Akeroyd Collection


Kwan Sheung Chi, Before the End: Pierrot le Fou (1965), 2017

Before the End: Pierrot le Fou (1965), reimagines the final scenes of the Jean Luc Goddard film from 1965 titled Pierrot le Fou, meaning ‘sad clown’ the fool. We hear the original audio that includes dialogue, ambient sounds, and the rage and frustration of the central protagonist, but the action has been replaced with Kwan’s contemporary interpretation of events. Closely mirroring the original, we see the artist painting his face blue in the final moments, then, like in the Goddard counterpart, he affixes sticks of dynamite to his own painted face. We hear the actor's exclamations of regret, but we cut to a long shot from the original film and see the explosion. We now know the fate of the original Pierrot (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) and the artist. The original footage pans right to take in the scenery, and instead of seeing the French Riviera of the original, we see contemporary Hong Kong. A striking difference of Kwan Sheung Chi’s version is the colour of the dynamite. While in the original, the yellow and red sticks contrasted with Pierrot’s blue face, here, we see black and blue dynamite. We can perhaps infer several interpretations; Firstly, in the context of the political and social frameworks of Hong Kong, black and blue may refer to the condition of bodies that are contending with this particular moment in history. But we can also refer to a classic 1950s Chinese novel titled Blue and Black, in which the two colours symbolize the good and bad things that happened to the protagonist during the second world war. But despite Kwan’s references to post-war literature and 1960s cinema, the sentiment is very much rooted in the now; a moment where geopolitical power is drastically shifting and it is not so easy to tell the good from the bad, the black from the blue.

MediumVideo, DCI 4K CinemaScope, 2:39:1, colour, stereo sound
Duration3 minutes 33 seconds
Editionof 5 + 2 APs