Thursday, January 28, 2010


"I think that for years we have recognized the author by what he writes. An author will always — you will do the same, Chris — a writer tips his mitt. If a writer would like to be completely anonymous about the character and fabric of the man, don't write, 'cause you can't hide in writing. I just believe it. I'm sure there are people who will tell me that I'm crazy — 'Oh, well, what about J. D. Salinger?' That was J. D. Salinger. J. D. Salinger was Holden Caulfield. Don't tell me that was a fictitious character out of the mind of his deep deep deep imagination. Bullshit. He was Holden Caulfield."

—Jerry Lewis, in conversation with Chris Fujiwara, in the powerful 32-page 2003 interview transcribed in Fujiwara's new book, Jerry Lewis.


"The stuff that I do that's really good is when I have the right intention. It's not necessarily the material as much as it is the intention and the material. When my intention was to make it soft and sensitive and loving, that's what I got out of it. Whether it belonged in the movie or not. You'll get your naysayers to say, 'What was that for?' What was it for when Chaplin sat at the edge of the street and just watched people walking by? I mean, what did that mean? It meant something: it meant he wasn't going anywhere.


"That statement ['nothing is more dramatic than comedy'] comes from doing comedy. In order to make your audience laugh, you have to dramatically change who you are. I won't trip over that piece of wood on the stage if it's me walking there. But Jerry [the character] will, or Stanley, or the Idiot, or whatever we call him in that moment. He has to trip over it. Now, he has to turn into something that isn't truly him, so we're taking a piece of vanity and rubbing it out, a little ego, burying it, sandpapering all that down, and bringing up all of the gargoyles. Because in England they say what he does is grotesque. The first time I read that, I was heartbroken, but they say, 'No, that's a compliment.' Okay. When I stand in front of an audience on New Year's Eve, let's say, years ago, and I see the young man and his girl, man and his wife, girl, boyfriend, couples, lovers, all that wonderful stuff ringside. I'm standing up there alone and making a fucking fool of myself to entertain all of them. There's nothing more dramatic than that moment, Chris. It's very dramatic. Because I have to call on something that's not what I want to be at that moment. I want to be there with my girl or my wife watching some other schmuck make a fool of himself. But I never ever thought of what I did as demeaning. What I thought of it was: other than me at that moment. So it's very dramatic."

—Jerry Lewis, in conversation with Chris Fujiwara, in the destined-for-the-ages 32-page 2003 interview transcribed in Fujiwara's new book, Jerry Lewis.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Skorecki and Mourlet on Eric Rohmer

Two tributes to Eric Rohmer I've translated, from the respective blogs of Louis Skorecki and Michel Mourlet:


On Rohmer

by Louis Skorecki
(original French version appeared here, on January 14, 2010)

Entretien sur Pascal [Interview on Pascal] by Eric Rohmer, 1965:

That a man of that quality can pass away in the blink of an eye, without a peep, on tiptoe, says everything about his nobility... That the media, and TV especially, remain silent in the face of his death (he filmed hours and hours of pure leçons de cinéma for educational television) speaks volumes about the lack of culture in these same media-outlets... He was obviously the greatest French filmmaker after Bresson, and before Brisseau and Moullet, two of his most brilliant disciples... We're still going to try our hand at two or three other words (which will be added to the only decent text to have been published upon Rohmer's death — that of Philippe Azoury in Libération), but we can already put forward the notion, without fear of slipping up, that he was one of a kind in the cinema, and that he taught everything to Jean-Claude Biette, Marguerite Duras, Jean Eustache, and also a certain... Woody Allen (La Collectionneuse is from 1967, Annie Hall from 1977).

Regarding the quietude surrounding Eric Rohmer's death, we can already remark upon one thing: only his actors were faithful to him, humbly testifying about what they learned from him, with an intelligence and a modesty that compels admiration.

P.S.: Rohmer's death at last allows us to do away with the foundational heresy of Bresson's cinema, that sublime myopia that would hold theatre as the sole entity accountable for all the evils of the cinema — while he [Bresson] will go down by far as the most brilliantly theatrical of filmmakers, from his two inaugural films, Les Anges du péché (sublime incursion into the Mizoguchian porno), and Les Dames du bois de Boulogne (contamination of the narrative by way of a parallel sado-lesbian intrigue)... Rohmer on the other hand will linger, obliquely, upon the perversities of Les Petites filles modèles, Bresson holding to a more frontal, more Balthusian eroticism — but all this will, in the end, stand only as theater, sublime theater, and nothing more...


