Guy Debord 1931-1994
Critique de la séparation (1961)

Debord’s eighteen-minute Critique of Separation directs its experimental attentions to “the documentary.” Debord draws from a catalogue of newsreel footage and book covers, rephotographed photographs, views of Paris and its neighborhoods, and a catalogue of disabused, seemingly offhand footage of him and his friends in the porous zone comprising the cafˇ and the street. In Critique Debord makes his first tactical use of subtitles to problematize the receptions of the image and even of his own voice-over critique. He also expands the role of intertitles in an ironic vein (”One of the greatest anti-films of all time!”). Here the focus is the explicit development of the notion of “situations” and the problematics of their representation in film. He makes equally explicit, however, that his interest is not principally in a critique of film, but rather in a critique of existing conditions using film’s paradigmatic mechanisms. —From Return of the Supressed by Keith Sanborn