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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

ALL HAIL NOEL GODIN







whilst explaining to somebody about lead anarcho-flan flinger Noel Godin's days as a reviewer of non-existent films, I managed to google the Observer article from 1995 where I first came across him... and here it is courtesy of Jah Sonic (an online vocabulary of culture I feel I should have come across before.. )
It's a great article covering his rise to prominence as le premier entarteur - although a little dated now - but I really enjoyed his account of his time as the film reviewer for Friends Of Film:
The history of the flans is a bizarre and perverse one. Born and
educated in Liege, Noel Godin abandoned his law studies when he got caught up in
the student demonstations of May 1968. The following year, fired with enthusiasm
for the anarchist principles he has never forsaken, he was hired to write the
news column for Friends of Film, a magazine published by the Belgian Catholic
League.

"I started to print complete falsehoods - gradually at first, then
routinely," he recalled. "I invented non-existant films that I illustrated with
snapshots of my relatives. I worte face-to-face interviews with hundreds of
artists, including Frank Capra and Robert Mitchum, without ever leaving my
bedroom."

Readers of Friends of Film were introduced to the work of
imaginary geniuses such as Sergio Rossi, Aristide Beck and Viviane Pei, the Thai
director of such films as "The Lotus Flower Will No Longer Grow On The Shores Of
Your Island". Pei's acheivements, ceaselessly lauded in Godin's column, were the
more remarkable, he reported, in that she was "the only blind director in the
history of cinema". He enthused over "Vegetables of Good Will" (1970, Jean
Clabau), in which Claudia Cardinale played an endive, and "Germinal II", a
Maoist cartoon featuring Jean-Louis Barrault as the voice of a cold chisel.
When I voiced my scepticism of these stories, Godin produced a complete run
of the magazine, carefully preserved in chronological order, and clearly
authentic. In the first column I saw, Jeanne Moreau revealed Roger Vadim, former
husband of Brigette Bardot, to be "a DIY fanatic secretly obsessed with small
balsawood aircraft". Elsewhere, subscribers to Friends of Film learnt that
Marlene Dietrich led expeditions to hunt down the Loch Ness monster, that
Michael Caine had a motor that ran on yoghurt, and that Marcel Pagnol had
crossed the Channel on a four-poster bed fitted with an outboard motor.
Godin's celebrity "interviews" often found his subject in unusually candid
moods. "I am a cretin," confessed Richard Brooks, director of "Cat On A Hot Tin
Roof". "My films are mere wind." Robert Ryan, who player Deke Thorton in "The
Wild Bunch" argued that "herbivorism could make work a thing of the past".
Mindful of his devout readership, Godin announced a conversion every three
months, and reported the induction into the faith of such improbable penitents
as Luis Bunuel and Tennessee Williams. "I got away with it purely because I had
a credulous editor and the magazine was not distributed outside Belgium," said
Godin.

posted by dubversion at 10:24 pm

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