'Venom and Eternity' by Isidore Isou at RCC

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29th Aug 14 - 29th Aug 14

6.30 pm - 9.00 pm

Romanian Cultural Centre


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'VENOM AND ETERNITY​‘ (Traité de bave et d'éternité) 

The first and only film by Isidore Isou, the founder of the most important avant-garde movement of postwar Paris, the French Lettrist movement

The Screening will be followed by a talk with art curators Simina Neagu and Ioana Stan 

Screening | 29 August 2014 | 6:30 - 9:00 PM | Manchester Square, 18 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 6EQ

ADMISSION FREE | RSVP at bookings@romanianculturalcentre.org.uk

‘The spectator must leave the cinema blind, his ears crushed, both torn asunder by this disjunction of word and image. The rupture between language and photography will form what I call DISCREPANT CINEMA. I hereby announce the manifesto of discrepant cinema!’            

                                                                                                                           Isidore Isou

‘Venom and Eternity’ is the first cinematographic manifestation of the Letterist movement. Isidore Isou sought to break down cinema, to exploit the discrepancy between sound and image or to treat the film material as exactly that: substance to be manipulated in every possible way. Although uninvited, Isidore Isou brought his movie at the Cannes Film festival in 1951 where he caused turmoil among the audience but also won the audience prize for the avant-garde.  ‘Venom and Eternity​’ outrages the audience with its desynchronized soundtrack and visual track, through its visual effects made by bleaching the film and also though its deconstructed story. With this movie Isou applies two of his concepts; one is ‘the discrepant editing’, where image and sound are treated separately, breaking their significant connection and ‘chiseling’ where the film is physically attacked and altered. In the sound column of ‘Venom and Eternity​’ the spectator may hear from a love story to improvisation whereas in the visual column the viewer might see a dashing young man walking along the boulevard of Saint-Germain or fragments of military films.

This is what the Letterist movement aimed for, to build a new language for each art by destroying its previous manifestation. Isou's ‘revolt against cinema’ is a landmark work that prefigured the Letterist and Situationist cinema to come and influenced many experimental filmmakers, including Stan Brakhage or Jean-Luc Godard.


Isidore Isou born in 1928 as Ioan-Isidor Goldstein, was a Romanian-born French poet, film critic and visual artist. He represents one of the key Romanian avant-garde artists who influenced and provoked the contemporary perception of art.

Isou moved to Paris at the end of WW II after he tried to initiate the artistic and literary review ‘Da’ in partnership with Serge Moscovici (‘Da’ was quickly censored due to political reasons). Moving to Paris, Isou was able to develop and express his concepts which involved and presumed a total artistic renewal. His work and artistic practice influenced other artists in questioning and rethinking cinema, seeing this medium as being much more than a means of telling stories.


Simina Neagu (b. 1988) holds an MA in Aesthetics & Art Theory at Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London. She collaborated with various institutions such as Pavilion Unicredit, Pavilion–journal for politics and culture, Bucharest Biennale 4 (Bucharest), Knoll Galerie (Vienna and Budapest), Centre for Visual Introspection (Bucharest), South London Art Map (London) or Artist Pension Trust Institute (New York), working as a curator, arts administrator or writer.

Ioana Stan (b.1988) studied Art History at University of Bucharest and completed her Master’s degree in Art Theory and Aesthetics at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University in London. Her research is concerned with plasticity and flexibility in the process of subject formation. In the past, she has collaborated with various institutions such as Centre for Visual Introspection (Bucharest), Bucharest Biennial 4, Anca Poterasu Gallery (Bucharest), French Riviera (London). Currently she is working as the events manager for the Romanian Cultural Center/Ratiu Foundation in London. 

A reception sponsored by Deli Twist will follow the screening.


Traité de bave et d'éternité’ (On Venom and Eternity) | 1951, 120 Min., 35mm

Screenplay: Isidore Isou

Cinematographer: Nat Saufer

Editor: Suzanne Cabon

Assistant Director: Maurice Lemaître

Original Music: Daniel Guarrigue

Producer: Marc-Gilbert Guillaumin

Cast: Isidore Isou, Marcel Achard, Jean-Louis Barrault, Blanchette Brunoy, Blaise Cendrars, Jean Cocteau, Danièle Delorme, Edouard Dermithe, Daniel Gélin, André Maurois, Armand Salacrou, Rodica Valeanu.

Special Thanks to Mrs Catherine Goldstein and Mr Pip Chodorov
Copyright: Isidore Isou Estate / Catherine Goldstein

Film courtesy of Re:Voir

Watch Trailer HERE