Eric Rohmer

by Michel Mourlet
(original French version appeared here, on January 21, 2010)

Six contes moraux: III: Ma nuit chez Maud [Six Moral Tales: III: My Night at Maud's] by Eric Rohmer, 1969:

Starting off a new year with one man's passing which should scarcely provoke any optimism, and yet it must, as little as that might be, in order to nourish the ardor for writing. It's a syllogism, rather vicious, as with all syllogisms: I write whenever I despair; and yet to write is to have hope (to communicate, to endure, to be acknowledged, to find a solution, and to put the chaos of thoughts into order, etc.); therefore I have hope when I despair.

But to have hope when Eric Rohmer leaves us? To hope for something, yes, and I think I know what: that we'll still live long enough to see certain people, certain things, find their right place, a place for the the rectitude of the gaze, a place for approximation and error, a place for authentic creators, a place for impostors and snake-oil salesmen. A place for "that which is spoken," a place for truth.

An astonishing symptom of the era: the exclusion of one of the most singular and most startling films in French cinema, L'Anglaise et le Duc, rejected in 2008 [sic — I believe Mourlet means 2001. -CK] from the proposed selection at the Cannes Festival for reasons whose ideological stupidity could only belong to France — the official France, that of taboos and la Parole unique, goes along with the flow. It seems that every mishap of our arts and letters over these past forty years can be found sketched out in this episode, which explains in large part why, once so brilliant and admirable, these letters and these arts cut so drab a figure in the world today.

I came to know Eric Rohmer at the end of the Fifties. In name, he shared the post of editor-in-chief of the Cahiers du cinéma with André Bazin and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze. In reality, he was the group's kingpin. He worked there from morning till night. I was a very young cinephile itching to write about the movies. This cinephile had published two or three articles in a few inconsequential little periodicals of the sort that crop up all over the place, and he dreamt of seeing his prose sparkle upon the paper belonging to the prestigious revue in which a new body of cinematographic thought was being elaborated. Of that body of thought, one of the pillars was obviously Le Celluloïd et le marbre, which Rohmer pursued in serial publication and which seemed to us, along with the articles by Rivette, that which got closest to our own ideas.

Thanks to Rohmer, who among other gifts had that of knowing how to distinguish and bring talent back together, the Cahiers enjoyed at that time, and up to the point of his eviction (which I was told about in vague terms much later on, without being given any names or details) by apparatchiks whose obscurantism would have made comrade Zhdanov blush, enjoyed, as I was saying, its apex, as much in terms of the writing as in critical discoveries and analytical finesse. I'm not going to rehash once again the points of the little Story now familiar to the specialists: the Macmahonians landing at the Cahiers, my protest printed entirely in italics, the special issue dedicated to Losey, events only made possible by the tutelary presence of, and the exceptionally intelligent overture from, Rohmer.

After Jean Curtelin handed me the reins of Présence du cinéma, I lost touch with Eric Rohmer, although I'd often get word of him through his good friend Jean Parvulesco. (Bear in mind the scene from L'Arbre, le maire et la médiathèque.) I didn't see him again until 1985, when I was heading up a class at l'U.E.R. d'Art et d'Archéologie de Paris I where he was also teaching. He hadn't changed one iota: thin, elegant, the bony face à la Clint Eastwood, always a bit entrenched behind a smiling distance, the rapid, choppy, sometimes near-stammering elocution, betraying a shyness that he had held onto like a charm from his youth.

His first feature, Le Signe du Lion — in which I portrayed a patron at a café terrace! — didn't do much for me; neither did La Collectionneuse. The film that turned me on to his oeuvre and at the same time created a definitive bond with myself was Ma nuit chez Maud. This film and the ones that follow seemed to me like some paradoxical continuation of Marivaux in contemporary society, paradoxical essentially because this cinema shifted the focal point of the image onto the dialogue, and because the language of mise-en-scène became the mise-en-scène of language.

