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Benoît Jacquot

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Benoît Jacquot
Benoît Jacquot Césars 2013.jpg
Jacquot in 2013
Born (1947-02-05) 5 February 1947 (age 70)
Paris, France
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1975–present

Benoît Jacquot (French: [bənwa ʒako]; born 5 February 1947) is a French film director and screenwriter who has had a varied career in European cinema.

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  • ‘Jacques Lacan: La psychanalyse’ 1 & 2 (1974) by Benoît Jacquot | English Subtitles


PSYCHOANALYSIS I I always speak the truth. Not the whole truth, because there's no way to say it all. Saying it all is literally impossible: words fail. Yet it's through this very impossibility that the truth touches the Real. Here, we're on TV. There's no difference between television and the public before whom I've spoken for a long time now, in what's known as my seminar. Really? No difference? In both cases, it's to do with a gaze. A gaze to which I never, in either case, address myself, but... in the name of which, this gaze, in the name of which I speak. Do not, however, get the idea that I address everyone at large. I am speaking to those who are savvy, to the non-idiots, to the analysts who suppose to be in my assistance. Experience proves, if we consider the masses, that's the case with my seminar in a way, experience proves that what I say there engages many more people than those whom with... some reason I suppose to be analysts. So why then should I use a different tone here than for my seminar? THE UNCONSCIOUS The unconscious; what a strange word. Yes, I agree. In the end, Freud didn't find a better word, and now it's done, there's no need to go back on it. This word has the disadvantage of being negative, which allows one to assume anything in the world about it, never mind the rest. I disapprove. But in the end, all the same, to that which goes unnoticed, the word everywhere applies just as well as nowhere. It is nonetheless a very precise thing. Namely, there is no unconscious, it must be said, except for the speaking being. The others - we are not animals - who have being, properly speaking... being, whatever they are named, not to say they don't impose themselves from within the Real, but for these others, there is instinct, for example, the knowledge needed for their survival. In that instance, again, after all, this is so only for our thought. Then perhaps... perhaps to call this instinct is inadequate. This leaves the homme-sick animals, for this we say domestic [d'hommestiques], who are very likely for that reason shaken by seismic tremors, however briefly. This is related to the unconscious. So, the unconscious speaks, what it does depends on language. You say that because animals don't speak, they have no unconscious. Descartes said animals have no soul. THE SOUL AND THE UNCONSCIOUS This means that the discovery of the unconscious is perhaps a supposition. The soul, it's also a supposition, a supposition that it's the sum, it's not for nothing that we make it the sum, supposedly, the sum of the body's functions. In any case, it's a supposition. Far more problematic than that of the unconscious. Nevertheless, we have supposed it. After all, it's reasonable to suppose it. It's always supposed in the same voice. From Aristotle to Von Uexküll. It's unsure whether we've ever really heard it spoken of. And it's still what's supposed, whether they know it or not... the biologists... the physiologists... So, that's the soul. Therefore I say that the subject of the unconscious is only in touch with the soul via the body, more strictly, by introducing, I say, via the body, thought: at this point I contradict Aristotle. Man does not think with his soul, like the philosopher imagines. As he imagines. One only has to read in order to see. Man thinks as a consequence of the fact that a structure carves up his body in slices. That has nothing to do with anatomy. Witness the hysteric. All the same, it means something to some. This shearing happens also to the soul, and in this way consequently it reaches the soul, with, what I hope, however, that some have an idea of, knowledge through the obsessional symptom. That is... it's here we see the difference between thought and the soul, because from thought, we can't say the soul wouldn't be burdened, like a pressed apple. It doesn't know what to do with it. As a result, what is certain, is that this stupefaction needs time to say what everyone already knows. Thought is in disharmony with the soul. The famous Greek nous... here maybe, the professors who follow me... The Greek nous is the myth of thought accommodating itself to the soul. That's what we can see in the theory of the theoriad of Aristotle, indeed, accommodating itself in conformity with the world, the world, umwelt - an expression of Von Uexküll, who I mentioned before - the world for which the soul is held, in a certain supposition of the soul, for which the soul is held responsible, whereas the world is merely the fantasy through which a certain kind of thought sustains itself. Of course, it's a reality but there's no reason to give it such a privilege of this word "reality". In fact, it represents a certain undulation, a kind of privilege that we can't consider like a grimace of the Real. THE CURE It's still a fact that when we seek you, the psychoanalyst, it's to get better, within this world that you reduce to fantasy. Is the cure also a fantasy? The cure is a demand that originates in the voice of the sufferer, of someone who suffers from his body or his thought. The astonishing thing is that there be a response, and that the response, throughout time, in medicine, ancient medicine, throughout time, in medicine, has hit the bullseye using words. How did this happen before the unconscious was located? It was the same. The medicine hit the bullseye, for a large part in this field, with words that prove that the practice doesn't