tion tasks. Throughout his career, Godard has demonstrated his awareness of the impact of subtitles and other forms of translation on a given film’s subject matter and audience. As Ian Balfour writes in his brief analysis of Godard’s depictions and enactments of translations in Le mépris (Contempt; 1963), “We are used to think-ing of subtitles as a kind of afterthought, a supplement to the original language of the film, a supplement which could be added to the original, depending not least on mar-ket forces. But Godard changes all that” (2004: 532). Our focus on translation and subtitles enables us to examine Godard’s methods of incorporating the work of another prominent artist, one who is well known for writing in a genre that resists translation and yet also in a language that requires translation if it is to reach Godard’s primary European and North American audience. We will argue that Godard’s choices about how to represent Darwish and his poetry and about whether to translate his words for French- or English-speaking audiences strongly affect both Ici et ailleurs and Notre musique, and these choices occasionally work against the political thrusts of the two films.

As David MacDougall writes in Trans-cultural Cinema, before subtitling began to be used widely in the 1970s,

almost all ethnographic films had been con-

structed around a voice-over commentary

which spoke about the people concerned but

rarely allowed them to speak themselves. If

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their voices were heard at all, what they said

was either ignored (suggesting it was not really

worth understanding) or was translated by

another voice that covered their own words

and, in a sense, spoke for them. . . . Conveying

their speech in subtitles in effect accorded

them the status of people who appeared in fea-

ture films. . . . It paid attention to their intellec-

tual life—indeed, often acknowledged for the

first time that they had an intellectual life—and

provided a new pathway to their thoughts and

feelings. (1998: 165)

Although Godard’s essayistic films cannot be equated with the ethnographic films that are the focus of MacDougall’s book, Godard’s decision to allow a voice-over to drown out the speech of Palestinians in Ici et ailleurs has similar effects to those described by MacDougall.4 When viewers are shown a Palestinian speaking about the resistance movement, such as a Fatah leader celebrating a victory with a crowd of men in Jordan or a woman in Beirut declaring her pride in giving her son to the revolution, Godard chose not to subtitle the speech in Arabic and instead added a voice-over in French to interpret the situation and its significance. A few years after his return from the Palestinian camps in Jordan, haunted by the deaths of those he had filmed and effectively silenced, Godard asked the translator Elias Sanbar, who has extensively translated Darwish’s poetry from Arabic into French, to review the 1970 footage, listen to the Palestin-ian audience’s comments rather than to those of Fatah’s official spokesperson, and revise the translation. The altered trans-lation enabled Godard to critique his earlier emphasis on the resistance movement’s leadership instead of on the many fighters who would die a few months later. In a series of unsubtitled clips, Godard takes himself to task for previously highlighting

revolutionary slogans instead of the voices of everyday people; yet, in the process of conveying his self-critique, he withholds the meaning of speech in Arabic. As we will demonstrate, while staging his critical “rethinking” of his trip to film the Palestin-ian intifada, Godard also allows a voice-over to speak over a recitation of Dar-wish’s poem about the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre.

Godard’s numerous portrayals of translators and interpreters in Notre musique suggest his indebtedness to and deep respect for Sanbar, who was instrumental both in getting Darwish to agree to the part in Godard’s film and in ensuring that his poetry and interview commentary would be incorporated (San-bar 2011; Williams 2006: 408). Although other fictional films have made use of Darwish’s poetry, Notre musique is unique in that it is the first in which the poet performs the part of himself as envisioned by a filmmaker.5 It is also unique in that Darwish’s political poetry and published interview commentary are brought to life by actors during a recitation in Sarajevo’s destroyed library and in his interview with an Israeli journalist, one of the two female leads in the film.6 Notre musique thus invites further analysis not only because it provides Godard’s recent commentary on the Palestinian crisis but also because of its Sarajevo setting, which enabled Godard to reflect on the Yugoslav and Balkan wars and to build on themes he introduced in Je vous salue, Sarajevo (I Salute You, Sara-jevo; 1993) and For Ever Mozart (1996) and that also are prominent in Histoire(s) du cinéma (History(ies) of Cinema; 1998), De l’origine du XXIe siècle (About the Origin of the Twenty-First Century; 2000), and Éloge de l’amour (In Praise of Love; 2001).7 As we will demonstrate, he uses the war-torn setting of Notre musique

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to interrogate the relationship between cinematic representations and history, an interrogation relevant to the way Palestin-ians and their struggle have been repre-sented—including in Godard’s own films.

As we will argue, both Godard and Darwish are engaged in autoquotation in Notre musique in that Godard is alluding to his earlier films, particularly to Ici et ailleurs, and in that Darwish was asked to memorize statements that he had made in published interviews from the 1990s and then to voice them again on Godard’s screenplay’s cue.8 Both filmmaker and poet are referring back to younger and more overtly political versions of them-selves, and yet both manage to hint at their weariness with their respective roles, Godard by presenting himself as dumb-struck by an audience member’s question about digital cameras’ likely effects on “the future of film” and later as a Candide-like figure tending his rooftop garden and Darwish by projecting his world-weariness through his flat tone and limited eye contact during his interview.9 Revealing his preference for minimal subtitling, Godard has stated that his portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Notre musique has been undermined by the inclusion of subtitles in Darwish’s inter-view scene. Godard told Jean Narboni in a 2007 interview that this form of translation gives viewers an illusion of engagement and dialogue, while he wished in Notre musique to demonstrate that the rapport between interviewer and interviewee—and, by extension, between Israel and Palestine—was severely limited (Morceaux de conversation [Bits of Conversation], 2010). Despite Godard’s preference for an unsubtitled interview scene, Darwish’s poetry in Notre musique, far from being drowned out or interpreted by a voice-over as in Ici et ailleurs, is clearly enunciated

in English translation by Native American characters demanding a hearing; yet, as we will demonstrate, the political effective-ness of the film is undercut somewhat by Godard’s neglecting to attribute to Dar-wish either the lines of poetry used in this scene or the idea of making “Red Indians” analogous to Palestinians.

Godard’s Autocritique and Use of Darwish’s Poetry in “Ici et ailleurs”As a member of the Dziga Vertov (DV) cinema group, Godard captured footage of the Palestinian intifada for the film project titled Jusqu’à la victoire (Until the Victory; 1970), which he revised and released six years later as Ici et ailleurs.10 Godard’s manner of incorporating Darwish’s poetry in the revised film reveals a conflicted approach to Darwish’s work, particularly Godard’s simultaneous solidarity with the Palestinians’ cause and his questioning of some overtly political uses of art—his own and others’. In Ici et ailleurs, for example, he reuses footage of actual Palestinian fighters, most of whom were killed by Jordanian forces not long after they were filmed in 1970. As Godard explains in Ici et ailleurs, the DV group was hired by Fatah with $6,000 in Arab League funds to film the intifada, and after the dismantling of the cinema group, Godard later turned the raw footage into an “essay film,” a subge-nre that Laura Rascaroli in her analysis of Notre musique describes as “an experi-mental, hybrid, self-reflexive form, which crosses generic boundaries and system-atically employs the enunciator’s direct address to the audience” (2009: 49). Ici et ailleurs fulfills all the criteria that Rascaroli mentions and is particularly self-reflexive in that Godard again and again questions his earlier approach to the intifada. In the reedited film’s “direct address to the audi-ence,” Godard repeatedly stages his own

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doubts and repensant, or “rethinking,” a word often shown on a blank screen— or arranged as

EN

REPENSANT

A

CELA (Ici et ailleurs, 1976)

While “thinking it over again,” Godard questions his past motives and admits to his film group’s mistakes in accepting and promoting the slogans of Fatah’s revolu-tion, which, as we are told repeatedly in the first segment of the film, included (1) The Will of the People, (2) Armed Strug-gle, (3) Political Work, (4) Prolonged War, and (5) Until the Victory. After stating and restating these slogans while showing a series of clips of Palestinian women being trained to handle weapons, Palestinian fighters walking in a wilderness area, little girls in army fatigues marching in forma-tion, and preteen boys chanting (images and sounds all drawn from the 1970 footage), Godard later mournfully reflects on what he has learned: “The actors in the film were filmed in danger of death. Death is represented in this film by a flow of images. A flow of images and sounds that hide silence. A silence that becomes deadly” (Ici et ailleurs, 1976).

