Sunday, December 13, 2009

Histoire(s) Du Cinema

I could not get a hold of this video, but attempted to watch it on youtube. The subtitles were blurry and unreadable and there was only three of the six parts available. However, I could get a slight idea of what Godard was trying to say in this film. With footage from Hollywood films, Godard critiques the world of film outside of Jean-Luc Godard. Most of it seemed pretentious, but there were some interesting points and images.

My favorite, was that of Anna Karina. He seems to halfway explain (in a JLG fashion) his love affair with Karina. He compares it to world leaders and the French army taking it in the behind from the German Army in WWII. The rest of the film was violently put together into flashes between images of films, Godard himself, and other stock footage. Throughout the entirety of the film there was a constant banging of a keyboard.

I wish I could have fully watched, and appreciated this film. Hopefully one day I will get my hands on the video,

Notre Musique

War is hell, the aftermath is purgatory, and death is paradise or heaven. The stock footage and severe images of war, was meant to shock the audience right out of hell into purgatory. Purgatory is where the bulk of the film fell. In a war tattered Sarajevo, students and a reporter named Olga, went to Sarajevo to break a story on war (or at least I believe that is why they were there). In this portion of the film, we again have a philosophical overload, of deep set, often cliche commentary. Godard himself, took a part in this commentary with his showing of photos, it was almost as if he was teaching the students that were there. Olga was a reporter and of Jewish descent, which made for an interesting interview with a Palestinian man. The man spoke of poetry, and claimed that a country should not and cannot win if they do not have good poets. He also said Palestine is known because of Israeli's attacks, and it is Israeli that is notorious.

There were some interesting points in "purgatory", but for the most part (which Godard's later films tend to do) it dragged on and I quickly lost interest. Once again, Godard succeeded in making an eighty minute film seem as if it was three and a half hours long. I am not sure if this is a negative effect of age, or if Godard is purposely making his films drawn out and frankly...boring. What happened after the eighties? He went from making the most obscenely racy, sexually and politically charged films, to sleep worthy, overdone, images and commentary on philosophy of war and countries status.

Yes, this film was boring, but the structure and once again cinematography was beautiful. It was easier to follow past Godard films, which produced mixed feelings. I know I have complained in the past of Godard's lack of structure but it has grown on me, and I have realized that without that style it is not Godard. Although aesthetically beautiful, this film was not shocking, not progressive and not Godard.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Numero Duex

Godard not only crossed the line, he personally moved the line to a further distance and crossed it again. A wife performing oral sex on her husband’s flaccid penis, naked children, and children getting a first hand account on sexuality while watching their parents make love, all were included in this film. The parents described the vagina as lips and the penis as a mouth, and love making is a sort of silent kiss. The only thing I could think to myself was; who in the right mind would allow their child to be in this film?

What really pushed the envelope, opened it and then spit on it, was some of the dialogue. The open commentary on otherwise taboo subjects, such as; constipation, anal sex, dirty undersides and so on. Many of these subjects were discussed with their children. For example; the wife asks her son Nocolas if he knows what shitting is, he answers “yes” and she then proceeds to tell him that she hasn’t shit in two weeks. Another disturbing piece of commentary that included the children, was the husbands explanation of what he did to his wife when he found out she was cheating on him. He claimed he was so mad at her “he could of raped her”, so instead he had violent anal sex with her while she screamed, he then realized that one of his children was watching the entire encounter. It seemed that Godard wanted to take his audience to the darkest place in their subconscious, and let them roam comfortably in their abnormalities.

Even the way this film was presented was dark and tormented. We watched the encounters with this family through television screens in Godard’s editing room, through his eyes. This made each subject even more eerie, even more forbidden and taboo. This begs the question; why did Godard make this film? Why did he want to show us a seemingly normal family and their darkest secrets, through his gritty eyes? It left me wondering…”was this genius, or simply a strange perversion?” If it was genius, this could have been Godard’s statement against normalcy. No family is “normal”, every family has curious children, and strange sexually charged thoughts between husband and wife. Is normalcy actually perversion, but we just don’t talk about it? Or was Godard simply going for the shock factor, and not trying to expose an underlined issue? Maybe Godard was simply waking up his audience. Maybe he wanted them to revert to their natural and animalistic Freudian subconscious and not think at all. Maybe this film was made to make us not think; instead of to make our heads spin with unanswered questions. The reason for this film I will never be sure of, but I am sure Godard achieved his goal.

