This short film is Godard’s message to the people of Lausanne, specifically Freddy Buache, giving his reasons why he will not make a film about their town’s 500th anniversary.
First Godard expresses his frustration with the town. When attempting to film on the side of a highway, they were forced to stop filming by the local authorities. The officer said they could only stop for an emergency. Godard replied that it was an emergency because the light was perfect. The officer wasn’t understanding, and Godard complains that it could take 5 years of shooting to get the necessary lighting again. Continue reading
A symphony in three movements. Things such as a Mediterranean cruise, numerous conversations, in numerous languages, between the passengers, almost all of whom are on holiday… Our Europe. At night, a sister and her younger brother have summoned their parents to appear before the court of their childhood. The children demand serious explanations of the themes of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Our humanities. Visits to six sites of true or false myths: Egypt, Palestine, Odessa, Hellas, Naples and Barcelona. (IMDb) Continue reading
With its giddily complex noir plot and color-drenched widescreen images, Made in U.S.A was a final burst of exuberance from Jean-Luc Godard’s early sixties barrage of delirious movie-movies. Yet this chaotic crime thriller and acidly funny critique of consumerism—starring Anna Karina as the most brightly dressed private investigator in film history, searching for a former lover who might have been assassinated—also points toward the more political cinema that would come to define Godard. Featuring characters with names such as Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, David Goodis, and Doris Mizoguchi, and appearances by a slapstick Jean-Pierre Léaud and a sweetly singing Marianne Faithfull, this piece of pop art is like a Looney Tunes rendition of The Big Sleep gone New Wave. (Criterion) Continue reading
The first feature film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and one of the seminal films of the French New Wave, Breathless is story of the love between Michel Poiccard, a small-time hood wanted for killing a cop, and Patricia Franchini, an American who sells the International Herald Tribune along the boulevards of Paris. Their relationship develops as Michel hides out from a dragnet. Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate “mismatches” between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music. Much of the film’s vigor comes from collisions between popular and high culture: Godard shows us pinups and portraits of women by Picasso and Renoir, and the soundtrack includes both Mozart’s clarinet concerto and snippets of French pop radio. When Breathless was first released, audiences and critics responded to the burst of energy it gave the French cinema; it won numerous international awards and became an unexpected box-office sensation. – Louis Schwartz Continue reading
In Scénario de ‘Sauve qui peut la vie’ (1979), director Jean Luc Godard discusses many of the themes, motifs and film-making practices that would eventually be utilised in the creation of his following film, Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980). The film is interesting in the same way that Leos Carax’s later short film Sans Titre (1996) was interesting; offering us a window into his particular creative world and establishing many of the ideas and characteristics that would later be found in Carax’s own underrated masterpiece Pola X (1999). Carax, of course, is one of the filmmakers most clearly influenced by Godard, even appearing as an actor in Godard’s widely criticised adaptation of King Lear (1987), as well as paying homage to the older filmmaker with his earliest films, Boy Meets Girl (1984) and Mauvais Sang (1986). Continue reading
“Director Jean-Luc Godard’s deceptively blithe tribute to the musical comedy features Anna Karina as an exotic dancer who decides that it is time for her to have a child. When her lover refuses to commit to the decision, she turns her romantic attentions to his best friend. This being a Godard film, the straightforward story serves as a framework for improvisation and stylistic experimentation, allowing for odd interludes and unexpected images. Rather than the sometimes alienating, dense intellectualism of later Godard works, Une femme est une femme offers aesthetic pleasure through luxurious visuals and a charming musical score by Michel Legrand. Against this bright backdrop, Karina proves particularly fetching, capturing the film’s frolicsome mood in an unforced manner. While not one of Godard’s most groundbreaking or influential films, Une femme est une femme is one of his most appealing and pleasurable efforts.” Continue reading
On a movie set, in a factory, and at a hotel, Godard explores the nature of work, love and film making. While Solidarity takes on the Polish government, a Polish film director, Jerzy, is stuck in France making a film for TV. He’s over budget and uninspired; the film, called “Passion,” seems static and bloodless. Hanna owns the hotel where the film crew stays. She lives with Michel, who runs a factory where he’s fired Isabelle, a floor worker. Hanna and Isabelle are drawn to Jerzy, hotel maids quit to be movie extras, people ask Jerzy where the story is in his film, women disrobe, extras grope each other off camera, and Jerzy wonders why there must always be a story. Continue reading