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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathDebord

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7. Guy Debord as a filmmaker

Yes. Guy Debord, theorist and critic of the spectacle par excellence, was—as he himself often pointed out—a filmmaker. [32] It is a most curious and rather ignored fact that besides writing, organizing and editing the IS, adjudicating schisms, and denouncing traitors and fools, Debord also directed no less than six 35mm black and white sound films over a period of twenty-six years from 1952 to 1978 and had plans for numerous others as well. [33] If it seems surprising, it is no accident: these films were attended by only a very few in Paris, have rarely been seen outside France, have never been screened in the US, and have provoked almost no critical literature whatsoever beside a number of more or less incidental newspaper reviews. [34] To some extent this is due to the fact that the films are hard to watch (for reasons that will become clearer below). But until recently, at least, the films could be seen. Indeed, Debord´s patron and friend Gérard Lebovici—a French film producer whom he had met in 1971—not only supported Debord´s work by financing what was effectively a Situationist press, Editions Champ Libre (now called Editions Gérard Lebovici), he also bought a


cinema—the Studio Cujas in Saint-Germain-des- Prés—that projected Debord´s complete cinematographic production on a continuous and exclusive basis. This lasted only through 1984, however, when following the mysterious and still unsolved murder of Lebovici in a parking garage off the Champs Elysées, Debord suddenly withdrew his films in a gesture of protest and mourning classically Situationist in its decisiveness. Incensed by the murder of his friend and by the manner in which the press reported it, he then wrote Considérations sur l’assassinat de Gérard Lebovici (Reflections on the assassination of Gérard Lebovici) in which he announced that «the outrageous manner in which the newspapers have discussed his assassination has led me to decide that none of my films will ever be shown again in France. This absence will be the most fitting homage.» [35] Today all efforts to view the films in Paris prove futile: the distributor acknowledges that he has the prints but requires Debord´s permission to screen them and this permission, for reasons that must be respected, is not to be had. [36] While Debord´s films are thus now strictly speaking invisible, they fortunately are not entirely

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