The Thinking Machine 38

Cries and Whispers

Recently watching the film Judy and Punch (Mirrah Foulkes, 2019), we woke up when the final credits included a striking 1950 newsreel of Australian kids at a Punch & Judy puppet performance: screaming, crying, involuntarily shaking, totally involved as rapt spectators.

This newsreel took us back to Philippe Grandrieux’s Sombre (1998), which begins with a very similar scene. Just as Grandrieux never showed the stage, we decided to cut out the puppets – and then to intermix these two audiences, almost half a century apart but so similar in their reactions and convulsions – to suggest, equally, a cinema-viewing situation. This child-spectator is still, somewhere, inside us all…