Introduction: Another Kind of Image

In my normal academic and critical practice I have been invested with close, even myopic, looking at specific images for a long time. I had -- I think -- a good reason for this bias. I believe that images have as much to say as texts, and that encountering, or entering a dialogue with an image takes as much time as reading a novel. Whether we call it "propositional content" as I have at some point (1991) or by any other term, the idea that images visually say something, rather than illustrating something already said, is at the heart of my practice as an art writer. By calling it "saying," however, I do not wish to maintain that the image's content is limited to a rational, cognitive level. The divide between cognition and emotion, or reason and affect never sat easy with me, and I ignore it with conviction.

In order to find out what images "say," I have advocated "close looking" as a practice to learn from and engage with the artefacts of visual culture, instead of merely regarding them as illustrations of what we already know. Developing this conviction further, I have proposed that images can perform an equivalent of speech acts; that they can respond ("speak back") to the look cast onto them, and that they can entice viewers to theorize. These tentative ideas are congenial to W.J.T. Mitchell's suggestive question "What do pictures want?" (2005) Hence, when we study and analyze images, they are not so much case studies, subjected to the scholar's scalpel, as dialogical partners. I call such "speaking images", which speak back and make me think, "theoretical objects." [1]

This idea has consequences for the way I develop arguments about how visual images help articulate thought. The usual term "case study" has been both overly inflected by exemplarity and comprehensiveness and, paradoxically, marred by generalization. That is why I am now more inclined to use the alternative, equally over-extended but more specific term "theoretical object." As Hubert Damisch, the creator of that term, explains it in an interview, a theoretical object obliges you to do theory but also furnishes you with the means of doing it. Thus, if you agree to accept it on theoretical terms, it will produce effects around itself . . . [and] forces us to ask ourselves what theory is. It is posed in theoretical terms; it produces theory; and it necessitates a reflection on theory. (Bois et al. 1998, 8)
Do, means of doing it, effects, forces, produces, necessitates . . . every word here is relevant. Compelling collective thought processes emerge in the dynamic between the works as objects, their viewers, and the time in which these come together, accompanied by the social buzz that surrounds both work and viewer as their shared environment. The specific aspects of an image that activate "doing theory" are in constant dialogue with the image to which the analyst is committed to return every step of the way. They are the sites of these thought processes, this triple theoretical activity Damisch mentions. [2]

For the kind of image I am considering here, the term "theoretical object" is therefore better suited to situate my approach than the simpler "case study" -- on the condition that we extend it to cover more than single images. Here, the dialectic of singularity and generalization plays itself out. The object is not this or that artwork, photograph, or film still, but an image-series that activates thought. In the case of a narrative series, these images together activate the construction of, among other thoughts, a story. Each image begins to do what, along with other ones, viewers do, in an ongoing process of performativity. [3]

This performativity is significant for images that, according to our ontological distinctions, do not (materially) exist, as is the case, at least in part, with the images I wish to discuss here. In the first instance, it was an image, or rather, a series of images, that came out of an activity of reading. This "coming out of reading" happened twice over. First, an author wrote a book in which she described images that came out of her readings. Second, I read that book, and images-the same ones? different ones?-came out of my reading of her reading. Except for the cover image, a detail from Pieter Breughel the Elder's painting Dulle Griet (Mad Meg) (1562), there were no images in the material sense involved. Yet, these images were so strong that, after seeing them with my mind's eye, I had to make them, as "after-images" that were interpretants of the images evoked but not presented. This, in utterly succinct form, is the story of my current film project Mère folle.

I use the term interpretant in the sense in which American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce theorized the sign, in order to make the point that images can be signs even if they are not materially extant. Peirce starts his definition of the sign with a perceptible object. The question posed by this object -- What does it mean? -- cannot be answered by revealing something inherent in the object. Instead, the cultural group in which the object circulates works the meaning out in a practice that yields a second, further developed object. That second object, or sign, is the interpretant, a new sign developed on the basis of, and evoked by, the attempt to understand the first sign (Peirce 1985). Objects, hence, also images, are active participants in the performance of analysis in that they enable reflection and speculation; they can contradict projections and wrong-headed interpretations (if the analyst lets them!), and thus constitute a theoretical object with philosophical relevance, whether materially embodied or not.

Two qualifications are required here. First, filmmaking is never something one does alone. There is a wide, and ever-widening, circle of contributors, from professional and amateur actors to make-up artists and translators. For Mère folle, we had, for example, actors, both volunteers and professionals; help with script, camera, sound, translation; people who made a superb website for the project (crazymothermovie.com, dir. Olli Heinola). But most importantly, I am making this film with British artist Michelle Williams Gamaker. Michelle and I have been collaborating since 2002, the beginning of my practice in filmmaking. Hence, when I use the pronoun "I" it should be read as "we" in most cases. I cannot use "we" as this pronoun has been marred by the universalist "we" that strives to create a "wefeeling" that is in turn liable to constitute an exclusive audience and its manipulated benevolence. This is why I choose to avoid it here. Moreover, others, to be indicated as we go along, have made the photographs of draft sequences of this film that stand here as "the image" I am discussing. What I am going to say about the film is my own responsibility -- hence the persistence of "I" -- while the film as such is a collective work, and specifically the work of Michelle Williams Gamaker and myself in an equal partnership. [5]

Second, there is another intense partnership involved, which bears on the status and the nature of the images. The film is a "translation" of a book by French psychoanalyst Françoise Davoine (on which more below), an act that has turned out best served in close collaboration with the author. The images she "saw," or had in mind, when she wrote her book are inevitably very different from the ones that end up in this publication and in the film-to-be. There are several layers of interpretation and imagination between the one and the other. This is why the film images can only be what I call "after-images," with several temporal and visual layers separating the "original" from the images now put before my readers. Still, I am confident I can speak about these images as I contend that there is not actually a fundamental difference, only a difference of degree, between my very tentative images here, and, say, a painting or photograph one can analyze. [6]

Even a material painting has once existed in the artist's mind, and then came off on canvas much different. And that material painting subsequently keeps changing in each act of viewing projected upon it, with time, place, and social circumstance of its subsequent "life" as a work of art. An image, in this sense, will always be in the process of "becoming." By that Deleuzian term I mean something quite specific. Not only each artwork, but a priori the entire oeuvre of an artist, is and remains in the process of becoming. The becoming of an oeuvre implies a retrospective temporal logic according to which each new work recasts the terms in which the previous works could be understood. [7]

