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A look at Godard's ELOGE DE L'AMOUR!!! True Film Lovers Take Note!

Harry here... The great regret of my trip to Cannes last year was not seeing Godard... Possibly the most influential filmmaker since Orson Welles. Founder of the French New Wave, innovator of the very way films were shot. To watch BREATHLESS is to breathe the excitement of film for 87 minutes without blinking. Watching A WOMAN IS A WOMAN for the first time was sublime. And CONTEMPT.... Oh god, CONTEMPT is just marvelous as it is all at once a complete contradiction of film. A mainstream Godard film commenting upon being a mainstream film. A movie about the struggles about art and commercialism, while at the very same time he had the same fights with his money people and it was all fodder. It is not his best film, but it is an absolute delight beyond words to see Godard tear at everything that was forced upon him, to see him rip his own film in the movie that he is ripping and seeing Fritz Lang becoming not only himself, but Godard all at once. I love it. And "Bande à part" well, call me weird, but it might be my favorite of all Godard's work. Someone asked me why someone should watch the classic works of classic filmmakers. Older movies with older themes. To watch film today without the basic understandings of the ABCs of film. To comment on film without knowing the peaks and valleys, the stagnant ponds and the roaring rapids... And here we have a new Godard film coming... Maybe not to every city, but to a few. For those in those cities, this is a notice for you to sit up and take note. Godard is coming, he commands the attention of any real film geek.

Hey Harry, first-time contributor Cineaste Le Fou here, with some brief comments on the new film by Jean-Luc Godard. I didn't see any reviews posted, and the movie's scheduled for release later this month, so here goes:

An exposure to Jean-Luc Godard is essential to understanding the essence of cinema, which is why the ability to see new Godard films is so important. "Éloge de l'amour" is Godard's latest film, which is more moving and challenging than anything he's done before, for better or worse. I am not sure I can even begin to comprehend "Éloge de l'amour," considering I've seen it only once, and was so mesmerized by its beauty, that I could not penetrate more than the surface.

"Éloge de l'amour" takes place in modern-day Paris, where Edgar (Bruno Putzulu) is developing a project (is it a film, a play, opera, or novel?) about the four stages of love: the meeting, passion, the separation, and inevitable reconciliation, through the eyes of a youth, adult, and an elderly couple, which is to be titled, you guessed it, "Éloge de l'amour" (or "In Praise of Love.") Godard's concern is not how Edgar develops this project, but how his historic ideals, and the importance of memory, inevitably interfere with his process. There are only fragments of Edgar's journey, filmed in luminous black and white for the first hour, and gorgeously saturated color DV for the remaining fourty minutes, but few moments seem less than rapturous.

While Edgar's journey is fascinating and troubling, there are many streams flowing throughout "Éloge de l'amour" that suggest self-importance and cockiness on Godard's part, not Edgar's. For example, many characters throughout the film find 'Americans' to have "no past" and "buy memories from others"; I understand this justification, but many countries, including France, are just as guilty for the historic short-cuts and false livlihood through products. Spielberg is also at the butt of a few jokes, including comments about "Schindler's List" and the fact that Schindler's widow was never paid a cent for the film; understandably, Godard has a reason to be mad, but I found the comments to be totally out of place (especially when Spielberg, for once, delved into making his first art film, "A.I.", a mere year ago.)

"Éloge de l'amour" is a collage of collected ideals, much of which belong to its maker, but whether it's beauty, love, history, and memory, all exist to the most true extent in this film, but keep in mind, you'll emerge both moved and incredibly pissed off.

Well, I do indeed recommend this film with some reservations, but the fact that there's a new film by Godard opening in the US is enough to celebrate.

Best,

Cineaste Le Fou

Readers Talkback
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  • April 17, 2002, 8:38 a.m. CST

    The people i've heard rave over the look of the film so far

    by Jon L. Ander

    whereas this reviewer thinks the colour section looks fantastic. Maybe I'll have to do something radical like see it for myself.

  • April 17, 2002, 8:45 a.m. CST

    I would rather see 1 of his films than 100 of Spielberg's

    by Frank Black

    I saw an ad for this is a film magazine and my jaw dropped. A new Goddard film? Could it be? One of my favorites is "Weekend," but it is hard to pick just one. Being an American, all I can say is, his criticisms are justified. America is not without fault, culturally, politically or socially, but I love being an American. I am sure I will have to buy this film from France on DVD, because it is likely to be years before it gets distribution here, and especially with the glut of crap sequels like "MIB2" and others coming out. Even more frustrating that Miramax pushed "Gangs of New York" to Christmas. Anyway, "CQ" looks like it will be my favorite movie of the year.

  • April 17, 2002, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Everyone is talking about Star Wars

    by fieldingmellish

    Because they don't care about good movies; they only care about Star Wars! The people who visit this site are stupid because they don't care about real film. The people who run this site are stupid because they do too many stories on Star Wars and the like. Stupid!

