The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Visages villages
Happy End
A Ghost Story
Battle of the Sexes
A long past transformed into a huge family

Par example, Electre

France, 2012 | Jeanne Balibar, Pierre Léon
Yoana Pavlova checked in from Sofia to see the French world premiere Par exemple, Electre.

While preparing for the entrance exams at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts almost a decade ago, I read a book by Jean-Claude Carrière, whose title was translated into Bulgarian as The Invisible Film. The opening of the book struck me with an amazing story which turned out to be my first lesson on cinema. Jean-Claude Carrière tells about a screening somewhere in Africa for a small audience, that has never been exposed to the seventh art before. And instead of the expected bewilderedness, the film caused total incomprehension of the plot and indignation by the chopped humans parts as shown on the white screen among the spectators. Though we tend to forget it, due to our everyday experience with audiovisual media, our minds are fully equipped to make sense of complicated narrative structures, to attribute significance to the most bizarre collages of words, images, sounds, ideas, quotations, quotations of quotations etc.

Par exemple, Electre, directed by Jeanne Balibar and Pierre Léon, is exactly such an elaborate work that jiggles with Sophocles' play Electra, the intimate frame of French cinema, the language of cultural institutions and details from the the real life of both authors. The film can be easily labeled as 'DIY', 'work in progress' or 'too French', but the most important about it is the fact that it can be perceived and interpreted on many levels, depending on the viewer's background knowledge and concentration.

Additional levels can be discovered with the help of internet, as Jeanne Balibar's initiative 'Théâtre à emporter' or 'Take Away Theatre', that inspired the film, is still new and quite indie even for the French cultural landscape. Nevertheless, equipped with basic tools and almost no budget, the directors managed to create a huge labyrinth of episodes, connected with multiple red threads. Yet this eclectic collection or 'souk' (if we stick to the film's vocabulary) does not impose as pompous — its tone is so playful, that the result is funny and enjoyable to watch.

With all that meanders in the script, two main themes can be distinguished — key scenes of Sophocles' Electra are mixed with drama re-creation of actual meetings Jeanne Balibar and Pierre Léon had with representatives of NGO organizations or art centers in order to fund their project (all of these personages performed with tongue-in-cheek pathos by Marléne Saldana). Jeanne Balibar plays Electra, the rebelling child striving for justice but evidently fulfilling what gods have already predestined and also an innovative artist who tries to experiment with new communication channels or technologies, but is actually being turned into a medium by the status quo of the cultural politics. Pierre Léon on the other hand stands for an old man, rather traditionalist, confiding to words — he can be as well considered a man of linear narrative, trying to soften up the clash of standpoints, thus shaping and giving meaning to history. These two universes and their characters meet in one single climax scene by the end of the film thanks to a a blood-stained sheet, however, the catharsis is absent — the spirit is somewhat satirical.

Usually, by the mentioning of hypertext in film or the idea of blending cinema and theatre, one tends to imagine Mike Figgis' Timecode (2000) or early Lars von Trier. Instead of employing cutting edge technology and constructing perplexing sets, though, Jeanne Balibar and Pierre Léon rely on the good old magic of fantasy — when three people dressed up eccentrically appear in an empty hall, reading cues from a piece of paper in their hands, the audience gets immediately involved into the game. Besides, the visual style of Par exemple, Electre is modest — with almost no additional lighting, the cinematography is ascetic and consistent in the various parts. The camera is mostly fixed, close enough to focus on the characters' faces and sufficiently distant to show parts of their reality. The editing by Pierre Léon, can also be described as calm and classical. The only revolting element is the music with its clash of styles, zigzagging between Scarlatti and the trivial words of Jeanne's lightly sung emails. As expected, this rhetorical confrontation is the one of the Greek chorus and the perky tune of 'Je suis libre', which can be safely decoded as the conflict between society and individual, high and low, tragedy and comedy, but with no apparent winner.

On account of this moderation in style and form, in Par exemple, Electre stands out the main artistic invention of the authors — the presentation of places as a group protagonist and the staging of an actor as a topos. The main geographical setting is Paris, but this is not the same city where Chris Marker roams with his camera looking for cats. The film begins with shots of carefully chosen buildings such as Arte, Canal+, Fnac, BNP — all of them embodying the contemporary cultural establishment, the chorus of common sense and institutional success. Furthermore, the script combines multiple locations where actors are trapped, pronouncing their monologues — the beaches of Deauville, the red carpet of the American Film Festival, the Odeon subway station, the Cartier Foundation and even Yahoo mail.