need to be elucidated in order to work. PSYCHOANALYSIS AND PSYCHOTHERAPY What precisely is the difference between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy? They both act through words. It's indeed, a question that one must understand. One has to start from the unconscious. Insofar as the unconscious is implicated, the unconscious as I formulate it, there are two sides presented by the structure - The structure is language. Be careful here. You don't know what to expect. The side of meaning, the first side, the side we would identify as that of analysis, pours out a flood of meaning to float the sexual boat. There's a problem. It is striking, and God knows Freud insisted that this meaning reduces to nonsense: the nonsense of the sexual relation, something made obvious throughout time by none other than love stories. All that's said here, we don't know if it's not rubbish. It's obvious to the point of stridency, which gives a lofty idea of human thought. Moreover, there is meaning that is taken as good sense, and on top of that, as common sense. This is the height of comedy, except that in comedy must be included the awareness, the sense, the sensible in what is enunciated, the awareness of the non-relation involved in "getting off", getting off sexually. Thereby our dignity is recharged, even relieved. Good sense is the form suggestion takes, comedy, that of laughter. Can we say that they are the whole story, setting aside their quasi-incompatibility? That's the point at which psychotherapy, in any form, breaks down. Not that it doesn't do some good, but it's a good that's a return to what's worse. THE SIDE OF ANALYSIS The unconscious, namely the insistence through which desire manifests itself. In other words, the repetition of the demand working through it. The unconscious reminds us that to the side of meaning, I conclude, the study of language opposes the side of the sign. How is it that even the symptom, or that which is so-called in analysis, failed to mark out a path in this matter? Such as it was until Freud, whose docility before the hysteric was needed for him to read dreams, slips of the tongue, even jokes, as one deciphers a message in code. As you just said, he reads dreams, slips of the tongue, jokes, as one deciphers a message in code. Is it Freud who says this, or Lacan? Go to Freud's texts, grouped in three books called The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, and what we have translated as Jokes - [Witz]. Read these and you'll see they're about nothing other than a deciphering of pure signifying dimension [dit-mension]. Knowing always begins of the phenomena of dreams, of slips of the tongue, of jokes, naively articulated - articulated means verbalized - naively - as in according to vulgar logic - lalangue's usage as it is commonly received. And then, by making his way through a tissue of puns, metaphors, metonymies, Freud evokes a substance, a fluidic myth he entitles the libido. But what he is really performing, right before our eyes glued to the text, is a translation which reveals that the jouissance which Freud implies through the term primary process properly consists in the logical straits through which he so artfully leads us. EXAMPLE Freud permits, starting from what I dislike, giving it a whole grammatical game. I don't like it. Or rather I don't like him. It's not him but maybe it, additionally. The aversion... to love in hatred. Here is the way of Freud, which has far-reaching repercussions. In the aforementioned series is nervous perversion, psychosis... WHAT FREUD DISCOVERS IN THE UNCONSCIOUS To repeat, the signifying dimension, philology, grammatical games, what Freud's discovery outlines is sexuality, simply put. What Freud discovers in the unconscious - here I've only been able to invite you to take a look at his writings to see if I speak truly - is something utterly different from realizing that, broadly speaking, one can give a sexual meaning to everything one knows. It's always been done. It's even here that the word "knowing" is open to the famous metaphor, what Jung thought Freud was claiming. It is the Real that permits the effective unknotting of what makes the symptom hold together, namely a knot of signifiers. Knotting and unknotting are not metaphors here, but are really to be taken as those knots that in fact are built up through developing chains of the signifying material. For these chains are not of meaning but of jouissance [jouis-sens], which you can write as you wish, as is implied by the punning that constitutes the law of the signifier. I think... I've given quite another dimension than that of the general confusion we're used to, to the specific recourse of psychoanalysis. There's a rumour today that says the following: if we have such bad sex, it's because sex is repressed, and that's the fault firstly of the family, secondly of society, and especially of capitalism. That's a question, I've been told when chatting about your questions, a question that might well be understood as being about your wanting to understand it yourself, eventually. That is, if you were asked it by a voice rather than by an individual, a voice inconceivable except as arising from the TV, a voice that doesn't ex-sist because it doesn't say anything, the voice nonetheless, in the name of which I make this answer exist, an answer that is interpretation. To put it bluntly, you know that I've got an answer to everything, in consideration of which you credit me with the question - you trust the proverb that one lend only to the rich. With good reason. Who doesn't know that it's with the analytic discourse that I've made it big. That makes me... a self-made man. There've been others, but not in our lifetime. REPRESSION > SUPPRESSION If there is repression, then there is suppression. Freud never said that, he never said repression comes from suppression. That's not the idea at all. We can't take this as the picture. Castration... is due to what Daddy brandished over his brat playing