from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
7 January 1976
Dear Gerard

I have begun to draw up my list of films "to detourn."[1]

I remember very well that we were practically unmasked by the distributors of The Light Brigade (the English film, in color),[2] that moreover we only envisioned it as a makeshift,[3] lacking the other [version]. But I do not remember if the first Charge of the Light Brigade (American, after the war) is controled by the same malevolents? In that case, it is no longer necessary to think of it. We can not use it, because it is being re-printed in view of a new release. And thus if it is owned by others, I would not be unhappy to grab it.

On the other hand, do you know if somewhere (the archives of the useful French Films[4]) there is a list a films released in France between 1950 and 1960? The choice could perhaps be facilitated and, from the beginning, we would already know who did the production and distribution. Attached is a note that I propose to you as the basis for our next contract.


Simar Films/feature film #2
Notes for a contract, on the basis of the "triennial plan" (7 January 76)

1. General conditions to be taken from the contract for The Society of the Spectacle:[5] full-length in 35 millimetres black-and-white a minimum length of 90 minutes; complete freedom of form and content -- with the improvement that, this time, even the "subject" and title remain unspecified, up to the discretion of the author.

(Only in the circumstances -- administrative? -- where it is necessary to provide a provisional title, one will adopt this, quite troubling in the situation: "The Sixth film of Guy Debord.")

2. All operations will, in principle, be spread out over a maximum period of 3 years, starting from January 1976. (That is to say, allowing, as a moderate estimate, the completion around 1978.)

3. These operations will include a certain number of actions, strictly limited in time, in both duration and the number of reprises of each (it will thus be necessary to be assured of the work of several people for such brief periods and not between-times). Namely:

a) research into films to be detourned (once or twice);
b) filming (3 or 4 times). Here, each instance represents around a week;
c) research -- limited -- into news reels (once);
d) editing (once or twice).

4. The dates of each of these operations will be fixed by common accord between the producer and the author -- in the framework of the general periods adopted --, each time bearing in mind:

a) the "artistic" opportunities or necessities in the development of the writing of the film;

b) the future financial opportunities for Simar Films: from this point of view, the biggest part of the fabrication costs can be postponed until the third year, if so needed (the author does not fear that he will get the professional reputation of being an unreasonable or erratic drunk who gets involved in the work of realization; whereas it is absolutely necessary that the financial reputation of Simar Films always appears above all suspicion in the interpretations that could be made with respect to the slowness of the work-process: briefly, it would be necessary to make our difficulties a luxury and it is a great luxury to take one's time.

c) the political opportunities or necessities, from the double point of view of the risks of general politics during the period and of the "politics" of Simar Films, that is to say, of the development of the operation that aims at making people recognize the existence of this society of production.

5. The author will apply himself to complete this film on a total budget at the maximum five times that of [the budget for] the short film Refutations[6] (allowing that this figure is quite within the limits of his estimate).

6. Upon completion of the film, the author will receive 210,000 francs, in three annual installments of 70,000 francs each -- and, if the production can do this, each annual sum in two equal parts: one at the beginning of the year, the other in September. The author will also receive 20 percent of the profits of the film; these sums can be calculated as in the first contract: one-third as salary, two-thirds as advances against future profits.

Moreover, the author proposes to associate, through this contract, the release of two full-length films contingent upon their profitability; in the sense that, in case one or the other of these films has, before the other, reimbursed all of its expenses, these funds will be counted in the payment of the not-yet-reimbursed expenses of the other; with the result that, only when the totality of the expenses of the two full-length films has been covered, either by one or the other film, or by one and the other film, will they find themselves in their profit-making phase.

Annexed point:

Given existing and forecast inflation, all of these amounts will be considered on the basis of their value in January 1976; and will be revised each January, bearing in mind the depreciation in the buying power of the franc.

Supplementary question:

It will be necessary, as soon as possible after the signing of the contract, to demand and obtain from the Center a "director's card" that is, at the moment, accorded to the author and retained since 1973. Because this slightly strange half-refusal was the first symptom, the herald of a crowd of others, all of a universal malevolence where Simar Films are concerned. The author is "a director" because Simar Films employs him, and thus if one can contest that the author is a director, one can in fact contest whether Simar Films is a film production company.

[1] For the film In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

[2] Tony Richard's 1968 remake of the film by Michael Curtiz (1936).

[3] For the film The Society of the Spectacle.

[4] A film journal.

[5] Translator's note: see Debord's letter to Gerard Lebovici dated January 1973.

[6] Translator's note: Refutations of all Judgments, whether eulogistic or hostile, that have been made up until now of the film "The Society of the Spectacle" was released by Simar Films in 1975.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Reprinted in Autour des Films (Documents), the booklet accompanying Oeuvres Cinematographiques Completes, a three-DVD set released November 2005. Translated from the French NOT BORED! March 2007. All footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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