Coup pour Coup / Blow for Blow (1972)

Without Nelson Mandela we wouldn’t have people fighting for social justice,

Without Martin Luther King we wouldn’t have people fighting for racial equality,

Without Ghandi we wouldn’t have people fighting for injustice.

The aforementioned names are people, people who fight for the their rights to be heard for namely justice, equality and freedom. Just as women did in Paris 1968, they fought for their fundamental rights to be enshrined.

Click on the images below to learn more about what each individual fought for:

This American rhetoric was delivered on August 28 1963.

Recognised for his struggle to demolish apartheid regime in South Africa he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

His doctrine of a non-violent protest deemed to accomplish the political and social progress.

With this in mind I will be focusing on the film Coup pour Coup and the oppression women faced at the textiles factory, this intrigued me to find out how far freethinking individuals were willing to go so that their rights were implemented. The film exposes women who eventually became alienated to the extent they show signs of madness. They cannot endure the tiredness and become rebellious in effect they sabotage machines so they could stop working. The violation of their rights gave the women encouragement to confront the boss in respect to the inhumane discipline. In the process two of the agitators were fired and as a result the women became even more eager to unite to obtain their reinstatement.

In this film Marin Karmitz produces an aesthetic film through the use of actors who were in actual fact the real strikers. “Karmitz’s film tries directly to bypass the social and cinematic obstacles to present a realistic picture of both work and the struggle against work” (Film unemployment, 2012). As the titles are showing at the end the director’s name shows amongst the others, I admire this authentic approach as he saw himself equal to the other cast who helped produce the movie. “It is a genuine attempt to undercut the non-egalitarian nature of most cinematic production and present a didactic model of social resistance at the same time” (Ibid, 2012).

 

At the end of them film there is freeze frame of the women united with this boss, this frame is used whilst a voice-over is extolling the resistance the women have faced. There was a particular saying in the voice-over that intrigued me “don’t forget that your great victory is the unity with our own strength. Unity with our husbands, who are now aware of out struggle. Unity with other factories” (Ibid, 2012). The repetition of the word unity represented the victorious three-week strike in rural France and this simplicity was portrayed in the film when a shot was taken of the husbands cooking, cleaning and looking after the children. Moreover, looking at the language used in the voice over there is the technique called the power of three prevalent that is used to make a speech more memorable.

The struggle for the women in factories was well acknowledged by everyone in the late 1960’s and so Jean-Luc Godard produced Tout Va Biento reveal the degrading treatment. When Coup pour Coup was released in 1972 critics were quick to disparage because of the comparison between the two. There were different representations on the strike displayed by directors; below I have shown a link to an interview by Godard, this reveals how he believes his work differentiated from Karmitz’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qexo1rtqO7Q&list=PL1FIp_RCwlRKSe_yMI-kjKOx8ah99zQec&index=3&feature=plpp_video

Godard explains why his movie was more practical to describe what happened during the revolution. His main argument is that Karmitz shows the women voicing themselves, however they didn’t voice themselves for such a long time. Godarad allows cast members to have up to 3 minutes each to explain what the strike meant to them; therefore he believes this is a practical approach as it reveals a realistic concept.

To conclude I think Coup pour Coup demonstrated how the women fought for their rights in a simple artistic way, so that the audience could relate to it and comprehend to the severity they encountered. For example, in the beginning Karmitz’s showed how the workers were denied the right to go to the toilet whilst working and when they had held the boss hostage they also denied him the right to go to the toilet. This was done through a comical concept but yet a profound one to make one sympathise with the workers. They wanted to make the protest a successful one by uniting with their co-workers and families but without the help of the Trade Union. I admired their courage to stand up and fight for their freedom of expression, which I believe, was honorably successful.

Bibliography:

Film Unemployment cinema. (2010) MARCH’s SCREENING – Coup Pour Coup (Blow For Blow). [Online] Available at: http://unemployedcinema.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/marchs-screening-coup-pour-coup-blow.html. [Accessed 02 November 12].

‪Laura Sánchez (2006) Entrevista a Godard/ Godard Interview[Online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qexo1rtqO7Q&list=PL1FIp_RCwlRKSe_yMI-kjKOx8ah99zQec&index=3&feature=plpp_video [Accessed 29 October November 2012].

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