Author Topic: Oh My Godard  (Read 2486 times)

Oh My Godard
« on: January 11, 2020, 04:27:29 PM »
Jean-Luc is a director I have been sceptical about all my life.  I haven't seen that many of his movies but to me both Bande a Part and Contempt seemed to have grown stale by the time I came to view them, Weekend interesting but half-baked and Sympathy for the Devil so boring it was offensive, while with Breathless I can see the freshness but at this distance can't feel it.  The most recent example of his work I've seen was his segment of Aria from 30 years ago, which gave the impression of a sleazy old perv with no ideas.

But last night on Mubi I saw Une Femme est Une Femme, and it is possibly the most wonderfully joyous film I have ever seen.  It's like Joyce or Lewis Carroll but film-play rather than word-play.  The colour is gorgeous, the music outstanding, the cast play it just right and it is constantly witty.  Throughout I was thinking, this is going to get on my nerves soon, but it never did (well not entirely, it came close a couple of times).  Maybe it was just because I was in the right mood, maybe the fact that it is SIXTY YEARS OLD leads me to be more forgiving to its excesses (the smug references to Breathless and Belmondo's star status would irritate me hugely if copied in a contemporary film), but it is a film that is so in love with film, with its techniques and conventions and history and potential, that I couldn't help but love it back.

chveik

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2020, 04:30:19 PM »
I though he was dead, you jerk

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 04:33:44 PM »
I though he was dead, you jerk

Nope.  90 later this year but still plugging on.

Alphaville and Pierrot le Fou are also on the Mubi list.  I was going to watch them anyway out of a sense of movie-buff duty but now I will with real enthusiasm.

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 04:37:44 PM »
Alphaville is my favourite. Kinda sci-fi.

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2020, 05:09:48 PM »
Une Femme est une Femme will be deleted from Mubi at midnight, and I would recommend signing up to the service just to see it.  I believe you get one month's free trial.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2020, 05:29:11 PM »
I'll be watching that tonight. Mubi's been strong of late.

Also going to shamelessly plug my bot.

Take a look at LeavingMubiUK (@LeavingMubiUK): https://twitter.com/LeavingMubiUK?s=09

Would deffo recommend alphaville. Every frame makes a still you'd be happy to hang on your wall.

grassbath

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2020, 05:52:35 PM »
One of those uncanny CaB hivemind moments - I watched the exact same film on MUBI this afternoon and came here to start this thread.

Quite agree with your assessment, I'd never seen a Godard before and was intoxicated by the sheer colour and joy and life of this. Your literary comparisons are spot on - just the endless cartwheeling self-referential play of it all, intellectual and 'art' but never anything less than deliriously entertaining.

Going to watch Breathless next.

Sin Agog

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Re: Jean Luc Godimhard
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2020, 07:12:43 PM »
Those scenes where they communicate through bits of book titles were so lovely.  Long-time favourite.  I'd move onto Pierrot Le Fou next.  Hardly the same film, but those two are his cinematic Midsummer Night Dreams.

Need to have another wrassle with Godard on Godard.  The earliest chapters are pretty much juvenilia so maybe I should just skip straight to the more refined ore.

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2020, 07:22:35 PM »
Need to have another wrassle with Godard on Godard.  The earliest chapters are pretty much juvenilia so maybe I should just skip straight to the more refined ore.

Love how a lot of the footnotes in that one are just "1yeah fuck knows what this means"

kalowski

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2020, 07:28:39 PM »
Une Femme est Une Femme is magnificent. I might put it forward for next year's season at the film society. Jean Paul Belmondo lines to the camera just crack me up.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2020, 07:30:34 PM »
One of those uncanny CaB hivemind moments...

It's not quite the same but oddly enough I watched Breathless this afternoon, and then discovered this thread. Their must be something in the air.

Quote
Going to watch Breathless next.