As a result of the wonderful Kuleshov Effect, components of the plot assemble in our heads, leaving us with the impression that the personages are dramatically isolated and bound to repeat their words as video game characters. At the same time pieces of French film and theatre history take shape in the gestures of Barbet Schroeder, Edith Scob, Emmanuelle Béart or the excerpt of Jacques Rivette's L'amour fou (1969). Behind this choice hides a long past of factual influences and collaborations, hence transforming all involved into a huge family, just like the one in Sophocles' play.

Anyway, why Electra, even as an example? The story is familiar but actually so complicated and deeply rooted in the modern culture, so it seems like the perfect occasion to open Wikipedia and the original tragedy and continue reading...

Yoana Pavlova

Par exemple, Electre (Jeanne Balibar and Pierre Léon, France 2012, 80')



top
Par example, Electre

Februari 2012 #340

Slow Criticism 2012

Titelindex


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ1&


P

P'tit Quinquin (Bruno Dumont over)
P.O. Box
P.S.
P.S. I LOVE YOU
HET PAARD VAN SINTERKLAAS
THE PACIFIER
LE PACTE DES LOUPS
Paddington
Paddington 2
Page One: Inside the New York Times
THE PAGEMASTER
PAID
Pain & Gain
EL PÁJARO DE LA FELICIDAD
Pak van mijn hart
PALINDROMES
THE PALLBEARER
PALMETTO
PALOOKAVILLE
PAMELA ANDERSON & TOMMY LEE ONGECENSUREERD
Pan
PAN'S LABYRINTH
PANE E TULIPANI
PANIC ROOM
PANIEK IN HET DORP
PANJ É ASR (AT FIVE IN THE AFTERNOON)
PANMAN, RHYTHM OF THE PALMS
PANTHER
IL PAPÀ DI GIOVANNA
Papa ou maman
PAPA'S SONG
PAPA, VADERTJE VORST IS DOOD
PAPARAZZI
THE PAPER
PAPER SOLDIER (Previously Unreleased)
Paper Towns
The Paperboy
Par example, Electre
De Parade
Paradies: Glaube
Paradies: Hoffnung
Paradies: Liebe
PARADISE GIRLS
PARADISE NOW
PARADISE ROAD
The Paradise Suite
Paradise Trips
Paradiso
Paranoia
PARANOID PARK
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
Paranormal Activity 3
Paranormal Activity 4
Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Paranorman
LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG
Parched
THE PARENT TRAP
LE PARFUM D'YVONNE
PARIS
Paris Can Wait
PARIS JE T'AIME
PARIS S'EVEILLE
PARIS WAS A WOMAN
Paris, Texas
Parked
Parker
Parkland
LA PAROLA AMORE ESISTE
PARQUE VIA
PARRADOX
PART TIME GOD
PARTIR
Parts of a Family
The Party (Sally Potter over)
Party Girl
Pas son genre
PAS SUR LA BOUCHE!
PAS TRÈS CATHOLIQUE
Pasolini
Pasolini Blu-ray Collection
PASOLINI, UN DELITTO ITALIANO
Passage — A Boat Movie
DE PASSANTEN
Le passé
PASSENGER 57
Passengers (Morten Tyldum)
PASSENGERS (Rodrigo García)
DE PASSIEVRUCHT
Passion (Brian De Palma)
PASSION (György Fehér)
PASSION FISH
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
Patatje oorlog
PATCH ADAMS
Paterson
The Patience Stone
THE PATRIOT
PATRIOT GAMES
LES PATRIOTES
PATRIOTISM
Patriots Day
EL PATRULLERO
Patti Cake$
PAUL
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
PAUL DANS SA VIE
PAUL DRIESSEN INSIDE OUT
PAULIE
PAULINE & PAULETTE
PAUZE
PAVILION OF WOMEN
Pawn Sacrifice
PAY IT FORWARD
PAYBACK
PAYCHECK
La pazza gioia (Paolo Virzi over)
THE PEACEMAKER
PEARL HARBOR