with his wee-wee: "We'll cut it off, no kidding, if you do it again." Naturally enough, however, it occurred to Freud to start with that for the experiment, as understood through the terms of definition of analytic discourse. Let's say that as he progressed there he leaned more toward the idea that repression was primary. That, on the whole, is what tipped the scales toward the second topic. The greediness by which he characterizes the superego is structural. Not an effect of civilization, but "discontent (symptom) in civilization." So that's why we have to re-examine the test case, taking as a starting point the fact that it is repression that produces suppression. FAMILY, SOCIETY If I understand what you're saying, the family and society itself produce the effect of repression? Why couldn't we let the family and society be built from repression? Why not? Society and the family... in a manner of speaking, it's not at all striking that they resemble the other society, that of the animals. That, however, may be because, to be specific, the unconscious ex-sists, motivated by the structure, that is, by language. Freud is so far from excluding this solution that in order to come to some decision on it he works so hard on the case of the Wolf Man, which doesn't work so well. The failure of this case seems relatively unimportant when compared with his success: that of establishing the Real within the facts. The problem is that the Real can't be established from one case. It remains enigmatic. Evidently you have to ask the question to see if, after all, this enigma is not the analytic discourse, itself like an institution, we attribute it to. It's inconceivable. We can also think that it can have to do with a result that goes further, if we leave it here, of course. We have no recourse other than the project of science to get to the bottom of sexuality. I have a project in sexology in fact, which stays strictly a project, because Freud insists that, after all, what it comes down to, he has a confidence which is mostly gratuitous which, even for him, says a lot about his ethics. It's not very cheerful, what you're saying here. That's some kind of man coming to light. Effervescence. Would the analytic discourse really be pointless? We cannot lift away, without the analytic discourse, in the same vein, evidence of what I could call a curse on sex, which Freud himself mentions at the beginning of his Civilzation and its Discontents. The point is, if I've talked of annoyance, of moroseness, in connection with the "divine" approach of love, how can one not recognize that these two affects are betrayed - through speech and in deed - in those young people, after all, why not, I don't see the inconvenience, dedicated to relations without suppression - the most extraordinary thing being that the analysts whom they claim as their impetus stare back at them tight-lipped. In response... even if the memories of familial suppression weren't true, they would have to be invented, and that is certainly done. That's what myth is, the attempt to give an epic form to what is operative through the structure. The sexual impasse exudes the fictions that rationalize the impossible I don't say they are imagined; the fictions we read in Freud, I read in them the invitation to the Real that underwrites them. The familial order is nothing but the translation of the fact that the Father is not the progenitor and that the Mother remains the contaminator of woman for man's offspring; the remainder follows from that. It's not that I value the craving for order we find in this offspring, expressed when he says, "Personally... Personally I loathe anarchy." The definition of order, as soon as there is the least little bit, is that you don't have to crave it, since there it is, established... The fact that it already happened somewhere... our good fortune, a fortune good for nothing more than demonstrating that things are going badly there for liberty even in its sketchiest form. That's simply capitalism set straight. From there, back to zero then, for the issue of sex, since that was capitalism's starting point anyway: getting rid of sex. RACISM I wonder, what gives you the confidence to prophesy the rise of racism? Why the devil do we have to speak of it? I speak of it because it doesn't strike me as funny, and yet, I haven't... I finished a seminar on this, one year. It's better to know what you can expect. It was like this in a kind of goodbye at the end of the seminar. People have to be warned. The only thing that's interesting, at that time I didn't have to comment, that's what it looks like to me, it's not only foreseeable, because there are all kinds of symptoms, but... but necessary. It's necessary because what I try to express, In the distraction of our jouissance, what I mean, indeed, try to underline, only the Other the absolute Other, the radical Other, which is situated with jouissance, it's situated, in that case, precisely, to accentuate as being the Other, it means that the Other, the other side of the sex, we are divided. So from the time we are mixed up like that, there are fantasies - fantasies unheard of - that wouldn't be... that wouldn't be otherwise. It's a way of the dramatization, if one can say, this Other that's here anyway. If there is no sexual relation, it's because the Other is of another kind Leaving this Other to it's own mode of jouissance, it's already decided, we could only do it by not, for a long time, imposing our own on it. We could do it only if things weren't at the point that we weren't thinking of it as underdeveloped. Naturally this belief is not lacking. Given, too, the precariousness of our own mode of jouissance, what I have accentuated, the position which I call the ideal of the over-coming [plus-de-jouir], which is in fact no longer expressed in any other way - and on this basis, something like what we specify in relation to jouissance, specify what I call our mode, how can one hope that the empty forms of this humanhysterianism [humanitairerie], can continue to last? After all, we have to say we use it only to disguise our extortions. Even if God, thus newly strengthened, should end up ex-sisting, because after all it's not unthinkable, this bodes nothing better than a return of his past, his rather baneful past. PSYCHOANALYSIS II THE RAW UNCONSCIOUS You say the unconscious has spoken, which indicates that we must listen but did we listen before Freud invented psychoanalysis? To my mind, yes. I'd go that far. But this surely does not imply that, without the discourse through which it ex-sists, without the analytic practice, namely, it doesn't imply one judges it, like Freud did somewhere at the end of the chapter of his work on dreams:Die Traumdeutung, judges it as a knowledge that does not think or calculate or judge, which doesn't prevent it from being at work, as in dreams, for example. Doesn't this inspire you? It's the ideal worker, the same one Marx made the flower of capitalist economy in the hope of seeing him take over the discourse of the master; which is what happened, although in an unexpected form. There are surprises in these matters of discourse, there's a surprise even here; that is in fact characteristic of the unconscious. The analyst does it well. THE ANALYTIC DISCOURSE What do you understand by analytic discourse? What I call the analytic discourse is the social bond determined by the practice of an analysis. And it's worth... Here's my contribution. It derives its value from being placed amongst the most fundamental of the bonds which remain viable to us. THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF PSYCHOANALYSIS You yourself are excluded from that which makes for social bonds between analysts. The International Society of Psychoanalysis excommunicated you. The analysts of the Society that qualifies as international, it's a bit of a fiction, having been for so long now limited to a family business - I still knew it in the hands of Freud's direct and adopted descendants - but let's leave it. I've got other things to say, if I dare, but I warn you that here I am both judge and plaintiff, hence partisan - I would say that at present it's a professional insurance plan against analytic discourse. The P.I.P.A.A.D. Damned P.I.P.A.A.D. It's because of that I would never speak under the title, the name of the Father. It's a personal matter These analysts want to know nothing of the discourse that determines them. They aren't thereby excluded from it, since they function as analysts, which means that, strictly speaking, there are people who analyze themselves by means of them. So they satisfy this discourse even if some of the effects of the discourse go unrecognized by them. On the whole, they don't lack prudence; and even if it isn't the true kind, it might be the do-good kind. Besides, they are the ones at risk. THE MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS It's very interesting, those analyst stories, but the psychologists, the psychotherapists, the psychiatrists - it's the rank and file, those who are roughing it, taking the world's misery onto their shoulders. And the analyst, meanwhile? One thing is certain: to take the misery onto one's shoulders, as you put it, is to enter into the discourse that determines it, even if only in protest. Merely to say this puts me in a position that some will deem a condemnation of politics. I affirm that, as far as I'm concerned, I take to be out of the question for anyone. But let's go back. In effect, the psycho-so-and-soes, of whatever sort they may be, busying themselves at your supposed burdening, oughtn't to be protesting, but collaborating. Whether they know it or not, that's what they're doing. It's rather convenient - though I may be offering an easy means of retaliation against myself - all too convenient, this idea of discourse, for reducing judgment to its determinants. I'm struck by the way in which they actually find nothing better to oppose me with. I say that it's easy. They say "intellectualism". Regarding what I advance, it carries no weight, when one wants to know who's right. Even less, because in relating this misery to the discourse of the capitalist, I might as well denounce this dicourse. Only here I point out that, in all seriousness, I cannot do this, because in denouncing it I reinforce it - by normalizing it, that is, improving it. THE ANALYST How do you situate the analysts, in your own terms, who don't collaborate but don't protest either? There's no better way of placing him objectively, the analyst, than in relation to what was in the past called: being a saint. During his life a saint doesn't command the respect that a halo sometimes gets for him. No-one notices him as he follows Balthasar Gracian's way of life - that of renouncing personal brilliance - he's the translator for people who've read this, which explains why Amelot de la Houssaye thought he was writing about the courtier. A saint's business, to put it fairly, is not caritas. Rather, he acts as trash [déchet]; his business being trashitas [il décharite]. So as to embody what the structure entails, namely allowing the subject, the subject of the unconscious, to take him as the cause of the subject's own desire. In fact it is through the abjection of this cause that the subject in question has a chance to be aware of his position, at least within the structure. It's the condition in which he finds himself somewhere else, if the unconscious is what I say. For the saint, this is not amusing, but I imagine that for a few ears glued to this TV it converges with many of the oddities, what I'll call the acts of saints. The acts of saints produce an effect of jouissance - who doesn't get the meaning [sens] along with the pleasure [joui]? The saint alone stays mum; fat chance of getting anything out of him. That's really the most amazing thing in the whole business. Amazing for those who approach it without illusions: the saint is the refuse of jouissance. Sometimes he takes a little break, which