On La Vallée close
Jean-Claude Rousseau in conversation with Cyril Neyrat
CYRIL NEYRAT: What did you like about, what attracted you to this place?1
JEAN-CLAUDE ROUSSEAU: I don’t know. The void. Definitely the mystery. And above all a path that leads nowhere, that comes up against a cliff, from the depths of which a river emerges. A hole water comes out of… The enclosed valley, for me, was this place where distance is lost, without perspective but with endless depths. A picture that, on each bank of the Sorgue, could accommodate the figures of Giorgione’s La Tempesta. To be there was to enter its frame.
…So it was the need to film that made you decide to set up the camera and do a take.
It was the result of being captivated. It’s like the same for all my films, those from before and after. The captivation is in seeing, but in the sense of the word “vision,” when you see without seeing, when to see is like losing your sense of sight. That’s what it is to see the image. Without thinking about it, to isolate within the field of vision what’s already there as the image. The image above all is in framing. Thinking doesn’t determine my gaze, so I can’t say for certain, but it seems likely that the image has revealed itself before I’ve even put the camera on its stand, and all I have to do is double-check it in the viewfinder. It’s definitely a captivation — a shock — that makes us stop, that seizes our gaze.
What do I gaze at? At nothing describable, that one can observe and detail. To detail the shot would be to lose the image. I’m thinking of that beautiful preface to the book of geography, but which, as a passage, couldn’t be appropriated into the film. It’s a question of observation; the goal of the textbook is evidently to teach children and to stimulate their observation with the pictures. But to observe isn’t to be seized by the image. It’s to seize but not to be seized. The lengthiness of the shot corresponds to this gaze that doesn’t interpret, that doesn’t insist on a motive, but that is a pure vision, as we say, “to have visions.” This goes back to those disorienting moments where someone you’re with seems “out of it,” when his vision’s taken him somewhere else. And when you ask him, then, “what are you looking at?” it’s always the same reply: “nothing.” Suddenly he’s there again, as if the question had broken a charm. That’s what it is to see the image: it’s an absence. …
It’s always a matter of making sure that the right framework ensures the same rightness of what arises in the image. I’m still gaining experience; within a framework that’s been imposed, it’s likely that whatever arises will fit it. That’s to say that the same elaboration in the temporal frame, a proper duration, will justify itself.
…Is sound always second to image?
I could say that, yes. But at the same time it modifies the image.
It never happened that you started from a sound and looked for the reel that would match it?
No. It seems like it’s always the opposite. Sound is very important in a film like Venise n’existe pas (1984), it makes the film as much as the image, but it doesn’t prevent the image from being primary. And out of this image comes the sound. If it were a matter of giving priority to the sound, this sound, probably consisting of speech, would be founded on telling, on what’s being told, which is the opposite of how the film operates. It would have something to say, to the detriment of the image that could only serve to illustrate what’s being said. That’s exactly the opposite of the way in which things happen: the image doesn’t say anything, and it even bids silence. In some way, it takes the words out from under us. Telling can’t be the principle of the film.
But there is also sound that doesn’t necessarily tell. There’s a materiality to the sound, which can make the image.
Absolutely. But this materiality is in some way reinforced by its synergy with the image, when sound inflects the image. If it’s about speech, it’s not about what’s said, but the breathing, the rhythm, the breaths that can affect the image, and have a physical effect on it. It’s the idea that there is no art without matter. Everything that reaches past this materiality risks incapacitating the image, even to countering the film. In the words’ intellectualising, you lose the point of view. Speech can’t be heard, except in its intonation, as a song.
In La Vallée close (1995) there are still points where the sense affects the image, the sense of the words.
They’re given alongside, and they’re fortuitous, but the sense of each is often warped, as if by the power of attraction. For example, there’s the text on the movement of atoms, magnified and at the same time distorted by the image.
You see it as much as you hear it, and it’s the film that says it. The materiality is concrete. It shows it. The meaning of the lessons also give way to these distortions. That’s definitely the case in the 9th lesson on channels of communication. The connotation can’t go anywhere but towards connoting the film. It’s the structuring/orientation of the film that makes sense of it. The original meaning of the speech, of a text, doesn’t pertain to the film.
At what moment did you realise that a film could be made out of this footage? How did the book on geography, Lucretius, the different elements come to be assembled for the film?