PEAU D'HOMME, COEUR DE BÊTE
PECKER
PEEPING TOM
THE PELICAN BRIEF
DE PELIKAAN MAN
Pelle en de dierenrovers
PELLE EN DE WATERDIEVEN
PENELOPE
The Penguins of Madagascar
PENNY'S SHADOW
PEONY PAVILION
PEOPLE I KNOW
THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT
THE PEOPLE'S PRINCESS
PÉPÉ LE MOKO
PEPPERMINTA
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters
PERCY, BUFFALO BILL & IK
PERDITA DURANGO
LE PÈRE DE MES ENFANTS
PERFECT CIRCLE (SAVRSENI KRUG)
A Perfect Day
A PERFECT GETAWAY
Perfect Horse
THE PERFECT MAN
A PERFECT MURDER
Perfect Sense
THE PERFECT STORM
PERFECT STRANGER
A PERFECT WORLD
Perfetti sconoscuti
PERFORMANCE
PERFUME: STORY OF A MURDERER
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Permanent Vacation
LA PERRERA
EL PERRO NEGRO
PERSÉCUTION
PERSEPOLIS
Person to Person
Personal Shopper
PERSONAL VELOCITY
PERSUASION
PERSY JACKSON: THE LIGHTNING THIEF
THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
Pete's Dragon
PETER PAN
PETER PAN: RETURN TO NEVER LAND
THE PETER SELLERS STORY...AS HE FILMED IT
PETER'S FRIENDS
PETERSBURG, PLACES AND PAINTINGS
LE PETIT LIEUTENANT
Petit Paysan (Hubert Charuel over)
LE PETIT POUCHET
LE PETIT PRINCE A DIT
PETITES COUPURES
LES PETITS FRÈRES
LES PETITS MOUCHOIRS
LES PETITS RUISSEAUX
Petting Zoo
PETTSON & FINDUS
PETTSON & FINDUS 2 — BRIEF AAN DE KONING
PETTSON & FINDUS: PETTSONS BELOFTE
PETTSON & FINDUS: VERGETELDINGETJES
PEUR(S) DU NOIR
Phantom Boy
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Dario Argento)
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Joel Schumacher)
PHASE IV
PHENOMENON
Phil Spector
PHILADELPHIA
PHILEINE ZEGT SORRY
Philomena
The Philosophers
Phineas and Ferb (NL)
Phoenix
PHONE BOOTH
PI
THE PIANIST
LA PIANISTE
THE PIANO
Pianomania
PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
PICNIC
PICTURE PERFECT
PIECES OF APRIL
PIEDRAS
PIEDS NUS SUR LES LIMACES
La piel que habito
Piepkuikens
PIET PIRAAT & HET ZWAARD VAN ZILVERTAND
PIET PIRAAT EN DE BETOVERDE TROON
PIET PIRAAT EN HET VLIEGENDE SCHIP
Pieta
Pieter Post de film
PIETJE BELL
PIETJE BELL 2: DE JACHT OP DE TSARENKROON
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE (KNORRETJES GROTE FILM)
DE PIJNBANK
PIJNLIJKE ONVERSCHILLIGHEID
THE PILLOW BOOK
Pim & Pom: Het grote avontuur
PINK PALACE, PARADISE BEACH
THE PINK PANTHER
PINK PANTHER 2
PINK PICTURES FROM JAPAN
Pink Saris
PINOCCHIO
PINOKKIO 964
PIPE DREAM
PIPO EN DE P-P-PARELRIDDER
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING
PIRANHA 3D
Piranha 3DD
PIRANHA BLUES: FILM I
THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES 3D
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge
Pirates!
LA PISCINE
Una pistola en cada mano
PITCH BLACK
Pitch Perfect
Pitch Perfect 2
PITER
IL PIÚ BEL GIORNO DELLA MIA VITA
LA PIVELLINA
Pixadores
PIXAR SHORT FILM COLLECTION
Pixels
PIZZAMAFFIA
The Place Beyond the Pines
PLACE VENDÔME
LA PLAGE DES ENFANTS PERDUS
LES PLAGES D'AGNÈS
Plan C
Planes
Planes: Fire & Rescue
PLANET 51
Planet of Snail
PLANET OF THE APES
PLANTA 4A
PLATFORM
Play
PLAY IT TO THE BONE
THE PLAYER
Playing For Keeps
PLAYING GOD
PLEASANT DAYS
PLEASANTVILLE
THE PLEDGE
PLOP & KWISPEL
PLOP EN DE KABOUTERBABY
