Va, Toto !
In Vattetot-sur-mer, a young wild boar on the point of death arrives at Madeleine’s house. “I tried to write this first hypothesis. I took it through to the end, in vain. It seemed very artificial to tell a single isolated story because that never happens in life. For example, you can fall in love while a friend is dying. It’s the correspondence between things and events that I tried to address. The (sometimes contradictory) movements of life and the multiplicity of desires, all within one film. And then Vincent and Joseph arrived.”
The image belongs to the animal realm, wrote Fernand Deligny, in the sense that the image shares with animals the privilege of not being subjugated by language. We don’t talk to animals, be they wild or domestic: we watch them live, move, sleep, we can also follow them and, in their wake, open ourselves to a becoming-animal. The silence of animals means we have to join them there, their company grants us periods of existence free from language, from its grip on the world of the senses.
The silence conferred by the absence of language is what founds the original intimacy of cinema and animals, the seduction that they exert on the camera, their power of attraction on its passivity. The cinema of Pierre Creton, more than any other, evidences this silent magnetisation. For him, filming, converting existence into cinema, is a way of intensifying the becoming-animal that he cultivates every day, of welcoming into the image its proofs and effects and keeping the joys it brings and which always risks being overlooked or swept away by the flow of human and linguistic things.
The image belongs to the animal realm, but a film is not just made of images, even when these include sounds. Language comes into play, slips between images and sounds, combines with them to open up and chart the paths of meaning. While every film is composed of images and language, cinema is only worthwhile if it knocks language off its routine, puts it to the test of the image so that it no longer recognises itself.
With Va,Toto !, Pierre Creton’s leap into literary writing introduces into the film a new relationship between image and language, a new distance. The image, whether silent or with sound, whether we see men or animals, has never appeared so sovereign, free from action and signification. As for language, this is mostly guided by the text written by Pierre Creton, spoken and edited as voice-over in a mesh of voices that floats above or on the surface of the image.
Cyril Neyrat (excerpt from the booklet of the DVD of Va, Toto ! JHR, Post-éditions, 2017)