Each new phase of that becoming is informed by a later work that retrospectively glosses an earlier work. Each new work puts a spin on the ensemble of what came before it. In that becoming as an oeuvre or a work consisting of multiple images, my theoretical object is the body of images named Mère folle, inflected by what "my work" -- as a reader, filmmaker, and critic of the resulting images -- adds to that corpus. And, according to the retrospective logic I have elsewhere called "preposterous" (1999), the beginning or starting point is the set of filmic images you will see here, followed by the images "I saw," only then followed by those in the author's book and ending with those images the author "saw," and that are inaccessible to me. It is this retrospective impact that is the point of studying an image "in its entirety." [8]

Finally, let me add a word on the ontological impossibility of the term "case study." "The world is everything that is the case," Ludwig Wittgenstein writes at the opening of his Tractatus (2001). In Wittgenstein's terms, then, the images resulting from the multi-layered imaging as you can see them here, are "the case." Therefore, a discussion of them cannot be a "case study" in the classical sense, as then they would be a "case of" -- something else. Instead, any discussion of them emphatically endorses the inescapable fact that the image is part of the world in which it occurs -- in which and hence for which it is the case. The philosopher's opening phrase of the Tractatus brings existential and performative claims together: as a part of the world, the image labors for the latter's transformation. The image is "worldly" in a double sense: it emerges from the world in which I, Michelle, the actors, and the author exist and make images; while the themes and modes it takes on are dictated by that world-a world that posits its conditions of possibility for effective, that is, performative art.
The Film: Story-Images
With this in mind, I propose a look at some of the images, or after-images, fragments of what is to be considered one image. These images resulted from the retrospective work on the images the author created, or received, in her mind. As I mentioned earlier, Mère Folle is a feature film based on the book Mère folle by the French psychoanalyst Françoise Davoine (1998). This book, written in the first person, hovers between fiction and theory and integrates the best of both. Mère folle was Davoine's second fiction, after La Folie Wittgenstein (1992). Perhaps I should call it a "theoretical fiction": the term Freud uses to explain the genre of Totem and Taboo, his story of the primitive band of revolting sons killing and eating the tyrannical father (1913). Sometimes, Freud's story intimates, it takes fiction or other forms of imaginative thought to understand something for which reason is too simple. Davoine's book too has theoretical points to make and uses speculation and fiction to make them, and subsequently so has (and does) our film. But, unlike Freud's primary tool of plot, Davoine's points are primarily made through images, not discursive discussion. The plot itself, not absent, serves, rather, to frame the images. [9]

Like the auto-fictional book -- but not in the same autobiographical form -- the film stages the intertwinement of two confrontations. One occurs between a psychoanalyst and her severely traumatized patients. The other confronts this contemporary world with medieval fools, agents of a late-medieval political theatre. Most of the times, these two worlds mingle. For Michelle and me, the theoretical-political importance of the project lies in a positive representation of mad (psychotic) people and a constructive interaction between mad and sane people through which both learn things from the other that help them live their lives. Within the film medieval "fools" strike precisely that balance. This motivates their participation. Hence, in that ambiguous representation of "madness" -- rather than in relation to the book as such -- our first allegiance was positioned.

This allegiance can only be done justice through a carefully thought-through image of the Fools and their contemporary counterparts, the Mad. To achieve this, an ontological uncertainty with bearings on epistemology was our primary guideline. The Fools raise an ontological question that also bears on the status of the images and what they convey. The Fools are not mad but play the fool. So how do we know what "being mad" is, and whether that is different from playing? Can you play what you are; and be, or become, what you play? This is the theoretical question that undermines the authority of the archaeological thrust of psychoanalysis. It lies at the heart of Davoine's social approach to psychoanalysis; her attempt to make the theory and practice less individualistic.

For us as filmmakers, this question was doubled by another one: how can we make that unknowability or undecidability visible, convincing, and productive? The book is an out-of-the-box integration of theory, fiction, and documentary. Here lies the debt the film and its images have towards the book and the points its author seeks to make. As a "faithful" translation, the film owes it to the book to make that integration of traditionally separate domains visible, and to the book as theoretical object in the sense described above, to draw (visual) conclusions from that integration. This is quite a heavy task, especially if we also consider Benjamin's paradoxical view of translation.

Françoise Davoine, author and main actor (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 1: Françoise Davoine, author and main actor (photo Markus Karjalainen)
The story runs as follows. The opening words tell us that "tomorrow is All Saints' Day". That makes today the Day of the Dead. As it happens, Françoise has just learned of the death by overdose of one of her psychotic patients. Discouraged, she blames herself and psychoanalysis for this tragic failure. She enters a deep crisis that will last until the final pages of the book. She is tempted to abandon her job at the psychiatric hospital. While pondering this decision in the courtyard of the hospital, she takes a book on the Middle Ages out of her bag. It is a book her dead patient had requested she bring him. She had intended to give it to the patient last week, now it is too late. As she rummages through her bag and finds the book, the enigmatic figure of Mère Folle appears - as if out of the book, as its interpretant. A number of medieval Fools accost Françoise, challenging psychoanalysis as fraudulent. Their primary grievance is the privileging of word over gesture, the individual over the group, and the past over the present. Their leader, Mère Folle, is depressed because the Fools do not obey her anymore. She sits down in silence. With a wink to iconography, that staple of art history, she takes the pose of Dürer's famous engraving Melencolia. [11]

Mère Folle arrives (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 2: Mère Folle arrives (photo Markus Karjalainen)

A long discussion ensues, in which a dead-pan Françoise remains situated in the present without being astonished by the confrontation with another historical time, and responds as if discussing with colleagues. It is this ability to remain her professional self while engaging with other times and their discourses that is her primary strength. That discrepancy in tone was our interpretation of the rather even tone of the argumentative prose in the book, in spite of the exuberance of the descriptive parts. We translated this tone into the main character's calm acting, although the text does not reflect on it per se. [12]

That this discrepancy comes across in the images is due to Françoise's superbly subtle acting. But we had to visualize a point that the book makes constantly yet only implicitly, which is the ontological uncertainty of madness mentioned above. Since playing the fool is the Fools' profession, this took a specifically theatrical form, one that is not in the book. The film shows how, in the course of the discussion, the Fools can no longer be separated from the Mad. These begin to mingle with them, even to chant comments drawn from medieval poems under the direction of the Musical Nurse who tries to calm them with their own means, all of this to the panic of the Head Nurse. [13]