he's no more content with than anyone else. He's no longer working at that point. It's not as if the smart-alecs aren't lying in wait hoping to profit from it so as to inflate themselves again. But the saint doesn't give a damn about that any more than he does about those who consider it to be his just deserts, which is too sidesplitting. Because not giving a damn for distributive justice is where he most often started from. The saint doesn't really see himself as righteous, which doesn't mean that he has no ethics. The only problem for others is that you can't see where it leads him. I beat my brain against the hope that some like these will reappear. No doubt because I myself didn't manage to make it. The more saints, the more laughter; that's my principle, to wit, the way out of capitalist discourse - which will not constitute progress if it happens only for some. THE AFFECTS There is an opposition to you, said in various forms: "You say the unconscious has spoken, what do you do with what doesn't speak?" What do you think of the emotions, the affects, for example? With that question you are now imitating the gestures with which one puts on the appearance of an heir in the P.I.P.A.A.D. Because, as you know, at least in the Paris P.I.P.A.A.D., the elements of sustenance come from my teaching. It filters through from everywhere; it's a draft, which becomes a blizzard when it blows too strongly. So you revive the old gestures, you get warm by snuggling together and calling that a Congress. I just want an answer on this point: does an affect have to do with the body? A discharge of adrenalin - is that the body or not? It upsets its functions, true. But... what is there in it that makes it come from the soul? What it discharges is thought. So you have to consider whether my idea that the unconscious is structured like a language allows one to verify affect more seriously than the idea that it is a commotion from which a better arrangement emerges. Because that's what they oppose me with. All I've done is rerelease what Freud states in an article from 1915 on repression, and in others that return to this subject, namely that affect is displaced. How to judge this displacement, if not so the basis of the subject, which is presupposed by the fact that it has no better means of occurring than through representation? He could have said it better. All that business I explain in reference to his "gang" - to pinpoint it the way he did, since I'm forced to recognize that I'm also always dealing with the same one. Except I've demonstrated, by turning to his correspondence with Fliess, (in the expurgated edition of this correspondence, the only one we have) that the said representation, specifically repressed, is nothing less than the structure, and precisely insofar as it is linked to the postulate of the signifier. Cf. letter 52: this postulate is written there. Affect, as I consider it, it's an interference of the unconscious, according to him, this knot of knowledge I advance - the unconscious is structured like a language - it's different to prostrate before a palpitation of the soul. It's not the same. Reconsidering affect on the basis of my sayings leads one back in any case to the secure part of what has been said about it. The mere subsectioning of the passions of the soul - as in the term of Saint Thomas - more accurate... this vague word... it's medical... the subsectioning since Plato of these passions on the model of the body: head, heart, even, as he says, curiously, epithumia, which implies over-heart; this subsectioning, doesn't this already testify to the need to approach them via the body, a body which is, I say, affected only by the structure? EXAMPLES For example, we qualify sadness as depression, because we give it the soul for support, or the psychological tension of the philosopher Pierre Janet. But it isn't a state of the soul, it is simply a moral failing, as Dante, and even Spinoza, said: a sin which means a moral weakness, which is, ultimately, situated only in relation to thought, that is, in the duty to be Well-Spoken, to find one's way in dealing with the unconscious, with the structure. And if ever this weakness, as reject of the unconscious, ends in psychosis, there follows the return to the Real of that which is rejected, that is, language; it is the manic excitation through which such a return becomes fatal. In contrast with sadness there is the Gay Science [gay sçavoir], which is a virtue. A virtue absolves no-one from sin, which is, as everyone knows, original. The virtue I designate as the Gay Science exemplifies it, by showing clearly of what it consists: not understanding, not a diving at the meaning, but a flying over it as low as possible without the meaning's gluing up this virtue, thus enjoying [jouir] the deciphering, which implies that in the end Gay Science cannot but meet in it the Fall, the return into sin. Where in all this is what makes for good luck [bon heur]? Strictly speaking, everywhere. The subject is happy-go-lucky [heureux]. It is his very definition since he can owe nothing if not to luck, to fortune in other words, and any piece of luck is good as something to maintain him insofar as it repeats itself. What is astonishing is not that he is happy without suspecting what reduces him to this state - his dependance on the structure - but that he gets an idea of beatitude. It's not the same. He gets an idea which is forceful enough for him to feel himself exiled from it. Happily, on this point we have the poet giving the game away: Dante, whom I've just cited, and others, except for those sluts who use classicism to fill their piggy-banks. A gaze, that of Beatrice - that is to say a threefold nothing, a fluttering of the eyelids and the exquisite trash that results from it - and there emerges that Other who we can identify only through her jouissance: her whom he, Dante, cannot satisfy, because from her he can have only this look, only this object, but of whom he tells us that God fulfills her