  • April 17, 2002, 9:38 a.m. CST

    I'd love to see Jean Luc Godard vs Steven Spielberg, an inte

    by Chilli Kramer

    Where JLG asks SS about things he's concerned about in SS's films. The shower scene in Schindler's List for example, or his use of lighting like everything was a commercial. Also I'd like to see JLG writing film criticism from time to time. Like he used to, only updated. He's said in the past that he regrets valueing directors over writers, he'd change that now. What else would he say?

  • April 17, 2002, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Breathless??

    by DannyOcean01

    Harry it's A Bout de Souffle. Breathless is a shit Richard Gere movie.

  • April 17, 2002, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Bring It On!

    by DEVIL

    ...was such a great movie. No, I mean bring on the Godard. I would like to see this film at a theatre in NC. are any film distributors reading this post? no? ok, then.

  • How ironic that the very people who discovered the genius of Alfred Hitchcock are the ones who are abusing Spielberg for:a) Being rich, b) for making commercially sucessful films and c) for working in Hollywood..................... Anyway, the movie is quite good, if you can ignore the venom that Godard spews about Spielberg(I suspect that this was one of the reasons that the movie was well received in Europe, nothing like a bit of Spielberg bashing to perk up the pseudo left-wing egg-heads on the mainland)

  • April 17, 2002, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Shiva

    by DannyOcean01

    You compare Spielberg and Hitchcock on a base level. Yes both represent commercial directors who worked within the system, however Hitchcock has more depth whereas Spielberg remains on that superficial base level.Spielberg is a BO whore who refuses to fight against the system whereas Hitchcock success came as a biproduct of his cinematic mastery and subversion of that same system. Watch Vertigo and Psycho and try and tell me that Spielberg would have dared to make them. Don't you dare compare the Cahier critics' celebration of Hitchcock's technical and narrative mastery to the baying herds sycophantic mooing of Spielberg.

  • April 17, 2002, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Dear Danny Ocean whatever

    by SHIVA

    The problem with short-sighted Spielberg bashers like yourself is that you cannot stand Spielberg because he has made a lot of money............... plain and simple.................you certainly did not give a single plausible reason why Spielberg is a bad film maker other than the vague 'Spielberg remains on that superficial base level' and 'Spielberg is a BO whore '....................I've heard this crap before,pal...........Could you 'DARE' tell me why Spielberg is inferior, is it because of his mise-en-scene? His camera placemen, movement?His editing?.....................Could you please enlighten this poor soul who has dared to compare Spielberg with Hitchcock ?..................and as for daring to make Vertigo,I'd like to know what you have say about AI..............Please don't dare tell me it's not audacious or inventive.............

  • April 17, 2002, 11:55 a.m. CST

    another missive to danny ocean whatever

    by SHIVA

    Can you deny that Spielberg has made the most moral and politically innovative American films?.................If so could you name someone who balances a really intense, uncompromising style, in the case of, say, AI, Schindler

  • April 17, 2002, 12:16 p.m. CST

    more for danny boy

    by SHIVA

    You want proof of the backhanded compliments that Steven Spielberg gets............ "He has a child

  • not that a silly, shallow dissembler like you would be interested .....but...........http://www.nypress.com/14/27/film/film.cfm.................HIS MAGNIFICIENT REBUTTAL OF ALL THINGS ANTI-SPIELBERG.................of course this is assuming that you are serious about discussing Spielberg's work...............and not just interested in spouting some dumb rhetoric................hey, I can dream, can't I?!

  • April 17, 2002, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Godard doesn't like 'Schindler's List'...

    by Billy Talent

    Because he thought 'The Day the Clown Cried' was better. The Spice Girls and The Backstreet Boys hit it big in France and Quebec before they crossed over to the rest of the world. Sorry, but the French are not famed for their exquisitely good taste. An interviewer once told Don Siegel, "I understand that Jean-Luc Godard is a big fan of yours," to which Siegel swiftly replied, "Well, I'm not a fan of Jean-Luc Godard." I'll take Spielberg's (or Truffaut's) heart over Godard's numbing pretensions any day of the week.

  • April 17, 2002, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Godard is not French

    by Mirrorball Man

    Godard is not French, he's Swiss. Not that it makes any difference. He hasn't made a good movie in the last fifteen years.

  • April 17, 2002, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Yikes!

    by Frank Black

    Looks like someone really pissed off Dawson.

  • April 17, 2002, 2:56 p.m. CST

    ohh i`m looking forward to it..sounds good...spielberg bashing i

    by drjones

    aarrghh! these steven bashers...not long time ago i read in an ET review of a german newspaper that if steven would be a belgian unemployment he`d sit in jail because of child -prostitution. aarghhh. ********************************* well sorry but for a person who lives in europe or maybe asia or so the americans don`t really have much history...when i remember that boston has THAT old historical buildings for example...well sorry but it`S nothing compared to other buildings you find in the world...only for america they ARE old. **************************** well....IT`S COOL TO SEE AS YOU VINDICATE STEVEN...AT LEAST IT SHOWS ME THAT THERE AREN`T ONLY BASHERS ON THIS WORLD...SOMETHING I SOMETIMES THINk...:D WITHOUT WATCHING HIS MOVIES I WOULDN`T BE HERE...AND I GUESS I WOULDN`T GO SEE MOVIES FROM FOLKS AS GODARD OR OTHERS....thanks

  • April 17, 2002, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Mmmmm interesting

    by DannyOcean01

    You seem fascinated with the elliptical style the French New Wave were so fascinated with. Why the spaces in your ramblings? Were you watching Eliza Dushku on tv and you kept thinking you saw tit, and had to stop to wipe the dribble from your mouth? About A.I., which seems to be the only argument you have of your own, (posting links to other people's coherent arguments means nothing to me, because I was addressing you)I thought it utilised Kubrick's style and imagination i.e. halfinched it, before Spielberg fought his way to the front in a childish tantrum and stuck his dirty little hand of sentimentality all over the ending. I can imagine the discussion between the editor: 'But Lord and Master Spielberg, we have the perfect ending. It's written out in the thorough and imaginative writings of Kubrick.' 'I don't care, it's my film and I'll do what I like with it. The critics say I have a child-like view, therefore I'll reduce this fascinating film down to that which I believe a child can understand and accept, without peeing his panties, which I have a habit of doing unless aicn Talkbackers nurse my puny little ego all better everytime one of my turds falls into the collective cinematic drink.' A normal child's reaction: 'What a c***' If you think AI was a fascinating film that broke down the boundaries of our perceptions, then I pity you. Go out and watch some goddamn films because this is a piss poor example. I don't care how amazing you think 3/4s of a film is, if the ending is sentimental and manipulative crap, that contradicts that which has gone before then the film has been irrevocably destroyed. I could quite easily go into detail and discuss the difference between Hitchcock and Spielberg's use of mise en scene, editing, cinematography etc, but I didn't earlier and won't now quite simply because unlike you who can post ramble after ramble, I have a life. Good day sir.

  • April 17, 2002, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Godard is quite possibly the most influential filmmaker to emerg

    by Fitzy Funk

    All you fanboys who are actually serious about film need to put down your comic books for a second and watch every one of his movies. Oh, wait. You're too busy camping in the talkbacks for Spider-Man and Attack of the Clones..

  • Yep, run from the field of battle with your tail between your legs................ I try and provoke a debate and all I get is :'Were you watching Eliza Dushku on tv and you kept thinking you saw tit, and had to stop to wipe the dribble from your mouth?',................... ' I could quite easily go into detail and discuss the difference between Hitchcock and Spielberg's use of mise en scene, editing, cinematography etc ',.................. not to mention this priceless repartee:"I didn't earlier and won't now quite simply because unlike you who can post ramble after ramble, I have a life. "........................Oh, please Danny spare me your pseudo-elitist schtick..............Try putting your money where your mouth is instead of running away after taking a few cheap shots............ At least I made an effort to tell you about why I like Spielberg.........You haven't even tried to tell me why you think Vertigo and Rear Window were masterpieces (I am in agreement with mon-sewer Danny on those two, by the way)...............Do you think that Spielberg is beneath your elitist taste because he engages in sentimentality............I wonder how Truffaut's films from Jules et Jim to Small Change to The Wild Child score with you, because they are essentially similar in sensibility and sensitivity to Spielbergs work..............Or De Sica's neo-realist period.............Or Satyajit Rays Apu trilogy........You would probably place them all above Spielberg because all of them are 'FORIEGN' films..........anointed as classics by European critics who have lost the ability to evaluate Hollywood films..............Do you really expect Spielberg to change his world view to suit Kubrick's? Why would you undervalue optimism when you know that the pessimism of Kubrick is just the other side of the coin...........Why would you even expect AI to resemble 2001?...........That's sheer stupidity......You seem to want to deny Spielbergs artistry simply to please the elitist in you............

  • April 17, 2002, 4:48 p.m. CST

    godard IS french...

    by timothycarey

    ...born in Paris, 3 dec. 1930, albeit to french-swiss parents and he has lived in switzerland for some time now...it's funny that, post-9/11, the only film of his that is getting distribution in some two decades is (evidently) pretty set in its anti-american ways (even the village voice's j. hoberman -- only the finest practicing american film critic, by the by -- chastised jlg's knee-jerk anti-americanism, but it may have been symptomatic of the film's us premiere at the ny film festival occuring too soon after 9/11)...this from the man who dedicated his first feature-length to amurrican b-studios like republic pictures...well, so very much has changed since 1959, in case you hadn't noticed...and funnier still that the bulk of posts here revolve around not the premier nouvelle vague-rant but the premier derriere-gardeist shpielberg...you know, tarkovsky didn't much dig on him, neither, and he (andrei t.) was no cahiers-o-phile...which isn't to say stevie hasn't made some surprisingly good films, especially in the last two decades, at the time when success could and/or should have spoiled him...so, rah-rah ss (and boo-hiss armond white, who never came across a length of film stock shot by speilberg, or de palma, or -- ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, &c. -- alan rudolph -- sorry, it's coming on again...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha &c. -- he didn't fall over himself praising...actually, i never let a week go by without reading aw's ny press column(s) but, apropos speilberg/de palma/rudolph (ho ho ha), the man wholly forgoes criticism in favor of chip-on-shoulder polemical advocacy), but come on, yo -- he's no innovator, or provocateur a la godard, who has been lucky to pass a few frames of video to festivals in the continental u.s., much less having a new feature open in more than one major market lo, these twenty years...to say you "don't like" his films/videos much is pretty damn weak in the face of his high-modernist poesy du mal -- _2 or 3 things i know about her_ is better than just about everything l'il stevie has ever made, including the opening 20 minutes of _saving tom hanks' oscar_...so, defend him 'til you're blue-faced -- histoire(s) du cinema will have steven toiling in the farm system while jean-luc is and will stay in the starting line-up well into the next century/ies...can i order tickets now on ticketweb, like i can for spiderman?

