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The Auteurs' Glenn Kenny reports on Un Homme Qui Dort, Perec and Queysanne's 1974 film of Perec's book of the same name (thanks Robin):


In the early '70s Perec and his friend Bernard Queysanne, a filmmaker whose experience had heretofore been as an assistant director, teamed up to make a film of the book Un Homme Qui Dort. While much of the film's narration — which comprises the entirety of the film's verbal content; there is no dialogue — is taken directly from the novel, Perec jettisoned the book's linear structure in favor of, Bellos explains, "a mathematical construction. After the prologue (part 0, so to speak) there are six sections. The six sections are interchangeable in the sense that the same objects, places, and movements are shown in each, but they are all filmed from different angles and edited into different order, in line with the permutations of the sestina. The text and the music are similarly organized in six-part permutations, and then edited and mixed so that the words are out of phase with the image except at apparently random moments, the last of which — the closing sequence — is not random at all but endowed with an overwhelming sense of necessity." (More...)

Readers Comments

  1. Of the novel Un homme qui dort, Kenny notes: "Perec's 1967 novel Un homme qui dort is, by Perecian standards, a relatively straightforward work—its most noteworthy stylistic feature is its unfailingly beautiful use of the second person singular." Of course, this overlooks the attempt Perec has made to re-write Bartleby (!); & the borrowing of phrases from 6 authors to provide the text for the novel (which in turn provides the impetus for the 'sestina' structure of the movie...). Does anyone out there in RSBland know of any suitably clenching scholarly work devoted to the sourcing of this novel?

  2. jelle deturck Sunday 29 March 2009

    Wonderful experiment! At the best to read in the early morning; you feel dazed and captured by it all day..
    The almost alienating depersonalisation of the character reverberates (in my opinion) into something hopeful - and at the end of the text into something meaningful. (Although I'm not so sure if Perec had that in mind..).
    Something to reread every couple of months..!

  3. jelle deturck Thursday 02 July 2009

    Le film -même- me fait penser - pas vraiment à Antonioni (par exemple: ‘Au delà des nuages'..); mais plutôt concret: disons Bernard Blier ('Mon oncle d'Amérique' où 'Trop belle pour toi'). Chez tous les cinéastes ci-dessus, il y al quelque chose commun; en tout cas c'est-ce que moi j'en pense - c'est à dire: Le Manque (en allemand peut être: Sehnsucht).
    La Romantique postmoderne (cf. Fastbinder..)..

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