Both the repetition of the footage of ordinary Palestinians engaged in militaris-tic activities and the commentary about the silence and death that his film group’s footage concealed suggest that Godard is extremely critical of his and other group members’ staging of the revolution while they were capturing it for a foreign audi-ence and filming fighters/actors who were “in danger of death.” The above state-ments, conveyed as text on a blank screen with select words intermittently flashing, are intercut with images of Palestinian

women cleaning rifles and of Palestinian men working in the desert with pickaxes and later standing around listlessly while a leader delivers a speech. Tellingly, Godard’s camera remains fixed on the speaker’s audience, wordlessly asking the viewer to note the dispirited postures and expressions. These prolonged shots of the audience are an important aspect of Godard’s self-critique. He appears to be suggesting that when he captured this footage in 1970 before the slaughter of his film’s participants, he failed to question the movement and its rhetoric despite the vis-ible skepticism and the vocal resentment of ordinary fighters. According to Godard’s 2010 biography, the DV group abandoned the original film because Fatah wanted pro-paganda for their movement, while Godard and the other group members preferred to make an essay film. The political situation then changed dramatically, in that the fighters they had filmed had been killed, and thus it was no longer a film declaring victoire, and the objective shifted to healing—and, we will add, to the film-makers’ autocritique—after the massacre (de Baecque 2010: 471–72).

Working with Sanbar, Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville, his companion and collaborator on the revisions, were able while reediting the footage to listen to the critical comments of the rank-and-file fighters instead of having to focus solely on the speeches of their leaders. Whereas various translators working with the film group in Jordan in 1970 had conveyed only the official addresses by Fatah, Godard and Miéville elected while revising the footage to lower the voice of the speaker while raising the voice of the people in the back-ground. They then asked Sanbar to trans-late these audience members’ comments and were surprised by comments such as “You are unconscious. Your enemy is

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fierce and will not treat things lightly the way you do. . . . We are losing brothers” as well as blatant insults aimed at the speaker (Sanbar 1991: 116). In an essay published twenty-one years after the footage was shot, Sanbar admits to feeling guilty for being “deaf” to the criticism of the leaders’ rhetoric before the sound was altered (1991: 116). The altering of the sound of the 1970 footage is emphasized in the revised film with recurring close-up shots of a hand raising and lowering the volume control on sound equipment. Despite Sanbar’s new translation and the film’s emphasis on politically significant sound alterations, however, many clips in Arabic in the revised film remain unsubti-tled. This is particularly apparent during a prolonged aerial shot of a Palestinian ref-ugee camp intercut with black-and-white still photographs of dead fighters. During this segment, Godard appears to be using the voice-over in Arabic as a sound effect rather than as a method of communicating with his primary audience.

Similarly, while revising the 1970 footage to make Ici et ailleurs, Godard and Miéville added their voice-overs to a series of unsubtitled clips of Palestinians speak-ing to the camera or to crowds. In one segment, a young Palestinian woman in a literacy class is repeating a revolutionary text being read to her by another woman who remains off camera. In a voice-over, Miéville points out the woman’s growing boredom and suggests that the voice of the people is being silenced: “Reflexes are installed by repeating words in a certain order. She would never have said it like that. But what would she have said? And how?” Significantly, viewers who do not speak Arabic would not know the meaning of these “words in a certain order” due to the lack of subtitles; yet they are being told to disregard the speech because it is

not what the woman herself would have said. Just after this, there is a brief clip of a French family passively consuming such images on television; then the film cuts to a scene at a refugee camp near Amman, Jordan, where, the voice-over by Godard tells us, one of Fatah’s leaders is speaking to celebrate the anniversary of the victory at Karameh. Miéville’s voice then comes in to highlight for viewers “everything that is wrong in this image”: the speaker is alone and standing at a great distance from the people he rep-resents. “As always,” she notes, there is “drama.” But just as with the earlier scene, the meaning of the speech is withheld from viewers who do not know Arabic. The “drama” for many viewers of Godard’s film will be comprehensible only through analysis of the arrangement of participants, their gestures, and other nonverbal elements. Immediately after, Godard cuts to a remarkable scene set in Beirut, in which, Miéville’s voice-over tells us, a pregnant woman is stating that she is proud to give her son to the revolution. As with the other scenes, her words in Arabic have not been subtitled; instead, Miéville unmasks all the fake aspects of the clip: this woman was not actually pregnant; she was selected because she was young and beautiful; and her supposed testimony was being directed by the filmmakers who were not shown or heard in the original clip. This is one more example meant to show the falseness of the “theater” of the revolution. At the same time, Miéville’s uses “you” in the voice-over to blame Godard for covering up the young woman’s actual background, and thus this scene is a continuation of his self-critique for his earlier willingness to create propagandistic imagery.

Godard’s extensive “rethinking” in Ici et ailleurs is described by Irmgard

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Emmelhainz as a “kind of self-reflexive degree zero of documentary”—a political recalibration for Godard and others of his generation and political leanings who were caught up in “‘sixty-eighter’ utopia” and who engaged in “revolutionary tourism in the Third World, constituting a particular genre of aesthetic-political intervention elsewhere” (2009: 651, 649). If Godard were in fact a “tourist” swept away by his revolutionary fervor in 1970, the film makes clear that he deeply regretted it as he was revising the footage in 1974–75. Godard’s self-critique comes across clearly at the end of the film when a small group of fighters are shown strategizing after crossing a river. Godard’s voice-over explains the significance of the seemingly mundane scene: “I remember when we shot this—just three months before the September massacres. That was in June 1970, and in three months the whole little group will be dead. What is tragic is that they are here talking about their own death, but nobody said that.” Miéville’s voice-over then blames the filmmaker for not being more astute at the time, and, by doing so, she delivers Godard’s unsparing self-critique to the viewer: “No, it was up to you to say that. What is tragic is that you didn’t” (Ici et ailleurs, 1976).

The absence of subtitles and other forms of translation is particularly apparent in the layered voices of a segment of Ici et ailleurs featuring a poem by Darwish. A small Palestinian girl faces the camera and recites in the ruins of a building in the village of Karameh, which had been destroyed by the Israeli army in 1968. Although Godard’s voice-over tells us that the featured poem is “Je résisterai” (“I will resist”), he neglects to provide contextual information about the poem in the film. It is worth noting here that the young girl is reciting a portion of

Darwish’s long poem “Azhaar al-damm” (“Roses of Blood”), which refers to the Kafr Qasim massacre of 1956, during which Israeli troops killed fifty unarmed villag-ers who were working in their fields and unaware that Israel had imposed a curfew on them (Salih J. Altoma, pers. comm.; Jayyusi 1992: xxix). The poetry recitation occurs right after Godard had said in a voice-over: “The sound [is] so loud that it almost drowned out the voice it wanted to draw out of the image,” suggesting that the media and filmmakers like himself often speak over the voices of those they are film-ing. As the Palestinian girl recites (as shown in fig. 1), a woman’s voice (Miéville’s) does just that, saying:

Ecoute, tu devrais parler d’abord du décor et de

l’acteur dans ce décor, c’est-à-dire du théâtre.

Ce théâtre-là, d’où il vient? Il vient de 89, de la

Révolution Française, et du plaisir qu’avaient les

Conventionnels de 89 à faire des grands gestes

et à déclamer en public leurs revendications.

Cette petite fille, là, fait du théâtre, pour la

révolution palestinienne évidemment. Elle est

innocente mais peut-être cette forme de théâtre

l’est moins. (Ici et ailleurs, 1976)

[Listen, you could talk first about the setting

and about the actor in this set, that is, about

theater. This theater, where does it come from?

It comes from 1789, from the French Revolution

and from the pleasure that the delegates of ’89

took in making large gestures and reciting their

claims publicly. This little girl is acting for the

Palestinian revolution, of course. She is inno-

cent, but maybe not this form of theater.]

Then, the little girl continues her recitation, although, notably, no voice-over translation or subtitles are provided. Although Godard could be charged with Eurocentrism in that he makes the French Revolution the model and suggests in this scene that the

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Palestinian movement is one of mimicry in terms of its rhetoric, the inclusion of both the recitation and Miéville’s voice-over commentary suggests that Godard is attempting to pique the interest of French viewers while interrogating the “shifting relationship,” as Elliott Colla describes it—between the vague locations “here” and “elsewhere” (2005: 357).