I've very mixed feelings about the film, it's initially a fast paced, jazzy affair but then slows down when Jean-Paul Belmondo's murderous shit arrives at Jean Seberg's apartment and they casually flirt for 25 minutes it becomes quite the drag, before picking up again in the final third. I can understand the historical significance of the movie, but for me it doesn't stop it from being an only partially intriguing movie with a painfully slow middle section. 6.6/10

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2020, 07:36:29 PM »
I'm a major Godard obsessive and I've never particularly liked Breathless, although something clicked when I watched it for the 6th time and now I get along with it fine. Gimme Every Man For Himself "the second 'first film'" over Breathless anyday. That one and Passion are peak Godard. Insane and maudlin middle aged Godard is the best Godard

grassbath

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Re: Jean Luc Godimhard
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2020, 10:39:38 PM »
Those scenes where they communicate through bits of book titles were so lovely.  Long-time favourite.  I'd move onto Pierrot Le Fou next.  Hardly the same film, but those two are his cinematic Midsummer Night Dreams.

Watched Pierrot Le Fou today. Still gorgeous to look at and get lost in, but felt slightly less genuinely whimsical and freewheeling and a bit more up its own arse, which meant I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Une Femme est Une Femme. I guess Pierrot is ostensibly the more 'tragic' film and aims for more emotional depth, but nothing moved me as much as the Charles Aznavour scene in Une Femme.

Re: Jean Luc Godimhard
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2020, 01:32:40 PM »
but nothing moved me as much as the Charles Aznavour scene in Une Femme.

That scene is meant to be funny though, yes?  The song with the ridiculously brutal lyric?

grassbath

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2020, 05:30:16 PM »
Yeah, the brutal lyric was funny. But in the context of the scene I thought it was poignant - the film effectively pausing to let the whole song run while she ruminates on the photograph.

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2020, 12:53:00 AM »
https://youtu.be/WKbfu8rRrho
This 2 minute thing was pretty good


Anyone endure Histoire Du Cinema? Worth it? Can you break it up loads?

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2020, 01:07:46 AM »
https://youtu.be/WKbfu8rRrho
This 2 minute thing was pretty good

Honestly the best thing he made in the 90s. Short but really effective.

https://youtu.be/WKbfu8rRrho
Anyone endure Histoire Du Cinema? Worth it? Can you break it up loads?

It is worth it, there are symphonic high spots where the montage comes together into something thrilling. It expects you to know quite a bit about cinema already though, as well as quite a bit about history. So I can't claim to have grasped all of it, or maybe even most of it. It's in eight episodes, and I found it altogether too much to take in at once, so episode by episode is probably the best way of going about it

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2020, 10:08:49 AM »
Any of you watch The Little Soldier then? I thought that was quite good. A good mix of politics and cinematic experimentation, some of the other Godard's seem to be primarily one or the other.

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2020, 10:18:04 AM »
Yeah love that one, was shot as his 2nd film but was left in the can for a few years because it touched on tensions in Algeria in a way the French government didn't like. I think it was the torture scenes that set them off specifically. You can tell that he's falling in love with Anna Karina in that one too, taking any excuse to film her at the expense of whatever else may be going on. His films from 1960-1965 are all bursting with energy in a way his later ones never really would be, possibly because of Karina's influence

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2020, 01:48:38 AM »
Well, my brief infatuation with Jean-Luc is over.  Thanks to Mubi, I watched Alphaville and Pierrot le Fou and both irritated the hell out of me, especially the latter.

Alphaville did at least have some wit and coherence, but Pierrot pulled the Godfather III trick of not only being a miserable viewing experience in itself but diminishing its predecessor as well.  Well, I say predecessor, I know that Une Femme est une Femme is not connected to Pierrot other than through the people who made it, but it was that film that made me think that I had JLG all wrong.  Now I think that maybe I had Une Femme... all wrong.
 

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2020, 08:13:11 AM »
I love alphaville 'cos it looks beautiful. I think it was my first Godard.

I watched Pierre, but wasn't in the mood for it really so found it a bit of a chore*, I think I'll need to revisit it.

*I had the same thing with The Cow, I think I've just been watching too many films.

