from Guy Debord

To André Mrugalski[1]
Tuesday, 11 am, at the Mabillon
[5 May 1959]
Dear André:

Yesterday, after your departure, I thought that you were certainly too depressed by the weaknesses of the travelling shot.[2] I am very happy with the entirety of your work. And I think that you, too, should be happy with it.

If, in normal conditions, we were to make classic cinema, I would have to give you the means to begin the travelling shot again, this time eliminating the errors that we discerned during the experiment and that derive from the many difficulties of the plan (proximity of the rail, completion of the pano[rama], the insufficiency of the production team where the police are concerned). But from the generally delirious perspective in which I place my film, which rebels against all the laws of the cinema, I can say to you that the images from this travelling shot are very usable, and please me. That is to say, I will use them in an absolutely prohibited montage (but a montage that, in any case, is necessary at several places in the film), and it will be impossible to know if I have or have not deliberately spoiled and humiliated a beautiful, perfectly classical movement of the cinema. Count on me.

The only change for you will be in what you present to the Centre.[3] In the end-to-end [version], you can remove the travelling shot – or present the fourth version as is, which is not dishonorable but hardly brilliant – or, if you prefer, present my montage of this sequence by complaining bitterly that I have demolished a very beautiful morsel because of my special aesthetic presuppositions. I will still be in Paris tomorrow. Do you want to telephone me in the early evening?

Best wishes,

[1] The chief camera operator on Sur le passage de quelques personnes a travers une assez courte unite de temps [Debord’s second film, which was a critical documentary on the Lettrist International].

[2] Translator: the circular travelling shot that opens the film.

[3] The National Cinema Center.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "0": Septembre 1951 - Juillet 1957: Complete des "lettres retrouvees" et d l'index general des noms cites by Librairie Artheme Fayard, October 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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