Cloud and chimera

Pensées hybrides

Author: Marie Lienard-Yeterian (page 1 of 9)



Skies and shores
Moody and unpredictable
Pebbles come and go.

Storms and their aftermaths
With their unexpected denouements.





Tu as vu danser les rhizomes, les hyphes et les racines
Tracer les lignes d’une attraction irrésistible
Tourbillonner les tiges, les feuilles et les pétales
Exploser en corolle vers l’infini du ciel.
Tu as vu vibrer les plastes à la chaleur du soleil
Réitérer à chaque instant une alliance ancienne
Plus vieille que tout ce qui les entoure.
Tu as senti la chlorophylle parcourue de courants gigantesques
Et la sève monter au retour du printemps.

Tu as vu les anciennes divinités et leurs diadèmes brillants.
Les esprits sublimes sur leurs chars enflammés.
L’éclatante lueur dans l’obscurité des yeux clos.
Tu as senti contre ta peau la caresse des ailes, des cuticules, de la cellulose.

Tu as vu l’essaim grandir, vrombir, se disloquer
Tracer dans les airs des trajectoires mystérieuses
Comme des rituel étranges et familiers.

L’arbre n’est plus immobile, le sol n’est plus infranchissable.
La fleur n’est plus silencieuse, l’air n’est plus transparent.
Tout grandit, sans cesse, pendant que tu passes.




A subtitle could be “In Repair.”

Repair the body

Repair the mind

Repair the soul

And get a second chance at ex-isting.

Josiane (Muriel Robin) might be the central character after all. A character damaged by life emotionally and physically transforms her home into a space for artists (musicians, dancers, singers) to rehearse and workshop. A generous laboratory where friendships and romances are formed and/or thrive, where bodies find their way back into shape and harmony, individually and collectively. Josiane mentors Elise (Marion Barbeau) back into hope, tutoring her into a different relationship to herself and her father.

Like fixing a meal—cooking also occupies center stage as another expressive form of creativity—fixing bodies and fixing bonds require the proper ingredients, spices, talent and patience. A balancing act of “authority and freedom” as Jed Perl recently argued it in his eponymous work.

Literature also appears—if indirectly, through books that are either read and quoted, or given but remain unread—as part of this constellation of artistic practices.

A celebratory feast for our heart and senses.

En Corps is truly a gift for our post-pandemic humanity. Thank you, Mr Klapisch.

The movie invited me into a very personal dance.  

The film takes place mostly indoors except for a few ‘outings’ or ‘breaking out’ scenes as Sidney Lumet would say—the iconic urban beauty of Paris and the natural sublime of some coastal wilderness. After a number of sequences shot in Josiane’s large mansion, the action moves outdoors by the ocean. I have a shock. I cannot believe it…My eyes lock on the familiar-looking bench by the edge of the cliff and the beloved rugged coastline… This can’t be… I stop focusing on the action of the movie to collect other clues. The camera focuses on the characters and the bodies occupy most of the screen, but I recognize the patch of land! Yet my reason keeps resisting such serendipity until there is no doubt: I catch a sight of the ruins. Now the characters are on the well-trodden path I walked so many times over so many years, trying, like Elise, to fix a bad ankle while trailblazing new ways for my existence. Taken by surprise, I surrender to the deep sense of joy I feel rising in my heart, and the cinematic magic prevents this elation from turning into nostalgia. Like the actors on screen, I find the proper spot to contemplate and wonder, poised between gratefulness and admiration.

Later in the film, Elise mentions the place “between Plouharnel and Quiberon”. Indeed. A sort of in-between place for dreams bathed in the sunset miracle of perfect light and air.

I experience the Proustian subject’s sense of wholeness and fulfillment. A true and pure moment of joy. 

As I leave the movie theatre in a state of happiness I have not felt in a long time, Josiane’s final words to Elise still resonate with me—a legacy that only loving and compassionate resilience can inspire: “If you dance again, you will help all of us find our little entry into beauty.”

                                                                                      Marie LIENARD-YETERIAN


A modern tragedy and a tragic flaw: a lie cannot help truth prevail.

A study in human emotions and passions: jealousy, rivalry, bitterness, fear, anger.

Some parable about the impact of social networks on our lives.

For better and for worse.

The motifs of imprisonment and disenfranchisement. Authoritarianism and surveillance.

