Jean-Luc Godard – King Lear (1987)

A film about “no thing” and everything, as Shakespeare the Fifth (Peter Sellars) tries to reclaim humanity’s lost artworks after Chernobyl—but not before crossing paths with a gangster Don Learo (Burgess Meredith) and his Cordelia (Molly Ringwald). One of Godard’s most densely layered inquiries into the discord between sound and image. Featuring Woody Allen and Leos Carax.

from James Norton’s review
Godard’s King Lear is the work of a trickster, a prankster, a shape shifter. Its cast is packed with surrogates, not only Meredith and Ringwald substituting for the Mailers, but surrogates for Shakespeare and Godard himself. The film’s high concept premise is this: after Chernobyl art and movies have been lost and must be reinvented. In Meetin’ WA, the interview with Woody Allen filmed in the run-up to this production, Godard compares the effect of television to radiation poisoning.

Tricksters, surrogates and mutants. Shock-headed theatrical enfant terrible Peter Sellars plays William Shakespeare the Fifth, who is to undertake this task of post-apocalyptic cultural restoration, guided by the scarcely coherent shaman Professor Pluggy, played by Godard festooned with video cable dreadlocks. Making up the weird trio as Edgar is another wunderkind, Leos Carax, at that moment the brightest hope of young French cinema, some time before his dazzling talent was stifled or dissipated. How prescient, then, that in the Folio text the last line of the play, uttered again here, is given to Edgar: “We that are young, shall never see so much, nor live so long.” And at the end of the film, finally, the Fool, “Mr. Alien”, Woody Allen appears, stitching together the film in his editing room. Godard at work in his studio seems to be channelling Hunter S. Thompson, the shades, the garbled drawl, hunched not over a typewriter but an editing table, the process of “handling the present, future and past”, taking a childish delight in the primordial stuff of cinema, reassembling the petals of a flower by running the film backwards, a hermetic disquisition on theological montage…

1.25GB | 1h 27m | 1028×556 | mkv


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