A film on the « LIP AFFAIR »

Original Article: Le monde, April 10, 1977

Critique by Louis Marcorelles

Many good fairies gathered around Dominique Dubosc’s film, The Taste for Collective Action. Jean-Luc Godard and his company Sonimage produced the film; Yann Le Masson shot several sequences; Jean Rouch and Vincent Blanchet helped with the sound editing, Paul and Carole Roussopoulos, pioneers of French video, contributed several tapes. (…)

The film, the production explains, « was originally an idea of the Cahier de Maimilitants – among whom was one filmmaker – who had taken an active part in the 1973-1974 struggle. It was made, every step of the way, in agreement with the Lip workers. It is based on sixty-odd hours of documents, filmed inside the factory during the twenty months of the conflict. It aims to show the most readable image of a democratic workers’ practice which points to another conception of economy and society ».

The title, taken from a remark made by Charles Piaget, one of the C.F.D.T. union delegates in the factory (we hear him saying it in the second part of the film), defines perfectly the ideological axis of the editing. In the first sequence of the film, we already hear that it’s not only a question of salaries, but of how to live together in this global world. (…)

A Brechtian pedagogy

In August 1973, in order to back the workers’ popularization strategy, Dominique Dubosc had made a first and strictly militant film that was screened all over France. With The Taste for Collective Action, his aim is different : to analyse with the help of cinema (film and video combined like in Godard) the political struggle of the Lip workers, but also to allow the spectator to practice his own pedagogy; to encourage him to discover by himself the meaning of the struggle.

One thinks a lot about Brecht during the entire film. Not only because the music (original) is sometimes scanned in the manner of Kurt Weill in The Three Penny Opera. But on a deeper level, by a certain way of breaking up continuity, of forbidding easy identification with an exemplary subject. Areas of silence, purely visual moments are followed by sharp discussions where Charles Piaget shines: we almost think he has come from one of the most beautiful of Bertold Brecht’s plays, « The mother », (after Gorki). For Brecht as for cinema, texts and implementation are inseparable : « Truth is concrete », he’d put that up in his study. This pedagogy, rare in cinema, deserves all our attention.

Louis Marcorelles