utterly. It is precisely by receiving the assurance of that from her own mouth that he provokes us. Paradise. To which something in us replies: annoyance [ennui]. A word from which, by making the letters dance as in the cinematograph until they resettle in a line, I've composed the term: "oneyance" [unien]. By which I designate the identification of the Other with the One. I would say: the mystical One, whose comical other Dante proves in his Divine Comedy, the other comic struts his stuff elsewhere, in Plato's Symposium, Aristophanes, to name him, presenting its crude equivalent, the beast-with-two-backs, that he wrongfully accuses Zeus of bisecting. It's rather wicked; I've already said this is not done. One doesn't involve the real Father in such unseemly behaviour. Still, Freud also stumbles on this point: because his allegation with respect to Eros, insofar as he opposes it to Thanatos, as the principle of "life", is that of unifying, as if, apart from a brief coiteration, one had ever seen two bodies unite into one. Affect, therefore, befalls a body whose essence it is said is to dwell in language - I am borrowing plumage that sells better than mine, Heidegger's, namely - affect, I repeat, befalls it on account of its not finding lodgement, at least not to its taste. This we call moroseness, or equally, moodiness. Is this a sin, a grain of madness, or... a true touch of the Real? That is the question. You see that with regard to affect, if that's the tune they wanted to play, the P.I.P.A.A.D., they would've done better to use my old fiddle. That would've gotten them farther than standing around gaping. WHAT CAN I KNOW? WHAT OUGHT I TO DO? WHAT MAY I HOPE FOR? As an exercise, answer Kant's three questions. Firstly, what can I know? The answer is simple, in fact. What I spend my time announcing. Nothing, in any case, that doesn't have the structure of language. - This repeats Kant. - To repeat, precisely, even with the assurance of logic, it repeats closely that there's been a discovery of the effect of the unconscious. The subject of the unconscious, on the contrary, gears into the body. Must I repeat that it is only in relation to a discourse that such a subject can be truly located, namely in relation to something whose artificiality concretizes it... and how much so. What can be said with all that as its premise, with the premise of knowledge ex-sisting - according to us - in the unconscious (but one such that only a discourse can articulate it), what real can be said, if its realness has to come to us through this discourse? That is how your question gets translated in my context, which is to say that it seems crazy. THE TWO SEXES Yes or no, can you say what the analytic discourse teaches us on the relation of the sexes? Can one say, for example, if Man [L'homme] wants Woman (La femme], he cannot reach her without finding himself run aground on the field of perversion? That is what is precipitated as a formula through the experience instituted by psychoanalytic discourse. If it's verified, can it be taught to everyone, that is to say, is it scientific, since it's on the basis of this postulate that science developed? It doesn't have to be verified. It's possible to teach. And all the moreso since, like Renan's hope for "the future of science", it's of absolutely no consequence - in that situation Woman [La femme] doesn't ex-sist. I've said this. But the fact that she doesn't ex-sist doesn't stop me from making her the object of one's desire. Quite the opposite, whence the consequences. In return for which Man [L'homme], who ex-sists, in fooling himself, encounters a woman, with whom... my god... with whom everything happens: namely that usual misfiring, of which the successful sexual act consists. Its protagonists are capable of the most lofty deeds, as the theater teaches us. The noble, the tragic, the comic, the farcical (to be plotted on a Gaussian curve), in brief, the full range of what's produced in the scene through which it's staged - the scene that severs love relations from every social bond - the full range, then, is realized - producing the fantasies through which speaking beings subsist in what they call - who knows why? - "life". For their only notion of "life" comes by way of the animal world where their knowledge is pointless. Woman [La femme] doesn't ex-sist. Man [L'homme] ex-sists. You can't say that it makes life easier, that it's simple to understand. I'm sorry that, indeed, it looks a little bit complicated, but I can't help it. It's not me who made the Man and the Woman. Another one took charge of that, according to the legend. Let's state the axiom, not that Man [L'homme] doesn't ex-sist, which is the case for Woman [La femme], but that a woman... forbids Him for herself, not because He would be the Other, and well, their mores, we don't know anything about them, but because "there is no Other of the Other". That is, that's what I say, if there was an Other of the Other, there would be a guarantee everything we say would be always the truth. The Other of the Other would react. At the level of the Other, what we say would always pass for the truth. But it's not certain. Hence the universal of what women desire, that's what I mean when I say she only meets Man in psychosis, the universal of what women desire is sheer madness: all women are mad, they say. That's precisely why they are not-all, that is to say not-at-all-mad- about-the-whole [folles-du-tout]; accommodating rather, accommodating to the point where there's no limit to the concessions made by any woman for a man: of her body, her soul, her possessions, simply, with respect to her fantasies, which are less easy for her to control. Rather, she is a party to the perversion which is, I maintain, Man's [L'homme]. Which leads her into the familiar masquerade, which is not at all, not at all just the lie of which some ingrates, themselves clinging to the role of Man [L'homme], accuse her. She prepares herself on the off-chance, so that her inner fantasy of