Posts Tagged ‘Jean-Luc Godard’

A year and two days ago…

August 3, 2010

… CineMadison was born. Where does the time go? Nowhere, I don’t think. Anyhow, the self-imposed summer hiatus has been a bit of a boon for my intellect; most of my time away from this blog has been spent with my gaze buried in one book or another, and I’ve worked back up to a respectable daily film-viewing clip. This all leads me to believe that when I return to writing regularly this fall (watch for a new incarnation of this blog sometime around then), I’ll have no shortage of interesting ideas to kick around and interesting films to talk about.

In recognition of your patience and perseverance, dear reader (gosh, haven’t typed that phrase in a great many moons), I offer you these two beautiful little sentence-fragments.

From Maurice Blanchot’s The Writing of the Disaster:

When all is obscured, there reigns the clarity without light which certain utterances foretell.

From Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, chapitre 2b: Fatale beauté:

Cinema must exist for words stuck in the throat and for the truth to be unearthed.

(Visual) Quotes…, 7/23

July 23, 2010

From Histoire(s) du cinéma, chapitre 3a: La monnaie de l’absolu (1998).

(Visual) Quotes…, 6/8

June 8, 2010

From Jean-Luc Godard’s “A Married Woman” (1964).

Finally: “Film Socialisme”

May 18, 2010

For those of you who were anxiously waiting for Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, “Film Socialisme,” to receive its much-anticipated premiere at Cannes, the wait, as of yesterday morning, is over. (I mean, what are the chances that it’ll get anything even vaguely resembling a nationwide distribution deal?) I’ll direct you toward this post by David Hudson over at the Daily Notebook, where he has aggregated most of the mixed/mystified response that the film has engendered in the day since its debut.

Funny how even the reviews that are intended to be at least somewhat negative only make me more eager to see what looks to be one of JLG’s most challenging, infuriating, inscrutable and uncompromising works of cinematic collage yet. For an encouragingly puzzled response to the film, I recommend that you read Manohla Dargis’s piece from yesterday’s Times.

As a recent (like, extremely recent) college graduate, I look forward to sharing “des problèmes de type grec” with Godard. And let’s pray that “Film Socialisme” opens somewhere other than NY at some point in our lifetimes, eh?

Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 5/7

May 7, 2010

Image from “Numéro deux” (1975).

The picture [the image] agrees with reality or not; it is right or wrong, true or false.

-Ludwig Wittengenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

… understand what you will.

-intertitle, “Masculin, féminin” (1966).

The (im)modesty of JLG

May 2, 2010

“You never doubt that what you have to say is interesting.” – Anne-Marie Miéville to Godard, “Soft and Hard” (1986)

I don’t wanna/I don’t think so

April 26, 2010

Earlier today, I mentioned this sequence from Hal Hartley’s “Simple Men” (1992); as the day progressed, it became increasingly apparent to me that I was morally obligated to share it with y’all in its glorious entirety:

And now compare it to:

“Hey Kool Thing… come here. Sit down beside me; there’s something I gotta ask you. I just wanna know, what’re you gonna do for me?”

Far from simple

April 26, 2010

What the hell are we to make of Hal Hartley’s “Simple Men” (1992)? The dialogue is so overtly written that one questions whether it consists entirely of literary quotations (à la Jean-Luc Godard’s “Nouvelle vague” [1990]); the performances are so intensely mannered and stylized that one questions whether Hartley didn’t shack up with a bunch of Brecht plays before determining how he wanted his film to move and sound; the soundtrack is so repetitive, bland and yet weirdly clingy that one questions whether one is losing one’s mind as one succumbs to the film’s absurdist brand of logic sometime during its second half.

Hartley is quite self-conscious when evoking the aforementioned JLG; indeed, the specter of Godard (himself far from dead) looms over every single sequence in “Simple Men.” Perhaps it’s a testament to the film’s third-hand uniqueness and derivative originality that it more closely resembles Godard’s sublime 80s output than it does his more widely-recognized 60s streak (“Breathless” [1959] through “Le gai savoir” [1968]).

The film’s characters might be machines built to spew pith and poetry, but “Simple Men” is also marked by an incredibly delicate sensibility manifested through its thoroughly Godardian mise en scène; whereas another director might’ve been more concerned with the swagger of his actors or their fidelity to the spirit of the letter when delivering lines (I’m looking at you, Tarantino), Hartley demonstrates his—once more with feeling—Godardian reverence for the aesthetic excess of the image and the purity of the artificial moment.

The film’s plot is, of course, nonsensical.  The hairstyles, the clothes and the soundtrack (featuring Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing”) are all overwhelmingly 90s. By the time that I made it to the second half of “Simple Men,” I found myself even more engaged with its system of big moments and tiny details than I’ve been with some of the gorgeous but inflexible Godard efforts from the same period.

Get (re)acquainted with “sa vie”

April 21, 2010

Perhaps you’ve already heard but today the Criterion Collection released Jean-Luc Godard’s fourth feature, “Vivre sa vie” (1962), on what is no doubt a handsome new DVD.

I’m not embellishing when I say that “Vivre sa vie” is one of the greatest, most poignant and most formally striking films ever made; it may be the single most powerful document of love between a fragile young woman (Anna Karina) and a slightly older man who finds poetry in her every gesture (Godard, whose gaze is manifested through Raoul Coutard’s revolutionary camerawork) in all art.

The film’s rewatchability is almost unparalleled—of all Godard’s work (much of which I prefer), it is “Vivre sa vie” that I return to a couple times a year, just to make sure that it remains as affecting and potent as it seemed to me the first time I saw it.

Armed and dangerous with her raven bob and buttoned-up cardigan, traipsing around Paris with a breathtaking (har har) mixture of whimsicality and precocity, Karina is the image of beauty as a bottomless pond on a windless day. As everybody seems to know at this point, all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun, and “Vivre sa vie” is as perfect an illustration of this axiom as any in Godard’s oeuvre. I can’t wait to check the new Criterion disc out; it practically goes without saying that you should go out of your way to do so yourself. “Vivre sa vie” is now available for rental at Four Star Video Heaven.

What the heck…

March 19, 2010

… are we to make of this? (Spoiler alert… I think?)