In this video piece from Bernard Gigounon, we take part in the birth of a loop, one that we might define as the life and death of the image of the American Hero. The actor, each and every time, is the killer of his own image, sometimes older, sometimes younger, often in different aesthetic contexts according to the respective filmic universe he inhabits. ‘He who lives by the gun, dies by the gun.’ The double, the döppelganger, cannot survive himself; there’s no room for two in this town. Thus, several layers of temporality are set in motion. On the one side, the time of the video itself, folding back upon itself like a vortex, where the notion of beginning and end becomes null and void, endlessly reinitialized in a new scene leading to the same result. On the other side, we have the time of the viewer him/herself. The game of ‘Memory’, where the artist enjoys splicing together scenes from some Hollywood films within the memory he has of them. The traditional idea of editing is ruptured by the flat-rendered images, images that become murderous vignettes. And where, in contrast to the usual cinematic dynamic, i.e. the reverse shot, these images are handled as flat entities, with the ballistic ‘tracers’ forging the link between scenes, and so justifying the ever-changing split screen. It is at one and the same time vanity, the vanity of the genre (the Western, the crime film), and the tragic determinism of the hero and his getting older, despite his various ‘deaths’ along the way. At the same time, it is also a declaration of love for American film, to the masculine icon that it created and nourished. Here, Clint Eastwood is something of the archetype, for his work has always embodied ageing, dying, and being born again, if ever more disillusioned.
Text: Olivier Drouot