Close Up: Paul Éluard

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Anna Karina, originally uploaded by sokaris73.

Capitale de La Douleur (The Capital Of Sorrow, 1926) is the best-known book of poetry by Paul Éluard, one of the founders of the French Surrealist movement. The title of an earlier book by Éluard Mourir de ne pas Mourir (Dying Of Not Dying, 1924)—appears onscreen in small font on the back cover, which Natasha (Anna Karina) holds up while reading from it is another poetic parallel to the nightmarish existence in Alphaville:
Your voice, your eyes
your hands, your lips
Our silences, our words
Light that goes
light that returns
A single smile between us both
In quest of knowledge
I watched night create day
while we seemed unchanged
beloved of all, beloved of one alone
your mouth silently promised to be happy
Away, away, says hate
never, never, says love
A caress leads us from our childhood
Increasingly I see the human form
as a lover’s dialogue
The heart has but one mouth
Everything ordered by chance
All words without aforethought
Sentiments adrift
Men roam the city
A glance, a word
Because I love you
Everything moves
To live, only advance!
Aim straight for those you love
I went towards you, endlessly towards the light
If you smile, it is to enfold me all the better
The rays of your arms pierce the mist
An excellent essay by Michael Benedikt on the Éluard/Alphaville connection.
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About Laura Forde

Laura’s passion for popular culture and design has lead to a diverse career in graphic design and art direction spanning editorial, identity, branding, advertising and interaction design. She was one of the founding employees of Wieden + Kennedy’s New York office, where she worked for five years—ultimately as design director. Laura has also worked in-house for brands such as Ralph Lauren and J. Crew, and in the editorial art departments of Details, George, and Elle, where she began her career assisting publication director Régis Pagniez. Laura Forde studied Art History and French at Smith College, and received her MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts. She has taught graphic design at The Cooper Union School of Art, served on the board of AIGA/NY, and her writing about design has appeared in Eye, Back Cover, Big, The Daily Note, as well as the Japanese publication Petit Glam.

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