Fools and Mad mingling in courtyard (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 3: Fools and Mad mingling in courtyard (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Nurses separate Fools from Mad (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 4: Nurses separate Fools from Mad (photo Markus Karjalainen)

But a professional crisis is harder to actually live than Françoise had thought. The fools end up irritating her out of her determination to resign, and reluctantly she returns to work. There she is caught by her affection for and identification with the patients, and the occasional success of a treatment. As she talks with patients, the distinction between the Fools and the Mad fades away slowly. Françoise is struck by the unexpected bouts of wisdom both groups bring forth. This uncertainty is made visible by several means, one of them being the quite simple ploy of playing multiple roles. The most striking instance of this is the performance by actor Thomas Germaine. In the courtyard he shows up among the Fools under the name of Antonin (later, his last name turns out to be Artaud), a self-proclaimed although anachronistic friend of sixteenth-century writer Étienne de la Boétie. As the latter cannot speak, Antonin speaks for him. In the hospital scene, Germaine is a patient, also called Antonin. And in the trial, he acts out Artaud's combination of genius and madness. At this point one already wonders if these figures are one, two, or three persons. Moreover, towards the end of the film he shows up at Françoise's home seeking treatment, and the short treatment they undertake together is successful. His name is Herlat, another name for Harlequin, the King of Death Mère Folle conjures up during the trial - at which point not Harlequin but Artaud appears. All these characters may or may not be the same "person." This questions the ontology of persoonhood embedded in the questioning of madness.

La Boétie, Antonin, and a Fool who lent her ear to the tyrant (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 5: La Boétie, Antonin, and a Fool who lent her ear to the tyrant (photo Markus Karjalainen)
Meanwhile, exhausted and dejected after this turbulent half-day, Françoise goes home and parks her car. In her garage she is abducted by two mafiosi and so begins a strange voyage. She is taken to the Middle Ages -- or rather, the Middles Ages surface in the present, in a small, somewhat shabby Parisian theatre. There, Françoise is brought before a court where she is blamed, not for the death of her patient, but for her lack of insight. The episodes of that court case confront her, and us, with the sane reasoning hiding behind the Fool's mask. The alleged fools come from the tradition of "sotties," a political theatre from the late Middle Ages, a kind of carnival of Fools. These are the Fools who merged with the patients at the hospital; their arrival, thus, becomes a political moment. As opposed to the patients, the fools have impunity.

The Court presided by Mère Folle (Murielle-Lucie Clément) at Françoise's Trial (photo Mia Hannula)

Photo 6: The Court presided by Mère Folle (Murielle-Lucie Clément) at Françoise's Trial (photo Mia Hannula)

Françoise is guarded by her captors. But still, consistent in her in-betweenness, she cannot help herself listening and discussing these issues seriously.

Françoise with her abductors (photo Mia Hannula)

Photo 7: Françoise with her abductors (photo Mia Hannula)

The narrator's own literary and philosophical sources also mix in during the trial in the form of imaginary or dreamt dialogues with great thinkers such as Antonin Artaud, Ludwig Wittgenstein, T.S. Eliot, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Clearly, there is madness and madness, and perhaps where there is madness, genius is often not so far away. There is also a carnival of words taking place; hilarious yet incisive dialogues in which everyone, fool, mad or sane; from the past, the present, or as in-between as the mad are, is on equal footing, and the smart repartees are, by far, not always the narrator's.

Artaud (Thomas Germaine) and Francoise (photo Mia Hannula)

Photo 8: Artaud (Thomas Germaine) and Francoise (photo Mia Hannula)
For the narrator, this dialogic traversal of time is also a return to her own past. Her boundaries -- in time, space, and identity -- melt down. She becomes capable of identifying not only with her patients, in whose adventures she begins to participate, but also with her former self. Two patients from the past stroll through Françoise's world when she least expects it. These are a woman named Sissi-doctor Davoine's first failure of twenty years ago-and the timeless elfish Ariste who dies at the beginning, only to resurface regularly throughout the film as an "inspector" (or as Françoise bruised super-ego), as a source of gossip, and as a memory. These two phantom patients constantly confront Françoise with the difficulty of her work and the danger, and likelihood, of failure. But nothing is entirely positive or negative, nor a complete success or failure.

Sissi (Marja Skaffari) (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 9: Wittgenstein (John Neubauer) and Eliot (Matthew Wright) arguing (photo Mia Hannula)

Ariste (Fleur Sulmont) (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 10: Sissi (Marja Skaffari) (photo Markus Karjalainen)

From these combined travels Françoise gains a capability to practice immersion into the deliria of her patients, in order to become a fraternal equal to them. Only through such an "extreme identification" will she be able to carve for them an auxiliary space wherein the "catastrophic regions" that generated their madness can be confronted. Psychosis can only be cured through this method, which has profound consequences for the human existence of the psychoanalyst herself and the way she can tell her story. Throughout the story, the narrator has been doing precisely that: becoming an equal to the "fools" and the "mad." [14]

It is on this hopeful note that, during the turmoil of the Carnival of Basel, the immersion into the medieval universe of folly, the story ends. Between the trial and the Carnival, Françoise's day is not over. She treats Herlat, then pays an overdue visit to the grave of her former teacher, the sister of her father's Resistance friend, inveterate Spanish freedom fighter Don Luís, as well as to that of the latter's "mad aunt" who also haunts her childhood memories. Meanwhile, viewers will have made the acquaintance of a number of patients, who each pull the narrator into their own temporal and spatial catastrophic regions. Theoretical considerations, initially only occurring in the mind of the narrator, will be taken over by fools, colleagues, patients, and even a bee who seems to be her interlocutor when she muses about her dilemmas.

The after-images that result from our working through of Davoine's ideas and story can also be called "story-images," since they build up a story that is both the same as the book's and different; and I would even say, one story-image, composed of many fragments. They both visualize and glue together the episodes of the adventure, the voyage to insight Françoise undertakes, and which, in its entirety, constitutes "the image" of the film. The images must remain close to that story, make it concrete, and at the same time betray the length, complexity, and theoretical density of the book. The primary task we saw ourselves confronted with was to turn this into an engaging film without betraying the thoughts of our theoretical object.
Loyalty by Betrayal
Making a book into a film: the problems one encounters during such an undertaking are well known. There is, for example the obvious need to compress, the equally obvious task of filling in and fleshing out the appearances of people, places, and objects; and the visualisation of abstract thought. And all this must be done against the desire -- if not the obligation or the need -- to be "faithful" to the book. Before submitting these images to the viewer's gaze, many interventions have already taken place. The question of loyalty to the book, without which it hardly makes any sense to endeavour to "translate" a book into a film, is in itself very vague. What is it to which the filmmaker wishes to be loyal?

