Chapter III. From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
3b: From the Optical and Sound Image to the Dream-Image
[regarding the dreamer’s dream:]
The virtual image which becomes actual does not do so directly, but becomes actual in a different image, which itself plays the role of virtual image being actualized in a third, and so on to infinity: The dream is not a metaphor but a series of anamorphoses which sketch out a very large circuit. [….] When the sleeper is given over to the actual luminous sensation of a green surface broken by white patches, the dreamer who lives in the sleeper may evoke the image of a meadow dotted with flowers, but this image is only actualized by already becoming the image of a billiard table furnished with balls, which in turn does not become actual without becoming something else. These are not metaphors, but a becoming which can by right continue to infinity.
In René Clair’s Entr’acte, the dancer’s tutu seen from beneath ‘spreads out like a flower’, and the flower ‘opens and closes its corolla, enlarges its petals, and lengthens its stamens’, to turn back into the opening legs of a dancer; the city lights become a ‘pile of lighted cigarettes’ in the hair of a man playing chess, cigarettes which in turn become the columns of a Greek temple, then a silo, whilst the chessboard becomes transparent to give a view of the Place de la Concorde.’
Gilles Deleuze, in Cinema 2, 1989: 54c-55, quoting Jean Mitry.
Relâche, ballet instantanéiste en deux actes: un entr’acte cinématographique, et “la queque de chien” is a 1924 ballet by Francis Picabia with music composed by Erik Satie. The title was thought to be a Dadaist practical joke, as relâche is the French word used on posters to indicate that a show is cancelled, or the theatre is closed (and the first performance was indeed cancelled, due to the illness of Jean Börlin, the principal dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of the Ballets Suédois).
Still from “Entr’acte”
Picabia commissioned filmmaker René Clair to create a cinematic entr’acte to be shown during the ballet’s intermission. The film, simply titled Entr’acte, consists of a scene shown before the ballet and a longer piece between the acts. The score was also composed by Satie.
Entr’acte premiered as an entr’acte for the Ballets Suédois production Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in 1924. The Dadaists collaborating on the project invented a new mode of production: instantanéisme. Watching the 20 minute film involves seeing people running in slow motion, things happening in reverse, looking at a ballet dancer from underneath, watching an egg over a fountain of water get shot and instantly become a bird, and watching people disappear. The cast included cameo appearances by Francis Picabia, Erik Satie, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp. The conductor of the orchestra at the premiere was Roger Désormière. The edition of the soundtrack featured here was conducted in 1967 by Henri Sauguet.