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.
Two voices. One French, one American. A political tract concerning the issues of Communism in the workplace and ideals of freedom and equality, post-May, 1968, is recited back and forth over an obscured image of bodies slumbering in what appears to be a garden. The image is pastoral and idyllic in presentation, suggesting an almost abstract quality devoid of time and place. After a series of static images that simply observe these scenarios – largely with no real movement within the frame – we see a small group of actors preparing themselves for a film. As we continue, these actors, who speak Italian and are dressed in period costume, wander through this idyllic location as the narration goes on to discuss a cinema of revolution and the history of politics in cinema dating as far back as Sergei Eisenstein. Through this, the filmmakers are able to reflect on the notions of politics and history in both a cultural and cinematic sense; creating in the process a film that collapses elements of genuine historical fact, and superimposes them over the struggles and issues of the present day. Continue reading
Letter to Jane
This is the postscript to Tout va Bien, showing only still photography (mainly a single photo of Jane Fonda, but also some others) accompanied by a spoken letter by Jean-Piere Gorin and Jean-Luc Godard adressed to Jane Fonda. This ‘film’ is a far cry from the colorfull tongue in cheek aproach that make Tout va Bien so entertaining. This one isn’t entertaining at all, but it is rather interesting to see such a carefull examination of what most of us consider ‘just’ a picture. It is in english, although the French accent of both speakers is sometimes a bit hard to follow and there are some moments the speach is drowned out by music. This film isn’t their best, but still worth a (partial) viewing for every Godard fan. Continue reading