Friday, March 02, 2007

Henry Miller On French TV

Wanna hear Miller speak Brooklynese French? I found this just the other day: footage of Henry Miller on French television from the late 1960s, viewable on-line with Quicktime.

There are several clips of interest on the INA website ("Archives for all" is their slogan), but I'll start with the one most easily accesible and most directly about Miller. This 3+ minute segment is from 1980; an homage in reaction to his death. Besides a montage of stills, staged shots, footage of Montmartre, and some scenic clips from the Danish film Quiet Days in Clichy, we can see an interview with Miller, shot in 1968. Miller speaks entirely in French; a rough French devoid of any true attempt to use French inflection. It's fantastic; I'd never heard him try it much, other than a few sentences heard in French on the documentary The Henry Miller Odyssey.
Here are a few roughly translated things Miller says:
* "I always write as I speak."
* "Love is the most important thing in life. Without love, life is nothing."
* (Miller is soliciated for advice for young writers and artists): "Don't choose to be an artist. Do something else."

This segment is viewable for free (as long as you have Quicktime installed) and may also be purchased for a couple of Euros. For longer segments (i.e. some of the full-hour programs), you can only see the first ten minutes for free (otherwise, you can buy it). Tip: When searching for clips, use both "Henry Miller" and the French spelling, "Henri Miller."

The INA is an archive of both television and radio; the following are listed as being one or the other.

MILLER-RELATED ITEMS IN THE INA ON-LINE MEDIA ARCHIVE

{Radio} Program: Radioscopie. March 23, 1976. (57:30)
The comedian Marcel Dalio talks about his life, including an anecdote about meeting Miller.

{Radio} Program: Radioscopie. November 11, 1976. (1:04:15)
Christian de Bartillat, editor of Stock Publishing since 1969, discusses publishing Miller, as well as Miller's personality and thoughts: his views on the U.S., humanity, philosophy and religion.

{TV} Program: Apostrophes. October 15, 1976. (1:10:19)
Round-table discussion on "Et si nous parlions de quelques grands ecrivains?" in which Rilke is the main topic. Later in the show, Christian de Bartillat introduces the subject of Miller by way of his book Flash-back, entretiens de Pacific Pallisades [aka Flash Back: Conversations with Henry Miller]. Claire Goll detests Miller and offers an anecdote to back this impression up.

{Radio} Program: Radioscopie. February 6, 1978. (56:00)
Brassai interview, in which Miller is one of his topics.

{TV} Program: Apostrophes. Novemebr 9, 1984. (1:18:12)
The round-table this week covers the subject of "Liberated Women," and includes Erica Jong as a guest. Within this conversation, Jong has some positive things to say about Miller.

{TV} Program: Apostrophes. June 17, 1977. (1:19:22)
This week: erotic and pornographic books. Maurice Girodias, one of Miller's publishers, is one of the guests.

{Radio} Program: Le Masque et la Plume. June 14, 1970. (49:00)
Anais Nin discusses her diaries.

{Radio} Program: Radioscopie. February 17, 1982. (55:00)
Interview with Lawrence Durrell. (his French sounds excellent, by the way).

And, if you keep digging, you'll find people like Blaise Cendrars and other French personalities whom Miller knew and/or was influenced by.

9 Comments:

Anonymous JamesD said...

Another great find, RC--absolutely charming!

12:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outstanding! I've seen Henry on YouTube talking about Big Sur, but this takes the cake - and in French, no less! Thanks RC.

8:53 am  
Anonymous www.rx247.net/priligy.html said...

Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of "novel" that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer (1934), Black Spring (1936), and Tropic of Capricorn (1939). He also wrote travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.

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