  • April 17, 2002, 6:29 p.m. CST

    I thought "Close Encounters" was supposed to be the Spielberg/No

    by Christopher3

    Or at least some sort of *rapprochement*. Oh well; no wonder the least commercial of filmmakers should hate the most commercial.

  • April 17, 2002, 6:47 p.m. CST

    I.A.L. Diamond on Godard, Auteur theory, Cahiers, etc.

    by Billy Talent

    "Any standard of judgement that elevates Aldrich and Fuller and Lewis above Lean and Wilder and Stevens and Zinneman has got to be a big put-on. Just compare their credits." I suppose Godard's a genius, but he comes across as a tiresome old fart who can't shut up about how much better everything was in the sixties. He'll die shaking his fist at the whole world simply because most people, quite sensibly, would rather watch 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' than 'Hail Mary'. I kinda wish Spielberg would call him out on the washed up old fraud that he is. Godard has done some wonderful work (Sympathy For The Devil, La Chinoise, My Life to Live, etc) but in the last quarter century or so Spielberg has clearly been the more vital and relevant film maker.

  • April 17, 2002, 10:34 p.m. CST

    DVD

    by Tokyo Joe

    You can get the DVD from the UK at Amazon. Just in case the Evil French producers don't put English subtitles on it. Or is it only Japan where they put English subtitles on everything apart from the stuff you really want to watch (Battle Royale, Pistol Opera, All good Miike Takashi movies)??

  • April 17, 2002, 10:38 p.m. CST

    DVD?

    by Tokyo Joe

    Oh. In fact you can't seem to get the DVD in France at all? How strange. Due to the strange order of talkbacks this post won't make any sense unless you start from the bottom and work your way up (and skip the boring Godard vs Speilburg posts)

  • April 18, 2002, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Towards a theory of Spielberg........