Since we are repeatedly shown a French family of four gathered around their television set taking in news and sport-ing events from around the world, it is perhaps to this audience that the “theater” is aimed (and in French the word théâtre has three meanings that are relevant in this case: drama, the place where a play is performed, and where war is conducted, théâtre des opérations ). Problematically, Godard elected not to provide his film’s audience with either subtitles to gloss Dar-wish’s poem or a translation in the form of a voice-over. He uses the voice-over tech-nique elsewhere in the film to translate a speech by a Palestinian leader who tells a gathering of men in Jordan that violence—specifically, “war . . . and the gun”—is the only way to get their land back. But, for some reason, Godard chose not to reveal Darwish’s alternatingly mournful and defiant poem’s meaning, although he does in this case tell us whose poem is being recited (and thus is providing information that he does not provide viewers of Notre musique, as we will discuss later). Viewers of Ici et ailleurs in France were meant, it seems, to watch uncomprehendingly and to note the girl’s gestures without knowing the content. Even Arabic speakers would have trouble understanding the recitation because the voice-over drowns out many of Darwish’s lines. We hear shouting and see the girl moving her arms in what appears to be a rehearsed performance

style, one that—Miéville’s voice-over warns us—may not be entirely “innocent.” As Colla convincingly argues in his analysis of popular expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian intifada, Godard does not limit his critical analysis to the staged quality of Fatah’s official statements but pointedly attempts to unmask Ici et ailleurs’s own rhetorical maneuvers: “The form of solidarity that Ici et ailleurs articulates is one that constantly prob-lematizes itself by embedding its message in a critical analysis of the conditions of its own rhetorical construction” (2005: 355). Yet a few elements appear to have escaped Godard’s problematization, such as his decision to film Darwish’s poem being read aloud by an “actor” on a “set” without translating the evocative lines for French- or English-speaking audiences as well as his failure to incorporate Darwish’s rather subtle poetic representation of an actual atrocity.11 More problematically from our perspective, Godard is strongly sug-gesting a rhetorical equivalence between Darwish’s poetry and the slogans of Fatah, which Godard is critiquing throughout the film while also taking himself and the rest of the DV group to task for not being skeptical enough.

Figure 1 “Une petite fille de Fatah,” according to Godard’s voice-over, recites a poem by Darwish about Palestinian resistance. Ici et ailleurs, 1976. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville. Screen shot

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In an interview about his film Tout va bien (Everything’s All Right) from 1972 (so, shortly after the DV group shot the raw footage that would eventually be used in Ici et ailleurs ), Godard talks about a prob-lem he detected in a film by another direc-tor (Coup pour coup [Blow for Blow] by Marin Karmitz [1972], about textile work-ers in Elbeuf), who brought the French working class’s voice to the viewer without mediation. Godard (1972) claims the other director “skipped a step,” because those being depicted had been denied a voice all their lives and thus cannot immediately speak for themselves, at least not without, Godard suggests, a political education. We see such an education taking place in Ici et ailleurs, in which Palestinian fighters gripping machine guns are shown reading le petit livre rouge (the little red book), the easily recognizable treatise of the Maoist movement. The original version of the film clearly promoted a Marxist philoso-phy, which Godard—like Darwish—was strongly endorsing in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Faroult 2006: 134; Esquenazi 2004: 231–65). In the interview about Tout va bien, Godard asks rhetorically, “Who can respond, who has had his mouth sewn shut?” (1972). This idea might be behind Godard’s decision to have Miéville talk over the girl’s recitation of Darwish’s poem. Godard could be pointing out what viewers should take from the scene rather than expecting them to extract a message; however, what is sacrificed is the power of Darwish’s poem, such as this verse, titled “Kafr Qasim,” originally published in Akhir al-layl (The End of the Night; 1967):

كفر قاس إنين عدت من املوت ألحيا , ألغين

.فدعيين أستعر صويت من جرح توهوأعينيين عىل احلقد الذي يزرع يف قليب عوجس

إنين مندوب جرح ال يساوم

عملتين رضبة اجلالد أن أميش عىل جريحوأميش..

مث أميش..وأقاوم!

(1971: 526)

[I came back from death to live, to sing

Let me borrow my voice from a glowing wound

Help me against hatred which plants thorns in

my heart

I am the representative of a wound that does

not compromise

The executioner’s blow taught me to walk on

my wound

And I walk . . . then I walk . . . and resist.]

(Trans. Salih J. Altoma)

The verse celebrates Palestinian rebirth following the “executioner’s blow” and is written as a plea or prayer—“Let me . . . / Help me . . .” It also reveals self- and national preservation to be the primary aims of the speaker, who carries on and “resist[s]” after the massacre. Because the speaker’s voice is “borrow[ed] . . . from a glowing wound,” the wording implies as well that national and personal tragedies help create superior art such as Darwish’s poetry, a suggestion that God-ard would later reiterate during Darwish’s interview scene in Notre musique.12

Godard’s Representation of Darwish and Enactment of His Work in “Notre musique”Despite Darwish’s fame as the unofficial Poet of Palestine and despite Godard’s depiction of his celebrity status in Notre musique, reviews reveal that many audience members were unfamiliar with the Palestinian about whom other charac-ters are asking and for whose arrival the film itself seems to be waiting.13 When Darwish appears in the second of three parts, called “Purgatoire” (“Purgatory”),

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his character performs several interrelated roles: commentator on the human butch-ery depicted in “Enfer” (“Hell”), the film’s first part, spokesperson for his people, and artist committed to a political cause. Dar-wish accepted the acting role, according to the 2006 exhibition of Godard’s work at the Pompidou Center in Paris, because he saw Godard as his “compagnon d’armes” (comrade or brother in arms) as a result of their shared political and artistic com-mitments (Williams 2006: 407). Darwish played the role of himself participating in an actual conference, the annual Rencon-tres européennes du livre (European Book Meetings) at the Centre André Malraux in Sarajevo, with a number of European intellectuals and artists, including Pierre Bergounioux, Juan Goytisolo, and Jean-Paul Curnier, at the request of Godard and Francis Bueb.14

Notre musique opens with a horrifying depiction of war, genocide, and conquest through the ages, which, Godard later suggests, in a reference to the title, are mankind’s “music.” The montage includes excerpts of fictional movies, documenta-ries, and newsreels and assaults viewers with images of corpses, mass graves, gory battles, and capital punishments along with footage of boys pretending to be soldiers on the beach, hinting that violence and score settling are ingrained or learned from an early age.15 As noted above, the middle of the film, called “Purgatory,” brings together a number of intellectuals and artists in a city permanently scarred by these very problems, suggesting perhaps that Godard sees intellectual and creative efforts as the only hope given humankind’s violent nature. Darwish’s role in the film is crucial in that he experienced or witnessed many of these horrors firsthand and devoted his life to commenting on them in his poetry. Godard thus unsurprisingly

treats Darwish as a central figure and his work as instructive in terms of understand-ing and countering the problems depicted in the film’s opening. His name is point-edly mentioned just after the devastating montage has been flashed on the screen to the accompaniment of Hans Otte’s pounding piano notes and is pronounced a number of times by other conference goers wondering whether he will indeed make an appearance and in which hotel he is staying. Through these queries, he comes across as an international celeb-rity, widely known for mythologizing his homeland, a man who paradoxically is also, as Sinan Antoon argues, “the only cultural figure who possesses the symbolic capital and cultural capital capable of demytholo-gizing” Palestine as “the talal [ruined site], par excellence, both real and imagined” (2008: 237–38). He alone, in other words, had the stature among Palestinians to present dwelling in exile and in language as an alternative to the longed-for return to the land.

After the film’s long preamble and numerous mentions of Darwish, lines from his “The Speech of the Red Indian” are recited by Native American characters in the burned-out library in Sarajevo. This scene appears to be the filmmaker’s way of connecting Darwish’s political poetry to the August 1992 destruction of Bosnia’s National and University Library by nation-alist Serb forces. The attack on the library reduced 1.5 million volumes and 155,000 rare books and manuscripts to ashes in what András J. Riedlmayer describes as “the largest single incident of deliberate book-burning in modern history” (2007: 110). In the ruins of the actual library, which during the on-location filming was being painstakingly repaired, Godard depicts a pile of books heaped up for burn-ing and an old man alone at a desk making

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entries in a ledger as additional books are brought in by the public. Then two Native Americans, a man and a woman, stride in and express political grievances from another continent and even another cen-tury as they direct lines of Darwish’s poem inspired by Chief Seattle’s famous address to the silent man with the ledger (see fig. 2). The Native American man speaks first using Darwish’s lines to criticize Columbus and “the narrow world of his map” and to demand an encounter, a possible tie-in

with the theme of the conference, “Ren-contres européennes du livre”: “Isn’t it about time, stranger / for us to meet face to face in the same age / both of us strang-ers to the same land?” (Darwish 2000 [1992]). The man with the ledger ignores his visitors until the line “strangers to the same land” is pronounced, which leads him to meet the Native American man’s determined, accusing gaze. The man at the desk, a bureaucrat methodically expediting the book burning that Godard is restaging in the library, disappears after the young woman repeats in heavily accented English “strangers to the same land.” After adding another clear tie-in with the international conference being held in Sarajevo, where

these “strangers” are “meeting at the tip of an abyss,” she recites Darwish’s lines dealing with unofficial history and the “bleed[ing]” present: “Winds will recite our beginning and our end / though our present bleeds / and our days are buried in the ashes of legend” (Darwish 2000 [1992]; Notre musique, 2004).

