NANA, THE UNWITTING PHILOSOPHER

Dass Godard gerne philosophische Überlegungen in seinen Filmen einwirft, ist nichts neues. In dem letzten (und meinem liebsten) Film mit Anna Karina, den ich hier anführen will – VIVRE SA VIE [DIE GESCHICHTE DER NANA S.] – belässt er es nicht nur bei verwirrenden Ausrufen der Darsteller oder scheinbar unpassenden Zitaten, sondern lässt seine Hauptdarstellerin Nana ein langes Gespräch mit dem „Sherlock Holmes der Sprache“ führen. Brice Parain, der hier als „Fremder“ auftritt versucht Antworten zu geben auf ihre Fragen über Sprache und Kommunikation, über Liebe und Wahrheit. Ein (zugegeben etwas langer) Ausschnitt des Dialogs:
NANA: It’s funny. Suddenly I don’t know what to say. It happenes to me a lot. I know what I want to say. I think first about whether they’re the right words. But when the moment comes to speak, I can’t say it.
STRANGER: Yes, of course. Have you read The Three Musketeers? […] Because in it, Porthos – Actually, this is from Twenty Years Later. Porthos is tall, strong and a little dense. He’s never had a thought in his life. He has to place a bomb in a cellar to blow it up. He does it. He places the bomb, lights the fuse, and starts to run away. But just then he begins to think. About what? How it’s possible to put one foot in front of the other. I’m sure that happened to you. So he stops running. He can’t move forward. The bomb explodes, and the cellar caves in around him. He holds it up with his strong shoulders. But after a day or two, he’s crushed to death. So the first time he thought, it killed him.
[…]
NANA: Why must one always talk? I think one should often just keep quiet, live in silence. The more one talks, the less the words mean.
STRANGER: Perhaps, but can one do that? […] It’s always struck me, the fact we can’t live without speaking.
NANA: But it would be nice.
STRANGER: Yes, it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Sort of like we loved one another more. But it’s impossible. No one’s been able to.
NANA: But why? Words should express just what one wants to say. Do they betray us?
STRANGER: Yes, but we betray them too. One should be able to express oneself. We manage to write things quite well. It’s extraordinary that someone like Plato can still be understood. People really do understand him. Yet he wrote in Greek 2,500 years ago. No one really knows the language, not exactly. Yet something gets through, so we should be able to express ourselves. And we have to.
NANA: Why do we have to? To understand each other?
STRANGER: We must think, and for thought we need words. There’s no other way to think. To communicate, one must speak. That’s our life.
NANA: Yes, but the same time, it’s very hard. Whereas I think life should be easy. […]
STRANGER: I believe, one learns to speak well only when one has renounced life for a while. That’s the price.
NANA: So to speak is fatal?
STRANGER: Speaking is almost a resurrection in relation to life. Speaking is a different life from when one does not speak. So to live speaking, one must pass through the death of life without speaking. […] there’s a kind of ascetic rule that stops one from speaking well until one sees life with detachment.
NANA: But one can’t live everyday life with… I don’t know…
STRANGER: …Deatchment? We go back and forth. That’s why we pass from silence to words. We swing between the two, because it’s the movement of life. From everyday life one rises to a life – let’s call it superior – why not? It’s the thinking life. But the thinking life presupposes that one has killed off a life that’s too mundane, too rudimentary.
NANA: Then thinking and speaking are the same thing?
STRANGER: I believe so. It’s Plato, you know. It’s an old idea. I don’t think one can distinguish a thought from the words that express it. A moment of thought can only be grabbed through words.
NANA: So to speak is to risk lying?
STRANGER: Lies too are part of our quest. There’s little difference between an error and a lie. […] a subtle lie often differs little from an error. One’s searching for something and can’t find the right word. That’s why sou didn’t know what to say before. I think you were afraid of not finding the right word.
NANA: How can one be sure of having found the right word?
STRANGER: One must work at it. It only comes with effort. To say what must be said in the appropriate way, that is, that doesn’t hurt, that says what must be said, does what must be done, without hurting or wounding anyone.
NANA: One must try to act in good faith.

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