Friday, December 11, 2009

British Sounds

This was the most relevant, and well argued political film I have watched by Jean-Luc Godard. It did not transport me to a different world, or allow me to use my imagination. It brought to reality, and left the imagined unimaginable. Instead of going through the motions in a daydreamed daze, this film forced me to think of the world, my world, our world and the failure of its system. I am not a Marxist communist, but I know rigid, fundamental capitalism has failed. This is why places like the city of Detroit have over a 30 percent unemployment rate. This is why people are freezing to death because they have lost their homes due the greedy bank induced mortgage crisis/ this is why I am two days and three credits shy of a college education and working in a factory through a temp. agency. This is why; if I stay in my current position; I will never be unionized and I will continue to be taken advantage of. This is why I went to college; to eventually be the boss of people like me, to live the American dream, to continue living the dream of capitalism, to use a college degree as a base/start of getting my hands on as much money as I can, to drive a Range Rover, to smoke the finest cigars and drink the best wine, while an unemployed ex G.M employee rummages through my trash. Isn’t life grand?

Who would have known that we, the self proclaimed greatest nation in the world, could become failures? Why have we failed? Greed. Capitalism. They go hand and hand. The AIG presidents demanding millions of dollars in bonuses, after their company got bailed out by working class American people. The big three continuing to produce oil gasoline hogging SUVs , when they know oil prices can go up at any moment; it was too expensive to change their lines, and the American people wanted the status symbol of the bigger the better.

Even though it was made in Great Britain in 1970, “British Sounds” was relevant to modern day class struggle in America, and forced me to think of the reality of America via 2009. Still we over sexualize and undermine women, still workers are taken advantage of and underpaid, still we need reform. Maybe not as extreme of reform as JLG speaks of, but at least a compromise, something similar to modern day Switzerland or France would be beneficial to our country. I want to live the day that the quote in the film: Q “ Mommy is Daddy dead?” A. “ No honey, he works for GM” is laughable and untrue. It has been awhile, but Godard has struck a cord with me and has once again made me re-evaluate life, capitalism, women’s suffrage and my current and relatable situation in this “struggle between image and sound”.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meeting with Woody Allen

This was extremely interesting seeing these two major influences on film as we know it, sitting down and speaking to each other. What can I say? It was simply a great experience anticipating and trying to guess what Godard was going to ask Woody Allen. It also was neat to see a humanized and curious Jean-Luc Godard ask questions to such a different type, yet equally as important, film maker.

I am glad Godard brought up the subject of television. What great directors though of television has always been a curiosity to me. Godard told Woody Allen that it has a negative effect on his creative process and compared it to radiation poisoning. I am pretty sure—due to the language barrier—Woody Allen misunderstood the question. Yet, it may have been a little bit after—Woody Allen said that television is a mere appliance not an art. However, Godard seemed to expose a contradiction in Woody Allen’s statement by bringing up a shot of buildings in one of his films. He asked him if the shot would have been the same if he lived in a country where TV. did not exist. Woody Allen drew blank, and eventually said it may have been. Godard basically was making a statement that T.V subconsciously affects us. They then moved on to discussing the creative process, as seen untainted by television.

Woody Allen has never watched the entirety of a single film he has made. He spoke of coming up with the greatest and most beautiful idea, the excitement that comes with that idea, and the eventual frustration that comes with not being able to produce that perfect image in his head. He does not want to watch the finished project because all he can see is the imperfections. He feels that directing is a tedious process, he is just glad he can do something tedious with film. Like most great artist, both Godard and Allen are never satisfied, nothing they produce meets the standards they produce in their head, and they will always stride for perfection, producing the perfect piece of art. We may see their art as beautiful and flawless, but in their eyes they will never see anything they produce as perfect (let alone satisfactory). Great artists are in constant battle with themselves…and they will never be satisfied.

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Praise of Love

In Praise of Love:

Is it just me or is Godard starting to slip in to an unconscious and distorted oblivion? “In Praise of Love” was layered with so many ideals that once again they were all lost, and once again I was left shaking my head. How can one film have three separate love stories (if you want to call them stories), knock Spielberg, tackle pompous Americanism, deal with a film within the film and give us a history lesson on the French Revolution…all while adding extremely thick dialogue coated with “deep” and often random thoughts? The answer; it cant. It was a mess--if it was not for the cinematography and the lack of color contrasted with the overuse of color—I would have fallen asleep.

I hate to sound bitter, but Godard’s modern works simply are unbearable. Like an athlete who hangs up the sneakers after his knees give out, it looks like Godard should have hung up the scripts and camera. It seems the flaws that actually helped make earlier films more beautiful and real, have been overexposed and equate to an explosion of sleep worthy modern Godard films.