The recording of a private scene, the public showing of it without any context. To harm and destroy the other. Out of resentment and/or jealousy.

The scapegoating.

The blackmailing.

Social networks might give uncanny power to personal grievances.  

The appetite for scandal and warmongering.

Manipulation and hypocrisy.

Rumors come and go, shaping the reputation of a man, and his life.

The inaudible voice of compassion and redemption.  

A man is trying to fix his life and mend for his former ways.

But he is brought back to his past relentlessly and mercilessly.

The enduring loyalty of family ties.

And love.

The beautiful bond between the father and the son.

Appearances and what they seem to say.

The truth and its battlefields.

A haunting question: what would have happened to Rahim’s fate without new technology?



A of betrayal, courage, censorship, fear, sacrifice and wit.

Uncanny times that bespeak ours.

The double frame of the movie in the movie.

A series of mirrors and traps.

There is always more than first meets the eye.

The self-reflective dimension.

The deja-vu: breaking into the safe box, on screen and reality.

Playing with the viewer’s assumptions.

Film introduces the notion of illusion and performance.

The surprise effect and the ultimate sacrifice (killing the beloved).

Who is to be trusted? Who is reliable?

Putting the collective good over the personal happiness?

The game of hide and seek with the authorities. How to develop strategies of resilience and survival in the face of an authoritarian and brutal regime. 

The chess game, the safe deposit box, the films.

Performing and using a persona to escape, to defeat surveillance.

To betray or not to betray? Is it betrayal when the government has proved so inhuman?

To be a spy or a hero? “Desertion” is the word the husband uses…

The drive through the forest: the only moment of lightness in a claustrophobic world.

The sense of threat, the constant fear of denunciation.

Projecting the film for the soldiers. The reversal and some possible denouement.

Why did her husband do this? To protect her? To protect himself?

Lack of resolution and closure.

The wife’s laughter is the only available means of dismissing horror and torture. 

Her withdrawing into madness withholds the dilemma of expressing the truth in a way that would harm her and betray her husband and his cause.

Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly! The Shakespearean fool.

Finding shelter in an asylum, pretending to be mad in order to remain sound… Her only possible escape?

The incongruous and paradoxical hope that Japan will be defeated in order for the war to end.

Yet, some enormous and unspeakable sacrifice will be performed.

The coda: the effect of war, the allusion to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The collective toll paid by the population. She alone walks out like some ghost haunting reality.

The sea/The shore: to be left behind. Crying out of fear or relief?

His leaving and waving goodbye on the dingy boat. Escape (desertion) as the only outcome. To face the rage of the sea rather than remain silent.

The lyrics of the song in his own film provides the real message—a message that she alone can decode.

Of note:

Three lines that resonate with our current predicament:

The husband to the wife: What seems normal to you might be offensive to others in these times.

The wife to the childhood friend turned torturer: You used to be nice. If the current time has changed you, perhaps you can change the current time.

The wife to the family doctor: Pretending I am a mad woman is the way to survive in this world without becoming one.

Marie Lienard-Yeterian


The opening shot a déjà vu feeling. In film and in reality.
The famous crane shot in Gone with the Wind and its merciless exposition of the destruction of Atlanta (and the South and its army).
The rubble of countless contemporary cities in the wake of war and ethnic/religious conflict.
A sequence mediated by familiar images of recent news coverage. An uncanny moment of recognition.
The lingering uneasiness left by the contemplation of ruins—real and metaphorical—in our current holiday context two years in a pandemic that has exploded our comfort zones.

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To dig into the truth. Literally and metaphorically.
At the individual and at the collective level.

Bodies pregnant with legacies—tender or violent.
A gestation process, and a painful delivery.
Dealing with the aftermath. 

The opening sequence: 
Taking pictures, trying to capture life in a snapshot. To hold still what is moving. To record and remember. The lines of a face, the sparkle of a gaze, the light of a smile.

Pictures of the past and of the present. 
Pictures as tokens of History and its lieux de memoire.
Revisiting the pictures, revisiting History. 

Shots of commodities sometimes replace photographs of people. Objects too, have a life of their own and bespeak other historical processes.

The toy that was buried is unearthed and can circulate again between generations. In its proper place. In the proper hands. 