It's not deceiving oneself to make reference to Marivaux while considering this later man as a delicious draughtsman of verbal arabesques around the map of Tendre, an heir in some way to the amorous casuistry in fashion during the preceding century. Marivaux doesn't embroider marivaudages; he's an explorer of the freedom of will, and his plays are so many training manuals, sometimes cruel, for emotions in the light of reason. This was precisely the topic of Eric Rohmer, who defined across the Six Moral Tales the general theme of his films like such: "While the narrator (we can replace 'narrator' with 'hero') is in search of a woman, he meets someone else who captures his attention until the point that he rediscovers the first woman."

After this moral of coming-of-age and the primordial role of the verb — as though this Christian was telling us that "in the beginning was the verb" — as though speech is ever "theatrical" — a third characteristic allows us to place Rohmer's films in a category resolutely apart from that which gets made today: far from spraying them with the sociological foam of a present-day always threatened by obsolescence and removed from the deep permanence of a citizenry (as long as it's not replaced with another), this filmmaker didn't show the "legal" French society of the mediasphere, but the real French society of the second half of the 20th century. And he did it with a precision and, let's venture the word, a documentary joyousness that brings us back to his cinephilic and critical admirations, those he invokes in Le Celluloïd et le marbre: Flaherty, Murnau. Thirty years ago, I took the liberty of laying the cards on the table: "When our descendants seek out beneath the centuries' dust our true face, they'll find it more certainly in the reality of Rohmer's fictions than in the fiction of reportage and investigations."


Some thoughts I posted about Rohmer on the day he died can be accessed here.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alexandra Duguay

Alexandra Duguay was a spokeswoman for the United Nations. For the past seven months, she had been living in Haiti with her boyfriend Marc-André Franche, an aid worker also employed by the U.N.

I met Alexandra and Marc-André two summers ago at a party thrown on the rooftop of their beautiful residence in Manhattan's Financial District. At the time, Alexandra had still been working as a U.N. press officer in New York. I'd been invited to attend the get-together by my friend Thoma, but wasn't acquainted with anyone else who was booked to be present. Cut then to me, lugging one or two contribution bottles of red wine in my satchel-thing for blocks and blocks. It was really sweltering out, glasses-down-the-nose hot. So, obviously, when I showed up at the designated address and rang the buzzer — and subsequently was greeted by the host, a beautiful Québecer woman-in-red-dress — I felt like a total asshole, very wet-towel-slapped, and certain the impression I was exuding matched that of any thirtysomething deciding to revisit the college swim-test on a lark. And yet: no break of cool from my host — she, Alexandra, couldn't have been more gracious. As Ms. Duguay ushered me inside and started commiserating re: the heat (sensing, I sensed, that I felt I was personally looking pretty shit and haggard), it was apparent that her sense of hospitality and sympathetic instincts were, in equal parts, enormous, and as the night wore on her poise and intelligence also made lasting impressions. The same applied for Marc-André. I remember being stationed near the laptop while he diligently YouTube-searched for footage of Serge Gainsbourg's 'incident' with Whitney Houston on French TV in the '80s — after that, for clips of SG's defiant recitation of "La Marseillaise"/"Aux armes" before that unwholesomely FN-populated crowd. I recall too that after the videos went off, Marc-André and I spoke for a little while about L'Homme à tête de chou — which was nice, as he's the only person I've ever met who not only knew what it is, but knows it. Needless to say: we hit it off. And although I haven't spoken to Marc-André, or Alexandra, since then, I'll remember that night for its beautiful atmosphere, a molecular sense of camaraderie, and the fact that there I came into first-contact with two dear-to-this-day-friends in Danielle DiGiacomo and Tina Rodriguez.

Two nights ago around 12am local time, after a nearly seven-day search, Alexandra's body was pulled from the rubble of the collapsed U.N. headquarters at the Christopher Hotel in Port-au-Prince. I've read that rescue workers said she was likely killed instantly in the tremor's upheaval. Small consolation, and maybe hardly any at all when I think about Marc-André's working across more than six days at the U.N. site to recover the woman he loved and lived for, who might have been either dead or alive — his persevering in the effort with the single-mindedness that is all that can, and must, exist. Until the end, and the full, the total, disaster.

