Jean-Luc Godard






Photo from Cahiers du Cinéma nº300

Photo from Cahiers du Cinéma nº300

In 1977, a society that produces and makes cinematographic films and television broadcasts, Sonimage, comes into contact with representatives of the People’s Republic of Mozambique by a common friends’ intermediary, after a conference in Geneva.


The Sonimage society proposes Mozambique to make the most of the audiovisual situation of the country and study television before it exists, before it overruns (even if it is only in twenty years) the whole Mozambican social and geographical body.


To study the image, the desire of images (the desire to remember, the desire to show that memory, of making a mark, either of exit or arrival).


To study the production of those desires of image(s) and their distribution through the waves (oh, mermaids!) or the cables. To study the production, for once, beforehand.


Photos from Cahiers du Cinéma nº300

Photos from Cahiers du Cinéma nº300

To think television together because each one on its own, the small western society of cinema drowned in the daily flow of images, and the great new and forlorn country emerged from the colonial night, both simply and approximately posses the same number of cameras, recorders and monitors.


“Birth (of the image) of a Nation” will recount, then, the relationships and the story of those momentary (historic) relationships between a country that doesn’t yet have television and a small television team from a country that has too much of it.


This team will be formed by a producer, a commentator/photographer, and a technician, who will there encounter a businessman, representative of a great industrial firm, a guest in the same hotel.


The films #1 and #5 will be more specifically devoted to the producer/commentator couple, to their reflections away from home (film #1) during the shooting, and afterwards, to their feelings once returned to Europe (film #5).


The producer and the commentator will be played by an actor and an actress.


The films #2, #3 and #4 will be drafts, notebooks of thoughts, of sketches, of impressions, expressing in the film #2 the producer’s point of view, in the film #3 the businessman’s and in the film #4 the commentator photographer’s.


The film #2 (the producer) will essentially be made by interviews in light video with those who have never seen any images yet (the majority from the Mozambican population).


The film #3 will be formed by documents in Super 8 mm or 16 mm, projected in analysis as an amateur film brought by the businessman to his family.


The film #4 will mostly be composed by photos, mainly black and white, expressing the photographer’s point of view.


If the series of five films is broadcasted on television, the films #1 and #5 will frame the remaining three.


The films #1 and #5 will be shown in movie theaters as one film in two parts, first faraway from Europe and then faraway from Africa.


In this way we might have glimpsed how a society forms and informs itself and the independence of this information, at the same time as the formation of its independence.




This text was published in the issue 300 of Cahiers du Cinéma, issue edited by Godard himself as guest director.