Alain Tanner – Les Années lumière AKA Light Years Away (1981)

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In the year 2000, Jonas is 25 years old and lives in Ireland. Disillusioned with his life as a pub barman, he decides to give up everything and live with a mysterious old man, Yoshka, at a run down garage in the middle of no-where. At first, the old man taunts Jonas, giving him useless tasks to do, such as attending a derelict petrol pump. This drives the young man to distraction and he tries to kill himself. Impressed by his young disciple, Yoshka finally decides to share with him his fantastic secret… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – La vallée fantôme (1987)

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An ageing writer Paul is determined to make a film but he cannot decide on the subject or location. Instead, he chooses to concentrate his efforts on finding the actress who will star in the film, believing that she will define the lead character and content of the film. He recruits a young man, Jean, to try to find an Italian actress, Dara, whom he has lost sight of. Jean finds Dara in a small Italian town, serving in a modest restaurant, but she refuses to return to acting… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Une flamme dans mon coeur AKA A Flame in My Heart (1987)

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The terrifyingly destructive power of a woman’s sexual obsession provides the compelling subject for this psychological study of a woman’s descent into madness from French filmmaker Alain Tanner. It is the tale of Parisian actress Mercedes who is first seen attempting to break up with the obsessive Arab Johnny, who stalks her until she meets handsome newspaper writer Pierre on the subway and goes with him for an afternoon fling. Before the sweat even dries, she finds herself hopelessly in love with him. Pierre is flattered and encourages her desperate devotion, but soon after their affair begins, he is called off on a business trip leaving the suddenly distraught Mercedes alone with her demons. Though preparing for a new play, she is unable to concentrate and barely able to function without Pierre. She quits the production, locks herself in Pierre’s apartment and quietly begins falling apart until he returns. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Meeting Woody Allen (1986)

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Woody Allen – Jean-Luc Godard? This might seem an odd combination to many American film lovers, at least to much of Woody’s loyal audience, trying hard to be highbrow and intellectual, but not perhaps all that much interested in the challenges of a mischief-maker like JLG. As it happens this is a highly entertaining and somewhat informative look at both filmmakers as they are passing through middle age (Allen 51, Godard 56), lamenting the loss of cinematic and artistic innocence through the corruption of TV and at the same time celebrating their own longevity and continued relevance in the small world of art-cinema. I was especially intrigued by Godard’s use of title cards and the couple of shots of him playing around with videocassettes and books, and a still photo near the end of the film that I think was of Allen around the “Take the Money and Run” days but may have in fact been Godard; both are small, owlish men and the similarities both physical and intellectual are certainly played up here. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Je vous salue, Marie AKA Hail, Mary (1985)

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In this contemporary retelling of the birth of Christ, the Virgin Mary is a gas station employee and Joseph her taxi-driving boyfriend. Mary is an ordinary teenager playing basketball, but who vows to maintain her chastity. Following a warning from an avuncular angel, a confused Mary unexpectedly falls pregnant and is forced to wed Joseph. He in turn must love his virgin bride from a distance, revering her without touching her. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – King Lear (1987)

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Description: Everything returns to normal after Chernobyl. That is, everything but art. Most of the great works are lost, and it is up to people like William Shakespear Junior the Fifth to restore the lost artwork of the human race. He finds strange goings-on at a resort enough to remind him of all the lines of the play, dealing with mob boss Don Learo and his daughter Cordelia, a strange professor named Jean Luc-Godard (sic), who repeatedly xeroxes his hand for no particular reason. He is followed by four humanoid goblins that keep tormenting Cordelia. There is also the gentleman whose girlfriend, Valerie, isn’t always visible. Then the film is sent off to New York for Mr. Alien to edit. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Lettre à Freddy Buache (1981)

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Quote:
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