Let’s just say that very quickly I saw the promise of a film: I was watching the elements orient themselves, and without being able to say where it was leading, what I really wanted, it was clear that this current knew where it was going. It was simply a matter of following something that would sustain itself, that had its path, and that I only had to recognise and follow. These different vectors were converging at a single place and making the film itself this nexus: Petrarch, a geography book, a Giorgione painting, an erotic photo, an abandoned factory, the fountain at Vaucluse, and then inspiring correspondences between all these, as if validating them, the text by Lucretius on the movement of atoms, or more exactly, Bergson’s summary of it that he did in a book for philosophy students.
I found that these things were similarly beautiful: the geography book as a basic textbook done in a language kids understand, and at the same time a magnificent text, with illustrations that are genuinely beautiful; the beauty of the summary, or, to be exact, Bergson’s poem, which in a few lines evokes a passage from De rerum natura. And also the beauty of the Giorgione painting, La Tempesta, and the art of a complex poetic structure, the sestina, in Petarch’s Il Canzoniere. There’s something fascinating about the mystery these elements share. We don’t know much about Giorgione and his work sustains multiple interpretations (though this desire to interpret doesn’t interest me as much). It’s also the mystery of the place, this resurgence of a current whose origin nobody’s been able to find. We don’t always know where water originates. And you were asking me how the film originated…
The water of the Sorgue?
The water of the Sorgue. There were a few deep-dive expeditions that didn’t lead anywhere. I know that a few people lost their lives. That mystery’s also at the heart of Petrarch’s poetry… And so these elements should hold our attention, produce a tension that’s going to orient everything towards the place of the film, whose subject, will not reveal itself as a whole until its end.
For example, can you say why Giorgione’s La Tempesta has entered into this constellation?
[Besides topographical affinities,] more profoundly, what drew me to Giorgione’s La Tempesta was the same thing I was anticipating: what I was sensing in La Vallée close. Without really thinking about it, this painting had some relation to what I had in my head. What was that? Above all, the hole of the cave, where different things fell in. A void, as in the eighth lesson, reduced to a few seconds of blackness, that makes a hole in the film because its title, ‘the sea, the tempest, the port’, wouldn’t be able to bracket anything but the entire film. I mean, even if you’ve hardly looked at the Giorgione painting, the film could be called La Tempesta. Let’s say that the film was in the painting. I saw it there. And this vision wasn’t evoked by academic interpretations, since I didn’t know them. However, by chance, I was pleased to see my vision of the Giorgione, entwined for me with La Vallée close (articulated in an article by Marcelin Pleynet published in the magazine Tel Quel). The article’s an exegesis of the vaginal features in La Tempesta, with an emphasis on these symbols. To be honest, I don’t believe in the symbolic painter. And the symbolism is so subtle, that, I’d say that if you see it, you would no longer see the painting. But to be fair, Giorgione was a great painter, and you can see it and more. It makes me think of what we were saying about sound, when the meaning of the thing comes after the fact. So what’s in the painting La Tempesta, whose title itself is fairly mysterious?
Honestly, there is no tempest, one that would, for example, prevent the disrobed woman from staying quietly with her child on the side of the river, and from seeing a man with a tall stick standing on the opposite bank. “I plant a stick straight down in the middle of the garden,” says the geography lesson, innocently erotic. Between the two figures of the painting, there’s the water, which might as well be that of the Sorgue. You can see a flash of lightning in the sky, which is more of a storm than a tempest, but in any case there’s a mystery, like that of the Vaucluse fountain. We can go from Giorgione to Petrarch, from the painting to Laura and the cave. And the poet very quickly finds himself heading toward an interpretation of the place similar to Marcelin Pleynet’s on the Giorgione painting. I like this correspondence. We don’t know what the thing is, we don’t know where we are or when we’re there. There, in front of the cave, or in front of the painting.
Right, that’s what I thought you’d like.
And that’s what makes it so that we’ll never get tired of going back to it. To finally arrive at the source itself, which is magnificent, is to arrive nowhere.
It’s a place for your ideal: the place where the sense of things is suspended.
Yes, that’s a good way of putting it. The enchanted valley: at the same time a place you run up against, vallis closa, enclosed valley, and also the place of origins, from before birth. I could say that the film also comes out of that resurgence. Now I’m thinking of L’Origine du monde. Is it purely down to chance that Courbet came from a region where he saw other resurgences, rivers that he also painted? But it’s like asking where water comes from…
The name “Enclosed Valley” evokes a circular form, like the film’s.