    by SHIVA

    Since Danny boy has asked me to air my views on senor Spielberg, I will do so.......hey, danny boy I'm calling you out, man.......Throwing down the gauntlet et al................If you decide to grow a pair, come at me hammer and tongs beeyotch............or do you choose to slink away into the darkness, after delivering a few airy cheap shots.................your choice boyo.........i'm right here...........take your best shot..........here we go.......The scene in Schindler's List where Steven Spielberg 'witnesses' tribute he has arranged in which survivors of the WW 2 Holocaust file past the gravesite of Oskar Schindler is one of the key scenes which reveal the humanity and optimism that the film maker has been denied since he revised the rules of the action film genre with Duel............A perfectly situated affirmation of the gratitude and humanity that a group of people express toward a man who saved their lives........This humanity and optimism that I harp upon, the goodness of human experience has always been the subject of Spiel bergs greatest art: CE3K,The Colour Purple, E.T and more recently Saving Private Ryan, Amistad and A.I.- each of which is an ebullient fable.......What most hossannas, for what has been called by certain egg-head critics as Spielbergs best film to date, lack is the awareness of this humanist, life-affirming sensibility in Spielberg.............It is not easy to decide which is the greater collective folly of the 90's American critical establishment............the so-called 'dicovery' of Clint Eastwood's artistic ability by mainstream critics in Unforgiven, although he had been directing small gems for much of his career since Play Misty for Me............or the 'discovery' that Spielberg was a 'serious' film maker, as if that aspect of his film making were ever in contention...........I need to call attention especially to The Colour Purple, because it is that film which outstrips even Schindler's List as Spielberg's most audacious feat of 'witnessing'- a poetic act of revelation rather than partisan reportage........... the cynics will scoff when I say that it is Spielberg and Charles Burnett who have blazed the path for seeing meaning in a Black story like The Colour Purple and The Glass Shield, and not that prodigal Spike Lee...........the critical reaction towards Schindler's List here and abroad reveals how far off most, if not all, critics are when they evaluate Spielberg.......They praise his 'anger'(David Denby)- imputing a petty vengefulness to the motives of the most benevolent film maker of our times........This tendency to turn Spielberg into Moshe Dayan has paid off in spades (a Scheherezade into a sabra if you want to put it into the current context)and suggests other frightening reasons for that movie's praise..............With Schindlers List and again with Saving Private Ryan critics have reduced Spielberg's art into a hegemonic tool for promoting mainstream historical interests-an implicit policy as pervasive as the refusal of white critics to see the meaning in a story like Amistad............Both Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and 1941 addressed history intelligently, elegantly: revisionism and popular entertainment rolled into one.........Crossing the globe with new-found respect for previously dominated cultures( Indy's Western sensibilities about museum curatorship is in opposition to his fathers faith), Spielberg opens up his viewfinder to wonder......Even before the much trumpeted List he gives serious attention to the WW 2 era and the fascist thrall of Nazism in personal, original ways......1941's devotion to pre- WW 2 sense of mainstream and pop culture as wild, racist, naive- unmandated except by the principles of capitalism and pleasure(i.e., Americanism;i.e. Hollywood)-shows Spielberg shrewdly deflating cultural soveriegnty at every turn; indeed, he opens the film with an impious spoof of Jaws.....1941 turned homey, U.S imperialism(and the world's subordination to it) into a satirical jamboree-a first, important step towards changing popular attitudes about Hollywood prerogative.......Eastwood would repeat it in the fabulous White Hunter, Black Heart which more or less directly linked imperialism and Hollywood..........Spielberg made the change memorably in The Last Crusade's inspired incident wherein Adolf Hitler autographs Indy's father's personal diary. It unexpectedly summed up the psychic, historical weight that the fascist legacy continues to exert on the modern imagination.........An indestructible Nazi insignia is a significant 'Never Again' motif throughout the trilogy......Such clever business didn't necessarily identify Spielberg as Jewish, or as a scholar, but it evidenced the wit, the political preoccupation, and sensibility of a genuine bona fide auteur......In fact the terms by which The Last Crusade, Saving Private Ryan and A.I can be recognized as great works of humane and artistic contemplation were explained or perhaps even prophecized about 40 years ago by Andrew Sarris's manifesto "Toward a Theory of Film History" in The American Cinema. Sarri's important distinction between expressive art and sociological entertainment anticipates Speilbergs entire oevure...........Sad sacks like Danny boy reject A.I.'s climax as overly sentimental fail to understand how it works-MORALLY-like the climaxes of all Spielberg films..........For 3 decades now Spielberg has explored the emotional, thus spiritual essence of movie spectacle.......Consider his body of work: A grown man's trepidation intercut with the slapstick tragedy of a drive-in Road Runner cartoon- The Sugarland Express;a panicked mother distilling her frustrations through artful renderings of mountains-CE3K;a Japanese sailor weeping at the (mistaken)thought that he has demolished Hollywood-1941;a lonesome boy's sensory rememberance of his father's aftershave lotion-E.T;elderly sisters regaining paradise and innocence by playing patty cake- The Colour Purple;a woman's bicycle race to proclaim the frgility of her love without waiting for the (unseen) response in kind- Always; a group of adult orphans finding themselves in the moment they pay tribute to the woman who cared for them-Hook;the almost dreamlike narration of a proud warriors capture and separation from his loved ones-Amistad;the alarming breaking into tears of the company commander overwhelmed by the death and destruction before him-Saving Private Ryan; and the haunting abandonment of an adopted child in the woods by his mother-A.I..........these scenes are among the many trenchant episodes in Spielberg's cinema that critics have rejected as fanciful. Lacking sensitive, imaginative eyes, they fail to recognize Spielberg's poetic distillation of human experience, his respect for emotion as the evidence of spirituality............... your turn Danny boy!

  • April 18, 2002, 5:19 a.m. CST

    Hypocrisy

    by DannyOcean01

    is an ugly word, but luckily I'm directing it only at you. You call me out for being pretentious and then you unleash a diatribe of such verbosity that Godard would have been proud. You state that I am elitist in my views and yet you're pee brain cannot answer why Godard pales in comparison to Spielberg in the 6-7 posts you have already made. Yes I'll admit I haven't done the same, but then I am more interested in highlighting your hypocrisy, a disease that weakens any argument. I promise to answer you when I get back from work; you see I have a job. Though I will say that it scares me that you a) highlight moments of scriptwriting as examples of Spielberg's genius- how many of his films did he write...hmmmmmmm, and b)can find intellectual stimulation in a film universally recognised as rubbish- I am talking here of 1941.

