Louis Godbout is a screenwriter and director living in Montreal. After studying law, he devoted himself to studying philosophy, a subject he then taught for fifteen years. He published a few essays before turning to screenwriting (Coda, January 2020, Clinamen Films and La révision, in post-production, Cinémaginaire), then directing (Mont Foster, March 2020 and 18 trous, in post-production, Les films Primatice).
Filming a concert presents the challenge of producing something for people to look at so that they hear better. An image almost always gains in depth from being in contact with music, whereas music risks becoming devalued when images are superimposed on it. The musical experience possesses an untranslatable closeness and intensity. What is music? Where does its singular power come from?
If it could be explained, we could probably do without it. To listen to music is to enter another dimension, a mysterious world that’s at once indescribable and familiar. We are not surprised to see music accompanying our joys and tribulations. And yet. By what miracle can a composer from a few centuries ago know my soul, know what burdens or elates me today? Where does his music get this aspect of necessity—of truth, even? Mozart is not a god, Beethoven is not a philosopher, Chopin is not a scientist. Where, then, does this seemingly privileged connection to the real come from? Is it enough to say that they are artists? But what is an artist? Heck if I know. All I can say for sure is that such and such passage of Chopin or Beethoven goes straight to my heart, reaches something real in me—something lasting, something like a part of my nature, which it almost makes me discover.
Perhaps this is what an artist is. Some kind of explorer of spiritual space who sails, gets lost, retraces his steps, and then eventually discovers an island, a continent, a planet. The artist as explorer or seeker. Just as Newton discovered, rather than invented, the law of universal gravitation, we might also consider that Chopin discovered the Ballade in F minor rather than creating it. Since he was constantly reworking his compositions, there are surely dozens of versions of this Ballade that ended up in the trash. Why did he stop at this one? Because, eureka! It was the correct one, the proper one, the “true one,” the one that, for this reason, we still perceive to be so close, so familiar to us. The one that reveals what has always been there, and in so doing reveals us to ourselves. Don’t we listen to music—at least romantic music—to find ourselves?
But as I mentioned, if music could be explained… Well! Without further ado, let the concert begin.
Director, Cartes Blanches