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Un chant d'amour (1950)

Jean Genet  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Jean Genet
  • Format: Color, Limited Edition, NTSC
  • Language: French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Cult Epics
  • DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LC3IVA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,300 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Un chant d'amour" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Introduction by Jonas Mekas
  • Commentary by Kenneth Anger
  • "Genet," a 1981 documentary directed by Antoine Bourseiller
  • "Jean Genet," an interview from 1982 conducted by Bertrand Poirot-Delpech
  • Booklet with stills

Editorial Reviews

Jean Genet's Un Chant d'Amour (or A Song of Love--the only film directed by this notorious novelist, playwright, and gadfly--is just barely pornographic by contemporary standards, but contemporary porn hasn't got a shred of the seedy, languid eroticism of this 25-minute short from 1950. The plot concerns two prisoners communicating through a crack in a wall while a sadistic guard spies on them, but what matters is the light filtering through the smoke blown through a straw, or gleaming off the glistening saliva on a man's fingers. There's no dialogue or soundtrack; the silence compounds the movie's claustrophobic, pent-up atmosphere. This two-disc dvd also includes two excellent interviews with Genet, conducted when he was in his 70s. By turns charming, pugnacious, inflammatory, and melancholy, Genet discusses the nature of god, the human capacity for prophecy, the Black Panthers, life in a juvenile penal colony, being bored by Sartre, and some very volatile political views. Also included are an introduction to the film by director Jonas Mekas (who smuggled the movie through U.S. customs by cutting it into pieces and carrying them in his pocket) and a halting commentary by director/historian Kenneth Anger, who get so hypnotized by the film's images that he forgets to talk. Fans of Genet will find this movie essential; anyone interested in this seminal gay writer will find these interviews an excellent place to begin. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Originally made by Jean Genet for Parisian gay porn collectors in 1950, this film is set in a prison with 3 main characters, a guard and 2 prisoners. Despite all elements of his writings being present, Genet actually denounced the making of this film when

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing for That Certain Film Fan.... May 10, 2007
Nice to have a really decent transfer of the Genet classic made available to a wide audience. The print I struggled to discern decades ago at Manhattan's Thalia was barely watchable; while hardly pristine, this DVD looks just fine. And the film itself is still remarkable, certainly one of the most influential of gay artworks. (Todd Haynes, Pierre et Gilles, Warhol -- the list of those who've aped Genet's imagery here is endless.) Suffice it to say, for most sophisticated audiences, many of the visuals here will seem familiar even the first time around. The commentary from Kenneth Anger's disappointing (when the guard brandishes his gun in the most obvious manner imaginable, Anger helpfully tells us the image is meant to be erotic -- thanks, Ken!) But the introduction from Jonas Mekas, where he tells how the picture was smuggled into New York in the 60's, is fascinating. Also included are two French interviews with Genet, which come guaranteed to cure the strongest case of insomnia -- he drones on with all the assurance of a figure whose every utterance has been hung upon by decades of Parisian intellectuals. Seeing him is interesting, but a little of these documentaries goes a very, very, veeerrryyyyy long way. All in all, though, a must see for Experimental Cinema 101.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bonus disk has two long interviews with Genet September 19, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The 1950 film itself is only 25 minutes long, and is about (as Anger tells us, unnecessarily) "how people are separated by walls." They fantasize about each other, or others, are miserable, cry, dream, dance around, masturbating--or just dancing--share the smoke of a cigarette through a tiny hole in a wall, rap messages, or simply noises, to each other. The film is set during a time when the guillotine was still the instrument of execution, and Anger points out that this may account for one man's rubbing his throat. Each man is alone in his prison cell, and one man's cell has a notice on the outside, saying that the occupant has been condemned to death. Have they all?

The actual silence (Genet wanted no music) seems appropriate. There is a recurring image of a short string of lovely white flowers, with, at first, a man's hand reaching for it, missing it, reaching for it, missing it; then in an outdoor fantasy, stroking the flowers which he he holds, and at the end, of the flowers being drawn, by some mysterious force, into the prison from the outside. Although there men cannot see each other, there is a frequently repeated motif of an eye to the hole in the door, watching, watching. The guard beats one of the men, and then forces his gun into the prisoner's mouth (immediately after the fantasy of one man laying another down gently in the woods, and undoing his belt).


The second disk has two LONG interviews with Genet, one made when he was 71 (and called an aut6obiography, but it is not as organized as that) and the second--in which he contradicts almost everything he said in the first!--when he was 72.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Un Chant d'amour pour Genet January 13, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A masterpiece that should always be in our personal video library, a poem in the form of images, as they had predicted the Russian imagist of the 20s and the great poet and writer Jean Genet has discounted as no one else had managed for the first time in the 1950.
Only one negative post: this DVD version does not have the final with credits (date of release) written in chalk as the "overture" of the visual poem.
But this DVD edition made amends to hold two precious interviews very hard to find, one of two particularly interesting and with a provocative approach to know part of the complex personality of the poet.
Recommended to all lovers of poetry and avant-garde
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