A circular form is definitely the best way to make sense of how the film was made and how the elements that compose it, without being tied together, hold together on the same orbit, as if by gravitational effect. The opposite would be a linear form, but I never thought about La Vallée close that way. …
The placement of the elements was done deductively: I’d tell myself ‘no, that’s not it,’ ‘that’s not it,’ ‘that’s not it either.’ And if it didn’t work, if it wasn’t that, then I just hadn’t recognised it yet, there had to be a right placement. And it would appear without warning. But it wouldn’t be right to say that that there weren’t any principles to guide the placement. La Vallée close started off by using the poetic form of a sestina, or six stanzas composed of six lines, whose final rhymes are shifted forward from each stanza to the next. Without quite approaching that complexity, the idea was to distinguish six parts where these elements, the Super 8 rolls, would find a place, each of these parts composed of six reels. I held insistently to Petrarch’s model, but I was frustrated by the even-number form, which I’ve never been able to work with. So I had to keep five reels in each stack instead of six. This was done quickly. The other thing was that there were many takes, many reels, almost like I’d exhausted all the elements and the material wouldn’t hold together in six parts. So while keeping this idea of the sestina, I looked through Il Canzoniere for a double sestina — there should be two of them. At the level of poetics, it’s a sort of stylistic exercise, so I thought it was legitimate to do twelve parts instead of six. But twelve parts is still an even number, and there too something was inevitably bugging me. So it was that one of the parts was left blank [est vide]. In the course of twelve geography lessons, if the eighth only shows its title, it’s because the meter imposed this hole in the film. But the structure of the film is primarily found in the geography book: the succession of lessons. In starting with the first, which is also the book’s, ‘Day and Night’, and continuing with ‘The Seasons’, I kept, among the numerous lessons of the book, those that would accommodate the material of the film.
Can you give an example of how you calibrated sound to image?
One of the most striking instances is at the end of a reel, where the Bergson/Lucretius text about the movement of atoms is interrupted by the words ‘lancés à travers le vide’ [’cast through the void’, from the Bergson text]. It’s interrupted because we’ve arrived at the end of two minutes, thirty seconds, and the word ‘vide’ [emptiness/void] falls on the leader at the end of the reel. The leader is precisely the void. When this type of accident is produced, it’s overwhelming. Another example would be the sequence showing the torrential flood of the Sorgue. It’s set to a bit of tango which is exactly the same length. The variations of the music meet the variations of the image exactly. Similarly, toward the end, there’s also a café waiter moving on a balcony at the edge of the water. His movement so perfectly corresponds to the rhythm of the tango that you’d think he’s dancing. In all this, there’s no sound montage, just the encounter between the sounds of a beach and the texture, image of the reel. … Some of the reels showed little interest but became magnificent, simply through their encounter with the sound.
The narrative of the film is self-generative. There’s a story: the story of the film and a personal story; the two are entangled. The story of the film is that of the reels and their encounters with each other. The fact that they go together or don’t go together: ‘something is happening to make them hinge on each other.’ It’s the movement of atoms. The text from Lucretius is sufficient to tell the entire film. It’s also the encounter of sound and image, while a personal encounter, a romance, similar to all stories of love, enters into the film: the encounter with another person, more or less long-lasting, at times brief and painful, maybe happy for a time, and then separation. Again the movement of the atoms. The telephone calls, even if you only hear a word, each time mark a return to the other person, until there are no more words left because the recording announces that there is no longer a client for the number being called. There’s definitely a steady progression through the sequences of the story, even if you don’t realise it until you’re halfway down its path. The film’s a love story. When I say “love story,” I’m also talking about the rapport between the reels, that there’s an attraction between them. Maybe it would be better to say “the story of love.” And sensing that towards the middle of the film, everything becomes significant, and suddenly comes to life. The heavy millstone that had marked a considerable inertia starts to turn on its own, and you could say that it keeps on turning after the end of the film. But there’s this inertia from the start. Then, without forcing the tempo, at the same rhythm, the film grinds out its story. The comparison with the heavy millstone becomes natural for this film where you see the water, the mill, and the waterwheel. One of those mills that activate the papermill alongside the Sorgue.