  • Danny, once you've stopped foaming at the mouth perhaps you could peruse my earlier posts and see whether I have ever compared Spielberg and Godard.........no, you silly twat.......and why would I?.....one is a dyed-in-wool Hollywood director and the other is a European independant.........what would be the standard by which you could compare the two?..........don't put words into my mouth, dude.......at least have the sincerity to not do that.........but I did compare Spielberg to Hitchcock without passing some foul comment on the Master........unlike you who seems to revel in abusing both great directors and your detractors without a whit of balance or fair play.........perhaps you are too inured to the practice of abuse to ever acquaint yourself with the practice of praise(flowery,no..i made it up my self)...........but go ahead.....it will be interesting to see how you are gonna compare Godard and Spielberg......I'm game for any kind of theoretical discussion on film, if you're sporting enough to indulge in it.......and could you and Glaswegian please stop telling me that my prose is too verbose......what would you like 'Spielberg Rocks!' or 'Hitchcock Sucks!'.....Sorry, unlike you I believe that these talkbacks are read by literate people.......if you want to reduce all criticism to pandering to the lowest commom denominator, go ahead...be my guest!......please don't ask me to do so.......I always thought that people who asked for 'simpler' and 'non-verbose' explanations were the one who were pea-brains......... please Glaswegian telling me that I come across as a Twat , asking me to 'simplify' things, and passing some vague innuendo about my having recycled the stuff that I wrote(this, when you admit that you haven't read a book on Spielberg) don't make valid arguments about the merit of Spielbergs films.......perhaps you should read something on Spielberg...'if michael bay had directed schindlers list i think he would have also got the oscar.','ok, godard would be guys that also buit the ship themselves.','.......Your opinion,sir, has much to be humble about!........its when I come across people like you who deride 'freshman media studies' that I lose all humility..............Here's a challenge.....If you can find the place that I 'recycled' my writing from, as you so pompously claim, I will bow to your lower level of intelligence........else, shut up and admire the work of greater mortals, puny insect!

  • April 18, 2002, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Purple is the colour of cheese

    by Brendon

    Partisan reportage? Certainly is...not to mention Parmesan Fromage.

  • April 18, 2002, 2:45 p.m. CST

    oh, and yo, shiva the destroyer...

    by timothycarey

    ...while speilberg is certainly due for a reassessment by us snotty elitist critical types, are you quite sure _1941_ and _temple of doom_ is going to be a part of it? do you not recall the hushed contemplation, by critics and mr. steve himself, after _schindler's list_ when the consensus was "he can't go back again" to the films that made his name/fortune? do you not recall that his next film was _jurassic park part deux_? (if anyone missed stuart klawans' hysterical review of _jp ii_, where he treated it as if it were the sequel to _schindler's list_, track it down at thenation.com). the horns of this dilemma seem to demonstrate the tension in ss's own oeuvre: maybe the most prodigious cinematic talent of his generation wedded to one of the -- let's be generous -- least nuanced appreciation of human nature. i'm not looking to create some kinda unified field theory of cinema and the placement of godard and/or speilberg in said pantheon but, when you compare speilberg's compassion to de sica's and ray's, well, you may be right (i could scarcely imagine how one could assess commensurate compassions, but never mind)...but what films has speilberg done than compare even modestly with the emotional impact of _the bicycle thief_, _umberto d._ or _the world of apu_? leave _schindler_ out of it -- any film about the holocaust that is not devastating is a double travesty. the closest i've got is _empire of the sun_, still extremely underrated but nowhere near the work of these neo-realist masters on two different continents...ps, you sure you're not armond white in chat-disguise?

  • Pull the other one, Its got bells on !............If you believe that then each and every film by Hitchcock and every other great director was a success simply because he had a great screenplay...............But we all know that that ain't true, right?.............(as a side note I'd like to know how you would then account for The opening sequences of Saving Private Ryan, they weren't even storyboarded let alone scripted!.........Janusz Kaminski perhaps?)..........If you belive that all directors follow what is in the screenplay and bring nothing of their own to the table except calling 'action', 'cut' and 'print' then is Godard the screenwriter not a better artist than Godard the director............Danny boy I gotta hand it to you, you have broken a whole new path for film criticism.......... As for mainstream public opinion........where does Godard stand in that arena......the response to his work in this talkback alone should give you some idea............where did Hitchcock, Welles and Hawks stand before their rehabilitation by the Cahiers set...............If you are gonna apply that logic, Danny old son you better make sure that it holds for everything..........smacks of the ol' 'double standard' if you ask me.........in fact much of what you say is loaded with what you so eloquently call 'hypocrisy'..........get your story straight before you make half-assed assesments........Glaswegian, is that plain enough for you....how's the search coming along.......or are you man enough to admit that you were wrong?

  • And I was more interested in The Last Crusade than The Temple Of Doom.........but to each his own........By the way can't a guy be obsessed with movies unless he is a film critic?.....I like ol' Armond, but his dissing of Snake eyes and Unbreakable pissed me off so much that I stopped reading him for some time..........Both are films which haven't got the respect they deserve..What say you?..........What the Nation said is symptomatic of the myopia that much of the American criticalk estrablishment is afflicted by when dealing with Spielberg's films............they hold him responsible for the glut of brainless sfx blockbusters....that he helped make stuff like The Goonies and The Flintstones hasn't exactly helped matters.........nor has his bland attitudes in public towards his films..........but why must we read so much into what he says and not pay attention to what he is doing onscreen...all your answers are right there....as for Truffaut, De Sica and Ray, I certainly think that CE3K, E.T,Empire of the Sun and A.I more than qualify to be placed up their with their works..........