The reference to conflicting claims on “the same land” clearly connects a number of historical and political strands of Godard’s film, particularly his intervention in the present-day dispute over the owner-ship of Palestinian land, and the sacked- library setting underscores the film’s multi-ple reflections on cultural suppression and on art as both a target of destruction and violence and an answer to them.

Godard’s use of a translated poem by Darwish in this scene is significant because it contributes to the film’s commentary on the politics of translation and communication. Because the Native American characters recite the poem in English, the implication is that the man burning books represents the “white man” of Chief Seattle’s address. It is nevertheless important to keep in mind that Chief Seattle’s 1855 speech had not been in English; it was conveyed to its white audience through a translation from its original Duwamish into Chinook, which was then translated into English. The English text that Henry A. Smith wrote thirty-three years later from his notes was thus based on one audience member’s translation of a spoken translation. As a result, the authenticity of the speech has been disputed by historians (Clark 1985). Even though the book-burning official in Notre musique is in Sarajevo and the use of English is therefore an unusual choice, this scene succinctly represents different forms of cultural erasure, in that books are being destroyed and the Native Americans’

Figure 2 Native Americans recite an English translation of Darwish’s “The Speech of the Red Indian.” Notre musique, 2004. Screen shot

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language is not being used. Additionally, the fact that the Native American actors are reciting Darwish’s poem, which was originally written in Arabic, adds another layer of translation—and of erasure—to the scene.

It is worth noting that Godard does not, in this case, inform his viewers where these lines of poetry came from, an omis-sion that led some reviewers to question his decision to bring Native Americans into a narrative already arguably overburdened with the Holocaust, the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, and the Bosnian war and its legacy. Mark Peranson, for example, in an essay in Cinéaste, describes the “poetry-spouting Native Americans in full dress” as one of a “number of extremely grating, politically gauche moments” in Notre musique (2005: 54). As is typical in his later films, Godard here expects a great deal of his viewers, including the ability to recognize Darwish’s unattributed poetry—as well as excerpts by Charles Baudelaire, Albert Camus, and others.16 While New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis argues that Godard’s refusal in Notre musique to “suggest various means of interpretation” or to “draw our conclu-sions for us” is “the highest compliment a filmmaker can pay his audience” (2004), clearly not all audience members were able to understand the connections being made between art and politics or among political conflicts from different locations, as some extremely critical reviewers’ comments demonstrate.17 If Godard had attributed these lines to Darwish in order to connect the plight of Native Americans, whose land was confiscated and who

were sent to reservations, to Palestinians’ plight navigating Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories, the film’s political commentary would likely have been more accessible and Darwish’s appearance as a representative and spokesperson might have been more effective.

It should be noted, however, that Godard does not restrict Native American characters to this library scene. In the opening segment called “Hell,” for exam-ple, they are represented as white actors dressed up as painted warriors battling cowboys in scenes that Godard excerpted from mid-twentieth-century Hollywood Westerns. With such images, Godard continues his examination of media and cinematic representations and their effects on politics and history. Brief clips of a Pal-estinian fighter, drawn from Godard’s 1970 footage of the intifada, and of a Hollywood Indian, as shown in figures 3–4, represent

Figures 3 and 4 Godard includes footage of Palestinian fighters as well as excerpts from Hollywood Westerns in “Enfer” (“Hell”), the first third. Notre musique, 2004. Screen shots

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both the “hell” of the young fighter’s life being extinguished just months after Godard captured him on film and the “hell” of the defeated Indian being represented on the victor’s terms.

Later in Notre musique, two Native American men watch the interview between Darwish and the Israeli journalist, and one of these men conveys his lack of interest in the leaden discussion by fid-geting and flipping his long hair. The three Native American characters also appear in a worn-out pickup and on horseback near Sarajevo’s Neretva River, which is shown repeatedly with its partially rebuilt Mostar bridge visible in the background, a bridge that in the context of Godard’s film hints at possible reconciliation and coexistence for formerly warring parties.

Notably, all of Darwish’s on-screen time in Notre musique occurs just before and during his interview with an earnest reporter from Tel Aviv, who, while speak-ing Hebrew, quotes his political statements and presses him to explain (see fig. 5).

Darwish responds in Arabic, quoting other excerpts from his published interviews, specifically passages from the collec-tion of his 1990s interviews that Sanbar had translated into French and titled La Palestine comme métaphore (Palestine as a Metaphor; Godard 2004c: 20). After standing and facing away from his inter-viewer and from the camera, Darwish directly addresses the issue of media coverage and propagandistic manipulations of the world’s attention. Describing the Palestinian people as Trojans and his role as that of a Trojan poet, he also plays on contradictions in his answers, saying Pal-estinians are both “lucky” and “unlucky” to have such enemies, who have brought Palestinians both “defeat” and “renown.”18 He implicates his interviewer in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by explaining that the world is interested in Palestinians “because you are our enemy. The interest is in you not in me.” He also speaks over one of her questions, correcting a passage she is quoting and telling her that “there has to be an error for it to be this way” and that “there’s another meaning to those lines” (Notre musique, 2004). As Sanbar (2006) explained during a conversation with Godard in front of an audience in Le Havre, Darwish is referring to Troy in the interview scene—as he has often done in his poetry—in order to distinguish “loss” from “defeat,” suggesting that Palestin-ians have likewise suffered many losses but are not a defeated people.

This conversation is a bit wooden on Darwish’s part, and despite the witty give-and-take, it lacks warmth and a shared perspective between interviewer and inter-viewee and thus subtly reinforces a theme that Godard returns to again and again during the film: that of failures of commu-nication or barely understood exchanges.

Figure 5 Godard depicts Darwish meeting with an Israeli journalist in the lobby of the Sarajevo Holiday Inn. Notre musique, 2004. Screen shot

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In a number of scenes in Notre musique, the speaker is offscreen while the camera stays fixed on the person either silently listening or present but not paying atten-tion, and on a street in Sarajevo, there is an exchange between two people who are never shown and who speak elliptically of not being heard or understood.

The interview scene also brings to mind Godard’s 1970s preoccupations with the media and its influence on activists and spokespersons. Just prior to Darwish’s meeting with the journalist, a woman had made a circular hand gesture signifying “roll tape” and had told the journalist, “Okay, folks, it’s your play,” making this scene reminiscent of Godard’s critical depiction of the media in Ici et ailleurs and returning us to that earlier film’s sugges-tion that Darwish’s words are sometimes used as a form of political “theater.” Perhaps in homage to Sanbar, who, as noted above, had worked as Godard’s translator during the filming of the intifada in the 1970s and who is listed in Notre musique’s credits immediately after God-ard’s name alongside the word “mémoire,” as if Sanbar provided Godard with the raw material for the film, Godard returns again and again in Notre musique to the motif of translators and interpreters. We repeatedly see interpreters at work, such as during Godard’s classroom presentation and the multilingual conference, and an important character, the uncle of the Jewish- Russian-French female “suicide bomber” and the one who later informs Godard of the circ*mstances of her death, is a profes-sional interpreter. Thus it is significant that Godard elected not to use an interpreter in Darwish’s interview scene. It is certainly unusual that the conversation takes place in two distinct languages, without either party making the lingual switch for the

sake of consistency, especially since the journalist character, Judith Lerner, is often quoting Darwish and asking for clarification and since Darwish knew how to express himself in Hebrew.19

In an interview with Narboni filmed in 2007, Godard speaks extensively about that scene and reveals that he had originally intended not to provide sub titles (Morceaux de conversation, 2010). He explains that Sarah Adler, the actress who plays Judith, does not speak Arabic, but she had nevertheless learned the meaning of the conversation. He argues that the use of subtitles—which his producer insisted on—creates a paradoxical situation: these are two people who apparently speak the same language, but they cannot fully understand each other. In fact, Godard tells Narboni, they barely speak to each other, and to the spectator it is a complete para-dox: because of the subtitles, the viewer—who will not, in most cases, understand either Darwish or his interviewer—will assume that the conversation is intact and satisfying. Because the spectator has the illusion of understanding, Godard worries that the emphasis is misplaced, and there is a totalitarisme du texte; that is, the subti-tles take precedent over the image, a shift in emphasis that Godard says he deplores (Morceaux de conversation, 2010). Amresh Sinha makes a similar case in “The Use and Abuse of Subtitles,” in which he warns that “the ‘verbosity’ of subtitles could even lead to a complete betrayal of the visual dynamics, for they have the potential to ‘drown’ the images in the literal inscrip-tions of words and sentences. . . . The audience literally starts to see only the texts” (2004: 174). Imagine, however, if French- or English-speaking audiences were confronted with the “verbosity” of Darwish’s interview scene without

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subtitles, the outcome Godard claims to have desired. As with the little girl’s unsub-titled recitation of Darwish’s poem in Ici et ailleurs, the eloquence and complexity of Darwish’s comments would not have been conveyed to viewers. In order for Godard to reinforce his point that communication between the warring parties is limited or blocked, the audience would have been bereft. It should also be noted that working against Godard’s point would be the actors’ gestures and expressions, which even without subtitles would indicate that they are communicating with each other.

