Godard and/with Deleuze: C’est comme ça que le monde naît

In light of the theme of the conference, I propose to revisit the problematic of the seminar I gave last year at the Collège International de Philosophie: Le cinéma selon Jean-Luc Godard (see: https://www.academia.edu/3516264/le_cinema_selon_JLG). More precisely, I plan to bring into relation two distant singularities: Godard’s enigmatic notion “le cinéma: une forme qui pense” and the just as opaque if not profoundly mysterious concept of the “sombre précurseur” (in its original formulation in L’Abécédaire: “Le précurseur sombre, c’est ce qui mettait en rapport des potentiels différents. Et une fois qu’il y avait le trajet du sombre précurseur, les deux potentiels étaient comme en état de réaction. Et, entre les deux, fulgurait l’événement visible: l’éclair. Il y avait le précurseur sombre et puis l’éclair. C’est comme ça que le monde naît. Il y a toujours un précurseur sombre que personne ne voit et puis l’éclair qui illumine.”).

In my presentation I hope to retrace the path of a double movement, or perhaps a zig-zag, that goes first from Deleuze to Godard, then back to Deleuze by a different path. For if it is indeed by light(en)ing that thought itself proceeds (Ça devrait être ça la pensée. Ça doit être ça la philosophie), then Deleuze’s notion is an instance of its referent, performative of the very force it names. It twice illuminates (c’est l’éclair qui fait voir les choses). First there is Godard’s montage as the form that thinks. I will show it to be an operation that not only makes visible, developing (in the photographic sense) the potentialities, the virtual signs that each image carries and are imprinted on its celluloid, but also that it does so by instantaneously bringing distant images in a “state of reaction” (see my “Cinema, Memory, History” in Posthumously for Jacques Derrida, Sussex Academic Press, 2012). Thus, their contraction, entering into a rapport for the very first time, is both an illumination and an act of creation: C’est comme ça que le monde naît. Second, this coup de bâton turns upon itself and illuminates its effective operation as pre-subjective. It is an event that takes the thinker by surprise, which one may hope for but cannot calculate. One needs to wait for it, as Bacon the painter waits for his accidental marks to give birth to something new, one waits for something to arrive.