Du sang au coeur (Blood in the heart) focuses on a couple of countryfolk in their privacy: here, killing and cutting up a rabbit, target of caustic exchanges. A last sacrifice, in the urgency of a darkened memory. The laughter glosses over the cruelty of the slaughter. Authority is imperious in the death throes. The bloody gesture is also the confused one of the butcher-cum-executioner, whose gaze seems lost, brought to bay in gentleness. Like gods of Greek mythology caught by the laws and feelings of people, in this French countryside with its age-old traditions, they cut up the animal, accomplish the ritual, sublimate their legend a bit, in the horror of the next katabasis or retreat; the river flows below, forgetful, meander of a sick love. The knife does not cut any longer, but death is there, it tolls the quarry, it tolls like a rebuke to the one of the two who will go away. A withdrawn life, a time freed, and a poetic old age take hold of the images. RY
Du sang au coeur
2012, 20 mn
Mo Gourmelon: Who is this pair of peasants?
Rémy Yadan : I don’t think the answer is necessary for the poetics of the images. I hold by the notion of anonymity in all my works and as you can see in this video, I don’t let anything appear which might offer any kind of key, either about the identity of the pair of peasants, or about the region where I filmed them. The first version of the video Du sang au coeur very simply thanked all the people involved, actively and as intermediaries, who enabled me to produce these images. After thinking about my work, I decided to get rid of the frame. It was obviously more powerful not to include those identity-related and material data which were, for my taste, too real and factual, for a video work making no claims to have any documentary stance. Despite the earthly quality of this video, I decided to let it exist as an irrational, motif-less parenthesis, with no name and without any apparent necessity. The poetry of this sequence is thereby strengthened. So the narrative suspension of this video is no longer caught up, either by the root of the name, or by the rationality of the place. For all that, it’s important to say that these two “actors” were, in their lengthy country careers, real farmers and butchers. This fact is clearly significant because we are faced with an everyday gesture but one that is lost, and with a confused familiarity which raises the issue of recollection and memory.
MG: Why did you decide to film that slaughter?
RY : Sure, there’s a slaughter. Of the rabbit. Apart from bloody scenes which can sometimes even fuel a horrid feeling of disgust, the plot and the tragedy in this work are, to my eye, focused mainly on: relationship, the drift of love, protective hegemony, the power of roles, the precise stubbornness of one of the pair, and the sickly distractedness of the other. This human arrangement which mixes both common custom and sick intimacy raises the issue of death, on a
literal and sublimated plane. The wit and the asides of the repartee also re-trigger the poetics of this rural world. In the background, and only there, the video obviously poses the question of food. In a society where the “Organic” business is exploding in the face of the globalization that is re-organizing markets, by imposing on Europe health regulations which are getting rid of small farmers (with not very cogent results in terms of public health); I was keen to focus on the ordinary killing of a rabbit reared in the depths of the countryside. These hard pictures of its throat being slit also raise the issue of eating meat. Eating meat involves the death of an animal. People tend to forget that. This rabbit implicitly links the farm context with that of the slaughterhouse.