Godard’s depiction of Darwish and use of his political poetry are connected to some degree to the portrayal of Jewish characters of various nationalities, partic-ularly the two female leads. Ultimately, Godard was able to use Judith’s char-acter, who is portrayed sympathetically throughout the film, as well as Darwish’s participation in the conference, to connect the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to Sara-jevo as well as to French history. Earlier in the film Judith had asked the French ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina to have “juste une conversation” rather than “une conversation juste” (distinguishing between “just/only a conversation” and “a just/an ethical conversation” in a place, Sarajevo, where ethics were trampled) with her grandfather, whose family the ambassador had saved from the Nazis during the Vichy regime in France. Judith is on a quest for reconciliation and bridge building throughout the film, a quest that is symbolically conveyed through her keen interest in the rebuilding of the war- damaged Mostar bridge. She claims that being in Sarajevo gives her hope: “Because of Palestine, and because I live in Tel Aviv. I wanted to see a place where reconciliation seemed possible” (Notre musique, 2004). In addition to her

suggestion that Israeli “atonement” is nec-essary, she appears to be deeply moved by violence and deaths in other regions. While riding in a car through Sarajevo and seeing remnants of bombed buildings on every side, for example, she openly weeps for victims of the war regardless of their ethnicity or religion.

Equally sympathetic, though for different reasons, is Godard’s portrayal of Olga, a Jewish-Russian-French “suicide bomber,” who sacrifices herself to sniper fire rather than kill innocents. Her bag, we are told, was full of books, not explosives. Those hidden books—believed by Israeli soldiers to be dangerous—connect her offscreen death to the book burning in the library in the earlier scene. In both cases, Godard suggests that possessing books or drawing sustenance from books can be understood metonymically as dissent against militarism and oppression. Olga, who is shown a number of times running through the streets of Sarajevo and who attends, with closed eyes, Godard’s cryptic lecture on film, is the character we follow after her death into the film’s final third, called “Paradise,” a “mythological else-where” according to Jean-Michel Frodon (2010: 981), which Godard depicts as a green forest on a quiet shore, populated by frolicking and strangely silent young people and US Marines holding rifles and encircled by a fence. Godard also returns to autocritique with this final scene in that he contrasts his own character’s with-drawal and political inaction to Olga’s great sacrifice. “It was a beautiful, clear day. You could see a long way off. But not as far as Olga had gone,” he says in the voice-over as birds sing in the background. The cam-era then stays on her troubled eyes, which shut just as the screen goes dark.

The “paradise” depiction in Godard’s film resembles the future imagined in

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many of Darwish’s poems, a future in which the victims of conflicts will finally have an afterlife, if only in that their dying will be acknowledged and memorialized in some form. As Anthony C. Alessandrini has argued, “Darwish’s poetry intersects with . . . larger political questions, not as a direct intervention into international law, but as an overarching ethical ques-tion: How can we deal with a past that continues to haunt the present and the future?” (2009). To Alessandrini, ghosts in Darwish’s poetry provide “a glimpse of a future that will bring justice to those who have had their history stolen from them” (2009). Godard’s film, with its suicide victim / presumed terrorist reappearing in the final, otherworldly segment, at first glance appears to be making a similar gesture. Yet Godard’s vision of “paradise”—both Edenic and militarized—cannot compensate for the “hell” that viewers had witnessed an hour before, nor do the frolicking characters there, like the ghostly figures in Darwish’s poetry, sug-gest that justice is on the horizon. Rather, Godard seems with the film to be standing in solidarity with those who—like Olga, but also like the actual Palestinian fighters in Ici et ailleurs—died as a result of their stead-fast devotion to their cause. However, despite the silent volleyball game, played by scantily clad young people without either a ball or net, in a scene reminiscent of the mimes playing tennis at the end of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966), the tone of Notre musique’s ending is mournful rather than celebratory, suggest-ing that Godard is highlighting the trag-edy of lost lives rather than supporting a particular political position. Godard’s final, solitary appearance in his rooftop garden in Notre musique might then be seen as a continuation of his self-critique and per-haps as his admission of survivor’s guilt.

Our analyses of two films by Godard have attempted to show not only the influ-ential director’s perspective on the Pales-tinian-Israeli crisis, a political concern of his since 1970 when he witnessed the intifada firsthand and captured in Ici et ailleurs many young fighters killed only months later by Jordanian forces in the September massacre, but also his masterful return in Notre musique to the still unresolved dispute over Palestinian land and self-determination. As we have noted, Godard incorporates Darwish’s poetry in both films, while in Notre musique he directs the poet in the role of himself attending a conference and interacting with an interviewer (his geopolitical “enemy”). Our analysis of the director’s choices regarding whether or not to subtitle, speak over, or interpret Palestinian speakers as well as his conflicted treatment of Darwish’s work has shown that these filmmaking aspects—typically unremarked on by critics of Godard’s work—have important rhetorical effects. Viewers confronted with Darwish’s on-screen presence might not recognize that the impassioned lines of poetry recited by Native Americans in the library in Sarajevo were written by this Palestinian poet speaking of Troy in the lobby of a Holiday Inn. Godard’s elliptical style is perhaps fitting, though, given that his prominent actor wrote poetry similarly requiring a great deal of his varied audi-ences, some of whom he hoped to bolster in their continuing struggle and others to whom he was revealing historical events crucial to his people but largely unacknowl-edged by media outlets and history books.

These directorial choices, much like the decisions about how and where to incorporate Darwish’s poetry elsewhere in the film, have significant rhetorical effects, in this case revealing both Godard’s desire to return to and build on the political

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cinema of his young adulthood but also his recognition of the limits of human com-munication. As we have argued, Godard’s autoquotation and autocritique are mirrored to some degree by the self-ventriloquizing that Darwish performs in the interview scene in Notre musique. Yet, in Godard’s case, the self-critique continues into the final third of the film as he honors the self-sacrificing militant, who had armed herself with books. Strikingly, Godard’s meditation on communication and translation—recurring themes throughout the film—appears not to carry on in the final segment. By that point in the film, almost all human speech has ceased; thus there is little need for interpreters, translations, or subtitles, except perhaps to gloss the World War II–era Marines song playing on an armed guard’s radio. Instead of poetry, the audience hears rushing streams mixed in with birdsong and orchestral strains. Acknowledging in a voice-over that he is unable to see “as far as Olga had gone,” Godard, like Darwish throughout his life, draws from such painful sacrifices a willingness to gaze on man-made horrors without flinching, to mourn, and then to reinforce through art humankind’s attempts at carrying on.

AcknowledgmentsWe would like to thank Salih J. Altoma for his help with sources and for translating “Kafr Qasim,” Sinan Antoon for the invita-tion to present on Darwish at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) con-ference (San Diego, November 2010), and the Darwish panel’s audience, particularly Elliott Colla, for their thought-provoking comments and questions. Thanks also to Rebecca Johnson, panel discussant at MESA, for suggesting that Darwish was self-ventriloquizing in Notre musique, to Haitham E. Swelam for clearing up a

question about Darwish’s interview scene, to the editors and anonymous reviewers of Cultural Politics for their revision sugges-tions, and to Jean-Luc Godard for granting us permission to include screenshots from his films.

