from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
8 March 1978
Dear Gerard:

I hope that the production of the film[1] will be concluded successfully and without causing you unanticipated problems in addition to those well-anticipated ones that you will encounter during the film's release. I await the proofs of the commentaries so as to begin the editing of the book.[2] I see several small difficulties to be resolved, not so much concerning the layout, but rather concerning the necessity of unifying the descriptions of the images taken from the films: these description must be presented everywhere "at the same distance," so to speak (so as to not emphasize in one instance a detail that lasts 10 seconds, while in another instance the entire charge of the Light Brigade takes four words).

Do you plan to publish this book before the [summer] vacation -- which is no doubt perilous, if, as it seems to me, that this would mean June, or even September?[3]

Concerning the time period, I still insist on throwing the kriegspiel[4] upon the astonished world as soon as possible because, quite obviously, its time has come and also because it is well suited to satisfy several of our needs.

Actually, the cinema appears finished to me, not that I think that I have said everything I can say in the cinema, in circumstances that could have been more favorable, but because these days -- in the absence of unexpected changes in the conditions of distribution and in urban life, and thus in the very status of the public -- I believe that such an epoch does not merit a filmmaker such as me. It has done everything to prove it -- and to us as well! In the same way that there would have been weakness in insisting on such a purely negative position, with too many long speeches.

Thus I see that I would be reduced to living a game, as in my youth but in another manner.[5] Thus I ask you to provide me with several advances, which I would accept in exchange for my share of the profits from your company, soon to be ostentatious. I count upon your knowledge of the subtleties of the mechanisms of such companies to establish several games of writing that are not exposed to taxation.

I hope to see you before the end of the month, and I am equally impatient to read the letter to Moinet,[6] that is to say, to see the publication of the collection of insulting letters, from which I expect the most instructive results. The good times are here. Every evening, one hears the cry of the Owl of Minerva in the woods that surround us. As "wisdom will never come,"[7] it is comforting to know that it does not reside far away.

Best wishes,

So as to direct the search for the map of the metro[8] -- that is to say, the general plan of Paris, street by street, bearing the metro lines upon it -- which was posted in the stations in 1950.

Since it appears that this map is no longer sold to the public, one will have to find a copy from which to make a color photography, at one of these collections of documents, a list of which follows:

-- at the B.N.:[9]

1) in the Cabinet of Prints (which holds in the legal depository two copies of all graphic works made by printing presses), no doubt classified in the topography of Paris;

2) in the Department of Maps and Plans;

3) in the Printed Works: consult the card catalogue for matters concerning "the Paris metro" (the files always indicate the works that include illustrations and plans) (in color?);

The photographic services of the B.N. charge for photographic reproductions, but also permit particular photographs.

-- At Carnavalet: the Museum of the History of the Town of Paris.

-- The National Geographical Institute (information at rue La Boetie).

-- At the Prefecture of Paris (Sully-Morland), documentation service on urbanism and transportation.

-- At the Ministry of Public Works, which must possess its own documentation services.

-- At the School of Public Works, boulevard Saint-Germain, which publishes and sells its own publications.

-- At the Ministry of Transportation (if it still exists).

-- At the French Documentation Services (quai Voltaire). Detailed indexes, many atlases. Perhaps even has produced a dossier on the subject. (See at the bookstore.)

Return to the Museum of the R.A.T.P.,[10] perhaps even begin there, but with the goal of photographing the precious document.

If not, the last resort would be a small ad in the press, looking for the rare collector. . . .

[1] Translator's note: In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

[2] Complete Cinematographic Works by Guy Debord.

[3] The book would be published on 15 November 1978.

[4] Translator's note: cabinet game invented by Debord. Kriegspiel is German for "game of war."

[5] Translator's note: a reference to the "game" played by Debord's first film, Hurlements en faveur Sade.

[6] Letter to Champ Libre dated 6 January 1978, which would be published in Correspondance, vol. I, Editions Champ Libre, at the end of October 1978.

[7] Translator's note: the last one line from In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

[8] To illustrate the cover of Complete Cinematographic Works.

[9] The National Library, rue de Richelieu.

[10] Translator's note: Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP).

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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