Faux raccord.

I just saw, for the first time in years, Godard’s Weekend, the most repugnant of his pre-Maoist films to bourgeois sensibilities, featuring as it does murder, cannibalism, and other violations of the traditional order, not to mention the famous nearly-eight-minute-long traffic jam (not in fact done in a single tracking shot, but close enough to be impressive) accompanied by nonstop, and very loud, honking. I probably won’t need to see it again for another few years, but it’s got enough enjoyable bits to keep me coming back, including the “musical interlude” with Paul Gégauff as a pianist performing Mozart in a barnyard and lecturing on how the “serious” classical music of today has no audience and it’s the pop music of the Beatles and “les Rolling” that is popular by virtue of its use of Mozartean harmonies. Godard ended the movie with the intertitle FIN DE CONTE/FIN DE CINEMA (you can see the frames here), and indeed he didn’t make another movie in the traditional sense for some years.

But never mind that, I’m here to talk about one of the many other intertitles — the one that reads FAUX RACCORD. The subtitle translates it as JUMP CUT, but that appears not to be accurate; even though the French Wikipedia article Raccord (cinéma) says “Il y a peu de solutions à ce type de faux raccord (jump cut),” I think Mathilde Dioux in the WordReference.com Language Forums (faux-raccord) is correct:

As Wikipedia puts it, a jump cut is: “a cut in film editing in which two sequential shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly. This type of edit causes the subject of the shots to appear to “jump” position in a discontinuous way.”
That is not what a “faux-raccord” means. A “faux-raccord” is a mistake in the continuity of characters, plot, … in a movie. Typical examples of faux-racords involve changing levels of drinks in glasses or clock hands shifting back and forth in the same scene. (I am not sure I am making myself clear.)
I think the English for “faux-raccord” is “continuity error”. To see examples of both “continuity errors” and “faux-raccords”, just look for videos with these tags… Some people made a hobby from digging continuity errors 🙂

That French Wikipedia article on raccord that I linked above is long and daunting; the supposed English equivalent is Match cut, but that is clearly a much more limited concept. In general, film terminology is extraordinarily hard to grasp if you’re not part of the industry, and the fact that it differs so greatly between languages doesn’t help.

A couple of other points of interest: one of the intertitles refers to Foottit et Chocolat, a duo who “were instrumental in the development of classic European clowning” but who are presumably unknown to the Anglophone world (other than specialists in clown history). Yet another, “Lumière d’août,” is subtitled literally as “August light” rather than the actual reference, Faulkner’s Light in August. (Whether the French title is a good equivalent of Faulkner’s is another matter.) And the lead actress, Mireille Darc, at one point says the line “On est des énigmes tous les deux” [We’re both enigmas], but reads the word énigmes as [egnim] rather than [enigm] — an understandable error, but I’m astonished that nobody noticed it and it remained in the finished film.


  1. If fr:raccord means en:continuity then wikipedia fr:Raccord (cinéma) should link to en:Continuity editing rather than to en:Match cut.

  2. January First-of-May says

    Foottit et Chocolat

    …Apparently “Foottit” was in fact his actual last name. I wonder where it comes from; it sounds exceedingly peculiar.

    [EDIT: Surname Database says it’s a Nottinghamshire diminutive of “Foot”.]

  3. Thanks, I was wondering about that!

  4. Speaking of August light, Wikipedia says “Several skits by the duo Foottit and Chocolat were filmed by Auguste and Louis Lumière.”

  5. Ha!

  6. J.W. Brewer says

    I would like to believe that our Anglophone-world “specialists in clown history” are well-versed in, or at least aware of, non-Anglophone clowning traditions, but I’m not sure how confident to be about that. How many untranslated foreign-language sources does the typical Anglophone-university clown history doctoral dissertation cite these days?

  7. Well, you don’t really need “untranslated foreign-language sources” when you have Wikipedia, now do you?

  8. Stu Clayton says

    Wikipedia is a repository of known unknowns, cunningly disguised as knowns.

  9. You mean, disguised as clowns?

  10. Never understood why there was an “evil clown” boss in Dragon Warrior 2—much less why he, although already in prison, had a chest with one of the most powerful weapons in the game.

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