Free

Tragedy, A Series of Films: The Eternal Return (Delannoy, France, 1943)

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Birkbeck Cinema

43 Gordon Square

London

WC1H 0PD

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description

Description

Tragedy: A Series of Films: The Eternal Return (Jean Delannoy, France, 1943, 107 mins)
Friday 23 February 6:00 – 9:00
In collaboration with the Guilt Group and Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

Presenter: James Williams (RHUL)


L’Éternel Retour (also known in English as Love Eternal), directed by Jean Delannoy, is
Jean Cocteau’s reworking of the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde. Cocteau justifies
the film’s recycling of medieval myth by reference to its Nietzschean title: legends can be
reborn; the ‘simple circumstances’ on which the great stories of the heart are based recur.
This retelling locates the story in contemporary France, with Tristan becoming Patrice
(Jean Marais), and Isolde turning into Nathalie (Madeleine Sologne).
The film was made during the German occupation. This fact manifests itself by its total
suppression. The story unfolds in a country estate, with much of the action happening on
an island. It seems cut off from reality. But if the film sometimes feels like a fable,
contemporary politics nevertheless creep in. The lovers are tricked by a malicious dwarf,
Achille (Piéral). No other version of the myth makes so much of this figure. The camera
dwells on the blond lovers, their glamour and sacrifice. It has been suggested that the film
reflects Nazi race doctrine. Possibly so; but not unambiguously. The doomed quasi-Aryan
lovers have to compete with a vivid gallery of comic grotesques for our sympathy and
interest.


For information about the Guilt Groups work, see http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bisr/research/guilt-working- group.
BIMI is funded by four schools at Birkbeck: the School of Arts, the School of Law, the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, and the School of Science. The University of Pittsburgh is also a partner and co-funder.

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Birkbeck Cinema

43 Gordon Square

London

WC1H 0PD

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved