Serge Lutens – Collection Noire – Santal Majuscule
Winter, 1952. That night, just before dawn, it snowed. A boy, with his collar folded up to protect his neck, headed on his way to school. A thin white veil slipped beneath his feet and swirled around him, cloaking his mouth and the muffled words: “I’m going to be late!” First, he thought of quickening his pace, but then, as if the idea came from someone else, he rejected it and decided to make things worse. From that moment, the North Pole inhabited him. He hugged the walls, barely keeping on course. Despite the mighty snowstorm, he overcame his alibi and stepped outside the frame of his own documentary. In the heart of the cold, he put down his book bag, placed the palms of his hands against his open mouth and thought. He waited. When he deemed enough time had passed and his fingers had warmed up, with his scenario finally worked out he headed on his way again. Once in the classroom, after politely accusing the day, the frost, the alarm clock and the slippery cobblestoned streets that “went out of their way to make him fall”, he excused himself for being 20 minutes late, put on his smock and took his seat.
The hands on the clock showed it was not time for recess yet. When he was finally seated and the tension had died down, the heat of the wood stove calmed his spirit. Mr. Vantienen was standing with his back to the pupils, holding – a piece of cheese – with a long ruler in his hand, its end pointing at an area on a map of France, he tried to call their attention to the peaks of Mont Gerbier -de- Jonc. The boy, at first entertained, soon left the guided tour, and the Seine, to wander elsewhere. Why, for what possible reason, still unknown to him, did he raise his eyes every day to stare at the skylight? What was it that attracted his eye to a trembling branch outside? How, through this image in the window pane, did his double take shape and come to life? Why did Mr. Vantienen have to bark out “Lutens!” and yank him from his reverie?