23 MAY — 02 JUNE 2024

23 MAY — 02 JUNE 2024

Cineblog: Years ago, I was working on a movie… —That’s a combination

Marion Naccache’s latest film premiered in Portugal on 29 April in the Silvestre competition at IndieLisboa.

At the wheel of this road movie, whose allegorical aroma manifests itself in notes from Nadja (Breton) and Ulysses (Joyce), we wander in the first person, lost on a New York road. The film is built on a conversation, without haste, a sequence shot and an intermittent nocturnal journey, illuminated by signs like those in Nighthawks (Hopper) and by the red and green lights of traffic that seems to have been hit by cupid.

The journey takes on a double meaning, the opposite of the road, as Tom Jarmusch, in conversation with the director, reconstructs, through memory, small real stories of Beatnik genesis, coming from the same garden as Robert Frank, the poetry of Allen Ginsberg or Patti Smith. Films that went wrong because they had everything to do so, technical problems and others that staggered anywhere but towards resolution, budgets that were always absent or scarce, dead fish, strange places and over-worked corner dealers, appear in a rich and intriguing constellation.


Years ago, I was working on a movie…, Marion Naccache © Marion Naccache

Years ago, I was working on a movie… is a double story about the relationship with the camera, which comes and goes, and in this flow transports and combines stories from the independent cinema scene of the 1990s in New York, experienced by Tom, and a self-quotation about the making of the film we see, made between 2004 and last year. We don’t get a clear idea of where they’re heading, but we do learn about a geographical archive of old lots and convenience stores that have disappeared or now exist elsewhere, along with the characters who appear in connection with these spaces. Wandering souls, so clear in the cinema of Jim Jarmusch, Tom’s brother. All of this is heard as the night closes in and the car moves forward uncertainly in the shot with a bokeh in the shape of hearts, which could be an aesthetic choice or the representation of small desires or perhaps a drunken vision of the road.

Marion Naccache approaches cinema in direct connection with making, from hand to sight (in the sense that could be attributed to Bruce Nauman’s From Hand to Mouth), relating to the camera both in terms of what is being made and what is being said. Isn’t that what cinema is all about?

Sebastião Casanova

Article written in the context of the partnership between IndieLisboa and the Cineblog of the Philosophy Institute of NOVA/FCSH.