NotesWith the exception of film subtitles, translations are the authors’ unless otherwise indicated.1. In addition to the use of Darwish’s poetry in

films, such as Mahmoud Darwich: Et la terre, comme la langue (Mahmoud Darwish: As the Land Is the Language ), Elias Sanbar and Simone Bitton’s 1997 documentary, and the films by Godard that are the focus of this essay, epigraphs and titles drawn from Darwish’s poetry often grace works by other Palestinian artists and intellectuals, such as Liyana Badr’s short story “A Land of Rock and Thyme” (2002) and Edward Said’s commentary on Jean Mohr’s photographs of Palestinians, After the Last Sky (1999 [1986]). Since Darwish’s death, these references and quotations have increased as has his public following. Facebook users from all over the world routinely post excerpts of his poems to provide commentary on news events. During Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip during 2008–9 and 2012, for example, Darwish’s 2007 poem “Silence for Gaza” was widely shared (2012 [2007]). Many YouTube videos of Darwish reading his poetry at public events have also been uploaded—demonstrating the deep respect of his audience for his mastery of Arabic verse.

2. Since the mid-1970s, some critics in France and the United States have accused Godard of anti-Semitism due to his comments in interviews and the montage in Ici et ailleurs that juxtaposes images of Adolf Hitler with Golda Meir. In an interview with Stéphane Zagdanski the year that Notre musique was released, Godard (2004a) made inflammatory statements about the Holocaust and the creation of Israel (Cohen-Halimi and Cohen 2004–5: 301–10). Alain Fleischer (2011a, 2011b), an artist, writer, and filmmaker, who in 2004 invited Godard to deliver a lecture series at Le Fresnoy, explains in an interview that

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although he is aware of Godard’s problematic assertions about Jews, he does not believe that Godard is anti-Semitic. Jean-Luc Douin (2010), a film critic who has studied Godard’s work, has reached the same conclusion. Nevertheless, the question of Godard’s alleged anti-Semitism is still being vigorously debated in France.

3. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a spokesperson of the May ’68 movement and with whom Godard made the film Vent d’est (Wind from the East ; 1968), hints at that conclusion in his text “Mon ami Godard” (“My Friend Godard”) (2011: 85–97). Additionally, the mention early in Notre musique of Henri Curiel, famous for his advocacy of Algerians’ rights between 1954 and 1962, firmly establishes Godard’s anticolonial interpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Chakali 2004).

4. Godard has repeatedly mentioned being influenced by Jean Rouch’s films, particularly by Moi, un noir (I, a Black Man ; 1958) and Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer ; 1961).

5. Although he has appeared in few films, his poetry is often quoted in works by Palestinians and by artists elsewhere who are inspired by his writing. One film featuring his poetry is Rana’s Wedding (2002), which is an adaptation of a short story by Palestinian writer Liyana Badr (2002). Director Hany Abu-Assad depicts Israeli soldiers bulldozing Palestinians’ homes, blowing up a forgotten shopping bag, and aiming automatic rifles at a distraught young woman brandishing a cell phone, but he ends his film with an improvised celebration, one that Darwish’s lines gloss. After delays due to long lines at Israeli checkpoints and after the man who was to officiate at the couple’s ceremony is not allowed to travel into Jerusalem because his identity card had been confiscated, Rana and Khalil are finally married in a car at a military checkpoint. Immediately following the truncated ceremony, a traditional wedding song plays while the first lines of Darwish’s “A State of Siege” (2007 [2002]) are superimposed on the sky above the dancing wedding party. By ending the film with these lines, Abu-Assad reiterates the public and communal implications of a familial occasion while also suggesting that poetry will remain a weapon in the conflict: “The siege will

extend until we teach our enemies / paradigms of our Jahili poetry” (Rana’s Wedding, 2002). The quoting of Darwish’s political poetry in a film focused primarily on the romantic prospects of a young Palestinian woman, who must marry before her father’s deadline or face leaving the country of her birth for Egypt, demonstrates the wide emotional range of Darwish’s work. Abu-Assad’s silent use of Darwish’s poetry—known for its resonance and beauty when read aloud—also demonstrates its power when rendered visually, appearing only as Arabic text and English subtitles in this case.

6. Godard told interviewer Jean Narboni that he originally envisioned having only one lead female character, Judith Lerner, but after the actress Sarah Adler refused to play the final suicide scene of the movie, Godard had to create a second character, Olga (Morceaux de conversation, 2010).

7. Even though Godard later addresses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict succinctly in Film socialisme (Film Socialism ; 2010), his statement about the issue is far more developed in Notre musique.

8. Autoquotation in the form of a recurring gesture connects Notre musique to A bout de souffle (Breathless ; 1960) in that Olga puts her finger to her lips as Jean Seberg’s character had done. Similarly, a quotation by White Rose member Sophie Scholl works as a thread thematically uniting Allemagne année 90 neuf zéro (Germany, Year 90 Nine Zero ; 1990), Éloge de l’amour (2001), and Notre musique (2004).

9. See Alain Bergala’s “Autoportrait de Godard en jardinier” (“Self-Portrait of Godard as a Gardener”; 2006) for an analysis of the gardener figure in Godard’s recent films, including Notre musique (2004).

10. The DV cinema group included Jean-Pierre Gorin, Gérard Martin, Nathalie Billard, and Armand Marco (Godard 1998: 342).

11. Similarly, in For Ever Mozart (1996), Godard does not subtitle a passage in which Jamila, a French actress on her way to Sarajevo, speaks in Arabic with someone on a train.

12. Darwish expressed a starkly different view in his interview with Adam Shatz: “There is a tension between my aesthetic demands and my

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conscience as a citizen [of Ramallah]. . . . To be under occupation, to be under fire every day, to see the same murders, is not a good inspiration for poetry” (2002: 68).

13. For Keith Uhlich of Slant, Darwish’s is one of several “unfamiliar faces” in Notre musique (2004); for Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, Darwish is “a Palestinian writer” (2004). While J. Hoberman of the Village Voice specifically mentions “Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish” (2004), reviewers of Notre musique for the Times and the San Francisco Chronicle make no mention of Darwish (Ide 2005; Stein 2005). Remarkably, two writers for the Guardian (Peter Bradshaw [2005], who reviewed the film, and Geoffrey Macnab, who interviewed Godard [2005] just after the film’s release) as well as a BBC reviewer, Thomas Dawson (2005), all neglect to mention Darwish’s prominent role and yet elaborate on a fleeting reference in the film to the 1953 soccer match between Hungary and England.

14. Goytisolo’s writings about Sarajevo and war in general, such as Landscapes of War: From Sarajevo to Chechnya (2000), explain his appearance in Notre musique, but it is also significant that his biography intersects with Godard’s in that both were raised in Fascist-leaning families and rebelled against their parents’ political views. Goytisolo evokes his political evolution in the documentary Juan Goytisolo (2007). Godard’s childhood and political evolution are described in the biography by Antoine de Baecque (2010). For more about the genesis of Notre musique, the filming, and the relationship between Godard and Bueb, see Alain Bergala’s “Godard tourne à Sarajevo” (“Godard Is Filming in Sarajevo”; 2003) and “A Francis B., qui continue de résister à Sarajevo” (“To Francis B., Who Continues to Resist in Sarajevo”; 2004) as well as Godard’s (2004b) interview by Michel Guilloux.

15. The opening montage closely resembles that of Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma (1998) and is reminiscent of Roberto Rossellini’s Germania anno zero (Germany Year Zero ) (1948), a film that Godard has often alluded to.

16. Camus’s comment on suicide—“Il n’y a qu’un problème philosophique vraiment sérieux: c’est le suicide” (“Suicide is the only serious

philosophical problem”)—is quoted both by Judith in Notre musique and by a character in Godard’s earlier film set in Sarajevo, For Ever Mozart (1996).

17. See, for example, the negative reviews by Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle (2005) and Peranson of Cinéaste (2005).

18. While contrasting the representative power of the camera with that of poetry, Darwish (2002a: 77) referred to the Trojan War in his interview with Shatz: “We still read Homer even though he wrote about a specific war in a specific time and a specific place. If CNN had existed during the Trojan War, could Homer have written the same poem? I doubt it. He describes details the camera would tell. The role of the poet as witness, as objective witness, has declined, because the camera is more accurate than the writer. I believe the poet today must write the unseen.”

19. Peter Clark (2008) writes in his obituary for Darwish that the poet’s classmates “remember him being very good in Hebrew” and notes that early on Darwish was exposed to poetry in other languages, such as the work of Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca, because it had been translated into Hebrew. Munir Akash points out in his introduction to Darwish’s 2000 anthology The Adam of Two Edens that Darwish read widely in Hebrew, English, and French (2000: 39).

ReferencesAkash, Munir. 2000. Introduction to The Adam of Two

Edens: Poems, by Mahmoud Darwish, 17–46. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Alessandrini, Anthony C. 2009. “Darwish’s Revenants.” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture 9, no. 3, reconstruction.eserver.org/093 /Alessandrini.shtml.

