Undeniably a work of enormous scope, Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoires du cinéma eludes easy definition. An extended essay on cinema by means of cinema. A history of the cinema, and history interpreted by the cinema. An hommage and a critique. An anecdotal autobiography, illuminated by Godard’s encyclopedic wit, extending the idiom established by JLG par JLG. An epic – and non-linear – poem. A freely associative essay. A vast multi-layered musical composition. Histoires du cinéma is all of these. It is above all, a work made by a man who loves and is fascinated by the world of film. Continue reading
Having trodden the path towards ever-increasing obscurity in the 1990s, the eternal maverick of French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard made a surprising come-back with Éloge de l’amour, his first major theatrical release outside of France for well over a decade. More sophisticated and mature than Godard’s increasingly abstract and inward-looking works of the 1990s, it is a film which manages to capture the essence of Godard’s cinema (his political concerns, his love of character, his enthusiasm for cinema and literature, to say nothing of his near-pathological contempt for mainstream cinema). At the same time, it is a challenging work, packed with content whilst employing a minimalist approach reminiscent of Robert Bresson (another great director who is often referred to in the film).
The film is divided in two contrasting parts. It begins with an author’s seemingly doomed attempts to realise a ‘project’ (perhaps a film, but we cannot be certain of this). This part of the film is shot beautifully in black-and-white, almost as a sombre elegy to monochrome cinema. This includes some stunning night shots of Paris, immediately evocative of the Nouvelle Vague cinema of the 1960s in which Godard played such a major part. Two thirds of the way into the film, the mood and style change suddenly, as if we have been propelled into a dream. Thanks to the marvels of the latest digital technology, the images suddenly take on an otherworldly form, with overly saturated colour and some occasional visual distortions.
Jean-Luc Godard did not attend the world premiere of his new film, ADIEU AU LANGAGE (GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE), at Cannes. But instead, he sent a letter in motion to Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux, the directors of the Festival.
Patricia Lumumba and Emile Rousseau stumble across each other one night in an abandoned television studio. They meet for seven evenings to carry out a three-year plan to create a new cinema. In the first year, images and sounds are collected and experimented with. In the second year all that has been collected is criticized, decomposed, and recomposed to bring forth, in the third year, ideal building blocks for a new cinema. Continue reading
Description: Six vignettes set in different sections of Paris, by six directors. St. Germain des Pres (Douchet), Gare du Nord (Rouch), Rue St. Denis (Pollet), and Montparnasse et Levallois (Godard) are stories of love, flirtation and prostitution; Place d’Etoile (Rohmer) concerns a haberdasher and his umbrella; and La Muette (Chabrol), a bourgeois family and earplugs. Continue reading
The russian term “Pravda” means “truth” and also the name of the official newspaper in the USSR. The Dziga Vertov group —Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Henri Roger— departs from this double meaning to, with images from Czechslovaquia (a czechslovaquian tv presenter, daily life scenes, workers and czechslovaquian passer-bys) show how images and sounds can lie to the spectator and to proof, at the same time, that capitalism is still strongly present in the eastern countries. Continue reading
The master of the French New Wave indicts consumerism and elaborates on his personal vision of Hell with this raucous, biting satire. A nasty, scheming bourgeois Parisian couple embarks on a journey through the countryside to her father’s house, where they pray for his death and a subsequent inheritance. Their trip is at first delayed, and later it is distracted by several outrageous events and characters including an apocalyptic traffic jam, a group of fictional philosophers, a couple of violent carjackers, and eventually, a gross display of cannibalism. By the time the film concludes, their seemingly simple journey has deteriorated into a freewheeling philosophical diatribe that leaves no topic unscathed. With Week End, Jean-Luc Godard reaches an impressive plateau of film originality, incorporating inter-titles, extended tracking shots, and music to add an entirely new grammar to film language. The result is a deeply challenging work that will most certainly invigorate some viewers just as much as it will as frustrate others. Standout highlights include a jarring, sexually graphic opening monologue shot with a roaming camera and blaring musical accompaniment, and the infamous traffic jam scene, where an endless parade of cars sit bumper to bumper amidst burning cars, picnics, and honking horns. The work of a true artist and pioneer, Godard’s Week End is a landmark film that hasn’t aged or lessened in impact over time.
(Taken from Rotten Tomatoes) Continue reading