Over the last week, those who were close to Alex and Marc-André and their families — and those like myself who had only known them at the distance of acquaintance, never thinking there was any 'finality' to the last time we'd passed one another by (surely there'd be more occasions for catching-up) — kept continual vigil at a page on Facebook that was open to the public, refreshing it every couple of hours or minutes for news on the Wall conveyed by Marc-André in Haiti to Alexandra's mother, resilient, determined... Her mom delivered the final news a few hours after the recovery.

1,500 people became members of this Facebook group as a show of solidarity with Alexandra, her loved ones, her family — and it's impossible to say just how many thousands more both on and off Facebook have viewed the page across the last week. These figures reflect the grief surrounding one individual, the life knocked out of her body, crumpled, by the quake. — There are 200,000 like her.

The numbers and the stories are a dumb-show for the dead, and they are a bitter poison for the living.

Mais c'est l'aimée non tourmentée. L'aimée.

L'air et le monde point cherchés. La vie.

—Etait-ce donc ceci?

—Et le rêve fraîchit.


My friend Danielle, mentioned above, sent a note around the other night regarding Alexandra which I've asked her to share here.


As many of you know, I lost a wonderful friend in the horrible tragedy that was the earthquake in Haiti. Alexandra Duguay was an amazing woman I met two years ago, when I was her teacher at NYU Continuing Education. She was brilliant and passionate and hard-working; my star student. But she also immediately became a good friend. She was open and generous and wonderful and beautiful. She took me to the U.N. for drinks, for parties, to her apartment for a barbecue with her incredible boyfriend, who also worked at the U.N. They were a truly madly in love, adorable couple who were incredible, full of life people. He would pick her up from the U.N. on his Vespa every day, and they would cook and train for the marathon at night.

The last time I saw her, she was volunteering her time to help me research the documentary about Cambodia that I am now producing. She told me she and her boyfriend were moving to Haiti, because they felt working at the U.N. in New York was ineffectual and they reallly wanted to make a change. That was about 7 months ago, and it was the last time I saw her.

I have been devastated to lose such an incredible person; but she is one of more than 200,000 people to have been lost to such a senseless tragedy. So it is in Alexandra's honor that I have set up a charity page to help all the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. It's what she would've wanted.

To donate, please click here:

Donate to Haiti – In Honor of Alexandra Duguay.

And for more about Alexandra, here is her Facebook tribute page:

Hope for Alexandra Duguay.



Monday, January 18, 2010


Pedro Costa, 2009: detail from a photograph by Valérie Massadian [full version viewable at Independencia]:

Independencia have posted a three-part dossier (with introduction) (here) around Pedro Costa, on the occasion of the complete retrospective of his work currently being presented at the Cinémathèque Française, and in homage to the release of his latest feature Ne change rien [Change Nothing, 2009]. One of the pieces in the dossier is a November 2009 interview with Costa conducted by Francisco Ferreira. Independencia have just posted my English translation of the interview (from Daniel Dos Santos's and Karina Barros's French translation of Ferreira's and Costa's conversation in Portuguese) here.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Haydée... écoute, HAYDÉE..."

January 11, 2010: Eric Rohmer is dead at 89.

Eric Rohmer, 2006:

Rohmer's work extolled and exemplified the dignities of the human race — emotional, sensual, intellectual.

Rohmer embodied a series of paradoxes. He saw humanity as from a god's-eye-view, but no filmmaker ever shot at the level of the species itself, par la terre, quite like he did: the wind, the water, — and the wallpaper. He was a son of Pascal who advanced the scientific method toward the revelation and scrutiny of the longings and delights folded within the hearts of men and women — guided, the entire time, by the prospect of the miracle. He believed the miracle would come in the end and to show it he created it, as though action and belief were inextricable or, even, one and the same. He was touched by grace: accordingly, his touch was light; accordingly, his insights were profound. His productions were economical, and nothing he filmed was cheap, human beings were never cheapened. His classical moorings and scholasticism were the radical means by which he helped to create and vitalize continually the New Wave. His criticism on Hitchcock, Rossellini, and Nicholas Ray in the Cahiers du cinéma of the '50s suggested, like his films, the author's simultaneous presence in the 'here' of the current moment, and in the 'elsewhere' of a canonical antiquity. His scenario for the Six Moral Tales was his novel Six Moral Tales. He refused to acknowledge a difference between cinema and literature: and so the great filmmaker has died, and he will take celestial residence in the pantheon of Marivaux, Balzac, and Flaubert. This man of all seasons, for all centuries, filed dispatches imbued with a timelessness, documentary and aesthetic, and I think that when he published in 1977 his doctoral thesis The Organization of Space in Murnau's Faust he had unconsciously proposed an act of autocritique in the lines: "It is by the intensity of his presence that Nosferatu frightens us, not by the mystery of his absence, like the Vampyr of Dreyer." The intensity of his presence, and the mystery of his absence — Rohmer embodies a series of paradoxes.

