The bookshelves in Gaspar Noé’s 2018 feature film ‘Climax’

Controversial filmmaker Gaspar Noé’s 2018 feature film ‘Climax’ opens with a set of interviews being shown on an old television screen, either side of which there are bookshelves. The right-side shelves contain movies, the left books.

Anybody who has seen the film will instantly associate some of the titles with scenes in the movie, if you haven’t seen it this listing may be of use.

Here’s a listing of the books (from the bottom upwards):

Filmmaker Luis Buñuel’s ‘Mon Dernier Soupir’ his autobiography translated by Abigail Israel as ‘My Last Breath’.

Pierre Petit ‘Molinier, une vie d’enfer’. Pierre Molinier was a French painter, photographer and “maker of objects”. According to Wikipedia,

“In 1955 Molinier made contact with the leading surrealist Andre Breton and by 1959 was showing at the International Surrealist Exhibition. At this time they defined the purpose of his art as ‘for my own stimulation’, indicating they future direction in one of their exhibits in the 1965 Surrealist show – a dildo.

Between 1965 and his suicide in 1976, he chronicled his exploration of his subconscious transsexual desires in “Cent Photographies Erotiques”: graphically detailed images of pain and pleasure. Molinier, with the aid of a remote control switch, also began to create photographs in which he assumed the roles of dominatrix and succuba previously taken by the women of his paintings. In these black and white photographs, Molinier, either alone with doll-like mannequins or with female models, appears as a transvestite, transformed by his ‘fetish’ wardrobe of fishnet stockings, suspender belt, stilettos, mask and corset. In montages, an unlikely number of stockinged limbs intertwine to create the women of Molinier’s paintings.

He declared that all his erotic works had been painted for his own stimulation: “In painting, I was able to satisfy my leg and nipple fetishism.” His primary interest regarding his sexuality was neither the female body or the male body; Molinier said that legs of either sex arouse him equally, as long as they are hairless and dressed up in black stockings. Regarding his dolls, he said: “While a doll can function as a substitute for a woman, there is no movement, no life. This has a certain charm if one is before a beautiful corpse. The doll can, but does not have to become the substitute for a woman”[3]

For the last 11 years of his life Molinier played out his own most profound moments in the ‘theatre’ of his Bordeaux ‘boudoir – atelier’. He intended his photographs to shock, inviting the viewer to bring to the images his or her own response of excitement or disgust.”

‘L’aventure Hippie’ by Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Pierre Delannoy. It subject matter is the birth of the sixties counterculture, with a special focus on French developments. It was first published at Plon in 1992.

A title by Carlos Castaneda, Castaneda wrote a series of books that purport to describe training in shamanism that he received under the tutelage of a Yaqui “Man of Knowledge” named don Juan Matus.

‘Taxi Driver’ by Paul Schrader. The film script.

‘Murnau’ by Lotte H. Eisner. A biography of German Expressionist F.W. Murnau which includes a copy of the original script of the film ‘Nosferatu’.

‘Fritz Lang’ (no author shown), one would assume it is a biography or an analysis of his films.

Michel Bakounine ‘Oeuvres’, a selection of works by the Russian revolutionary anarchist. He is among the most influential figures of anarchism and a major figure in the revolutionary socialist, social anarchist, and collectivist anarchist traditions. Bakunin’s prestige as a revolutionary also made him one of the most famous ideologues in Europe, gaining substantial influence among radicals throughout Russia and Europe.

‘Les Sociétés Secrètes’ (‘Secret Societies’) author indecipherable.

‘Psychopathologie de la vie quotidienne’ by Sigmund Freud. Translated as ‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Life’

‘l’inconscient’ by Sigmund Freud. Translated as ‘The Unconscious’

‘Nietzsche’ by Stefan Zweig. A biographical study of the philosopher Nietzsche.

‘Mi Hermana y yo’ by Freidrich Nietzsche. Translated as ‘My Sister and I’.

‘Mon voyage en enfer’ by Patricia Hearst. The English title is ‘Every Secret Thing’ where Hearst provides her personal account of her activities and relationships beginning with her kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army on February 4, 1974.

‘L’histoire de l’œil’ by Georges Bataille, a 1928 novella written by Georges Bataille that details the increasingly bizarre sexual perversions of a pair of teenage lovers, including an early depiction of omorashi fetishism in Western literature. It is narrated by the young man looking back on his exploits.

Virginie Despentes ‘Baise Moi’.  The blurb reads: Manu and Nadine have had all they can take. Manu has been brutally raped and determines it’s not worth leaving anything precious lying vulnerable—including her very self. She teams up with Nadine, a nihilist who watches pornography incessantly, and they enact their own version of les vols et les viols (rape and pillage)—they lure men sexually, use them up, then rob and kill them.

‘Frisson De Bonheur’ by Philippe Vuillemin. I believe this is a rare graphic novel.

‘Le meilleur de moi-meme’ by Philippe Vuillemin

Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis’. The letter written by Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol, to “Bosie” (Lord Alfred Douglas).

In its first half, Wilde recounts their previous relationship and extravagant lifestyle which eventually led to Wilde’s conviction and imprisonment for gross indecency. He indicts both Lord Alfred’s vanity and his own weakness in acceding to those wishes. In the second half, Wilde charts his spiritual development in prison and identification with Jesus Christ, whom he characterises as a romantic, individualist artist. The letter begins “Dear Bosie” and ends “Your Affectionate Friend”.

‘Suicide mode d’emploi’ by Claude Guillon and Yves Le Bonniec.

‘Mars’ by Fritz Zorn. ‘Mars’ is an autobiographical book by Fritz Angst (1944–1976) under the pseudonym Fritz Zorn.

‘Cinemas Homosexuels’ by Marcelle Yazbeck. A single issue French cinema journal focussing on homosexuality in cinema, published in 1981 by Papyrus

Osvaldo Lamborghini’s ‘Novelas y cuentos’. Avant-garde Argentine writer this work not translated into English. Two of his stories and three of his poems have been translated and published by Sublunary Editions in the USA (coincidentally his poems appeared in ‘Firmament’ Issue 1.1, where a number of my own ‘Fragments’ also appeared!!!)

‘platt plein daz’ spine does not contain an author

Luis Buñuel and the number “4”. I believe this is Ado Kyrou’s ‘Luis Bunuel, CINEMA D’AUJOURD’HUI No: 4’

‘La Métamorphose’ by Franz Kafka

“Anourses Contes” – whatever that means?

Emil Cioran ‘De l’inconvénient d’être né’. Translated as ‘The Trouble With Being Born’. Here’s a quote for those who have seen the film “We Do not rush toward death, we flee the catastrophe of birth, survivors struggling to forget it.”

‘Les Paradis artificiels’ by Charles Baudelaire. First published in 1860, about the state of being under the influence of opium and hashish. Baudelaire describes the effects of the drugs and discusses the way in which they could theoretically aid mankind in reaching an “ideal” world.

‘Jacques le Fatalist’ by Denis Diderot. (“Jacques the Fatalist and his Master” in translation by various translators).

Nietzsche ‘Par-delà le bien et mal’. Translated as ‘Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future’

The films on the right-hand side of the shelves were a lot simpler to decipher (find):

Eraserhead
Angst
Zombie
Suspiria
HaraKiri
The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
Vibroboy
Querelle
Un Chien Andalou
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Possession
The Mother and the Whore
Fox and His Friends

Although this has taken me an inordinate amount of time to decipher it has added another layer to the film ‘Climax”, one I thoroughly recommend.

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