from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
Florence, 20 March 1973
Dear Lebovici:

Your express letter of 6 March has arrived, although quite slowly. I suppose that you have now received, despite the elevation of the class consciousness of the Italian postal workers, the letter that I addressed to you on 7 March.

The news that you have given me on our research generally appears quite good to me. Thus I believe I can keep the dates that I proposed to you in my most recent letter. On the one hand, I must remain in Italy for several more weeks. On the other hand, I would love to see as soon as possible the entire collection of documents for the first time (it would be from this impression that I will be able to choose those [clips] to see again and utilize). Nevertheless, if you believe that it would be useful, I can return after 20 April.

In part A of the note that follows, I respond point by point, and in the same order, to the questions raised in your letter of the 6th. In part B, I enumerate several new themes for newsreels and several supplementary films.

I also communicate to you a letter, which has followed me here, from a lawyer who acts in concert with Kiejman. What is this obscenity? From where comes this person, whose language I do not understand and what does he mean by "my society"? Is it a question here of the society of the spectacle? He also precipitously reiterates his demands in a letter dated 23 February, asking me again about "birth and death records" that Kiejman evidently possesses. Tell me, I ask you, if you know this lawyer and the opportunity for his intervention in our affairs.

Quite amicably,
Guy Debord

P.S. At the moment of finishing this letter, I received your telegram of 19 March. Thus I expect your second report.


--I am very content with your assurances concerning Johnny Guitar and Rio Grande. I can give up Robin Hood if the difficulties appear too serious, but it is necessary to have Light Brigade: let's use seduction, corruption, threats or ruses so that we can lay our hands on it.

--The Gladiators, while not completely indispensible, merits a particular effort (with respect to the Italian producers?)

--Neither Prince Valiant nor The Knights of the Round Table are absolutely necessary, but it is necessary to have some kind of "Medieval" film, American (but especially not Scandanavian!)

--As for the duration of the newsreels, eight minutes of boxing would be too much. We can see them, but four or five minutes will be sufficient for such themes. Stars or amateurs are equally good.

--Concerning the emphasized themes, I believe that it will be necessary to have between fifteen and twenty minutes, but more would not be bad.

--As for May 1968, the maximum: an hour or more if we can find as much as that. Here, I think it would be very good to explore foreign newsreels. Same for recent street battles (between 1968 and today) in different European countries and in the USA.

--It seems extraordinary that one can not easily find [footage of] Mao and Stalin, spectacular people if there ever were any.

--As for astronomical newsreels, one can easily find the first man on the Moon. It is necessary to have the Earth seen from the Moon (it is impossible that such an image was not taken -- and projected everywhere). In addition, I would also like images showing the roundness of the Earth, taken from rockets that are ascending: such images have often been seen since 1957.

--As for the violent demonstrations in Japan, the country of choice for such things, our documents must be [taken] after 1960, because I have already used[1] very nice footage from this era, and I fear trying to find it again.

--Automobile races from 1965 would be sufficient in their modernity for me; but I would love to find several good accidents and explosions.

--As for fashion, it would be unnecessary (but possible) to take it year by year. A quarter or a fifth of masculine fashions can figure in it.

--It is absolutely necessary to have a strip-tease,[2] wherever one can find one (not low-down and with several pans that also show the spectators). In short films or slightly specialized films? -- to be procured like the other "fiction" films.

--No particular preference for singers and their fans, but we must get the singers "in action," onstage, and their "fans" on this terrain, not in airports.

--I can do without the advertisements, but with regret. It seems to me that "Colgate white teeth" is an old enough document to not worry the advertiser.

--As for film-clips, let's say that we take, almost at random, five or six dedicated to American or English detective stories distributed in France between 1955 and 1960.

(As a general rule, everything is there in the archives: it is the indexes and their nomenclature that are poor.)


--I insist on a newsreel theme of which I would like a rich representation: maintaining [public] order and the street battles of the last few years in Dublin, Reggio de Calabria and Milan, the USA, the DBR, if possible Spain or Poland in December 1970.

--Generals from different armies in the last twenty years (for example Navarre and Westmoreland, Salan to Alger, Castries to Dien-Bien-Phu, Oufkir, Marshal Amer, Syrian generals, Russian, German, Spanish, English generals -- filmed "in operation" or manoeuvres rather than in mundane receptions).

--Can one have something striking on the burning of the CES Ed[ouard]-Pailleron[3]?

--Concerning the recent electoral campaign: Pompidou or Giscard speaking of our happiness; Mitterand on our future. And if this was filmed for the astonishment of posterity, Marchais declaring that his party[4] respects democratic freedom, artistic creation, etc.

Films: For Whom The Bell Tolls (around 1943). The Return of Zorro and The Revenge of Zorro (around 1938). Le Charge Fantastique,[5] a western by Raoul Walsh perhaps? -- with Errol Flynn (the 1940s). Le Relais de l'or Maudit[6] (western released in France at the beginning of the 1950s). Finally: Filles et Gangsters[7] (perhaps: "and Hoodlums"? etc.), which is an obscure Japanese film that came out in France, around 1960, imitating -- or parodying? -- American "B" detective movies.

Whatever is sufficient.

[1] In Critique de la Separation, made in 1961.

[2] English in original.

[3] A French high school.

[4] The French Communist Party.

[5] They Died with their Boots On.

[6] Hangman's Knot.

[7] In Japanese, Buta to Gunkan and, in English, Hogs and Warships.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2007. All footnotes by the translator.)

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