from Guy Debord

To Thomas Levin
29 May 1987
Dear Sir:

One has transmitted to me your amiable letter of 3 April [1987]. I will do my best to respond to you. I believe that I was wrong to declare, after the assassination of Gerard Lebovici, "that none of my films will again be projected in France." This restriction hardly justifies itself, and was only put forward so as to mark the particular ignominy displayed on this occasion by the French press. Naturally, I should have said: never again and nowhere.

You know that I have always been viewed very badly, and quite rightly so, by all of the cinematic milieu. But I have always shown it the most scornful independence. After the recent, unexpected restructurations in this industry, I quite obviously risk no longer having control over what can be done, one day or another, with my films, over the places where they can be shown, and the neighborhoods that might surround them. So that it is without doubt more suitable for me to announce that I disavow in advance all subsequent screenings. This at the certainly regrettable price of depriving the very small number of people who have the desire (but never the need) to see them. One will perhaps be able to see them, here or there, after my death; because each will then be able to make the argument that I no longer have any responsibility for the occasion.

The idea that the cinema is an art, which obviously merits being critiqued and superceded, has moreover become something hardly comprehensible today, when the cinema is overtly intended to amuse 10-year-old children. And the films that are a little more ambitious are hardly ever anything more than carriers of a mediocre or detestable signification (an effort that sometimes still makes the cinephile excited about this aspect of the question); but, still more frequently, [there is] a tranquil absence of the least signification: one has made a film with the only goal of making a film, and it is a film when the maker is rich enough to make it.

For thirty years, filmmakers have generally been people who are not very estimable; but now I will permit myself the pleasantry, which is full of meaning, of saying to you that it is a milieu in which one should not wait to see frequented by a gentleman.[1]

It is a fact that "our audience" hasn't become larger! This century, or another, will find the means of making itself understood. It goes without saying that I do not disavow a word, or even an image, in any of my cinematographic works. All of them are set down in a book.[2]

I will try to find for you a copy of Contre le Cinema[3] and I will send it to you; but the texts that are collected in it haven't been subjected to the least modification in the very enlarged Champ Libre edition.

Quite sincerely,
Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: English in original.

[2] Oeuvres Cinematographiques Completes, 1952-1978, published by Champ Libre in 1978 and reprinted in 1994 by Editions Gallimard. [Translator's note: Translated into English by Ken Knabb as Complete CInematographic Works in 2003.]

[3] The fourth monograph in the "Library of Alexandria" series, published in 1964 by the Institute for Comparative Vandalism. The monograph brought together the scenarios for the first three films by Guy Debord, plus a preface by Asger Jorn called "Guy Debord and the Problem of the Cursed One."

(Published in Autour des Films (Documents), the booklet accompanying Oeuvres Cinematographiques Completes, a three-DVD set released November 2005. Reprinted in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Footnotes by Alice Becker, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2007.)

To Contact NOT BORED!
ISSN 1084-7340.
Snail mail: POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998