In the video Piéce touchée (1989) by Martin Arnold, I conducted a bit of research and found that this 16-minute film is based on an 18-second long segment of a movie from the 1950s. In Martin Arnold’s signature style, that we saw in the two previous films we watched in class (Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy and Passage à l’acte), he edits old movies into splices creating motion, jerking and extending the scene. What I interpret regarding the meaning of Piéce touché is that he is using these splices of the scene to reveal micro movements and subtle hidden messages between men and women. For example, in the first scene, the woman is sitting in a chair, reading a newspaper article. The man comes in through the door behind her, but because of the splices, it takes him a long time and he comes in and goes back out. The way the video is edited, the man appears to enter violently, jerking in and out, thrusting in and out of the room. I interpreted this to demonstrate the sexual tension between the husband and wife. The way he’s entering in and out serves as a metaphor for sex.
The husband also turns the lights on and off. I interpret this to mean he is hiding and revealing secrets. He is keeping her in the dark about a secret he’s holding and he’s trying to reveal the secret to her, but the timing is never right. When he tries to reveal the secret, she turns her head, then he keeps her in the dark and she’s paying attention.
I also noticed when she is reading, at the beginning her mouth isn’t moving at all, then it starts to move and her hand starts to tap on her arm. We can’t hear her though, which I interpret to represent how she’s repressed in expressing herself in her marriage. In regards to sound, at first, I thought the sound was a train, then around 9:54, it started to sound like the ticking of a clock. I thought that this may represent the time between them. It also seems that they are missing each other, the man moves in, she turns her head back to her paper, she turns her head toward the door, he backs out again. Partnered with the ticking clock, it seems that this is a metaphor for the distance between them physically and in time. They are not in sync. For example, he moves to the left, she follows him, but then the splicing makes it look like they are chasing each other in circles. It seems that this represents she’s chasing him in the relationship and he’s trying to escape her. At one point, they kiss, and their faces meld together, making it appear that they are one. The film maker then experiments with showing the woman not only in inverse from right to left, but from top to bottom. The woman is all alone and goes from right side up to upside down over and over again at varying speeds. The film maker also experiments with speed throughout the piece, creating a feeling of frantic motion. Overall, this piece uses sound, speed and film splicing to demonstrate the stained relationship between a husband and wife.