I also have a slight problem with Godard completely contradicting himself. I may have misinterpreted it (which is most likely the case, since this film was so poorly put together) but he seems to take a feminist stand. Correct me if I am wrong, but he makes a statement against female nudity in American cinema. This is strange, since the last five films I have watched had dozens of naked females in the shots. He also once had a fascination with female prostitutes, and used them as main characters. Is he saying it is only okay when he does it? Why cant American cinema also be misogynistic? His point is not what bothers me, what bothers me is his obvious contradictions. It was as if he was searching for anything to attack Hollywood cinema.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For Ever Mozart

The run time was an hour and twenty five minutes, but it felt like it ran longer than Titanic. I failed to learn the relevance of more than half of this film; either I have a short attention span, or Godard lacked logical closure and explanation. Did Godard piece together this film just for the sheer fact that he could? Did he know he could rush through and produce a bowl movement of a movie, knowing people would watch it because of his reputation? Did he know that many would claim For Ever Mozart as brilliant, simply because they didn’t understand it?

For the first time, I think Godard took advantage of his reputation as the strange, extremely artistic, edgy, and not easy to follow film maker. He used his reputation to put together a mumbling, rambling bore of a film, and get away with it. I barely followed the main plot of a young crew of actors, an aging director who struggled with funding, and their filming in Sarajevo. On top of this, the essay format and the philosophical jargon was not strong enough to keep the audience thinking—it simply went in one ear and out the other.

The cinematography was sub-par, at best. This really disappointed me. When I watched earlier political films that I could not exactly relate to, I could at least admire the unique beauty of the still shots, use of color, settings, etc. This time; there was no thought that went into the colors, the settings, etc. I was sick of continuous shots of the ocean, and faux woods. The explosions were cheaply done, and the machine gun shots sounded as if they came pre-recorded off one of those “high tech” keyboards via 1989.

I have been critical about many of Godard’s films, but this is the first time I have been thoroughly disappointed. I usually can find some good, but this time I could not. After I watched it, I shook my head and asked myself: "what happened"?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


This film was a piece of aesthetic pleasure infused with Godard's intellectual mindset. The Polish director may of represented Godard at a young age. The director had a particular problem that I am sure Godard also had-- the issue of funding. The producers did not want to fund a film with a lack of story, and the director responded that the story must be lived before it is created. This may of been Godard's way of stating that films themselves will create a story, even if they lack a structured plot. Another parallel could have been the Polish director's love affairs with the women involved in his film. This could be a representation of Godard's involvement with actresses such as; Anna Karina.

The shooting of the film within the film was particularly beautiful. The Greek setting inside the studio seemed like an extravagant painting from the time of Helen. There was never much explained action, just eye catching frames and wonderful colors. There were dozens of beautiful and eloquently positioned women. The nudity was not pornographic, but an artistic expression and celebration of the human body. It was like seeing sculpted, idealistic nude portraits in a gallery or museum.

I feel Godard went to great lakes to make the shooting of the film beautiful, to let his ideals be known: He does not make films to tell a story, he makes films for the sake of beauty, ideals and the creation of a story through a film.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Name: Carmen

A perverse tail of Carmen and her terrorist bank robbing team. Godard plays himself and Carmen's uncle. Carmen convinces Uncle Godard--who is living in what looks like an insane asylum--to use his apartment near the ocean to shoot a film. Although, the film is simply a cover-up for a bank robbery. This inspires Godard--who now truly believes his boom-box is a camera that plays music--to direct the "film" and begin making films again. Godard speaks of his the films he has made early in his career as if he made them in some other life--this was not only extremely eerie, but I felt like Godard was my crazy uncle telling tails of his youth.

In Carmen's initial meeting with her uncle, I feel a strong sexual tension between them. It almost seemed as the two had a strange and inappropriate sexual past. I was reminded of this tension when Carmen and Joseph arrived at the apartment by the ocean. Carmen sighs while in Godard's old room as if it brought upon strange, distorted, yet strangely satisfying memories. Did Godard and Carmen have a sexual past? Was Carmen molested by her uncle?

We do know for sure that Carmen was molested by Joseph. Joseph was what we now call "a sex addict". Carmen did initially enjoy sex with Joseph, but when she no longer wanted to be with him--he could not take no for an answer. He was constantly pulling down her panties and trying to instigate love making. He found her so desirable that when she refused him, he could not help but masturbate next to her while she was in the shower-- which Carmen responded to with the line "why do men exist?"