On the telephone, you’re usually talking about the film while it’s being made. Where does that aspect of “work in progress” come from?
The film is very tight in its composition, even while showing the state of its own production. It’s a finished product, and one that’s forming itself. … I’m thinking of a soundtrack that, while the film was being made, was matched with two different reels. As it was perfectly matched with both, you hear it two times. The work of the film can be seen in that echo: the film reveals its own experiments, trial runs. And so two times you hear talk of a burglary. The second time, the sound is set against the sight of a blue drum in an abandoned factory. This factory, whose roof is destroyed, where you’re neither inside nor outside, is like a site of breaking and entering. At the end of this reel showing the factory, you hear me say: “I still have a lot of things to try with sound.” The film includes its own process of creation. It makes it visible, sensible, and finds its own sense and meaning. It was already there in the script for Concert champêtre [Country Concert, a film that was never produced].
What’s the structure of the film as it relates to the geography book?
The film starts precisely, with the lessons from the geography book. With titles for the parts, which are from the lessons: ‘Day and night’, ‘The seasons’, ‘The cardinal points’. Like those boards they used to put on the wall, or better, in front of the blackboard of elementary school classrooms to show an image from the lesson of the day. Each of the shots that follow are like those boards and somehow illustrate the lesson.
But then the film goes off on its own development; while welcoming in new elements like the phone conversation; while abandoning the text of the lectures and only keeping their titles. So you lose the continuity of an academic lecture, until you return to it at the end, when everything is drawn together and you rediscover the structure of the geography book while again listening to the lessons in their entirety, after the 10th lesson. Abandoning the texts of the lessons, the film turns down a more wayward path; it’s as though it were skipping school. The student is no longer watching the teacher nor the images put up behind him, but lets himself be distracted by what he sees through the window. Distraction, escape. It becomes the film of a bad student who’s no longer following the lessons. It goes back to the idea of absent-mindedness, of distractedness in the way the film forms itself. Bad conduct, an abandoning of the noble resolutions made at the start of the school year. You could say that the film, like a child, can no longer be reasoned with. To me, this disobedience has always seemed like the very condition of art. It’s made in desire, as an unreasonable effort. The lesson is reason and the film is desire. You can reason about works installed in museums. But if the work ends up in a museum, it doesn’t begin anywhere.
Distraction or digression: the sound strays off from the image and the film becomes engaged in a sort of wandering, without a goal.
Yes, it starts a bit deceitfully. We start off in a linear fashion, not very imaginatively, knowing where we’re going: geography lessons with a series of shots that illustrate them. But it doesn’t last: at a certain moment, they stop corresponding, there’s a discrepancy between what we’re seeing and what we’re hearing, and then, soon enough, we no longer hear even the text of the lesson. It makes me think of a Jean Eustache film that I really love, a short film that’s rarely shown, called Les Photos d’Alix (1980). In the film, the photographer describes the photos that she’s showing to a young man, but at a certain moment we no longer recognise them because the commentary doesn’t correspond at all to what we’re seeing. I find that extraordinary. There’s something of that structure in La Vallée close, without my having thought of Eustache, since it was well after finishing the film that I saw Les Photos d’Alix. So there comes a moment where we no longer know where we are, and so something else is introduced. Like another proposition: you can ask yourself where it comes from, even if you’ve heard it coming, since there are the telephone rings that precede the speech. A pretty monotonous speech that only says pretty dull things, like most routine conversations on the telephone.
You’ve said that you often return to these places, in different seasons.
In different seasons and in different years, as I did for Les antiquités de Rome (1989). That period was necessary: we had to wait for the elements to acknowledge themselves. Of course that can be done quickly if you know what you want and you brutally insist on its coherency. But I don’t know what I want. From the start, however, a film seems to be promised. We’re never far from intuiting it. But really, impatience won’t leave the film time to keep its promises.
This relationship to time is pretty far from a normal production schedule.
Yes, and normally the time is calculated. You’re not entitled to the seasons, not even to the variations of light in the day. So you have to keep your eyes on the main event. The impatience to accelerate the course of the clouds is too great. … The seasons are cyclical. As much as they don’t seem like it, they form a circle; the cyclical structure of La Vallée close can be seen this way too, as much in the waterwheel or in the return of the same elements in each part. Besides, the lesson on the seasons is one of the first geography lessons heard in the film and spoken in full. It corresponds to one of the reels showing an abandoned factory. At that moment, the shot cuts to black, then starts again in the same place, with the same frame, but an hour later, when the sun is no longer on the factory. The light becomes autumnal at the moment when the text of the lesson has us hear: ‘we are in Autumn.’
