Hors-série 2 - septembre 2019 /

Special issue 2 - September 2019

Jan Baetens


The filmmaker is no longer content to pillage, as did

all before him, Corneille, La Fontaine or Molière,

 he intends to transcribe for the screen, in a quasi-identity,

work in which he acknowledges transcendence, a priori.


(André Bazin)





through the image of these images

of her, in the impossible hope

of being finally, completely fooled




My Life to Live isn't just an attempt to transpose into verse the film of the same name by Jean-Luc Godard (1962). The subject of that work (prostitution) as well as its form (the location shooting, the editing into scenes or "chapters") interested me less, in the end, than the poetry and love of the everyday that the images still evoke in me. Banality, grisaille, boredom, occasionally a little disgust, and some illusions about love, those, gussied up with newsy airs, constitute the theme and body of this collection.


Since banality remains for me the most shimmering of subjects, it seemed necessary to change form (in this case, the verse form) for every new section.1  I haven't tried, as in my previous collection, A Hundred Turns around Trades, to examine a certain theme in a hundred ways, not exactly like Queneau (the anecdote in Exercises in Style), but similarly (someone's profession). What follows is all in all a narration, but told with tonal ruptures and systematic forms, which I obviously hope adhere as the subject matter twists and turns.


As always, these texts owe a great deal to the attentive reading and friendly critique of Bernardo Schiavetta. Many thanks to him.


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1. For further details, I beg the reader to read, if he or she wishes, this collection's final note.