This strange sexuality made the film mildly entertaining, it was also pretty neat to see the man and the legend on screen. Other than that it seemed to skip around even when it was not skipping around. I kept finding myself thinking that I was watching a flashback, but in all actuality the film was linear.

Monday, November 16, 2009

All's Well

Finally--a film I enjoyed from start to finish. Although the plot was loose, the film built upon the presented information to the climax--the grocery store scene. At first I was wondering why so much time was spent on the factory strike, why Jane Fonda was in the film, and like usual what the hell was going on. Soon I realized that Jane Fonda was a struggling reporter who's editor would not publish her articles on the class struggle. The factory strike was her first article that was denied. After this realization, I was able to look at the larger picture and Godard's argument actually made sense.

The very "Week-end" like grocery store scene made the entire film worth watching. While watching that scene and listening to Jane Fonda, extremely pro-socialist thoughts came racing through my head. It suddenly seemed ridiculous that people actually make a profit off of our basic needs. Without the act of handing a robotic cashier our money we will actually die. In our society there is someone getting rich off of food. Without their success...we will die. What is wrong with this picture?

Godard makes the point, by exposing the meat factory, that these capitalistic food profiteers cannot even treat their employees right. Jane Fonda compares the factory to the way the supermarket is ran. After working in a factory...this is a spot on description.

This was an all around excellent film, it did not hit me as hard as "Week-end", but it did allow me to get on the same page as Godard. The film seemed to be organized like an avalanche--it started off as a simple protest and gained momentum to be a statement on the political ideology of France via 1972.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hail Mary

Once again Godard presents one of the two most controversial issues--religion (politics being the latter). He tells the story of Mary and Joseph in a modern setting, depicting what modern society would most likely focus on. Instead of acceptance of Mary's pregnancy, Joseph struggles with the idea that she is pregnant while he has never had sex with her. He initially concludes that she has cheated on him. He even goes as far as to breaking up with Mary and courting another woman. Eventually he accepts the idea and tells Mary he will stay and "not touch her".

There was also a great deal of focus on Mary's body. The lower half of her body was often exposed, and she also proved to Joseph and her doctor that she was a virgin. This may of symbolized the temptation Joseph felt to take away Mary's purity. There was a very prevalent sexual tension between her and the doctor. The doctor seemed to touch her in a non-medical manner, and struck me to have underline bad intentions. I am unsure why Mary let her son put his head under her gown. It was certainly strange to let a boy that old intentionally look at his mother's naked body.

Even after Mary gave birth, I was not convinced that Joseph believed that the child was the son of God. When Jesus or Jr ran off to "take on his father's work" Joseph tried to stop him and get him into the car. He did not believe Jr had an agenda to do God's work. The people around her also seemed to take the same approach. Toward the end of the movie someone casually (almost sarcastically) said "Hail Mary" to Mary. Societies disinterest in a virgin pregnancy may of been Godard's way of saying "religion is dead".

Again the cinematography was amazingly done. The closeups of the flowers, and the numerous still shots looked like well done abstract landscape paintings. If the film was about thirty minutes shorter I would have been more impressed. After a while I grew antsy, but the underlined issues seemed fit for Godard.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

La Gai Savoir

This was a visual essay. It was exhausting and irrelevant to a twenty two year old in 2009. I am not part of the revolution, nor do I know of a strong modern day communist movement. This certainly made it difficult to get through the film. I did however; full fill my promise and looked at the film through an objective eye. Through a naked eye, I was able to yank out pieces of enjoyment from this otherwise brutal ninety two minute experience.

I found the blacked out space where the two characters met to be a basic but beautiful technique. The colors the characters wore were vibrant, making it look as if the shots were in high definition--the 1969 version of HD TV. I enjoyed the aesthetics of these shot combined with the flashes of the "images" they were studying.

Part of the presentation of the actual dialogue was very interesting. This was when Patricia would speak for Emile and Emile would speak for Patricia. This spiked my interest in what they were saying. It also played a small game with the viewers mind, making them really pay attention to the spoken word. If the spoken word was more interesting, it would have been a very effective technique. I also was obliged to like it, since it reminded me of dialogue in a novel.

Some of Emile and Patricia's studies were also interesting. In particular the words said to the little boy and old man. Words were stated and the little boy and old man would give back a reaction word. They were both innocent and looked uncomfortable when the words "sexual" or "revolution" were spoken. I did however find it funny when the little boy responded with "father" for "sex" and every other negative word spoken. I could never guess how either one would respond and I was actually glued to the screen and laughing during these parts.