  • April 19, 2002, 3:04 a.m. CST

    on spielberg, de sica, and film

    by Chishu_Ryu

    i may be a bit late for this talkback discussion, but this is such an interesting topic, i couldn't refuse. i think spielberg is a brilliant and talented moviemaker, when it comes to a certain kind of movie. he's not a studio whore, he really makes what he believes, but that's the problem. i agree with shiva that our childhood sensibilities are important and shouldn't be discounted (we all have favorite childhood memories), but i think it's agreed that there's a difference between a child's pov and an adult's. as we mature, we find that life and living are a little more complex than romper room and comic books (at least for most of us). spielberg is an example of a talented filmmaker who never lost his boyhood point of view (i remember in an interview once, spielberg said he couldn't understand why everyone was so turned on by the darkness of tim burton's batman). spielberg's great when he does boyhood fantasy movies like e.t., indiana jones, hook, or jurassic park. but i think he falls a little short when he ventures into the real world and truth telling. this is easy to miss because spielberg is such a good storyteller, we fail to see the fantasy (i.e. bullshit) that's still there. let's take schindler's list for example. did spielberg really show us anything new with this film, other than give us a filtered introduction to mr. schindler? okay, so the jews were victims, the nazis were evil personified, and the knight in shining armor will always save the day. what else is new? schindler's list was basically "indiana jones and the last gestapo." if spielberg wanted to really venture into unknown territory, perhaps he could have abandoned his jewish leanings and made a film that tried to understand the nazis, maybe showed that deep down inside, we all could be nazis (i.e. racism in the 50's and 60's and today, lynch mobs, kkk, rodney king, nationalism, etc.). this may be a bit harsh, but artistically and philosophically, there's not much difference between showing the jews hovering over schindler's grave and that of the seven dwarves over snow white's. okay, so spielberg got a million oscars for schindler. well, he's such a good storyteller, i'm sure the academy was dying to give him everything so long as he made a "serious" film that involved white people. the rest, as they say, is history. and amistad, just as it looked like spielberg was about to give this beautiful black man (minjou) real strength and a real voice ("give me freedom"), he reduces him to a whimpering, ass-kissing, uncle tom being, john quincy adams fanboy. it's indiana jones saves the day again. and notice how every nazi in private ryan was sort of grotesque looking when i'm sure in reality they probably resembled matt damon more? but now i'm ranting. spielberg is a talented storyteller and technical innovator, but when it comes to the making of serious art, he's no vittorio de sica. that's like trying to compare norman rockwell to picasso, or dean koontz to shakespeare. watch a de sica, i mean really watch it, and see what i mean. that's true humanity on the screen there. notice in his films that there's no "bad guy." de sica's world is gray, we are our own worst enemies. and i hope that the events of sept. 11 don't color anyone's judgement, but the real world is gray, mixed up, mysterious, shimmering. it's not spielberg's black and white, fill in the colors world. the problem is that most of us think it's that way, too, which also probably accounts for spielberg and hollywood's tremendous popularity. make like bruce lee, empty your cup, and try to really watch films by true masters of film art like bresson, ozu, de sica, cassavetes, dreyer, mike leigh. you'll see what a cartoon spielberg's art is. not that cartoons are bad, i'm a disney fan myself, but i don't equate disney's "hunchback" with hugo's "hunchback," get my drift? if you want to read it from the master of hollywood bashing and the ultimate champion for true humanistic art, check out prof. ray carney's website @ people.bu.edu/rcarney. if you can pick up what he's putting down, it'll be like the matrix being lifted over your eyes and seeing the world for what it truly is. some of you will resist it, and come back to the safe world of the matrix, but some of you may not come back. see for yourself. i know aint'-it-cool is a mecca for spielberg's type of movies, and i don't mean to bash them too hard, but this topic pushed a button and i couldn't resist. on a positive note, i think a.i. was probably spielberg's most mature film to date (probably because of its origin with kubrick), though not most entertaining. anyway, i'm tired, and that's my two cents.

  • April 19, 2002, 9:54 p.m. CST

    nice to see someone give a coherent response.......

    by SHIVA

    Well, MTC, you say that,'spielberg is a brilliant and talented moviemaker, when it comes to a certain kind of movie.'..........So is(was)Hitchcock, and so were bresson, ozu, de sica, cassavetes, dreyer, mike leigh.......now if you're talking about Howard Hawks or Raoul Walsh or Kenji Mizoguchi or Ousmane Sembene or Chen Kaige, I would have to agree that he isn't as versatile as any of them...........but I don't think that this was held against the film makers you mentioned and it only seems fair that it shouldn't be held against Spielberg.........Of course I am not including the latter period of De Sica's career in which he became, as you so eloquently put it, a 'studio whore'...........I did not see a single Hollywood film maker in your list of 'greats'.........not from the present crop nor from the earlier periods..........can it be that working in Hollywood automatically disqualifies people from being recognized as an artist..........that would be a very narrow minded view of the medium....not to mention provincial in the extreme.........I know that Spielberg is looked upon as some sort of harbringer of the Apocalypse in some virulently anti-American circles, but the critics who subscribe to this view forget that it was the Hollywood marketing machine that turned movies into a product placement-theme-park-ride jamboree..........Spielberg simply made sucessful films which inspired the studios to make movies that pander to the lowest common denominator..........I would like to add, again, that Spielberg hasn't helped his cause by supporting The Goonies or The Flintstones.........but can that be a reason to besmirch the man's own films.........I think not........once again Spielberg's statements may seem extremely bland, but if one were to go by the statements of various film makers one would not get very far........'Kubrick is a machine, he is capable only of depicting machines'-Jacques Rivette, 'Sam Peckinpah is not a good action fim maker, in fact he is not a film maker'-Stanley Kubrick etc...........I repeat look at the directors work, not his personal statements........anyway I certainly don't feel that Spielberg is an immature artist.....but to each his own.