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2020, 08:45:16 AM »
Alphaville and Pierrot le fou both absolute masterworks, both challenging and convulsively beautiful

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2020, 09:42:54 PM »
I finally got around to watching Une Femme Est Une Femme today but struggled with it unfortunately, I thought it started impressively but once the action relocates to the apartment I began to find it a little irritating, sure it's playful in places and the dialogue is initially amusing but after a while I found myself becoming rather annoyed with the characters and the way they teased each other and bickered. There's some great shots and moments but also a lot of rather tiresome nonsense, and it just didn't work for me. This is a much loved film however, and I think it comes down to the fact that I just don't click with Godard as though I love Alphaville I've had a similar reactions to his other films, liking some aspects but becoming frustrated with others.

chveik

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2020, 11:11:40 PM »
yeah I'm not that keen on Une femme est une femme. his best are imo Week-end, Vivre sa vie, Masculin féminin for the 60's and Sauve qui peut (la vie) and Passion for the 80's

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2020, 02:39:20 PM »
Tried watching Histoire du Cinema a few weeks ago. The subtitling efforts are fucking atrocious... to the point I'm considering collecting all the various kinds of subtitles into one stylised set.
I get that it's hard, you've a lot of text on screen, a lot of repeated mantras, a lot of clips from films playing alongside mantras, but you could collect them all pretty easily into Aegisub (tons of style and position options) or even just a combo of all caps for text on scree, regular for voiceover and italics for audio from clips.

But really, if there was one dude who would be aware of how hugely diminished his work is by requiring translation subtitles, it's Godard. Has he ever made any kind of pigheaded statement about choosing to not let someone do voiceovers for him in English? He just shouldn't release them at all with English subtitles in that case.



Hated Pierrot le Fou but thought it was very very pretty, loved Alphaville.

Quite looking forward to checking out the US remake of Breathless, mockingly showed the ending of it to someone a few weeks ago and while rewatching the clip myself I was like "actually... this kinda looks fun, and Richard Gere is perfect for whatever this is!"

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2020, 03:09:33 PM »
I love Alphaville and Weekend so much, but I agree that he is quite demanding sometimes. The fiction sections in Sympathy for the Devil almost look like a parody of Godard.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2020, 04:56:35 PM »
yeah I'm not that keen on Une femme est une femme. his best are imo Week-end, Vivre sa vie, Masculin féminin for the 60's and Sauve qui peut (la vie) and Passion for the 80's

Out of those I've only seen Vivre Sa Vie, back when it was re-released in UK cinemas in (I think) the early 2000s, I did enjoy it and would say it was my second favourite next to Alphaville, but even then it wasn't something I was passionate about.

I love Alphaville and Weekend so much, but I agree that he is quite demanding sometimes. The fiction sections in Sympathy for the Devil almost look like a parody of Godard.

Alphaville is a film I adore a huge amount so feel I should give him one last shot, which I'll do with Weekend at some point vaguely soon, but if I don't get on with it then it'll be over between us, something I'm sure will haunt Jean-Luc to his dying day.

Sin Agog

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2020, 06:10:09 PM »
Weekend's not a trillion kilometers from Zazie, so there's hope.

wosl

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Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2020, 06:58:36 PM »
I'm a bit reluctant to watch the early Godard films because they're so feted (/notorious) and have been analysed into the ground, and continued buzz/hype around anything tends to hold me at a distance (the exception is Le Mepris, which I'm prepared to watch any number of times because Michel Piccoli* is so magnetically brooding in it, and Bardot such a vision), but one or two of his later things I've really enjoyed - Slow Motion (with Jacques Dutronc, Natalie Baye and Isobelle Huppert) and Éloge de l'amour (the first DVD disc I bought) which has some beautiful scenes that stay with you (a colour-saturated shot of waves striking rocks on a beach; a train approaching and then passing through a section of track, someone thumbing through a notebook with a de Stael painting reproduced on its cover).  JLG/JLG also has some gorgeous shots in it - I really like Godard's later use of statically shot, seemingly mundane and empty scenes that somehow give off a mysteriously compelling and poetic vibe.  Some of his later voice-overs, close-mic-ed and somnolent, seem almost proto-ASMR at times.

*Just clicked on Michel Piccoli's Wiki to discover that he died only a couple of weeks ago.  RIP, Monsieur

Re: Oh My Godard
« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2020, 01:35:32 AM »
I'm just watching Redoubtable on Mubi, a movie from the director of The Artist about Godard in the late 60s.  It's stuffed with in-jokes for buffs, far too many for me to catch, but they're just incidental: it's a very solid piece of work and a lot of fun, two things I wouldn't often say about Jean-Luc's own stuff.  (Mind you, I've only seen 30 mins so far.)  Mubi is taking it down at midnight.

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