Against Cinema
Guy Debord Retrospective
  • Howls for Sade
  • On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time
  • Critique of Separation
  • The Society of the Spectacle
  • Refutation of All Judgments, Whether in Praise or Hostile, Thus Far Rendered on the Film The Society of the Spectacle
  • In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (We Spin Around the Night Consumed by the Fire)
  • [1959]

    On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time

    Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers une assez courte unité de temps

    - FRANCE / 1959 / French and others / B&W / 35mm (1:1.37) / 18 min

    Director, Script: Guy Debord
    Photography: André Mrugalski Editing: Chantal Delattre
    Continuity: Michèle Vallon
    Production Company: Dansk-Fransk Experimentalfilmskompagni
    Music: Händel (the ballet suite The Origin of Design), Michel-Richard Delalande (Caprice #2)
    Voices: Jean Harnois, Guy Debord, Claude Brabant
    International Distribution: Love Streams Production agnès b.
    Source: Carlotta Films

    As the title suggests, this film shows the various origins of the Situationist International movement (SI) as Debord shifted the base of his activities from the Letterist International (LI) to the SI. Philosophical, sci-fi and other texts are randomly cited and narrated by robotic voices. The images of Parisian landscapes, and of young people (Debord, Michèle Bernstein, Asger Jorn, and their SI friends) talking in cafés are effectively inserted. The film can be taken as the cinematic practice of Debord’s “Psychogeography,” in that it imprints on the footage the very flow of the people’s transformation in their everyday urban life, from their political awakening to actual participation in movement activities. By the same token, it more systematically employs Debord’s “détournement,” consciously citing preexisting footage and texts to displace their topologies. Jorn also took part in the film as a producer. Some extracts from a recording of the Third Situationist International Conference are used for the opening credit titles.