Peirce's trichotomy of signs - Index: a sign that is linked to its object by an actual connection or real relation (irrespectively of interpretation), for instance, by a reaction, so as to compel attention, in a definite place and time. A simple example is an "Exit" sign which has an arrow pointing towards the exit. Smoke billowing from a house is an index for a fire inside.
the Film *The Hunger*
What is being enacted or performed in a film like Hiroshima Mon Amour?
Is he the reanimated life of the dead soldier she loved - a kind of energy that moves from one body to the next - a vitality? A kind of spiritual energy? OR
Is Hiroshima in the end a place that survives? Is Hiroshima's survival contingent on it's translation? Can we only understand the suffering by analogy? (the individual story of the woman in Nevers gives us a glimpse of the place where there can be no survivors)
No one who witnessed the camps - truly - ever survived them. Primo Levi theorizes about this - who sees and who witnesses?
Again, we return to the notions of life, and afterlife as part of that.
She, in Hiroshima Mon Amour, translates her dead lover into the body of He in order to find him again. In a sense she's translating German into Japanese and then understanding it in French.
Quote from Classmate's most recent post:
In class, we discussed the way in which “perverse” and “perverted” were among the various meanings of the title of the film H Story. This week, I was thinking of the etymological meaning of the word “perverse,” which is “to turn away,” and how this fits in with Derrida and the detour. The film’s refusal to cohere into a totality of meaning also resonated with Lyotard’s concept of acinema, which he describes as a “détournement,” film which decimates the illusion of totality and coherence of cinema. I’m also interested in how the Situationist concept of détournement works in H Story, in which détournement is a technique which negates meaning of previous media work through appropriation.
One could say for her to validate her love it has to return, but has to return in another place, in the space of an elsewhere, in another context and another place. Whether or not it is successful it is almost an enactment of Benjamin's theory of translation: A German soldier dies and with him goes a certain experience (that no one else can know) - but the uniqueness, the singularity (of love) and affect - shows itself to be translated into this man from another time, an other place, outside of Europe -- thus all other communication carries within it this kind of translatability.
The rhetoric or idiom of life, which is strange, not intuitive, that live is not only organic life, that that life can return, live on, have an afterlife.
So one can see the gesture not only as Transferrence (pscyhoanalytically) but also Benjaminian Translation. It's a political question -- ARE WE ALLOWED TO TRANSLATE IT?
TRANSLATION comes back to a question of 'ethics' of loyalty, morality, so the original is not betrayed. It's Her dilemma, but it's also the dilemma of translation.
- thinking about this again it makes me wonder about the French used in the film, because not only is she in a different world and a different place but she is using her own language and He can use her language entirely too perfectly. Looking at the way language is used in this film is this again a simultaneous translation of representing Japanese trauma into French?
Moving onto H-Story
Beatrice Dalle's Tattoo - as compared to Hiroshima Mon Amour's He & She with perfect bodies...
It feels a historical, it takes us out of the text. She already can't be Emannuel Arriva (She) because she is marked by something else. So tattoo becomes at the outset a strange marker of inappropriatness.
It's a mocumentary about the failure of a fictional film that is in fact a fictional film.
Is there a failure of communication in Hiroshima? They speak with that perfect French Duras language - they communicate in excess of the communication they're doing in language. In a way it's beyond language that something is happening. He's a kind of medium - her dead lover comes back in his body.
Is there a failure of audio/communication in H Story? there is a translator. Beatrice has trouble conveying the information to the Director. But there's also Beatrice not being able to speak to the other actor - how do you imagine the 'actual' of viewing that scene - what is clear to the viewer?? What are you supposed to understand in the scenes? The french, the Japanese?
Speaking of, Director / Translation moment in Lost in Translation - it's a weird moment in which the subject is supposed to be in Bill M's position, not in the Japanese. If you know the Japanese it's still funny, but it's not really the same impact - and you don't need it subtitled.
What is the language of this film?
The remake is happening in spite of itself. There's the character who is attempting to play He acting as He - and Beatrice is acting in a film and then having an affair with him. For all of it's failings isn't the film on the right track?
Hiroshima is a kind of a fantasy of language - how can it be that they are able to communicate so perfectly? This specialized, writerly french they both are able to communicate effortlessly
Set of questions:
going back to Derrida and Babel, the proper name is the zero degree of translation - is it untranslatable? Why is a proper name untranslatable? It's singular - so there shouldn't be a version of it. The proper name refers to just one person (any other person with the same name is another person and the name is 'different). But Derrida in some ways accepts that words refer to general things - avacados are avacados everywhere....
The problem is that when you start referring to a specific person it is a proper name and that is signular and refers only to you. Even though you can name a half a million people Carlos, when you refer to the Carlos in our class we are referring to the singular and only Carlos, thus we cannot translate other Carloses....
words refer to a range of references in the end (say bridge, you think of an idea of bridges)
but proper names refer to a specific person (assuming you know the person), and it becomes kind of indexical -- it takes it out of language and out of geography to place it in a specific linguistic structure....
What happens when a proper name refers to another proper name? can you give a name to a name? you can name a thing, a place, an idea, but can you name another name?
If assigning a name to something is part of the task of understanding history, if you don't know what you're talking about (the implicaations, etc, you can't KNOW yet) why not use the date as a place holder that will eventually be replaced by it's proper name -- like 9/11, that has not been assigned it's proper name yet?
The desire to give someone a 'true' name establishes a kind of relationship between giver and given -- nicknames establish that relationship between lovers and friends - it is your 'true' name in the community / friendship.
Is the H in H Story the Hiroshima (the name of the space)? or is the name of the referent for the movie Hiroshima (Mon Amour)?
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