Bodies hijacked by death in the midst of their activities. The volcano of Civil War has buried them beneath its fatal ashes. 

Life holds still, like the memories that provide the only guiding thread back to them.

The archeological work of digging up oblivion and erasure. The emotional work of processing the unearthed artifacts. 

To confront and articulate historical and personal memory without ignoring what meets the eye. First and after. 

The legitimacy given by science sometimes helps.

The body does not lie. 

Genetic evidence, or bones in the earth. The veracity of facts can no longer be denied.

Some cognitive coherence and emotional alignment for Janis. If your passion is to bring to light what is, then you start with your own life. Even if it takes time. Janis’s journey inscribes itself in the national journey. 
It takes time to restore what has been broken, stolen, damaged. 
But truth makes you free.

Telling a story or inheriting one: trying to patch together lose narrative threads on the twin loom of memory and the imagination.

Love in its many faces and guises. 
Love that comes and goes.
And returns, uninvited, to haunt scripts of domesticity and normativity. 

The final shot: 
Cecilia the truth-inspirer is looking down on the historical legacy that awaits her.
A new Spain, perhaps, where the past can be laid to rest, where survivors can mourn their loved ones, and where filiations can be revisited.
it is as if, under little the little girl’s gaze, artifacts of the past retrieved their human form: a palimpsest of humanity that only love can see—defeating, if for an instant, the legacy of hatred. 



Witty and fast-paced, Wes Anderson’s film triggers in us a compulsion to move on.

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A collaborative project by the UCA Writers’ Group

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Inner fiction (the means): the details: what are they? What do they do? When and where?

Outer fiction (the end): why are the details there? What do they mean? What is their purpose?

To show and/or tell

To revisit assumptions and quick interpretations

An image can lead from one to the other

I will use this dynamic as a lens to read two elements of our post lockdown-ongoing pandemic life starting with two images:

A monkey climbing up a dead tree/A mask

1- PLANET OF THE HUMANS: the short range/long range

The title is programmatic, and clarified throughout the documentary. The critical review of renewable energies is the means to a larger end indicated in the title: we continue to behave as if the planet has unlimited resources, and current alternative solutions have removed the guilt. They do not really question the status quo—not only in terms of our ways of life but also in terms of the logic of our economy still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. The goal of the documentary is not to scapegoat or target one group or another for the sake of doing so, its point is to reveal that “you cannot rebuild the house with the master’s tools” in poet Audre Lorde’s words.  The question raised early on—“can machines produced by an industrialized culture take us beyond that culture?”—launches a very systematic and well-documented critique. Capitalism has hijacked the original vision and resources. It is urgent to come up with new bold ideas. With renewable energies, humans have already shown that they can tap into other parts of their creative powers. As these solutions are not perfect in terms of the impact on the planet, it is urgent to rise to the occasion again.

Beyond the wink to “Planet of the Apes, the final image represents a possible state for our humanity on the planet if we keep on denying the crisis. We will be climbing up that last tree, noticing that there are no leaves and that the landscape below is totally barren, but hoping we can escape to the end of the tree, expecting something better up there for us.

The monkey is about to die under the scorching sun. Until it is rescued, and saved.

Who will rescue us?

The question is for us to consider. Today. When the land is not barren, when trees still have leaves, when we can still live in their pleasant shade.

If we miss the deep underlying question raised in the documentary, we will miss the call to act. Collectively.

There is time still to attend to that tree and to the ground below. Before we are forced to climb up to nothingness.

2-THE AFTERMATH OF THE LOCKDOWN (the short-term/the long-term)

To wear a mask in the open air might appear useless.

But such an analysis confines (no pun intended) the mask to the inner fiction ring.

In the outer fiction dimension, to wear a mask reveals its pedagogic function: with a mask on, we are reminded of the ongoing extraordinary context.

Awareness of the virus must have an impact of on our ways of interacting and socializing. This simple but essential tool facilitates overall social distancing rules in a world that looks the same but is still being shaped by a virus that is anything but gone.

When wearing a mask, we are protecting others. We take care of each other. The mask is only fully operative if reciproquated and framed within the protocol of all the other sanitary measures (hand washing and physical distancing in particular).

A short-term surrender of our immediate and individual comfort.

A long-term collective benefit if we contain the spread of the virus.

What model will prevail on the planet? The mask-off or the mask-on model?


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