Collected Uncollected Thoughts on Blutch’s So Long, Silver Screen and Other Things We Agreed Not To Talk About: Before the Fire

So what follows is the fragmented uncollected thoughts pretty much right after finishing Blutch’s So long, Silver Screen.  These are from my tumblr.  Mostly just saving them here for posterity.  Late in the week I will probably pick a section from the book and really get my teeth into it.  This is all just basically me drooling over good comics kind of deal.

Blutch’s So Long, Silver Screen brought over in english by Picturebox, is an incredible piece of comics.  Dense, witty, personal, poetic, beautiful.  Even if you only get a quarter of the film references it is stunning.  But if you actually know the films he is talking about and referencing, the cleverness scale sort of explodes.  I’ll have to read it several times to unpact everything—but even on the first quick, catching 20 percent of what has been said—it is stunning. 

It’s about loving cinema, but also loving through cinema.  Which is something I relate to very much.  There are also passages of just unfettered loathing for cinema as well.  Which is the kind of thing only a lover can write about film. 

My scans are a bit shitty.  I suck.  BUT.  I love this page.  As a single entity top panel to bottom panel the way it bends in and out of place and time and in a page tells the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.  Beautiful. 

I got So Long, Silver Screen mostly for the art, I love Blutch’s I guess dry brush griminess on some of his art.  But this was definitely one of those books I got swept away by.  Was able to shut off the part of my brain that breaks down every page for the components that are most useful for my own advancement—and just enjoy the thing.  The writing was the kind of poetry on the page that I really don’t get to see enough of in comics.  This medium can be so so powerful when the words are right and the art is tight.  Like blowing up mountains kind of powerful.  The act of reading words over an image—like that brain process of juxtaposition and creation of meaning is one of my favorite things.  Like a, sometimes I turn on the subtitles for english movies, and mute them to watch them—kind of favorite thing.

But yeah.  Please go buy this book.  It would be cool to read even more Blutch work in English.  Peplum looks cool.

I should just learn more languages.

Much of So Long, Silver Screen is this essay meets dialogue between the genders.  Sometimes films are quoted as evidence of a particular point—and it’s just a redraw of the scene—other times the characters morph and change into elements of different films as they are talking, to underscore another point entirely.  It’s all very multi-dimensional.  Which when I write about this in a more intelligent and considered manner, is probably what I’ll focus on. 

It’s not so much the film references, as the structural bend of the comic form, and how it lends itself very well to this kind of immersive point making.  Blutch bends and contorts between essay and story form.  Sometimes it’s like American Splendor, dude just straight up talking to the reader—other times it’s a particular scene from life—but then the scenes and the monologues are all bent and contorted—there are things riffed on here, that aren’t even really the core focal point of the point of the page—but digressions upon digressions blending off into the background.  It’s so well considered as to be daunting.  The obvious comparison in English comics would be Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  But where that’s kind of a pastiche romp boys adventure thing—this is poetry and thoughts.

I mean other people do this kind of thing.  Just saying.  This is what it is.  And it’s done really well and beautifully.

I think the way I’ve conceived of doing something like this was so much more dissonant and fractured and violent.  Blutch is a smooth ass motherfucker.

You can get the book wherever fine books are sold.  Also through the picturebox website.

Blutch, So Long, Silver Screen

“The danger in film is that by using a camera, you see it all—everything’s there.  What one must do is manage to evoke, to bring invisible things up to the surface.  Perform a sort of enchantment.”

Storytelling isn’t what you tell.  It’s what you don’t tell, but make the audience think anyways.

“So constrained an experience only finds its full reach beyond projection…when the memory of it returns.”

Blutch, So Long Silver Screen

“Michel Piccoli is the Gypsy of the wee small hours.  When all the women are named Helen, and the guys who haven’t gotten over their childhoods pull the wool over our eyes”

WRITING!  So rare to see it in it’s natural habitat anymore.

Blutch, So Long, Silver Screen

“Don’t count on me going on about how the rain falls in Claude Sautet films, the windshield wipers that squeak and the leave the windshield blurry…Or about the breeze in the sea—the damp locks of Yves Montand, beet-red from the sun…Schneider’s smooth yellow brow.”


“No more than I would about Piccoli, chest brushy with herbaceous growth, Piccoli springing up like a virgin wood…”

And oh man the way that red pops like hell behind almost violent brush strokes.  No goddamn gradients here folks.  I also dig that at various points the shadows move around a character’s face—like the strength of their words or passion changes the light of the room.  It also creates an incredible isolation in that fourth panel on the second page—where the main dude is almost calling up out from an abyss he’s falling back through.  And then the textures of Blutch’s brush work.  The shadows on Cordelia’s face on the top two panels from the first page.  The way he’s done the folds of the bed.  *swoon*

Yeah then there’s this.

Blutch, So Long, Silver Screen

If after all that, you still don’t want to buy the comic…man I don’t know what kind of comics you read.  Jeez.


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