Author Topic: Oh My Godard  (Read 1113 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.

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

  • But I feel better having screamed, don't you?
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

  • But I feel better having screamed, don't you?
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

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.
 

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

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