line in Film Socialisme may lie in his description of Brechtian didacticism in the opening essay of his 1998 Petit manuel d'inesthetique, which also contains an essay on cinema: "The thesis (of the didactic schema) is that art is incapable of truth, or that all truth is external to art.. The definition of art, and of art alone: To be the charm of the semblance of truth...
"For (the didactic) Brecht, there exists a general and extrinsic truth, a truth the character of which is scientific.. dialectical materialism, whose status as the solid base of the new rationality Brecht never cast into doubt. This truth is essentially philosophical, and the 'philosopher' is the leading character in Brecht's didactic dialogues..
"For Brecht, art produces no truth, but is instead an elucidation - based on the supposition that the true exists - of the conditions for a courage of truth. Art, under surveillance, is a therapy against cowardice. Not against cowardice in general, but against cowardice in the face of truth. This is obviously why the figure of Galileo is central.."
the subversive antibourgeous character of Romanticism acts as a screen between classicism and ourselves. For my part, I do not share Lukács' radical suspicion of Romanticism," pointing out, as would countless other examples and testimonies, that there are many more sides to Romanticism other than Badiou's definition, which is no doubt a strain within the tradition. Breton called Surrealism "the prehensile tail of romanticism." Anna Balakian wrote "Breton notes.. that.. Hegel succeeded in pointing out the very true differences between romanticism and modernism: the romantic draws the object within itself and makes an abstraction of it, while the true modern projects himself into the concrete existence of the object." To gauge amongst other things, the treatment of the Aristotelian in Aragon's Le Paysan de Paris and Breton's Nadja, "the measuring stick is knowledge of concrete forms and objects, and the mind's elasticity in transforming them." Breton sought out Freud in person and Aragon would emerge as a conventional master of Aristotelian-structured novels after WW2. We find below Godard, too, succumbing to the non-Brechtian "Oh! how many imagine the Bérénice, the Phèdre of their dreams, leaving the trace of her tears on her screen." (below, spoon purchased in L'Amour Fou by Breton at Saint-Ouen Market in the presence of Giacometti)
Brecht's first play, Baal* (noted here in keeping with the Minotaur theme, I, II) commented on the Romanticism that animated the previous era's fashion for Expressionism, which Douglas Kellner thinks "we must see.. as a late development of romantic anti-capitalist revolts."
Bentley: "Walter Sokol has written of (Baal) eloquently as a parody of those Expressionist heroes whose life was a sacred mission. But since Brecht considered the Expressionist missions spurious, he makes Baal's 'mission' genuine. Baal is an ambiguous, ambivalent figure: part monster, but partly, too, the martyr of a poetic hedonism. And the positive element is more prominent than the negative because it is Baal's special contribution - his monstrousness he has in common with a monstrous world."
As the "didacticism" Badiou attributes to Brecht wasn't fully formed, the Hitchcockian justice visited on Baal's chaos and destruction is in keeping with Aristotelian conflict: "With the early Brecht, it is as if he were striving to break through to a hedonism as radical as that of Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown. That guilt and anxiety blocked his path may, in one respect have been fortunate: he was a dramatist - conflict was his raw material."
Baal/ Moloch figure by Brecht and Allen Ginsberg indicate their respective orientations at their starting points. Ginsberg's was "Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks!," returning to William Blake who "had attacked the 'Satanic mills' and called for a spiritual rebirth in the face of the material and spiritual decay which industrialization produced." America in the 50's produced "the incomprehensible prison.. Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows," against which Ginsberg and his poet friends were protagonists slaying "Moloch who entered my soul early!" Brecht had a picture of Baal over his bed in Augsburg, "the enemy of the Christian-Judaic, puritanic, ascetic tradition.. an enemy of 'all that lacks life and vitality'.. of death." Prefacing his 1926 rewrite, he noted Baal's "heedless way of living.." and that "he shamelessly exploited every possibility that offered." Blake, believed to have been unaware of Hegel, wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell "Without Contraries is no progression" and "Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy," long before Bentley would attribute that view to Brecht.
* 1982 BBC version starring Bowie in the title role here.