JEAN GENET visual poem
"UN CHANT D´AMOUR"
Evoking homosexual desire and existentialist suffering ,. After its initial screening in 1950, the film was banned in France , the only copies remained for over a decade with the gay intellectuals . In America in the 1960s the films resulted in arrests, near-prosecutions and finally an outright ban. Fifty years after itsbirth, the film was judged to be acceptable for public screenings, (some of the film’s more controversial scenes were cut.) Genet himself disliked the film and, in later life, disowned it. Despite its chequered history and reputation as pornography for the gay intelligentsia, Un chant d'amour is arguably Genet’s most evocative and haunting work. His only film, it is easily on a par with hi decided to start with the first film, Le Sang d’un poète / The Blood of a Poet, which runs about 55 minutes. I was dubious about Cocteau as a filmmaker since, as a poet, he was one of those laughably bad frauds produced during Europe’s decadent interwar years. While attempting to be Surreal, Cocteau’s writing was puerile, half-hearted, and soaked with clichés. He loathed the king of the Surrealists, André Breton, whom he sought to displace, and their antagonism has gotten both bad writers more play than anything either one ever wrote. s celebrated literary works, such as Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs and Querelle de Brest. With the mocking surrealism of Luis Buñuel and dark poetry of Jean Cocteau, it is as much a condemnation of middle class values as it is a celebration of sexual desire and a reflection of Genet’s grim existentialist outlook. The film depicts homophobia with uncompromising brutality, through the sadistic prison warder, for a society that is both titilated and repulsed by the idea of homosexual acts. A short film , twenty six minutes,in black and white, with no soundtrack.
Stylistically, nearer to the experimental films of the 1930s (Cocteau's Le Sang d'un poète or Man Ray's surrealist shorts). Cinematography crude, almost primitive. Genet draw on his own experiences in prison . Existentialists this film conveys the bleakness of a existence in a godless universe with painful believability. Thel anguish prisoners in their solitary cells, yearning for the human contact to reaffirm their existence, (share a fragment of the existentialist nightmare that was Genet’s own troubled life, a life marred by rejection, depression and self-doubt.) Un chant d'amour is less a film about homosexuality or voyeurism, but much more one about the torment of living in an empty loveless universe.