Resonating Surfaces

Resonating Surfaces

Resonating Surfaces is a cinematographic portrait of Brazilian psychoanalyst Suely Rolnik. Guided by Rolnik's own voice, the film weaves together three important parts of her life: the city of São Paulo, psychoanalysis and the intellectual climate in Paris during the 1970s. 


“The filmmaker [...] redoubles the psychoanalyst’s account of the transformative power of the image by cinematically freeing her subject’s account of liberation from its own narrative enclosure. The film’s protracted introduction is exemplary in this regard: It joins slow, arcing pans of São Paulo’s cityscape with the sound of unidentified voices describing its colors, noises, and smells, a sequence that strikingly delays the entrance of Rolnik’s commentary until some ten minutes into the thirtyeight-minute piece and also announces the delinking of image from voice that characterizes this work. Bringing to mind the cinema of Marguerite Duras, and particularly her poetic India Song (1975), with its similar divorcing of visual and auditory registers, de Boer reinvents the strategy to deinstrumentalize her own film’s imagery, allowing it to multiply into numerous virtual possibilities of meaning—what Deleuze might have called a crystal-image, wherein the real and the imaginary, past and present, become indiscernible. Since the 1970s, of course, the divorce of sound and image has become commonplace, mobilized artistically and exploited commercially, but in de Boer’s work the technique reengages its emancipatory potential in liberating meaning from imposed direction and unleashing the image’s narrative multiplicity.”

T.J. Demos1


“Rather than suggesting that her subjects are permanently indelible forms or mere reflective surfaces, de Boer lets their identities emerge like photographs in a dark-room, developing over the course of their recollections – exposing some areas and hiding others, until their surfaces reveal as much as they conceal. Both women, having passed through their experiences, can describe them with self-awareness, even detachment. Through intermittent images of her subjects de Boer reminds us that they are still intact; they can deflect even the most traumatic experiences. In Sylvia Kristel we see the actress smoking a cigarette, wearing red lipstick, looking into the distance with a carved, almost masculine face. This strong but brittle woman could be Kristel the actress or Kristel herself between takes in a film. Likewise we see Rolnik sitting outdoors in a floral dress, smoking contemplatively. Seeing these two women acting out their remembrances, we’re aware that these portraits are just glancing illuminations of their characters and memories. The visible or audible form of those memories can only attempt to access their origin – something that is supple, refractory and floating.”

Christy Lange2


« Manière de suite à Sylvia Kristel – Paris, Manon de Boer a choisi une fois encore de faire le portrait d’une destinée féminine, celle de la psychanalyste brésilienne Suely Rolnik. Haute figure dans son pays, emprisonnée durant la période d’une dictature discrète mais virulente, exilée ensuite à Paris dans les années 70 d’où elle a rapporté la passion des idées, le foisonnement théorique et une amitié indéfectible avec les philosophes Deleuze et Guattari, Suely Rolnik incarne une existence dédiée à résister aux forces mortifères. C’est un pays, une ville (Sao Paulo) et surtout une époque qui s’offrent ici à la sensation. Entre les fils ténus et dévidés d’un travail intellectuel inquiet de l’altérité, de la voix, du rapport entre corps et pouvoir, de la micropolitique du désir, une existence apparaît dans la force de son engagement. Loin de tout héroïsme comme de toute simplification réductrice, loin en réalité des modèles existants, Manon de Boer a souhaité fabriquer son film à la façon d’une « surface » sensible.»

Jean-Pierre Rehm3

UPDATED ON 13.03.2022