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Jean-Luc Godard – Alphaville, une etrange aventure de Lemmy Caution aka Alphaville, a Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution (1965)

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Plot Summary :
Following in the footsteps of previous failures Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon, secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) arrives in Alphaville. It’s a technocracy ruled by a gravel-voiced central computer called Alpha-60, that has regimented humans into strict classes and split the city into zones of night and day, cold and warmth. Alpha-60 also has ambitions to conquer the rest of the world — Nueva York, Tokyorama — and rule all under its cold eye of logic. 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 – British Sounds (1970)

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Jean-Luc Godard made the hour-long 1969 experimental documentary British Sounds also known as See You at Mao for London Weekend TV in 1969. In the opening scene, a ten minute long tracking shot along a Ford factory floor, a narrator reads from The Communist Manifesto. This is followed by a woman wandering around her house naked while a narrator reads a feminist-tinged text, a news commentator reading a pro-capitalist rant that is repeatedly and abruptly cut off to show workers that contradict his statements, and a group of young activists preparing protest banners while transposing communist propaganda to Beatles songs (“You say Nixon/I say Mao” to “Hello Goodbye”). It closes with a fist repeatedly punching through a British flag. It’s a bold and assaultive socialist screed made during the director’s most divisive political period and was banned from television. Of note are the director’s experiments juxtaposing image, text, and sound. ~ Michael Buening, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Un Film Comme Les Autres AKA A Film Like Any Other [English version] (1968)

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What can be verified about the film are two 16mm reels of equal duration composed of two parts: A colour component (which makes up the bulk of the film), illustrating a group of five “students from Vincennes and workers from the Renault plant at Flins”.[10] The group sit in a field outside a large tenement block on the outskirts of Paris and discuss politics, the objectives of the May revolt, and the potential steps involved in achieving revolution in France. The second component of the film is comprised of silent black and white ‘documentary’ footage from the events of May intercut with the colour ‘live’ action in the field. Each of the black and white sections illustrates the May events that the participants discuss, and acts as a complement to their conversation. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Ici et ailleurs AKA Here and Elsewhere (1976)

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Here and Elsewhere
Capsule by Jonathan Rosenbaum
From the Chicago Reader

Jean-Luc Godard’s short feature about the PLO was initially shot with Jean-Pierre Gorin in the Middle East in 1970, but when he edited the footage with Anne-Marie Mieville several years later, many of the soldiers that had been filmed were dead. Reflecting on this fact, as well as on the problems of recording history and of making political statements on film, Godard and Mieville produced a thoughtful and provocative essay on the subject. Coming after the mainly arid reaches of Godard’s “Dziga Vertov Group” period (roughly 1968-1973), when his efforts were largely directed toward severing his relation with commercial filmmaking and toward forging new ways to “make films politically,” this film assimilates many of the lessons he learned without the posturing and masochism that marred much of his earlier work. The results are a rare form of lucidity and purity. All proportions guarded, it is a little bit like hearing John Coltrane’s “Blues for Bessie” after the preceding explorations of “Crescent” and “Wise One” on his Crescent album. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard & François Truffaut – Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut: In Defense of Henri Langlois (1968)

Henri Langlois, Georges Franju, and Jean Mitry, founded the Cinémathèque Française (a Paris-based film theater and museum) in 1936 which progressed from ten films in 1936 to more than 60,000 films by the early 70s. More than just an archivist, Langlois saved, restored and showed many films that were at risk of disintegration. Films are stored in celluloid, a material which requires a highly controlled environment and some degree of attention to survive over time.

During the Second World War, Langlois and his colleagues helped to save many films that were in risk of being destroyed due to the Nazi occupation of France. 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