In Autumn, when the classes start up again, when the kids are once again within the walls of the school and forgetting the blackboard while looking out the window. I know that my dad would escape that way, and his escape was real, since it didn’t consist in just looking out the window, but in actually stepping through it. To act like him would have been impossible for me. For me, the way to skip school at that age, in elementary school, was to become invisible, to not attract attention. And you attract attention when you go through your classroom window.
Leaving the place behind, crossing the threshold, isn’t that how La Vallée close ends?
It’s true that there’s an escape at the end of the film. It’s a sort of coda under the title “Legend.” It’s also there at the end of Les antiquités de Rome, with the last part entitled ‘Dream.’ Considering the dynamics of the film, I could say that La Vallée close, in its rotations, is like a particle accelerator, and that certain particles in the end are propelled far from their source, to the seashore. As a more still-life example, I’m thinking about the cover of the geography book and how the drawing breaks through its own frame. It’s a representation of the peak of Dru, emerging from the bulk of Mount-Blanc: the summit passes the contours of the image, its tip beyond it as though the sky were open. For me that also evokes the limitless vision of someone whose head crosses beyond the sky, where he discovers the wheels of the universe, the universal mechanism, and where he surely hears the music of the spheres.
Rupturing the frame is this feat. A feat that’s fatal and sublime. In art, it’s been dared from the start. The museum guide at the Acropolis, who explains Athena’s helmet rupturing the upper limit of a bas-relief as a miscalculation of the figure’s size, doesn’t understand it. The art of the sculptor is exactly that. It’s also the art of Brygos’ painting, which on a bowl in 5th century BC shows the feet of Ajax, dead, rupturing the drawing’s circular border.
But for there to be this rupturing of the frame, there has to be a frame, an enclosed space. My films are like that: in a room, but looking out onto an open sky. It’s the collapsed roof in part of the factory in La Vallée close. ‘If Paul was making a hole in the ceiling of the classroom, what would he see?’ The valley is only closed in on one side. However, it doesn’t get a reverse shot. The reverse shot — the other side — of an image, a painted landscape as well as a portrait or a still life, is always toward the open sky. Nothing can come face to face to confront the image. And certainly not anyone who’s looking at it, since he disappears into this vision.
When you say that, are you claiming a mystical conception of the image?
No more than Cezanne saying, ‘at each brushstroke I risk my life.’
[Rousseau gets up and goes into the neighbouring room. He returns with a photo.]
That risk, you can see it here.
A Last Judgment? Ah, no, it’s the sacrifice of Isaac.
What’s surprising is that this representation’s done on a narrow pilaster.
It’s completely vertical. Abraham and Isaac standing one on top of the other, the father leaning his child’s head toward him and holding him by the hair with one hand, while the other hand, ready to hit him, is held back by an angel descending with the lamb that will take Isaac’s place. The angel and the lamb, they are also placed vertically, in freefall. What we see is the instant of conversion. ‘That without a thing changing, everything is different,’ Bresson will say. This seems a ways from La Vallée close for you…
It’s about going back to the elements and their agreement. The elements, without being forced, and far from their original context, have to agree to harmonise, to resonate, and to make the story heard. Without warning, something emerges. I can’t even say myself that something is accomplished, because that would mean there’s a beginning and an end. Rather: when it arises, it has a comprehensive effect, like a conversion, as if all of a sudden, everything harmonised and took its place. That’s the film. I can’t really say it except to repeat that Bresson note, ‘that without a thing changing, everything is different.’ The film exists. The fiction is set up, and we believe in it. The justness of the agreement leads us to believe it, because everything plays equally at being a sign. That’s the arrangement of the elements. It’s an act of faith. … La Vallêe close is just this: elements treated above all as if in a documentary that, without being changed, portray the story and reveal between them the elements of fiction. But above all seen as they are, insignificant. And then in the relations they set up, they can satisfy our desire for a story.
What’s beautiful in La Vallée close is that the story comes after the fact, after the “conversion.”
