From Jordi Torrent’s program notes for “Raúl Ruiz: works for and about French TV,” at Exit Art (Nov 1987):
LA PRESENCE REELLE works through four axes of plot which are intercut throughout the film:
1. Adam Shaft, an out-of-work actor who recently worked on an interactive video disk documentary about the Avignon Theatre Festival, and who is now in a studio watching the program with the help of a computer specialist. Through conversations between Shaft and the computer specialist we find out that only 10% of time-space images in the video disk have been recorded from actual footage and the rest of the disk has been created by the computer using the ‘real presence’ of living beings. At one point Shaft complains because in the video disk his images are saying things that he never said. The computer specialist explains to him that his words have been used to create an entity that thinks and talks by itself, but that will not necessarily say things that Shaft would have thought or said.
2. …the several meetings between the actor and director of the Avignon Theatre Festival. In each meeting Shaft proposes to him a more complicated and impossible to produce project.
3. …the actor’s relation with a friend, in whose apartment he will live while he is in Avignon. During the first visit to the apartment, the actor’s friend states that ‘the only theatrical spectacle worth its name is the miracle of Lourdes!’ At the end of this meeting, the voice-over informs us that his friend has contaminated the actor with ‘the disease.’ Immediately after, Shaft attempts to commit suicide. He wakes with the help of Beatrice — a girl who has been working on the character Iphigenia for ten years, a depressing effort because she has just realized that when she will master the character she will be too old to perform it. After dining together, Shaft, the out-of-work actor, succeeds at his second attempt at suicide; meanwhile we see him sitting bored in the empty theatre.
4. …a documentary of excerpts from theatrical productions and rehearsals at the Avignon Festival. They include: La Dévotion à la Croix by Calderon, Dernières Nouvelles De La Peste by Bernard Chartreux, Les Démons by Les Comediants, and Les Céphéides by Jean-Christophe Bailly.
488MB | 58:51.160 | 352×288 | avi