A few personal notes:

— I hadn't seen any of Rohmer's films until 2002, when L'Anglaise et le Duc [The Englishwoman and the Duke, 2001 — released in the US as The Lady and the Duke] played in Seattle. I couldn't get over it: a total reinvention of the (still nascent) digital cinema, which he had placed at the service of a rigorous mise en scène with seemingly little effort, like these new cameras had been invented primarily for Eric Rohmer. It was as theatrical and trenchant as Renoir's The Golden Coach. It really impressed me. I recall going on about it for days after.

— A few months later: I remember I had been staying at my ex-girlfriend's parents' house for the weekend. During a time-out-for-naps I put the disc (her copy) of Le Rayon vert [The Green Ray, 1986] into the laptop and watched the film for the first time. (It had been in circulation for many years in the US in a bad transfer under the title Summer.) Like many others who see the picture, I couldn't believe the final scene. My mind was exploding. A director had presided over a miracle, and what's more had captured it on celluloid. I wanted to run through the house and tell everyone what I had witnessed. I opted just to pace instead; for once, perhaps, good sense prevailed. And the end of The Green Ray can't be told, it can only be shown. Someday I'd like to make a field recording: aim a microphone toward an audience watching the film in a theater. I imagine when that final moment arrives, one would hear two-hundred spectators gasp in unison, and then — the collective release of: "Ooooooooooh..."

— The boxset of Six Moral Tales from Criterion is one of the label's treasures. But it's worth hunting down for purchase or Netflixing even for one element alone: the 2006 video conversation between Rohmer and Barbet Schroeder, which represents a gloriously lucid look-back across Rohmer's career and the Six Moral Tales series. Within the same box comes Rohmer's (unsigned — but it is Rohmer's film) La Cambrure [The Curve, 1999], which is possibly, next to Dan Sallitt's All the Ships at Sea, the most beautiful film I've ever seen shot on (unmediated) miniDV.

La Cambrure [The Curve] by Eric Rohmer, 1999:

— Another Rohmer treasure exists on Criterion, but I've never seen it publicized as such, and there's no indication of its authorship on the packaging: the unsigned film by Rohmer featuring himself and Jean Douchet in conversation on Renoir: Post-face à Boudu sauvé des eaux [Looking Back on Boudu sauvé des eaux, 1968], included on the Boudu Saved from Drowning release. It's one of the finest critical analyses of a film ever recorded and, again, is alone worth acquiring.

Post-face à Boudu sauvé des eaux [Looking Back on Boudu sauvé des eaux] by Eric Rohmer, 1968:

— To end on a non-commercial note: I find the wife's release at the end of L'Amour, l'après-midi [Love in the Afternoon, 1972 — it used to be called Chloe in the Afternoon in the US] to be among the most emotionally devastating moments in all of movies — but the emotions are so complicated, bittersweet, teetering at the cusp of relief, — borne by a sense of contrition in the face of hurt, they modulate a new key amid suspicion, terrible disappointment, and hopeful naïveté.

Over the years Eric Rohmer's films have immeasurably enriched my sense of who I am or should be.


Tomorrow's edition of Libération in France declares itself a "special issue" and gives the entire front page over to an image of Rohmer, with the headline: "Rohmer, at the Tale's End". Olivier Seguret penned the main piece. A condensed version of Philippe Azoury's own portrait is at the Libé site here. Also: the reprint of a 2004 interview from the time of release of his penultimate film, Triple Agent, accessible here.