For Michelle and me it was important to remain loyal, not so much to the book, as to our own desire to make a film based on it. The theoretical thrust -- offering an alternative vision of psychoanalysis as a profoundly social science -- compelled certain visual decisions that, at first sight, have little to do with theory. Here, I want to discuss some of these decisions, as a contribution to the question of images to which this series is devoted.

The first, major intervention concerned the individualism and the linguistic bias the Fools impute to Françoise. The narrator is semi-convinced by these reproaches, which she recognises all too well from her practice and her colleagues; but she also tries to defend a certain approach to psychoanalysis against these criticisms. Her entire project is a battle against the individualism that keeps the Mad impermeable to psychoanalysis. Her life's work, instead, consists of attempts to preserve psychoanalysis as a social science. In the book this discussion can obviously only remain verbal, although it is narratologically speaking, astonishingly "jumpy": interrupted by small occurrences and verbal punning, misunderstandings and anachronistic "errors", and never leading to a compromise or resolution. Here, a dilemma arises: do we do justice to the discussion, to the author's project, or to the story, and on which level? [15]

In Davoine's book, the story concerns Françoise's crisis and the voyage of discovery that leads to her insight. It is a kind of Bildungsroman slash travel story. If this form was respected in detail, the film would become too centred on a single character, a formal ploy that is better suited to writing than the externalisation of visuality. In particular, this form would not do justice to the fact that in Françoise's eyes, the Fools do have a point. We deployed several levels of dispersal in order to avoid an individualistic, autobiographical interpretation of a story that, in fact, harbours important theoretical insights that go against individualism, and thus necessarily revise the very notion of autobiography-the "auto" of it. These dispersals make the story more general while preserving the singularity of the characters involved. This was our first, primary act of loyalty-by-betrayal. [16]

Another dispersal concerns language. The film is multilingual; actors from different countries speak their own languages. This decision was partly compelled by the need to recruit actors from different countries, casting our own acquaintances rather than getting professionals from a casting agency. But very soon it seemed the right thing to do, and it inspired us to expand on this. The multilingual speeches became images of a multi-cultural Europe, as well as of a certain kind of social madness present in the contemporary world. At the same time, they became almost utopian images of the possibility to communicate against all odds. This ambiguity functioned as an incentive for inventive imagining and subsequent imaging.

In an interview that may make it into the film, the author says that images build bridges because they help to communicate across the boundaries that separate the sane from the mad, the contemporary from earlier times, and different cultural and linguistic communities from each other. She establishes a connection, however briefly, between the function of images and the accumulative effect of the oral transmission of poetry. The tension in this multilingualism between a utopian vision and a certain kind of madness became a rich source of play with the ambivalence of the book toward classical psychoanalysis, the uncertainty of madness, and contemporary European reality. [17]

Thus, the oxymoron "loyalty-by-betrayal" became our guideline. In every decision, both the loyalty -- How did the book represent this? -- and the betrayal -- How to represent this "best," most adequately? -- became an issue of reflection and discussion. Once the linguistic dispersal had become a principle that would be loyal to the book by differing so drastically from it, the visual setting had to be dispersed as well. Geographically, the film is set in different places, moving along with the dispersal of the vision of psychoanalysis. The psychoanalyst's dilemma, for example, is shared by other psychoanalysts.

Former patients of doctor Davoine are now either independent, or live in a "half-way house" where they are getting ready to re-integrate into society, elsewhere, under the guidance of other psychoanalysts. As an example of a visual-linguistic pun that makes a theoretical point tangible, this house is in "the North," because retrouver le nord is the French phrase for coming to your senses. As the patients, there, struggle to come to their senses, then, so does psychiatry: for filming this half-way house we were lucky enough to end up on historically layered Seili Island, a small island off the coast of Turku, Finland. The island's landscape is beautiful, the mid-summer light extraordinary, and the overall sense of the place gives a peek into the layering of history in the present. On this island, a former leprosy hospital had been converted into a hospital for the insane, only to close in 1962. After the disappearance of leprosy in that part of the world, the old hospital cared for the mad (mostly of the lower classes and more women than men), who were never to return home to the mainland. A chilling requirement for admission, we learned, was that patients bring their own coffin. [18]

In spite of more ontological similarities than usually assumed, film images also differ from paintings or other still images in several respects. One difference that matters enormously for filmmaking is setting. Apart from their obvious movement, film images are set in spaces that have continuous presence and, hence, a function in a film. In a book, the settings can remain much vaguer, indicated only rudimentarily, as is the case in Davoine's book as well. In the film we need to evoke what Mexican psychoanalyst Alberto Montoya Hernández has called "landscapes of madness" (2006). This beautifully ambiguous concept refers both to the imaginary places madness elects to situate itself in, and to images of landscapes that appear mad, or are hospitable to the Mad. [19]

For our purposes, we wished the landscape of madness to be both full of real history of madness, as well as slightly anachronistic. Two parts of the film are set in psychiatric hospitals: the treatment of Sissi by another analyst, and the work Françoise does once she returns to her job on that fateful Day of the Dead. The location for the first part is an obsolete yet formerly actual psychiatric institution in Nokia, Finland, called Pitkäniemi Hospital. It is quite reminiscent of the hospital at Seili. The location for the other part is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands: an art deco building housing an art school, with large echoing spaces that respond to the idea of collective treatment in more ways than one. The footage shows that this cannot be what is known as group therapy, because the patients are too deeply immersed in their madness to connect to each other. This isolation, in turn, comes across through the echoing sound characteristic of the large halls, which makes for difficult understanding. The echo surrounds each patient with an isolating auditive halo. The patients' only sociality is with Françoise, a situation that burdens the latter with the responsibility to begin restoring sociality with and for them. Thus, a drawback of that particular location -- its terrible acoustics -- ends up contributing to making concrete, to "image", the central problem in madness according to Davoine's book: the broken social bonds that leave the patients in what she calls "catastrophic regions," a term that resonates with Montoya Hernández's "landscapes of madness." For Davoine, these regions -- mental and geographical as well as historical -- harbour the violence that generates madness, sometimes generations later.