Antoon, Sinan. 2008. “Returning to the Wind: On Darwish’s La ta‘tadhir ‘amma fa‘alta (Do Not Apologize for What You Have Done ).” In Mahmoud Darwish, Exile’s Poet: Critical Essays, edited by Hala Khamis Nassar and Najat Rahman, 215–38. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch.

Badr, Liyana. 2002. “A Land of Rock and Thyme.” In A Balcony over the Fakihani, 3–29. Translated by Salma Khadra Jayyusi and with an introduction by Barbara Harlow. Northampton, MA: Interlink.

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Balfour, Ian. 2004. “Afterword: Filming Translation (The Most Exemplary Film).” In Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, edited by Atom Egoyan and Ian Balfour, 531–32. Cambridge, MA: Alphabet City Media and MIT Press.

Bergala, Alain. 2003. “Godard tourne à Sarajevo” (“Godard Is Shooting a Film in Sarajevo”). Cahiers du Cinéma, no. 581: 37–39.

Bergala, Alain. 2004. “A Francis B., qui continue de résister à Sarajevo” (“To Francis B., Who Continues to Resist in Sarajevo”). Cahiers du Cinéma, no. 591: 10–12.

Bergala, Alain. 2006. “Autoportrait de Godard en jardinier” (“Self-Portrait of Godard as a Gardener”). In Jean-Luc Godard, Documents, edited by Nicole Brenez, 414–15. Paris: Centre Pompidou.

Bradshaw, Peter. 2005. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. Guardian, May 20, www .guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2005/may/20/3.

Chakali, Saad. 2004. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. Remue.net, remue.net/spip .php?article957.

Clark, Jerry L. 1985. “Thus Spoke Chief Seattle: The Story of an Undocumented Speech.” Prologue 18, no. 1, www.archives.gov/publications /prologue/1985/spring/chief-seattle.html.

Clark, Peter. 2008. “Obituary: Mahmoud Darwish.” Guardian, August 10, www.guardian.co.uk /books/2008/aug/11/poetry.israelandthe palestinians?INTCMP=SRCH.

Cohen-Halimi, Michèle, and Francis Cohen. 2004–5. “Juifs, martyrs, kamikazes: La monstrueuse capture: Question à Jean-Luc Godard” (“Jews, Martyrs, Kamikazes: The Monstrous Abduction: Questions for Jean-Luc Godard”). Les Temps Modernes (Modern Times ), no. 629: 301–10.

Cohn-Bendit, Daniel. 2011. “Mon ami Godard” (“My Friend Godard”). In Dialogues sur le cinéma (Conversations about Cinema ), by Jean-Luc Godard and Marcel Ophuls, 85–97. Lormont: Bord de l’Eau.

Colla, Elliott. 2005. “Sentimentality and Redemption: The Rhetoric of Egyptian Pop Culture Intifada Solidarity.” In Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture, edited by Rebecca L. Stein and Ted Swedenburg, 338–64. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Dargis, Manohla. 2004. “A Godard Odyssey in Dante’s Land.” Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. New York Times, October 2, www .nytimes.com/2004/10/02/movies/02notr.html.

Darwish, Mahmoud. 1971. “Azhaar al-damm” (“Roses of Blood”). In Dıwan Mah.mud Darwısh (The Collected Works of Mahmoud Darwish ), 523–40. Beirut: Dar al ‘Awdah.

Darwish, Mahmoud. 2000 [1992]. “The Speech of the Red Indian.” In Eleven Planets. Translated by Sargon Boulos. Reprinted in Darwish 2000: 129–45.

Darwish, Mahmoud. 2002. “A Love Story between an Arab Poet and His Land.” Interview by Adam Shatz. Journal of Palestine Studies 31, no. 3: 67–78.

Darwish, Mahmoud. 2007 [2002]. “A State of Siege.” In The Butterfly’s Burden. Translated by Fady Joudah, 120–73. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon.

Darwish, Mahmoud. 2012 [2007]. “Silence for Gaza.” Translated by Sinan Antoon. TwitLonger, www .twitlonger.com/show/k0la00.

Dawson, Thomas. 2005. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. BBC online, www.bbc.co.uk /films/2005/05/12/notre_musique_2005 _review.shtml.

de Baecque, Antoine. 2010. Godard: Biographie (Godard: Biography ). Paris: Bernard Grasset.

Douin, Jean-Luc. 2010. Jean-Luc Godard: Dictionnaire des passions (Jean-Luc Godard: Dictionary of Passions ). Paris: Stock.

Emmelhainz, Irmgard. 2009. “From Third Worldism to Empire: Jean-Luc Godard and the Palestine Question.” Third Text 23, no. 5: 649–56.

Esquenazi, Jean-Pierre. 2004. Godard et la société française des années 1960 (Godard and French Society in the 1960s ). Paris: Armand Colin.

Faroult, David. 2006. “Du vertovisme du Groupe Dziga Vertov” (“About the Dziga Vertov Group’s Vertovism”). In Brenez 2006: 134–38.

Fleischer, Alain. 2011a. Interview by Alain Veinstein. Du jour au lendemain (From One Day to the Next ), June 15, www.franceculture.fr/emission-du-jour -au-lendemain-alain-fleischer-2011-06-15.html.

Fleischer, Alain. 2011b. Réponse du muet au parlant (Response of the Mute to the Speaking ). Paris: Seuil.

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Frodon, Jean-Michel. 2010. Le cinéma français de la Nouvelle Vague à nos jours (French Cinema from the New Wave to Our Times ). Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma.

Godard, Jean-Luc. 1972. Interview about Tout va bien (Everything’s All Right ). YouTube video, www .youtube.com/watch?v=mKrtdKfiv8k&NR=1.

Godard, Jean-Luc. 1998. “Le groupe Dziga Vertov” (“The Dziga Vertov Group”). Interview by Marcel Martin. In Jean-Luc Godard par Jean-Luc Godard (Jean-Luc Godard on Jean-Luc Godard ), vol. 1, 1950–1984, 342–50. Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma.

Godard, Jean-Luc. 2004a. Interview by Stéphane Zagdanski. Littérature et cinéma: Paroles des jours (Literature and Cinema: Words of the Days ), parolesdesjours.free.fr/gozag.htm#AUDIO.

Godard, Jean-Luc. 2004b. “Le cinéma ne se joue pas à pile ou face: Entretien avec Jean-Luc Godard” (“Cinema Is Not a Game of Heads or Tails: Interview with Jean-Luc Godard”). Interview by Michel Guilloux. Humanité, May 20, humanite.fr /node/345120.

Godard, Jean-Luc. 2004c. “Jean-Luc Godard et Notre musique : Juste une conversation” (“Jean-Luc Godard and Notre musique : Just a Conversation”). Interview by Jean-Michel Frodon. Cannes 2004, special issue, Cahiers du cinema, no. 590: 20–22.

Godard, Jean-Luc. 2005. “Cinema Is Over.” Interview by Geoffrey Macnab. Guardian, April 29, www .guardian.co.uk/film/2005/apr/29/2/print.

Goytisolo, Juan. 2000. Landscapes of War: From Sarajevo to Chechnya. Translated by Peter Bush. San Francisco: City Lights.

Hoberman, J. 2004. “Two or Three Things He Knows: Godard’s Long Goodbye Continues with a Meditation on War and a History of the Cinema.” Review of Notre musique and Histoire(s) du cinéma, by Jean-Luc Godard. Village Voice, November 16, www.villagevoice.com/2004-11 -16/film/two-or-three-things-he-knows.

Ide, Wendy. 2005. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. Times, May 19, www.thetimes.co .uk/tto/arts/film/article2429691.ece.

Jayyusi, Salma Khadra. 1992. “Chronology.” In Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature, xxv–xxxiii. New York: Columbia University Press.

Jayyusi, Salma Khadra. 2008. “Foreword: Mahmoud Darwish’s Mission and Place in Arab Literary History.” In Nassar and Rahman 2008: vii–xiv.

MacDougall, David. 1998. Transcultural Cinema. Edited by Lucien Taylor. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Peranson, Mark. 2005. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. Cinéaste 30, no. 2: 54–55.

Rascaroli, Laura. 2009. “Performance in and of the Essay Film.” Studies in French Cinema 9, no. 1: 49–61.

Riedlmayer, András J. 2007. “Crimes of War, Crimes of Peace: Destruction of Libraries during and after the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.” Library Trends 56, no. 1: 107–32.

