1. Hotel Chilenskaya
In the beginning I tried to find my way out of the collaborationist’s Piranesi-palace – trying to keep all the sides apart, remembering who collaborated with whom and when and where. Until I realized the film director was not interested in disclosing such information. On the contrary, he wanted to create a film document showing the impossibility of documentation. All his documents on film as well as the testimonies of witnesses (the patients and their analysts) were utterly worthless if one still insisted on finding out the ‘truth’. It was a daring move – a documentary film disproving all documentaries. But he did not stop there. Memory had to be satisfied with this minimal knowledge, become familiar with its original state of homelessness and mauvaise foi. There is no truth - just as stories are never finished and closed off. René Hardy was a traitor and was himself betrayed, for instance. Eventually I could better imagine that time if not exactly understand it, when I stopped regarding the testimonies of the people involved in the collaborations as language and more as pictures. One can speak whilst being tortured, in other words commit treason, without knowing it or rather maybe knowing it later or suspecting one might have spoken. Bratwurst and beer techniques were the actual repertoire of the feared secret police in the pay of the Lacanians - at least when they practised indirect questioning and other oblique interrogations on one another. For the intelligence agencies in particular – information is itself more a question of faith.
2. The Servant and the Advocate
The language of the servant was more inspired than that of the ‘avocat maudit’. Maître V. paid a visit to the servant in his hut, together with his client, chief of the torture squad. Both he and the state attorney thought the testimony of the servant was not on a par with the status of a world-renowned torturer, boasting a ‘dangerous infinity of supporters’ (including the Vatican). Julien Faubert recalled: My words for Maître V. were like so many fallen leaves, to be raked away and left to rot. The diabolical lawyer (according to his self-description) keeps 6-12 years of his life a secret, probably because nothing much happened during that time. That’s how legends are made. He began his defence of the torturer chief with the announcement of great revelations about la Résistance and la France. At the end all he had left was the pious wish to forget that whole time as quickly as possible. (Was he referring to those mysterious 12 years of his own life?) If one did not cease immediately with all remembrance, France would be in danger of becoming permanently (forever) divided into two hostile camps. The avocat was a peculiar sort of revolutionary. The film director poses the key question: Who is interested in the history of old Lacanians and their patients many of whom are also old Lacanians other than old Lacanians and their patients? Some of the old active Lacanians cultivated sentimental ties to young seemingly leftist revolutionaries which should surprise no one who knows that old French saying – les extrèmes se touchent. The last sentence of the film could be easily missed, looking like a disclaimer at the end of a seemingly endless list of credits. It said, written in Rockwell Extra Bold (white on black) “Don’t count on us. Watch out for yourself.”
3. Lacanian Murders in the Americas
The Lacanians arrived in their twos and threes in the village at the time of the fiesta. They came just in time to see the condor (Vultur gryphus) tied to the back of a drunken bull and let loose in the streets. They could hardly see the bull behind the crowd of bowler-hatted indios. Three beggars pushed greasy faces right up against theirs – all they saw were unblinking eyes and the ‘mueca de indio’ (the Indian grin) in murky wrinkled skin as if it had been prepared by a taxidermist. The air was full of the smell of roasting carcasses. One can tell when meat is cooked in large masses rather than in the domestic quantities suitable for suburban barbecues, although the chemical properties of the smoke are probably the same. The smoke filled air had a violet tinge – all movements had the appearance of lunging – nothing moved simply in vertical or horizontal lines. It was one perpetual broad diagonal sometimes assuming a scissors-like motion/action. All of a sudden a figure standing alone was an island of stillness. His hat tilted back, just lodged and resting in the crease of his neck. His upturned chin strained to meet the bottle glued to his lips as the silvery liquid was inhaled rather than poured into his mouth. A dog sniffed his crotch from behind. The lengthening haze of the sun gilded the crown of his dusty bowler. He seemed to be standing on the edge of a great pit – his back towards the opening. An initiation rite of some kind. He was not allowed to remove his vampire lips from the bottle to which they clung like a sphincter until the last drops had passed into him. Someone touched his forehead with a big black cross.