Cahier du Cinema

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Season 1, Episode 2

Grand Magasin: Bettina Atala, François Hiffler, Pascale Murtin, between 40 and 60 min.

No, you haven’t missed the previous episode. For over twenty-five years, Grand Magasin have stripped themselves of all technical savoir-faire (theatrical and choreographic, two of the members were originally dancers) to spread panic: to tell the truth, the 5e Forum du cinéma d’entreprise (5th Forum on Corporate Films) and 0 tâche(s) sur 1 ont été effectuée(s) correctement (0 out of 1 task(s) have been carried out successfully) are the names of their shows. As for this video, with a title that sounds more like the DVD of an American TV series, it is a mockery of the conventions of cinematic mimesis in which the actors are also the editors. The three troublemakers not only empty their characters of any psychology, but also of any identity. The absenteeism fuelled by government-funded vacations oblige: be it a man or woman, whoever wears the same t-shirt plays the same character. It doesn’t matter because there’s no story…

A series of sketches take inventory of the perfect little filmmaker’s textbook: “When both doors shut, the shot changes.” Or, “At the third pylon, the shot changes.” Cinematic conventions like shot-reverse shot, slick continuity, shooting out of chronological order (“I take the helmet off Saturday” / “And I put my foot down on Friday”), each step of the direction is both the object of a joke and derision – and, more covertly, of learning. Grand Magasin nestle into the splice, name the cut before we see it, points at the cameraman perched on a bridge, waiting for the next backwards tracking shot. Season 1 Episode 2 gives a new meaning to the expression “in-camera editing”. And, they invent a feminist use of the split screen, one of digital cinema’s hidden virtues: did you know, ladies, that by splitting the screen in four places, you will now be able to do the dishes, the windows, vacuum, and iron, all at the same time?

Ch. G.[/one_half_last]