what is movie magic?

During the Cannes Film Festival, fans flock to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars, exchange a look, steal a selfie. The philosopher Ollivier Pourriol explains to us why the aura of the 7and art is also powerful.

You remember Jacques Perrin in Cinema Paradiso? He returns home in the middle of the night, and learns from the woman dozing in his bed that a certain Alfredo is dead. Alfredo, Philippe Noiret. Thirty years since he had seen her. An eternity. In the dark, Jacques Perrin, alias Salvatore, eyes open, remembers. Of himself, child, the little Toto, avid of cinema; and Alfredo, the projectionist, happy to introduce him to it. The film is only a long flashback, that of the happy and lost time, when the cinema was a paradise.

You remember, always in Cinema Paradiso, of this scene where children, in the first rows, masturbate in front of the immense and naked body of Brigitte Bardot in And God created the woman ? A cinema employee scolded them: “We look, and we do not touch!An absurd, formidable phrase. Brigitte Bardot, forbidden fruit. To stay in Paradise, do not touch it. Yet BB is not someone, it is a horizon. How would we touch the horizon? Isn’t he doomed to remain distant?

Walter Benjamin defined the aura as follows:The unique appearance of a distant, however close it may be.The aura is that almost nothing, that je-ne-sais-quoi, “that others don’t have”, as Michel Berger sang. It is the characteristic of the individual, unique, non-reproducible work of art. As close as you approach a painting, it will always retain its character of being far away. You don’t eat a still life. We do not caress the cheek of the Mona Lisa. No matter how much you stick your nose against the canvas, it will remain forever distant. Magic of painting.

If cinema, unlike painting, is a reproducible art, it still has its own magic. He does not make this aura phenomenon disappear, he digs it even further: BB seems infinitely closer than the Mona Lisa, literally within reach. It is not so. By multiplying, it becomes its own decoy, it escapes all contact.

At the foot of the steps, in Cannes, throng fans, some of whom have been waiting for several hours in full sun for the sole purpose of obtaining a look, an autograph or contact with stars yet available to them on the screen. What are they watching? A flash of that aura, which will always elude them. In Cannes, there are those who come to see films, and there are those who come to be seen by imaginary creatures who pretend to see them. I remember Jacques Perrin, whom I have never met anywhere other than on a screen, and I cry.

Ollivier Pourriol is the creator of the conferences Cinephilo at MK2, with Elisha Karmitz. His comic, The Truth About Socrates (drawing by Éric Stalner), released in October (Éditions Les Arènes). He is also the co-screenwriter of For France, by Rachid Hami, produced by Nicolas Mauvernay, soon in the cinema.

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