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 Ã 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. "Ã‰loge 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 "Ã‰loge 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.
"Ã‰loge 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, "Ã‰loge 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 "Ã‰loge 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.)
"Ã‰loge 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.
Cineaste Le Fou