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
Two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of their desire (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery––in her own home. French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard takes to the streets of Paris to re-imagine the gangster genre, spinning an audacious yarn that’s at once sentimental and insouciant, romantic and melancholy. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the convention-flauting postmodern classic Band of Outsiders (Bande à part).
This obscure film is directed by five well-known cinematographers. “Apathy” is directed by Carlo Lizzani and concerns a New York rape victim whose cries for help fall on deaf ears. Bernardo Bertolucci directs “Agony.” Members of the Living Theater mime death scenes. In “The Paper Flower Sequence,” directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, a man carries a paper flower through Rome. Part four is directed by Jean-Luc Godard, a tedious segment where two people watch some actors give a boring performance. The last story is directed by Marcello Bellochio. Students at a Roman university engage in dialogue with members of the Establishment. While the stories averages 20 minutes each, this gang-directed effort quickly fell into cinematic oblivion. — Dan [hxxp://www.allmovie.com] Continue reading
In 1972, newly radicalized Hollywood star Jane Fonda joined forces with cinematic innovator Jean-Luc Godard and collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin in an unholy artistic alliance that resulted in Tout va bien (Everything’s All Right). This free-ranging assault on consumer capitalism and the establishment left tells the story of a wildcat strike at a sausage factory as witnessed by an American reporter (Fonda) and her has-been New Wave film director husband (Yves Montand). The Criterion Collection is proud to present this masterpiece of radical cinema, a caustic critique of society, marriage, and revolution in post-1968 France.
The story follows a young man in his early twenties named Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who has just gotten out of his required tenure in the French army. He finds himself having difficulty adjusting once more to civilian life, after all, the military was all that he really knew for the last few years of his life. To help find his way back into things, Paul takes up writing and he spends a lot of time putting his thoughts down on paper in a small French café. While killing time in the café one day, by chance Paul meets a beautiful young lady named Madeleine (Chantal Goya) and the two begin talking. As they get to know one another it turns out that she’s an aspiring pop singer who works at a magazine that just so happens to have a use for someone like Paul who is handy with words so she gets him a job. Continue reading
Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: genius auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s tenth feature in six years is a stylish mash-up of consumerist satire, politics, and comic-book aesthetics, as well as a violent, zigzag tale of, as Godard called them, “the last romantic couple.” With blissful color imagery by cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Belmondo and Karina at their most animated, Pierrot le fou is one of the high points of the French new wave, and was Godard’s last frolic before he moved ever further into radical cinema. Continue reading
Jean-Luc Godard, pioneer of the New Wave, has always delighted in breaking rules. Even with almost 90 features to his name, the long an established master still shows the same glee thumping his nose at convention as he did over thirty years ago, when he burst on the scene with “Breathless.”
His latest film, “Notre Musique,” is a unqiue blend of almost abstract cinema, fiction, and documentary. It opens with a montage entitled “Hell,” which shows real and fictional footage of carnage: soldiers, atrocities, war. As brief as it is, the relentless and strangely beautiful barrage of violence is enough to make anybody despair of the human race. Continue reading