Said, Edward, and Jean Mohr. 1999 [1986]. After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sanbar, Elias. 1991. “Vingt et un ans après” (“Twenty-One Years Later”). Traffic, no. 1: 109–19.

Sanbar, Elias. 2006. Interview by Christophe Kantcheff. Politis, www.france-palestine.org/Jean-Luc -Godard-Elias-Sanbar.

Sanbar, Elias. 2011. Interview by Laure Adler. France Culture, July 3, www.franceculture.fr/emission -hors-champs-elias-sanbar-2011-03-07.html.

Sinha, Amresh. 2004. “The Use and Abuse of Subtitles.” In Egoyan and Balfour 2004: 171–90.

Stein, Ruthe. 2005. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. San Francisco Chronicle, January 28, www.sfgate.com/movies/article/FILM-CLIPS -Also-opening-today-2702523.php.

Uhlich, Keith. 2004. Review of Notre musique, by Jean-Luc Godard. Slant, October 1, www .slantmagazine.com/film/review/notre-musique /1187.

Williams, James S. 2006. “Présentation.” In Brenez 2006: 406–9.

FilmographyAllemagne année 90 neuf zéro (Germany Year 90 Nine

Zero ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1991; Drift Films, 1995.

A bout de souffle (Breathless ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1960; New York: Criterion Collection, 2007.

Blow-Up. DVD. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. 1966; Burbank, CA: Turner Entertainment / Warner Brothers, 2004.

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La chinoise (The Maoist ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1967; New York: Koch / Lorber, 2008.

Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer). DVD. Directed by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. 1961; Paris: Arte Video, 2005.

Coup pour coup (Blow for Blow ). DVD. Directed by Marin Karmitz. 1972; Paris: MK2, 2004.

De l’origine du XXIe siècle (About the Origin of the Twenty-First Century ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 2000; Munich: ECM, 2006.

Éloge de l’amour (In Praise of Love ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 2001; New York: New Yorker Video / Manhattan Pictures International / Studiocanal, 2003.

Film socialisme (Film Socialism ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 2010; New York: Lorber Films, 2011.

For Ever Mozart: 36 personnages en quête d’histoire (For Ever Mozart: 36 Characters in Search of History ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1996; New York: New Yorker Video, 2005.

Germania anno zero (Germany Year Zero ), in War Trilogy. DVD. Directed by Roberto Rossellini. 1948; New York: Criterion Collection, 2010.

Histoire(s) du cinéma (History[ies] of Cinema ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1998; St. Charles, IL: Olive Films, 2011.

Ici et ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville. 1976; St. Charles, IL: Olive Films, 2012.

Je vous salue, Sarajevo (I Salute You, Sarajevo ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1993; Munich: ECM, 2006.

Juan Goytisolo. Streaming video. Films for the Humanities and Sciences. 2007; New York: Film Media Group, 2008.

Mahmoud Darwich: Et la terre, comme la langue (Mahmoud Darwish: As the Land, Is the Language ). VHS. Directed by Elias Sanbar and Simone Bitton. 1997; Paris: France 3 and Point du Jour, 1997.

Le mépris (Contempt ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1963; New York: Criterion Collection, 2002.

Moi, un noir (I, a Black Man ). DVD. Directed by Jean Rouch. 1958; Paris: Montparnasse, 2006.

Morceaux de conversation avec Jean-Luc Godard (Bits of Conversations with Jean-Luc Godard ). DVD. Directed by Alain Fleischer. 2009; Paris: Montparnasse, 2010.

Notre musique (Our Music ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 2004; Paris: Avventura Films / Peripheria / France 3 Cinéma / Vega Film / Canal Plus, 2005.

Rana’s Wedding. DVD. Directed by Hany Abu-Assad. 2002; Haarlem, Netherlands: Augustus Film and Arab Film Distribution, 2004.

Tout va bien (Everything’s All Right ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin. 1972; New York: Criterion Collection, 2005.

Week-end (Weekend ). DVD. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1967; New York: Criterion Collection, 2012.

Rebecca Dyer, associate professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, in

Terre-Haute, Indiana, has published articles focusing on contemporary Palestinian, Lebanese,

and anticolonial British writers and filmmakers. Recent publications include “Representations

of the Migrant Domestic Worker in Hoda Barakat’s The Tiller of Waters and Danielle Arbid’s

In the Battlefields” (College Literature, winter 2010) and “Poetry of Politics and Mourning:

Mahmoud Darwish’s Genre-Transforming Tribute to Edward W. Said” (PMLA, October 2007).

In her current book project, she examines representations of domestic servants in fiction and

film set in post–World War II London.

François Mulot, a PhD candidate in French at Indiana University, Bloomington, researches

undocumented workers in contemporary French literature and cinema. He teaches courses in

French language and culture at Indiana State University.

“Mahmoud Darwish in Film:  Politics, Representation, and Translation in Jean-Luc Godard’s _Ici et ailleurs_  and _Notre musique_ ,” coauthored with François Mulot - [PDF Document] (2024)

FAQs

What kind of poetry did Mahmoud Darwish write? ›

Darwish's early writings are in the classical Arabic style. He wrote monorhymed poems adhering to the metrics of traditional Arabic poetry.

What is the writing style of Mahmoud Darwish? ›

Darwish's early work mirrored the traditional Arabic style, with poems composed of strictly metered monorhyme couplets. By the 1970s, Darwish started to develop the unique free-verse voice he is known for. His writing explores themes of exile, dispossession, birth, and resurrection.

What filmmakers were inspired by Jean Luc Godard? ›

2) He Believed: “A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end…. but not necessarily in that order.” Godard often made films that didn't follow a linear plot structure, and this has had influences on some of the most creative filmmakers of all time, such as Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan.

Why was Jean Luc Godard so important? ›

Jean-Luc Godard (1930-2022) was a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter, and film critic. He rose to prominence as a pioneer of the 1960s French New Wave film movement and was arguably the most influential French filmmaker of the post-war era.

What were some of the major themes in Darwish's poetry? ›

Although some of his best known works focus on historical events—the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the siege of the West Bank in 2002—Darwish's poetry is not limited to the historical and political; his work addresses topics ranging from love to suffering, as well as spirituality.

What is the most famous poem by Mahmoud Darwish? ›

To My Mother” is one of Darwish's most famous poems.

What is the saddest Godard movie? ›

Contempt / Le Mépris (1963) - 7.5

Another visually rich movie full of bold colors and experimentation of the form, Le Mépris is one of Godard's saddest pictures. Despite being nearly 60 years old, Camille's character, and what she goes through, feels painfully relevant today.

Who were film directors like Godard? ›

Influential names in the New Wave
  • Jean-Luc Godard.
  • Éric Rohmer.
  • François Truffaut.
  • Claude Chabrol.
  • Jacques Rivette.

What was the legacy of Jean-Luc Godard? ›

The Legacies of Jean-Luc Godard marks an initial attempt to map the range and diversity of Godard's impact across these different fields. It contains reassessments of key films like Vivre sa vie and Passion as well as considerations of Godard's influence over directors like Christophe Honoré.

What does life isn't a Godard film mean? ›

Some of his films display a self-conscious unreality with characters behaving as if they know they are in a film. Put all of these things together and it becomes obvious that Life really is not a Godard film; or, conversely, Godard films do not imitate, reflect or portray life as we normally experience it.

How Godard changed cinema? ›

He cut up convention. One of the most radical elements of Breathless was the prominent use of the editing technique known as the jump cut. Filmmaking both before and after Godard's debut largely favours smooth editing to give the illusion of continuous time.

How many features did Godard make? ›

Godard made 15 feature films between 1959 and 1967, many of which are the ones we think of first in any survey of his work. But his later years did yield one near-masterpiece.

Who wrote the saddest poetry? ›

“Spring and Fall,” written by Gerard Manley Hopkins in September, 1880, and collected in his Poems and Prose, is the saddest poem ever written.

What is the greatest contribution of the poet Mahmoud Darwish? ›

Mahmoud Darwish: A towering figure in Palestinian literature, Mahmoud Darwish's poetry is a poignant reflection of the Palestinian experience. Themes of homeland, exile, and resistance permeate his verses, capturing the collective consciousness of a people striving for justice and liberation.

What type of poem is refugee blues? ›

'Refugee Blues' by W.H. Auden is a twelve stanza poem that is separated into sets of three lines, known as tercets. These tercets follow a simple rhyme scheme of AAB.

Which type of poetry focuses on the simplicity of country life? ›

Pastoral poetry is known for exploring the relationship between humans and nature, and for romanticizing the ideals of a simple country life. The enduring popularity of the pastoral form of poetry suggests a wide resonance with these ideals.

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