Other locations include several sites in Paris, such as an old neighbourhood theatre as setting for the trial, and a flea market for a short memory sequence of the Fools being chased away from public space (by adding "by François Premier" they place themselves in the sixteenth century). These sites are "turned mad" by the discrepancies between the normal goings-on and the interference wrought by the Fools. Seili Island and its hospital convey the sense of isolation that is a silent stream in the film, not foregrounded as much in the book. In the South of Spain, we set the visit Françoise pays to Don Luís, the old family friend and Resistance fighter, in order to broaden the scope of the historical violence invoked. Here, a visit to the cemetery dates the film to that long 31st of October, the Day of the Dead, as well as placing it against that other "paisaje de la locura" that was the Spanish Civil War. Documentary footage of a puppet play at an annual medieval festival in Turku opens the film. This sets up the anachronistic time-and-place of the entire story. These are settings where, precisely, history can act up again, as it does in the lives of the patients. [20]

But, in spite of such suggestive settings, the film is not realistic in the traditional sense; it actively avoids this rhetorical mode. We have several reasons for this avoidance of straightforward realism. As the film and its story offer clear indications that it is not realistic, a realist reading will not only be false rhetorically. It will also fail to do justice to the inextricable bond between the film and the reality it critically engages. I am even inclined to generalize this point: realism by definition distorts, obscures, and otherwise bypasses the bond between art -- or literary works -- and reality. That bond, complex and questionable as it is, also remains a primary requirement for art to matter. [21]

In the same vein, I maintain the term "Mad" for the characters that hover in a state of patienthood. The clearest synonym of this word is "mentally ill," rather than the American euphemism "mentally disabled" or, worse, "challenged." Whereas "ill" is a cultural diagnosis of a state that does not preclude competent agency, "disabled" is precisely the opposite of what the characters turn out to be, and suggests permanence; they are rather hyper-abled. That other euphemism, "mentally challenged," again if literally interpreted, implies the possibility to willfully improve the state of one's mind. All euphemisms based on this word "challenged" imply the worst connotations of the ideology of the American dream: challenges can be met; who fails is herself to blame. Here, again, I submit a generalization: euphemisms, well-meant as they are, are misguided attempts to take the sting out of language. They are misguided because, precisely through their erasure of negativity in their connotations, they erase the persistence of the views the older terms express more honestly.

Rather than avoiding the language, culture is in need of different views of a phenomenon that has a history. For this revision of the views the old term may be more useful, reminding us as it does of the dangers inherent in the views they express, not in the terms per se. Thus, such euphemisms do the opposite of performing retrospection; they erase what needs to be re-visioned. The authentication of psychosis compels a commitment to such a strongly historical yet reversed, or preposterous, politics of time.

The impossibility of realism -- its fundamental unrealness -- is most clearly demonstrated by the "actual" psychoanalytic treatments we staged. As mentioned, in the course of the film there are two (supposedly) completed treatments of patients: a shorter one of a man called Herlat, played by Thomas Germaine (whom we already encountered as Fool Antonin, patient Antonin, and court member Artaud) taking place in Davoine's office, toward the end of the film; and a longer treatment of Sissi, taking place early on in Pitkäniemi Hospital. These two sequences pose the cinematic problem of realism with insistence. If played out earnestly, they would have to be documentary in style and boring in length. If tampered with, as we were compelled to do, they might become demeaning to the seriousness of the pain of the (fictionalized) afflicted patients.

In relation to this dilemma, here I will only briefly discuss one aspect of Sissi's treatment, a major sequence in the film. This sequence is subject to a particular act of translation, that of loyalty-by-betrayal. We made two decisions of betrayal that turned out "loyal enough." In the book, Françoise evokes Sissi's treatment at length in conversations with Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961), the physicist devoted to quantum mechanics. He is also a member of the court, and the person she runs into after the trial. These conversations as such were impossible to capture visually: they were too abstract, too lengthy, and full of word play and other linguistic elements that would make the film top-heavy. Brilliant writing, impossible filming. This was an aesthetic consideration dependent on medium. More importantly, there was a theoretical consideration. As an object of conversation, Sissi herself would be invisible or only serve as an illustration, which goes against the grain of a treatment that declares the patient to be of primary importance. [22]

So, to put it simply, in the service of loyal-enough imaging we eliminated the scientist. However, since Schrödinger is widely known for a thought experiment involving a cat, we felt compelled to stage a cat. But instead of to Schrödinger, we gave it to T.S. Eliot, whose reputation is also attached to cats (through the long-running Broadway musical based on his poems). To kill two birds with one stone, in response to both problems, Sissi's treatment, which Françoise remembers as her first failure, is recast as a second attempt at analysis this exuberant patient undertakes, this time engaging with another analyst, Marjo Vuorela.

And, once liberated from the indirectness in Françoise's account to Schrödinger, we could visualize Sissi's dreams of grandeur. While coming from a very simple working-class family, she imagines herself to be (a double of) the Empress of Austria-Hungary. This feature of the character became a great asset for visualization as well as empowerment. Instead of or in addition to having her talk about her imperial status and dignity, we dressed her in a variety of chic clothes, different for each session, with fitting hairstyles and jewelry. As it turned out, and in no small measure thanks of the superb acting of Finnish actress Marja Skaffari, the moving moments in the treatment when Sissi is evoking extremely painful memories are set off against her exuberant dress with very convincing, indeed contagious, poignancy. Through these two serious betrayals to the book we were able to create a gripping image sequence, give Sissi her own voice, and stage her madness without demeaning her. This sequence will probably be shown before the trial.

Sissi at the office door (photo by Olli Heinola)

Photo 12: Sissi at the office door (photo by Olli Heinola)

The sequences of treatments turn on another decision. We envisioned a film with an integration of scenes that are exuberant in mood (rather than in colour and style), using close-ups as a way of slowing down pace from the whirlwind of the carnivalesque scenes, and getting close to the minds of the characters. Close-ups also help us to break through linear time, to slow down, and to bridge to other times. The temporality is always ambiguous, between play-acting and the representation of a different reality. It is by means of close-ups that it becomes possible to place these scenes at a remove from the present, instead of in a chronological temporal continuity. The close-ups help to create the mood, the language, and the interaction necessary to liberate the story from a realism that is at odds with the world of the imagination, which is the ultimate setting.

We wanted to experiment with an approach based on minimal hints, rather than full representation. The acting is demanding, as the actors carry the story and its most implausible, dream-like events, which are filmed without the conventional visual rhetoric of dream representations, such as soft focus or blur. I already mentioned that narratologically, the attention is not systematically focused on the main character. The narrator-psychoanalyst is never securely in charge. Instead, the patients take turns in dominating the scenes. This is especially the case with Sissi and Herlat, but also with other characters, less fully "treated" than these two. Between these narratological changes and the visual shifts, I contend, the film is loyal to the book on a deeper level than a formal similarity would have allowed.

