Chapter 4


Christophe Huss, “Metropolitan Opera—Votre cinéma n’est pas un cinéma,” Le Devoir, December 17, 2007.

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The complete subtitle reads: “Live retransmissions of performances: the director of the Met brings it into a new era” (


See the promotional poster for the ballet Cinderella online.

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Promotional poster for the ballet Cinderella recorded at the Palais Garnier, Paris.


On October 18, 2010, on France 2. Online.

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Étienne Souriau, “Preface,” in L’Univers filmique, ed. Étienne Souriau
(1953), 8–9.


Text found on the invitation to the first public screenings organized by the Lumière brothers in December 1895 in the Salon indien of the Grand Café in Paris. Reproduced in Maurice Bessy and Lo Duca, Louis Lumière inventeur (1948), 107.


Our emphasis. This text is the principal element of program notes for the Robert-Houdin theater, today available at France’s Bibliothèque nationale (Théâtre RobertHoudin: Grandes Matinées de Prestidigitation, program, n.d., Bibliothèque nationale de France, Arts du spectacle department, 8-RO-17411), which can be dated to 1907, according to Jacques Malthête (personal e-mail to André Gaudreault on July 19, 2012).

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The same document is quoted without precise mention of the source by Bernard Chardère (Lumières sur Lumière [Lyon: Institut Lumière/Presses universitaires de Lyon, 1987], p. 128) and by Jacques Deslandes (Le boulevard du cinéma à l’époque de Georges Méliès [Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1963], pp. 99-101), which gives the date 1912. Note also that the word polyorama is used to describe the double or triple magic lantern, according to Laurent Mannoni (personal e-mail to André Gaudreault in February 2006): “The ‘polyorama,’ in France in the late 19th century, was used to describe double or triple lanterns which produced dissolving views.”


Erwin Panofsky, Three Essays on Style, ed. Irving Lavin (1995), 93. Our emphasis.


See in particular Roger Odin, “Le film documentaire, lecture documentarisante,” in Cinéma et réalités, ed. Jean-Charles Lyant and Roger Odin (1984), 263–78.


In the text from which we quote, Odin explains that one of the specificities of the documentizing reading “is that the reader constructs the image of the Enunciator and presupposes the reality of this Enunciator” (p. 267). The documentizing mode of reading found in our archiving reading is minimally distinct because of two of its aims: collecting and preserving documents, as preserving something with a view to later consultation is a common feature of any definition of the word archive.

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This is how we see a film, any film (whether documentary or fiction, for Odin states that fictional images can also set in motion a process of documentizing reading), by supposing that its images were produced by someone who exists in extra-filmic reality and who was responsible for adapting his or her ideas to reality.


Live on November 7, 2009, and prerecorded on December 5, 2009.


This opera is the first we have been able to document to date. Since 2009, the tradition has continued and the Met continues to produce cast sheets that completely overlook the question of who made the video of the performance that viewers are getting ready to watch. There is no mention, therefore, of the name of the “author” of the putting into images and of the broadcast/transmission operation itself.

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This may be, in part, in order not to emphasise to the viewer in the movie theatre the distance separating them from the New York stage where the performance will really take place. It would appear that there is a desire, a fairly illusory one it seems to us, to produce an effect of transparency and to fool the movie theatre viewer somewhat (this transparency will soon be contradicted by the work of the video cameras, which is not very transparent!). Readers can consult the cast sheet for Wagner’s Die Walküre (directed in 2012 by Robert Lepage and – we will now reveal what the Met initially conceals! – put into images by Gary Halvorson) at the following address: Note that the putter into images of operas takes his revenge in a sense, once the opera is over, in the film’s credits, which nevertheless fly by at a breakneck pace on screen. Thus with the Wagner/Lepage Die Walküre, the first thing we see on the screen is “Directed by Gary Halvorson.”

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