That’s to say that the story is always holy. Because it’s this need to believe that makes the film an act of faith. There’s something there that can overcome the short-sighted distinction between documentary and fiction. That’s what the cinema is. What’s important to me is this relation to belief. This conversion means that the elements let us believe. You can’t help but believe in them. The relationship between documentary and fiction is right there.
… There’s a passage where we hear a speech about the Galapagos Islands, about Hawaii, and all the beautiful things you see on the land. In what’s said, there’s an encounter with an image that comes from afar, from so far away that it gives the scene an emotional impact. On an emotional level, it’s maybe the more powerful sequence in La Vallée close. What do we see? Not much, and that’s why it’s so powerful.
So then what do we see?
The sun has barely set, and we see a tracking shot, the only one in the film, of the silhouettes of trees alongside the road we glide on away from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, and the image’s faint visibility gives some force to a voice-over from a film on space shuttle missions over the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, etc., ‘…and the sun rises for the sixteenth time.’ Right when we get to that point in the voice-over, we are suddenly beyond the road bounded by the black trees and there’s a clearing that lets us see the last lights of the sun, that we now take, thanks to the voice-over, to be the sunrise — ’and the sun rises for the sixteenth time.’ It’s especially striking because the speech holds out for the exact two and a half minutes, from the start to the finish. That happens in other reels as well, like the one with the tango.
In the film, there are two reels of home movies. Where did they come from and how did they find their place in the film?
I’d filmed them a number of years before. Maybe 20 years before. And they don’t resemble anything else that makes up La Vallée close. Why’d I find it necessary for them to be there? Just so there’d be some variation in the film’s development. Two reels of that sort positioned so that they resonate, that they respond in echo across a distance from where they’ve found their place. They don’t resemble the reels that precede or follow them at all, but they still have a significant relation to one another. For example, the first of these home movies follows a reel where at the end we hear: ‘Have you ever seen your mother hang the wet laundry outside?’ We hear that over the leader that ends the reel, and what follows is the silent home movie where we see a young woman with her son and an older woman in the countryside. They’re doing their washing outside, and smoke is coming out of the wash boiler they’ve lit a fire under. This fire is also the story that we’ve heard told at the school in the lesson about the clouds. The voice explains the formations of the clouds by asking a kid: ‘Have you ever seen your mother hang the wet laundry outside?’ And we see, in this silent sequence, this woman pulling out from the wash boiler the laundry that’s boiling hot and smoking, rinsing it in a little pool of water, and taking it over to the clothes line where she hangs it up. It’s perfect, as it relates to the exact same tone of the lesson calling out to the kid about his own family life, as well as to what it’s supposed to be doing, teaching about cloud formations.
The other home movie fits into La Vallée close in an essential way. Again, when the one reel ends with the sounds of ‘I still have so many things to try with sound,’ we move on to this other silent home movie. What do we see? Once again a young woman in the countryside, with a child who’s maybe five years old, and someone who we immediately imagine to be the father of the child, the husband of the wife, who is working in his woodworking shop in the open air. It looks like an evocation of the Holy family. You can see the frame of a window the child goes up to.
In positioning the reels like that, it’s not a matter of trying to say something, but of finding an arrangement that will encourage these correspondences, and allow for these synchronisations. That’s the film: correspondences from one reel to the next, from one sequence to another. The child in the workshop approaching the window without a windowpane, as if he were going to open it. In a Giorgione painting you see later, the child, held in the arms of the Virgin Mary, leans his head, as if he were leaning towards the earth.
I imagine these two reels weren’t filmed in la vallée close.
Are they the only images that weren’t filmed there?
Yes. Everything was filmed there except for the sequence on the seashore at the end of the film, and the Giorgione reproductions and the black and white erotic photo, which were filmed at my house. There’s also the merry-go-round, ‘Rainbow’, filmed at a fair in the Tuileries garden in Paris. I’d forgotten about those takes that weren’t filmed in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, since they’d become inextricable for me from the village fair, with the singer and the fireworks.
That the countryside of both home movies is a bit hilly shouldn’t let them be confused with the landscape of La Vallée close and that spot where the fountain is suddenly overtaken by an extremely tall cliff. It’s also important that the landscape is different in the two reels. They include another time and another place within the film. They shed some light on it. The borders of the enclosed valley, the rock face of the cave, become that much neater and distinct in contrast. … I never returned to the home movie evidenced in those two reels of La Vallée close. I never took up the camera again except in the hopes of a film.