Anachronism and Cultural History
Not only in terms of the main character, places, and languages, but also cinematically we pursued the sense of suspension from linear time, and of dispersal that, Michelle and I found, is the "royal robe with ample folds" that Benjamin presented as an image of translation. The film merges cinematic traditions with theatrical ones. A film with medieval scenes and scenes in remote buildings in it will have to be carefully crafted to avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of such films, that is, both a false realism and an offensive, cardboard anachronism. If the film is to be serious in its betraying loyalty to the book's insights, the anachronisms have to be, so to speak, earned. This means that they have to make sense theoretically as well as visually. Françoise's position between the two worlds, times, and visions of psychoanalysis is nicely conveyed in photo 1.

Photo 1: Françoise Davoine, author and main actor (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 1: Françoise Davoine, author and main actor (photo Markus Karjalainen)

While she is simply explaining something, the photographer, Markus Karjalainen, has carefully captured her in-betweenness. The iconically baroque colour of her casual and contemporary sweater, the equally baroque foreshortening of her hand, and the mirroring of her face position her strictly in two worlds at once. Her facial expression conveys the joy of the freedom and creativity that that position gives her.

We have, of course, been deeply influenced by other films. The visual exuberance and temporal ambiguity of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal is one of many sources of inspiration; so is Orson Welles's The Trial with its over-structured, maddening spaces. Consisting of a single shot, Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark stretches the idea of long shots to the extreme. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death with its surreal trial scene stages people traversing time, as does Sally Potter's Orlando, and Fritz Lang's M stages a judgment with criteria spiralling out of control. We also look at experiments such as Maya Deren's At Land and Agnès Varda's Les glaneurs et la glaneuse.

For the Fools, small characteristic details and props and strong acting make them look as if coming from another time. Photo 2, for example, conveys the other-worldly nature of Mère Folle through a few very simple elements.

Photo 2: Mère Folle arrives (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 2: Mère Folle arrives (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Her wild hair is pushed back, as if through a strong wind, or a fast pace. Neither were the case during the shooting, but the effect, which was to enhance the idea of "appearance," was created by simply backcombing her hair. At the same time, the low hedges of the glorious French classical garden of the Maison Descartes in Amsterdam set off her layered skirt to suggest she is floating above ground. And her fierce look aheadadds to the feeling that she does not quite belong to where she is. [23]

The central scene of the trial is set in a theatre, which also implicates that art form as a full participant, rather than simply the cinema's "other." On the one hand, up to the structure of the trial scene, the "sottie," a medieval genre of street theatre, is a constant reference; on the other the film refers to Brecht, Pirandello, and twentieth-century street theatre. If we realize that Brecht admired Breughel's painting Dulle Griet (Mad Meg), which he used as a model for his Mutter Courage (Bryant-Bertail 2000, 83-84), the use of this figure both on the cover of Davoine's book and in the sequence of Sissi's treatment, this theatricality becomes even an aesthetic (and political) hub. Yet these theatrical moments are ultimately indistinguishable from the scenes set in a straightforward contemporary setting, such as the scenes at the hospital. Photo 3 shows the Fools on their way out of the courtyard, protesting when at the end of the scene the nurses attempt to cast them out, as happens in photo 4. [24]

In photo 3, on the left, La Boétie beats a makeshift drum, participating in the Fools' charivari (a brutal noise of beating on pots, as a protest).

Photo 3: Fools and Mad mingling in courtyard (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 3: Fools and Mad mingling in courtyard (photo Markus Karjalainen)

A big Fool (Richard Wank) who so far has been patiently gluing a book together in protest to what he sees as the damage done by reading, follows Mère Folle on her way out. The other Fools are bickering with the Musical Nurse, who tries to calm down the resident Mad with music resonant with their own noise, while her colleague the Head Nurse shoos the Fools out by authority. The shadow her arms cast onto her own body visualize the latter's impotence of her authority. All this is highly theatrical, specifically comedic. And the visual and behavioural clashes, as well as the contagion between the Fools and the Mad -- the protesters and the victims of the system of mental health care respectively -- suggest the difficulty of keeping up a regime when the categories on which it rests melt down. [25]

Once it has been instated as a principle, inter-temporality shows up everywhere. Photo 5 shows the strange inter-temporality among the Fools.

Photo 5: La Boétie, Antonin, and a Fool who lent her ear to the tyrant (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 5: La Boétie, Antonin, and a Fool who lent her ear to the tyrant (photo Markus Karjalainen)

A meeting is staged across four centuries. La Boétie (Carel Smith), the sixteenth century writer and a prominent legal specialist in his day, meets Antonin, aka Artaud, the early twentieth century mad poet and playwright. The medieval Fool on the right (Eloe Kingma) looks to La Boétie, in an understanding born from their shared dumbness. Antonin, who uses La Boétie's rhetorical prose to act out his own tendency to verging on hysteria, looks into an undefined distance. He is temporally in-between, belonging neither to the Middle Ages (although the Fools explicitly adopt him as "one of us") nor to Françoise's contemporaneity (although she claims him as a patient ["an authentic madman"] who likes to makes a nuisance of himself). As he is in-between times, he is also in-between the two groups, the Fools and the Mad. Like the Fools, he seems addicted to arguing and talks with great anger; like the Mad, he is alone, as his distant gaze suggests. Sympathetic to the grievance of the Fools but too mad to connect with them, the creator of the Theatre of Cruelty incarnates in his role the ideal of a kind of language half-way between gesture and thought. Especially in the trial scene, his discourse becomes strongly performative. Yet, there, too, he remains alone. [26]

This loneliness recurs in photo 6, where the members of the court judging Françoise sit at the table.

Photo 6: The Court presided by Mère Folle (Murielle-Lucie Clément) at Françoise's Trial (photo Mia Hannula)

Photo 6: The Court presided by Mère Folle (Murielle-Lucie Clément) at Françoise's Trial (photo Mia Hannula)

Artaud, who will soon dress up as a monk to further harangue Françoise, looks into the distance. Mère Folle has her eyes cast down; she is consistently self-absorbed and, due to her depression, incapable of exercising her authority. As the scene in the hospital courtyard explains, she is depressed because her tradition has been repressed from public culture. The other three court members on her left look cheerful, while the young Fool on the President's right (Fleur Sulmont) looks confrontationally to the audience. The bird cage on the table is an attribute of Ariste that this young Fool has appropriated. She waves it provocatively in photo 3. [27]

Two particularly theatrical moments are visible in photos 7 and 8. In the former, Françoise is flanked by her two abductors.