PLOP EN DE PINGUÏN
PLOP EN HET VIOOLAVONTUUR
PLOP IN DE STAD
PLOP IN DE WOLKEN
Plop wordt kabouterkoning
PLOTS WITH A VIEW
PLUK DE KLEINE BEVER
PLUK VAN DE PETTEFLET
PLUNKETT & MACLEANE
PLUS QU'HIER, MOINS QUE DEMAIN
POCAHONTAS, THE LEGEND
PODIUM
POEH'S LOLLIFANTEN FILM
De poel
Poesía sin fin
POETIC JUSTICE
Poetins Olympische droom
POETRY
Point Break
POKÉMON 2: OP EIGEN KRACHT
POKÉMON 3
POKÉMON 4EVER
POKÉMON: THE FIRST MOVIE
POLA X
THE POLAR EXPRESS
Polisse
POLITIST, ADJECTIV
POLLEKE
POLLOCK
Poltergeist
Pompeii
POMPOKO
PONETTE
Le pont du nord
PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA
POODLE SPRINGS
De Poolse bruid
POOR BOY'S GAME
Pop Aye
POPE JOAN
Popoz
Populaire
Porcile
Porfirio
THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
POSEIDON
POSSE
POSSESSION
The Possession
POSSIBLE FILMS VOLUME 2
POSSIBLE LOVES
POST MORTEM
Post tenebras lux
Postcards from the Zoo
IL POSTINO
THE POSTMAN
POSTMAN
The Postman's White Nights
POTICHE
Poulet aux prunes
LES POUPÉES RUSSES
Poupoupidou
Power Rangers
POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE
PRACTICAL MAGIC
A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION
PRANZO DI FERRAGOSTO
PRECIOUS
The Precocious & Brief Life of Sabina Rivas
PREDATORS
PREFERISCO IL RUMORE DEL MARE
Préjudice
De premier
Les premiers les derniers
PREMONITION
Le prénom
De president
PRESQUE RIEN
THE PRESTIGE
PRÊT-À-PORTER
PRETTIGE KERST, MR. MOOSE
Pride
PRIDE AND GLORY
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
PRIEST
Priest 3D
La prima cosa bella
LA PRIMA LINEA
PRIMAL FEAR
PRIMARY COLORS
PRIME
PRIMER
The Prince
THE PRINCE & ME
Prince Avalanche
THE PRINCE OF EGYPT
PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME
PRINCESS
THE PRINCESS & THE FROG
THE PRINCESS DIARIES
THE PRINCESS DIARIES: THE ROYAL ENGAGEMENT
Prins
PRINSES LILLIFEE
Prinses Lillifee en de kleine eenhoorn
PRISONER OF THE MOUNTAINS
Prisoners
PRIVATE
THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE
PRIVATE PARTS
LE PRIX DU PARDON
Problemski Hotel
PROCEDURE 769, THE WITNESSES TO AN EXECUTION
Profession Heartbreaker
PROFESSIONE: REPORTER
PROFETIA
PROFONDO ROSSO
The Program
Project T
Project X
LA PROMESSE
Prometheus
THE PROMISE (Chen Kaige)
The Promise (Terry George)
The Promised Land
Promised Land (Gus Van Sant)
PROMISED LAND (Jason Xenopoulos)
Promised Lands
PROMISES
PROOF
PROOF OF LIFE
Prooi
PROP & BERTHA
THE PROPHECY
UN PROPHÈTE
THE PROPOSAL
THE PROPOSITION (John Hillcoat)
THE PROPOSITION (Lesli Linka Glatter)
The Prosecutor, The Defender, The Father and His Son
PROVIDENCE
PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock)
PSYCHO (Gus Van Sant)
PUBLIC ENEMIES
PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1 — PART 1 & 2
PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 2
THE PUBLIC EYE
Publieke werken
Pudding T
PUDOR
PUISQUE NOUS SOMMES NÉS
PULP FICTION
Pulsar
PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE
THE PUNISHER
PUNISHMENT PARK
THE PUPPETMASTER (HSIMENG RENSHENG)
PUPS
The Purge
The Purge: Anarchy
The Purge: Election Year
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
PUSH
PUSHER
PUSHING TIN
Puss in Boots
LA PUTA Y LA BALLENA
PUZZLE