  • April 20, 2002, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Hey Shiva, nice to hear from you since my earlier post was direc

    by Chishu_Ryu

    Now, I'm not saying you won't find a true artist in Hollywood, I just didn't mention any. For the past, I give you Frank Capra, Nicholas Ray, Charlie Chaplin to name a few. As for the present, I must admit that's a hard one. Most true artists will find the present corporation suit-and-tie controlled studios to be so stifling, red taped, and product-based, that they'll say f*** it, grab a digicam or 16mm and shoot their personal vision themselves. But still, I give you Tom Noonan (the villain from Robocop 2, made What Happened Was and The Wife), Michael Almereyda (made a little gem called Twister in 1988, most recently made Hamlet), and John Cassavetes (who did make some studio backed films i.e. Woman Under the Influence, Minnie and Moskowitz, and Gloria). Guys like Spielberg, Hitchcock (yes, Hitchcock!), and Orson Welles (oh yes!) are/were masters of form, but not masters of content. And can it be agreed that true art must be rich in both form and content? Just ask Shakespeare! Hitchcock's Mastery of the Manipulative Point-of-View Camera cannot hide(from me anyway) that his films were really just about suspense. Orson Welles' Pyrotechnic Camera Moves and Metaphoric Camera Angles still painted a fairly simplistic view of life. A big empty room means he's lonely, okay. And it's all about Rosebud, huh? If only real life were that easy to figure out! And finally, Spielberg's devotion to fifty or so years of this Hollywood style cannot mask(or maybe it does) his Boyhood(see previous post) Radio Serial Pulp Fiction view of life. Now, notice the common demoninator? Masters of the Camera, but not masters of OBSERVING THE REAL WORLD AROUND THEM. Now, let's take my man Frank Capra and It's a Wonderful Life(overlooked by many as simply a X-mas story). Watch it. I mean really watch it. How much imagining, yearning, striving, human frailty, LOVE, relationship COMPLEXITY, role playing, humor, sadness, MYSTERY, and most of all HUMAN SPIRIT can you put into two hours? And all rolled into an artistic unified whole? Well, Frank Capra did it with almost every film he made (except maybe the really early stuff and really late stuff). So did Charlie Chaplin, and so did John Cassavetes, and more recently, Tom Noonan. To them, Real Life is Magic and Mystery, and can't be summed up by the word Rosebud. And see Cassavetes' Minnie and Moskowitz as Gena and Seymour cruise down the strip to Strauss' "Blue Danube" a tribute, but also an attack on Kubrick's Virtuostic Pretty Science-Glorifying but ultimately shallow opening spaceship scene. High Art does not take place in a galaxy far far away, but in the heart and mind and soul. So I'm sorry Shiva. Although Spielberg is very mature as a Master of the Medium (read: Storytelling with a Camera) he is very immature as a true artist, and I'm afraid always will be. His legacy is E.T. the Extraterrestrial, not Schindler's List. So excuse me, I'm going to catch a few z's, then pop in my DVD of Capra's "It Happened One Night." Don't know if you'll get around to reading this, but that's my two cents worth.

  • April 20, 2002, 8:14 a.m. CST

    addendum

    by Chishu_Ryu

    To that pantheon of American Artists I mentioned earlier who have worked within the system, I'd like to add someone Shiva you mentioned earlier. The great black filmmaker Charles Burnett (whose strongest studio work is To Sleep With Anger). Okay. I'm tired. That's my final .2 cents.

  • April 25, 2002, 4:33 p.m. CST

    well, yo, sheev...

    by timothycarey

    ..."can't a guy be obsessed with movies unless he is a film critic?" hey, man, isn't that why we come here to read and post with abandon, if not always reflection? truly, although i ultimately disagree with your assessment of la speilberg (CE3K/E.T.

  • April 25, 2002, 5:04 p.m. CST

    and as for I.A.L. Diamond...

    by timothycarey

    ...what has he done for us lately -- _buddy buddy_? fuller himself did _the big red one_, white dog and _thieves after dark_ in the 80's alone -- obviously, the point of the cahiers posse championing the auteurs such as diamond mentions was that no one was championing their thoroughly non-cinemascope cinematic practice...an appeal to non-reason which gave us de palma, jarmusch, tarantino and, you know, jean-luc...