Photo 7: Françoise with her abductors (photo Mia Hannula)

Photo 7: Françoise with her abductors (photo Mia Hannula)

The one on the left (Jean-Baptiste Decavèle) alternates force with sympathy for her. He considers his job as an abductor a normal way of making a living ("just doing his job") and establishes a friendly, advising connection with her. He even falls asleep like a baby with his head on her shoulder. The abductor on the right (Bruno Lermon) continually does not understand what is going on, and looks alternately bored, confused, and irritated. Hence, Françoise, who remains as earnest a discussant as ever, is utterly alone, in spite of these two companions. In photo 8, the consistently near-hysterical acting of Artaud becomes a ploy to visualize the character's privileging theatricality in his work.

Photo 8: Artaud (Thomas Germaine) and Francoise (photo Mia Hannula)

Photo 8: Artaud (Thomas Germaine) and Francoise (photo Mia Hannula)

Suddenly showing up in a monk's robe, he uses the court case to deliver a plea for his famous Theatre of Cruelty, consistently hovering between artistic and political originality on the one hand, and madness on the other.

Like Eliot (Matthew Wright, left) and Wittgenstein (John Neubauer, right) in photo 9, these characters from the cultural history of the early twentieth century all embody ideas; they are conceptual personae.

Photo 9: Wittgenstein (John Neubauer) and Eliot (Matthew Wright) arguing (photo Mia Hannula)

Their intellectual raving surrounds them with a kind of cognitive aura, comparable to the auditive aura in the Grande Salle scene. They all seem mad to the extent that they push intellectual ideas. It is only the context of a film in which everyone is both a little mad and a little sane that their self-centred utterances converge in something that is the ultimate image or backdrop of this film. In what is both a cacophony of theoretical pronouncements and a convergence of ideas, a tapestry of thought emerges in the proximity of which psychoanalysis had been able to become so individualistic that it reaches the aporia that is Françoise's crisis. The temporal encounter between these thoughts from history turn a chronological cultural history into a preposeterous one, while weaving a backdrop for an acute need to turn to anachronism as a cure. [28]

Conclusion: What Images Can Be and Do

One of the conclusions I wish to draw from this brief consideration of filmic images as responses to the linguistically articulated ones they translate and betray, is the inseparability of visuality and narrativity. The preceding discussion has hopefully shown that images are not ontologically separate from the story they allegedly convey, let alone "illustrate." Rather, they make the story, every time anew. In the context of word-and-image relations, the word "illustrate" is a verb we should for a while ban from our reflections, until we have learned to take for granted that like linguistic utterances, images, too, have performative power. [29]

Also, an image, even a figurative one, is not confined to a visual representation. I am particularly interested in how images make us "do theory," to recall Damisch's words. I contend that what I just wrote about the cacophony of theoretical ideas, forming a tapestry, is itself an image. Only to the extent that it is an image can it be a backdrop against which the story can be set and psychoanalysis, with its failures and potential, can be set in a constant becoming, instead of the rigid legacy of a genius author. Like the cacophony of the charivari, slowly merging into the music the Musical Nurse uses as medicine. Or like the sea in the haunting photo 10, where Sissi, now in the half-way house, stands considering whether to throw herself into the water- being, or playing Ophelia? This is an image that carries with it the many stories of drowned women. While alone, her hands conduct the arguments for or against, considering the Shakespearian madness against the tradition of her own Finnish folklore. [30]

Sissi (Marja Skaffari) (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Photo 10: Sissi (Marja Skaffari) (photo Markus Karjalainen)

Finally, the insight I find most important to draw from this is what a cliché would phrase as "learning from the past": something "we" (here in the universal sense) never quite manage. Psychoanalysis is the theoretical framework that keeps us attentive to this historical lesson, if we are only willing to see that not only individual neurosis, but true historically induced madness can be successfully analyzed. This is what Davoine tries to argue -- if this is the right word -- through the images she wrote.

Ariste (Fleur Sulmont) looking on
Photo 11: Ariste (Fleur Sulmont) looking on (photo Markus Karjalainen)

The dead Ariste, who in photo 11 looks on at the scenes of madness played out before him, is the embodiment of that deadly, but potentially curable past. Sissi, as if emerging from the office door to which she seemed glued like a painting, embodying the two-dimensionality the hospital imposes on its patients, insists on the continued presence of the past, in photo 12 where photographer Olli Heinola (also actor and webmaster) has captured her in-between state perfectly. This is her opportunity to make a new start after having been stuck, to "get better," as she says several times. It is, then, also what Michelle Williams Gamaker and I try to argue visually. If we manage that, the translation from book to film can be said to work, not in spite of but thanks to our many betrayals.

