Saturday, 17 February 2018

Mediteranee (1963)

The last movie of 1963 is “Méditerranée”. It is excluded from the Danish edition in favor of the Swedish “Kvarteret Korpen” and thus by the Danish edition editors considered dispensable.

In my frank opinion there were a number of movies on the list in 1963 that were dispensable, but alas, this was the one that got booted out.

“Méditerranée” is an experimental film by a fellow called Jean-Daniel Pollet. It consists of beautiful pictures of, lets see… some ancient ruins, a garden, a sea (probably the Mediterranean), a bull fight, a Greek wedding, some Egyptian statues and pyramids, a fisherman, a girl getting dressed, some hot iron being processed and picked up by a machine and a girl on an operation table. Probably a few more items. Each scene is nice to look at, the colors are great, and we return to each scene again and again in the course of the 42 minutes of the movie.

There is a wonderful score that fits the pictures very well. It is the kind of music I do not mind listening to and it is even a bit hypnotic.

And then there is a narrator. Now, the only place I was able to find this movie was on YouTube and the version was without English subtitles. As the narration is in French and my French is… ah… inadequate, I only got a word here and there. Enough to understand that this is more of a poem than an actual commentary to the pictures and that it has something to do with time and memory. It is probably a nice and poetic, well, poem, but I really cannot comment much more on it than that.

Now, since this is an experimental movie we know that whatever happens here is probably different and does not have to make any sense in regular terms and that is precisely where we are here. I had very little idea of what was going on, but at the same time I got the feeling that I do not really need to know what this is about. The pictures are real pretty and the score is very nice, so it feels quite meditative. After my initial frustration at not understanding what on Earth was happening here, I fell into a quiet acceptance and just enjoyed the state of mind it really is.

I quite agree that this movie was not the highlight of 1963, but it was not the worst either and I would probably have chosen something else to boot off the List. Still you can ask why it is on the List in the first place? Apparently it was very influential. Godard, my old friend, was inspired by this when he made “Le Mepris” although “Méditerranée” was only shown publicly four years later. How exactly that works out I am not sure.

Alas, 1963 is now done and I am looking forward to get started on 1964.



  1. Maybe I should have given the YouTube version a chance? Nice that we are starting our 1964s at nearly the same time!

    1. P.S. If it has pretty pictures that makes it at least less dispensable than the two Jack Smith movies.

    2. Exactly. There is not only one, but two movies that are worse in 1963. That does not say much about Méditerranée, it is still and obscure and nonsensical movie, but it does say quite a bit about 1963 and the list editors.

      Yes, it is great that we are starting the year at the same time. It does make it more fun, this way.