Rohmer's passing also attains the main headline in tomorrow's edition of Le Monde. Jacques Mandelbaum writes here: "The transparency and the sobriety of the mise en scène, carried out by established actors (Jean-Claude Brialy, André Dussollier) or, more often, by those making their debuts (Fabrice Luchini, Pascal Greggory), the tenor of the dialogue, the attention paid to places, conspire here into the elaboration of a unique style bearing sentimental blindness, the sophistication of desire as the miracle of the true encounter with the highest degree of uncertainty and charm."

The website of Les Inrocks presents Rohmer's "last interview," from 2007, conducted at the time of release of his final film, Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon [The Romance of Astrea and Celadon], here. (Excerpt: "Some Like It Hot is a film I don't like whatsoever. I think it's horrible. Listen, I haven't interviewed many famous people in my time, but one of them was Buster Keaton. He was very old, and the film had just come out. He told me: 'Some liking it hot is exactly what I detest.' I thought that was very funny.") Jean-Marc Lalanne's appreciation is here.

Dave Kehr has written the New York Times obituary, which can be found here. Discussion about Rohmer carries over into the comments section of a post at Dave's blog here. (Kent Jones remarks: "After reading all this stuff about The Lady and the Duke and Astrea and Celadon, both of which are very beautiful, I am compelled to say how much I loved Triple Agent. Who else, in the entire world let alone French cinema, would have made this film?")

Criterion have posted a note about the director at their site, including an excerpt from the long 2006 video-interview mentioned above. Here.

Glenn Kenny reproduces a cogent quote by Rohmer at Some Came Running, here.


A number of public figures have given statements to mark Rohmer's passing. Two politicians from two milieux:

The inevitable Nicolas Sarkozy offering reads as follows: that Eric Rohmer was a filmmaker who created a "singular, unique" cinema, creator of a "style that will survive," which "contains literature, contains painting, contains theater and music." "It was his cinema alone, even in its tidy, minimalist economy, even in the titles of his films, joined together like collections. Classical and romantic, wise and iconoclastic, light and serious, sentimental and moralistic, he created the 'Rohmerian' style." The statement closes in recognition of the "talent and truth of a grand auteur."

Former French Minister of Culture Jack Lang says that Rohmer's "oeuvre will tower over French cinematographic history by way of its original and revolutionary stature. ... His writings and creations fell under the sign of necessity and rigor. He'll have been the man of all discoveries." Lang draws attention to "a cinematographic art with no other equal, the revelation of actors as-of-yet unknown, the marking-out of unsuspected philosophical and aesthetic universes."


Monday, January 04, 2010

Van Gogh's Ear, etc.

From the end of Adam Gopnik's essay on Van Gogh in the January 4, 2010 issue of The New Yorker

"The turn toward moral luck puts modern art, however popular, at permanent odds with the society that delights in it. Whether in its benign, wishful form, or in its belligerent "Watch me!" aspect, the pursuit of moral luck remains alien to a liberal civilization that always, and usually intelligently, prefers compromise to courage, and morning meetings to evening dares. Even the shoppers and speculators who wager on the future value of a work of art are engaged at best in a kind of mimicry of the original risk. A society of sure things needs a mythology of long shots. To trust in luck is to be courageous, and courage, the one essential virtue, on which all others depend, is also the one ambiguous virtue, since it is morally neutral: jerks have it as often as gentlemen.

"Some stories in history we want to have neatly finished; some we like to have always in play. We accept without too much trouble the ambiguity of the old and new stories because they add up to something similar in the end. Van Gogh's ear makes its claim on the world's attention because it reminds us that on the outer edge of art there is madness to pity, meanness to deplore, and courage to admire, and we can't ever quite keep them from each other. Gauguin was a miserable moral gambler, and a maker of modernism; van Gogh was a self-mutilating madman, and a poet of all the visions. We accept an ambiguity in the story of van Gogh's ear because the act is itself ambiguous.

"It's true that the moral luck dramatized by modern art involves an uncomfortable element of ethical exhibitionism. We gawk and stare as the painters slice off their ears and down the booze and act like clowns. But we rely on them to make up for our own timidity, on their courage to dignify our caution. We are spectators in the casino, placing bets; that's the nature of the collaboration that brings us together, and we can sometimes convince ourselves that having looked is the same as having made, and that the stakes are the same for the ironic spectator and the would-be saint. But they're not. We all make our wagers, and the cumulative lottery builds museums and lecture halls and revisionist biographies. But the artist does more. He bets his life."