Sissi at the office door

Photo 12: Sissi at the office door (photo by Olli Heinola)
[1] The idea that images "speak back" has emerged from my practice as PhD advisor. Instead of alleging an image as evidence for an argument, I teach my students to look back at them to see if, to what extent, and how they support the argument. And if to an extent the match is not happening, the writer learns from that, rather than regarding that as failure. For the idea of the performativity of images, modeled on speech act theory (Austin 1962), see Bal (2002).
[2] Damisch's concept of the theoretical object sometimes seems to suggest these are objects around which theories have been produced. At other times, as in the interview quoted here, he attributes to the artwork the capacity to motivate, entice, and even compel thought. I endorse the latter meaning.
[3] On the case study, see Berlant (2007a and 2007b). On the tension between case study and theoretical object, see the introduction to Bal (2010). On performativity, see the relevant chapter in Bal (2002).
[4] Ernst van Alphen-also a Damisch interpreter who thinks about the intellectual contribution images can make-devoted the chapter "Caught by Images" of his 2005 book on that subject to images that remain entirely literary.
[5] As members of the collective Cinema Suitcase, Michelle Williams Gamaker and I collaborated on the films Mille et un jours (2004), Colony (2007), and Becoming Vera (2008). We have both made other films with other members of the collective, as well as individually.
[6] I am aware that the more common term is "adaptation." However, I choose to consider the film a translation, because of the specific issue the activity of translation entails, according to the Benjaminian stream of thought I engage here. Among many studies of adaptation, the collection edited by Stam and Raengo deserves attention.
[7] On "becoming," see Deleuze and Guattari (1987), where they use that term throughout. For an argument about the transformative nature of images that supports an anti-intentionalist position, see Bal (2002, 253-85). On the retrospective logic as a historical perspective, see Bal (1999).
[8] Although author and filmmakers remain relatively independent from each other, it is relevant to realize that the preposterous logic I have developed as a historical approach squares perfectly with Davoine's conception of history, particularly (but not exclusively) as it plays itself out in madness. See the clip "Françoise on Time" on the video section of the film's website, as well as many remarks in her books (1992, 1998, 2008), and the scenography of her encounters with people from the past.
[9] The idea that images are received, rather than created by the author, was suggested to me by Kaja Silverman's recent book (2009), in which she discusses this attitude of artists apropos of Rilke. Davoine's book is an extraordinary integration of theory and images, "facts" and fiction. Among other advantages, such as more subtlety and strong identification, this integration allowed the author to do justice to the lived experiences in the case histories of her patients without being the dominating one who writes them.
[10] "While content and language form a certain unity in the original, like a fruit and its skin, the language of the translation envelops its content like a royal robe with ample folds," Walter Benjamin writes in "The Task of the Translator" (1968, 75). This essay, central to my argument an images as my primary "philosophical object," will henceforth be referred to by page numbers only. See also the discussion in Derrida (1983, 93-161). For an extensive discussion of Benjamin's text, see chapter two of Bal (2002).
[11] The summary in these paragraphs does not distinguish between book and film, in spite of the differences between the two.
[12] The author, the main character-narrator, and the actress are the same person. For clarity's sake I will use the first name "Françoise" when speaking about the character, actress, and narrator, and use her last name "Davoine" when talking about the author of the book.
[13] Since we had a micro-budget for the film, we mostly had to work with volunteer actors. The Musical Nurse (Leticia Bal) is a professional musician (Feil! Hyperkoblingsreferansen er ugyldig.) but amateur actress, while the Head Nurse is a prominent professional actress (Olga Zuiderhoek). See www.crazymothermovie.com for more information on cast and crew.
[14] The notion of "extreme identification" was Michelle's and my interpretation of Davoine's method. The term "catastrophic regions" is Davoine's.
[15] See Verstraten (2009) for a film narratology that is consistent with my own narratological concepts. (Bal 2009)
[16] Françoise Davoine commented on this point: "I feel not betrayed but expanded" (augmentée, personal communication, January 3, 2010). Many of our interventions started out as need-compelled and received theoretical support retrospectively, or half-way through the making of the film. But I will not go into the adventures of a micro-budget film production here.
[17] See the clip "Françoise on Time" on the video page of the website. The author commented further on this in a personal communication after reading a first draft of this paper (January 3, 2010).
[18] Thanks to Mia Hannula of the University of Turku, whose constant support and help has been indispensable to us. The beautiful documentary "Women of Seili" by Mikaela Weurlander (2008), which we saw only later, gives background information about the hospital that converges astonishingly with our film. The primary source on this "invention" of madness as a hospitable disease after leprosy remains Michel Foucault. The English edition of his Madness and Civilization is an abridged version of Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l'âge classique, originally published in 1961. A full English translation titled History of Madness was published by Routledge in 2006.
[19] As has happened several times during this project, the author of a book, in this case a psychoanalyst working in Mexico City, ended up playing a role in the film. See the clip "Don Luís the younger" on the video section of the website.
[20] One funny but revealing incident demonstrates what a "landscape of madness" can be. When shooting the incident of the Fools chased away from the public place, the actors playing cleaners who got rid of the medieval Fools were later approached by resident visitors of the flea market, who thanked them for getting rid of "those crazies." In other words, the action created a space where madness threatened to take over, and the guys in uniforms were automatically taken to be the authorities, who "saved" the market from madness.
[21] I am currently devoting three books to this question. One of these, "Of What One Cannot Speak" is currently in press.
[22] With the phrase "loyal enough" I am alluding to the object-relation theory idea of the "good enough" mother (Winnicott 1989, 10-1).
[23] For this scene, make-up artist Hannele Rantanen skillfully meandered between exuberance (for the Fools) and restraint (for the patients).
[24] Brecht also drew on the figure of Dulle Griet for Grusha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, writing that: "any actress who plays Grusha needs to study the beauty of Breughel's ‘Dulle Griet'" (quoted in Carney 55). The painting is clearly theatrical; Artaud also links theatre to this painting, commenting that it is "mute theater, but one that tells more than if it had received a language in which to express itself" (120). I thank Machteld Harmsen for bringing this information about Artaud's stance and Brecht's preference for Mad Meg to my attention.
[25] On the genre of the sottie, see Aubailly (1976). For the concept of theatricality underlying the film we benefit from the work of Maaike Bleeker, who defines theatricality as a "critical vision machine" (2008a and 2008b), as well as from her personal advice. The Musical Nurse plays a self-designed instrument, a set of enamel pots, that she hopes will sound congenial to the Mad who have been riveted by the charivari made by the Fools. On the charivari tradition, see Rey-Flaud (1985).
[26] Artaud published a collection of his essays on theatre called Le théâtre et son double in 1938, translated as The Theater and Its Double (1958).
[27] Davoine's book follows the conventions of the genre of the sottie with great sophistication, something the film cannot do. For the structure of the sottie, see Aubailly (1976). For the Dutch medieval tradition in the same vein we have greatly benefited from the generous advice of Dutch medievalist Herman Pleij (1989, 1992, 2007a, 2007b).
[28] Deleuze and Guattari loosen up the authority/authorship of the philosopher himself by means of the concept of "conceptual persona," a figure that helps them think as well as "become other" (1994). The term refers to "fluctuating figures who express the presuppositions or ethos of their philosophy and through their existence, no matter how inchoate or unstable, give life to concepts on a new plane of immanence." Such conceptual personae can be given shape in cinematic characters. Importantly, these figures are not allegories; they do not "stand for" some idea, concept, or thought, but figure the search for still unformed thoughts. (This formulation of the conceptual persona is partly quoted from and further inspired by Rodowick 2000, n. pag.)
[29] For a helpful discussion of images in both texts and visual artifacts see Mitchell (1986). Van Alphen (2005), already mentioned, offers a brilliant case study of visual images in literature.
[30] The famous Finnish medieval epic poem Kalevala also features a woman throwing herself into the water. On the bond between women and death, Bronfen.
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