Man [L'homme] will find its hour of truth. That's not excessive, since truth is already woman insofar as it's not-all, unable, in any case, to be wholly-spoken. But that is why truth is more often than not standoffish, demanding of love sexual pretenses which it can't fulfill, misfiring - sure as clockwork. But let's leave that as shaky as it is. You can't apply M. Fenouillard's celebrated axiom to woman: once you've gone too far, there's still the limit - this must be kept in mind. Thus it follows that in love it is not the meaning that counts, but rather the sign, as in everything else. In fact, therein lies the whole catastrophe. And you can't say, in translation through analytic discourse, love slips away, in that case, I would say, as it does elsewhere. What must I do? On this... What must I do? I can only take up that question as anyone else would: by posing it to myself. And the reply is simple. It is what I am doing, deriving from my practice the ethic of the Well-Spoken, which I've already stressed. Take a leaf out of this book if you think it could do well in other kinds of discourses. Although I doubt it. Because an ethic is relative to a discourse. Let's not keep going over it. The Kantian idea that a maxim be put to the test of the universality of its application is only the grimace by which the Real manages to save its skin, by being approached only from one side, the side of Man, as in Kant. It means merely thumbing your nose in reply to the nonrelation to the Other, when you take it literally and go no further. In a word, it's a bachelor's ethic, that ethic embodied in our own time by Montherlant. May my friend Claude Lévi-Strauss give structure to Montherlant's example in his speech of admission to the Academy, since... after all the academic need only titillate the truth. It appears that, thanks to your kindness, that's my position too. The exercise amuses you. I'll prove it. Since you'll reply to the third question. What may I hope for? This one is the opposite to the preceding one. I don't adopt it. It's not for me to put down. I won't give it back to you, which is to say, this time I understand it as coming from you. What I make of it for myself, I've already told you. A little bit like that. How could it concern me without its telling me what to hope for? Do you conceive of hope as without an object? You, then, like everyone else I'd address with this formal you, it's to you that I reply, hope for whatever you want. I just want you to know that more than once I've seen hope - what they call: bright new tomorrows - drive people I value as much as I value you to suicide, period. And why not? Suicide is the only act that can succeed without misfiring. If no-one knows anything about it, going from my experience, that's because it stems from the will not to know. Montherlant again, to whom, without Claude Lévi-Strauss, I probably wouldn't have given a thought. So that Kant's question may have meaning, I'll transform it into: from where do you hope? You'd then want to know what analytic discourse can promise you, since for me it's already stitched up. Psychoanalysis... would allow you the hope of refining and clarifying the unconscious of which you are the subject. But everyone knows I don't encourage anyone into it, anyone whose desire is not resolute. Furthermore - and I'm sorry to refer to some ill-bred you's - I think that the analytic discourse should be withheld from the rabble: surely that is what's behind Freud's so-called criterion of culture. Ethical criteria are unfortunately no more reliable. They, in any case, may be judged by other discourses, and if I dare to pronounce that analysis should be withheld from the rabble, it's because it renders them dumb - certainly an improvement, but without hope, to go back to your term. Let's see you titillate the truth of Boileau: "What is well conceived can be clearly stated." Your style, etc. I'll reply to you tit-for-tat. Ten years is enough for everything I write to become clear to everyone; I've just been told it's been chosen as a guide. I saw that happen with my thesis even though it's for that reason I have re-edited it. My style hadn't yet become crystalline. That is a fact of experience. Nonetheless I won't put you off until leap year in July. To answer you, I'd invert it to read: what is well-spoken, one conceives clearly - clearly means that it makes its way in the water. There is something even discouraging in this promise of success to a rigorous ethics, in its market success, at least. This brings home to us at what cost neurosis sustains itself, about which Freud reminds us that it's not evil, but good, that engenders... that feeds guilt. It does my head in, all that. You can't get your bearings here without at least suspecting what castration means. And like this, parenthetically, this clarifies the gossip about it that Boileau did nothing to suppress, "clearly" so as to fool us, to encourage belief in the stories of Jacques. It happened in his childhood. The slander [médit] and meditation, clothed in its proverbial yellow-ochre: "There's no degree of difference between the medi-ochre [médi-ocre] and the worst." That Boileau. The slander that I just put back in order. All the same... I find it hard to attribute this to the author of the verse that plays so wittily with this word. All that is easy. The rectification is possibly heavy but to hear me restoring it is simply what it is... what we can conceive etc. A joke that nobody noticed. Surely we know that the joke is a calculated slip, one which takes the trick from the unconscious? You can find that in Freud on jokes. SEND-OFF The interpretation must be prompt to meet the terms of the interloan [entreprêt] - between that which perdures through pure dross and the hand that draws only from Dad to worse. [De ci que perdure de perte pure à ce qui ne parie que du père au pire]. <subtitles by myshkin for KG> <with translation by Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss and Annette Michelson>


