The specificity of the medium must not be forgotten: the sculptor who works with wood has to know about the features and behaviour of the wood he is working with, to even be aware of chance. But everything has a limit; the specificity of the cinema, like that of video, goes beyond what we have been given to understand so far. I think that a deep knowledge of the most specific nature of a language is the only system that allows a genuine work. That allows it to be violated. A poet must have a deep knowledge of language… In the cinema the best films are the ones in which violence to the cinema itself is perpetrated; Dreyer violates cinema, just as Artaud violates writing. That raises a final question: what does mastering the specificity of a language mean, what does knowing a medium mean?
- Pere Portabella, from Introduction Pere Portabella, 1980
Die Stille vor Bach / The Silence Before Bach opens January 30 for a two-week run at Film Forum