Life and career

Born in Paris, Jacquot began his career as assistant director of Marguerite Duras films, including Nathalie Granger, India Song, and also actor in the 1973 short film La Sœur du cadre.

He turned to writing and directing with the 1975 film The Musician Killer, which starred Anna Karina.[1]

He has directed over forty films, the most notable of which to American audiences are La Désenchantée (1990), starring Judith Godrèche, and A Single Girl (1995), starring Virginie Ledoyen.

In 2003, he directed Massenet's opera Werther conducted by Antonio Pappano at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

His film Farewell, My Queen opened the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012.[2][3]

His 2014 film Three Hearts competed for the Golden Lion at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.[4]


As filmmaker

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Screenwriter
1974 Psychanalyse Yes Yes Documentary film (TV)
1976 The Musician Killer Yes Yes
1977 Closet Children Yes Yes
1979 Return to the Beloved Yes
1981 The Wings of the Dove Yes Yes
1982 Une villa aux environs de New York Yes Telefilm
Nominated—Cannes Film Festival - Prix Un certain regard
1986 Corps et Biens Yes Yes
1987 Buisson ardent Yes
1988 The Beggars Yes Yes
1988 The Beast of the Jungle Yes Telefilm
1988 Elvire Jouvet 40 Yes Telefilm
1988 Le Voyage au bout de la nuit Yes Medium-length film (also as cinematographer)
1989 Alfred Deller: portrait d'une voix Yes Telefilm
1990 La Désenchantée Yes Yes
1990 Dans la solitude des champs de coton Yes Telefilm
1993 Cuentos de Borges Yes Yes TV series
1993 The Death of the Young English Aviator Yes Short documentary (also as editor)
1993 Écrire Yes Short documentary
1994 3000 scénarios contre un virus Yes Omnibus film
1995 La Place Royale Yes Telefilm
1995 A Single Girl Yes Yes
1995 La Vie de Marianne Yes Yes Telefilm
1996 Un siècle d'écrivains Yes Yes Documentary series (episode: "J. D. Salinger")
1997 Seventh Heaven Yes Yes Nominated—Venice Film Festival - Golden Lion
1998 The School of Flesh Yes Nominated—Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or
1998 Par cœur Yes Documentary film
1999 No Scandal Yes Yes Nominated—Venice Film Festival - Golden Lion
2000 False Servant Yes
2000 Sade Yes
2001 Tosca Yes
2002 Adolphe Yes Yes
2004 Princesse Marie Yes Telefilm
2004 Right Now Yes Yes Nominated—Cannes Film Festival - Prix Un certain regard
2006 The Untouchable Yes Yes Nominated—Venice Film Festival - Golden Lion
2007 Gaspard le bandit Yes Telefilm
2009 Villa Amalia Yes Yes
2009 Atelier jardin Yes Yes Short film
2010 Werther Yes Telefilm
2010 The Counterfeiters Yes Yes Telefilm
2010 Deep in the Woods Yes Yes
2012 Farewell, My Queen Yes Yes Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film
Nominated—Berlin Film Festival - Golden Bear
Nominated—César Award for Best Film
Nominated—César Award for Best Director
Nominated—César Award for Best Adaptation
Nominated—Globes de Cristal Award for Best Film
Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Film
Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Screenplay
2013 Venice 70: Future Reloaded Yes Short film
2014 Three Hearts Yes Yes Nominated—Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film
Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Film
Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Director
Nominated—Venice Film Festival - Golden Lion
2015 Diary of a Chambermaid Yes Yes Nominated—Berlin Film Festival - Golden Bear
Nominated—César Award for Best Adaptation
2016 Gentleman Rissient Yes Documentary film
2016 Never Ever Yes
2018 Eva Yes

As actor

Year Title Role Notes
1973 La Sœur du cadre Short film
1975 India Song Voice
1997 Le Théâtre des matières The writer
1979 Le Navire Night Voice
1979 Short Memory Monsieur Mann's secretary
2012 Bad Girl The director
2012 Looking for Hortense Kevadian
2012 Jeanne Short film
2013 Chinese Puzzle Monsieur Rousseau

Other awards


  1. ^ "NY The Musician Killer". Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Marie Antoinette drama to open Berlin Film Festival". BBC. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Benoît Jacquot's Les Adieux à la reine to Open the 62nd Berlinale". Berlin Film Festival. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Venice Film Festival Lineup Announced". Deadline. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 

External links

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