I kept an objective eye and found positives in "La Gai Savoir". I just hope the future films are a little less political.

Friday, October 23, 2009

La Chinoise

This was a history lesson on Leftist politics. It was as if I was in a class studying Marx, Lenin, Mao, etc. Yes, I was indeed bored and had much trouble sitting through the entire film. I feel as if my background in English and literature is hindering my ability to enjoy Godard's political films. Yes there is beautifully constructed dialouge and unconventional filming techniques, but there is absolutely no story line or plot. I would rather watch a documentary, not actors pretending to be in a documentary. I am despreately searching for something, someone or a scene to relate to. I am having trouble relating to 1960s French leftist ideology.

My viewing enjoyment may boost if I start to look at these films in a different way. Instead of trying to find or relate to something in the films, look at them objectively. Look at them as if I am at the DIA admiring a modernist painting. I am coming to realization that Godard is an abstract modernist artist and does not want to conform to traditional storytelling. I may get more out of these films if I clear my mind and simply watch and admire them for their beauty.

I did enjoy the the unconventional shots and the vibrant colors. I also found the characters interesting, especially the female characters. The one being a prostitute and the other seemed to control not only her boyfriend, but the group meetings. I particularly liked the scene where she tells Guillaume that she no longer loves him--simply to prove a point. The point being "you can do two things at once" understand and be devistated.

For the next film: I hope I am able to look at it with more of an open mind and an abstract point of view.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil

I was extremely excited for this film--knowing that the Rolling Stones played a large role—I had a predisposition of enjoyment. Thirty minutes into it, I realized Godard was pretty much filming the Stones recording the song “Sympathy for the Devil”. Not one of them acknowledged the camera; it looked like there was a hidden camera in the studio. To be honest I finally got sick of a song I always loved to hear. I could have done with out the Rolling Stones band practice and was irked by the prolonged and unnecessary studio scenes. The film would have been much more powerful with two Rolling Stones scenes—one at the beginning and one at the end. Not only would this of cut out about an hour of unnecessary boredom after the initial excitement of seeing the Stones via 1968, but it distracted the messages of the film.

That being said; I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the film. It was bizarre, it was honest, it was thought provoking, it was shocking, it was powerful, it was Godard. The wonderfully eerie Black Panther Scenes were of my favorite. The message of the quite script that was repeated and recorded and spoken on microphone-- contradicted their hateful actions. The background noise of trains and jet plains did distract, but added to the chaos. These scenes were shot in a beautiful junkyard (where cars go to die) and it made me wonder if the place was real or constructed by Godard.

I cannot thoroughly examine the scenes that Godard used to tack the issues of: Feminism, racism, Communism, Fascism (pornographic fascist bookstore) and more. It seemed to me—since the film was in English—Godard was exposing these issues to let western culture realize how close and/or real these issues are.

All around the film was great accept of the overexposure of band practice. Godard may of included these scenes for an important reason—if so it flew a mile over my head.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Made in U.S.A

The title insinuated that the political left and the right were created in the U.S.A. In the ending scene it was said that the right is simply cold and mindless, while the left is compassionate and understanding. The film was a political statement, promoting leftist politics. Since these statements were constantly interrupting the loose plot, it was often difficult to understand. However, this was Godard’s intention—the plot was simply another element included in this collaboration of politics, metaphors, interruptions, vibrant colors, beautiful shots, and all around bizarre sometimes incomprehensible random events.

Anna Karina played a very different role in this film than the two prior films. Instead of an innocent and naïve little girl, Karina was a powerful leftist investigative reporter that wasn’t afraid to kill of her cause. I enjoyed her character and found it out of the ordinary that Godard made his female lead have power. However, I did not enjoy the film.

Yes, aesthetically the film was very pleasing, but conceptually it was all over the place. I am aware that Godard often has a loose plot, but this film did not even have the metaphors and political statement organized—making them lost in the confusion. It seemed thrown together and self indulgent while relying on passing as “artsy”, “different” or the statement “oh that Godard is making us think again.” It seemed as if twenty ideas were carelessly injected in one tiring script—which burned any hopes of making a plausible argument of radical idealism to ashes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Married Woman

Commercialized and superficial Charlotte has to choose between her husband (Pierre) and her lover (Robert). She tells her lover that she is will leave Pierre and marry him. However, when she is with Pierre she makes love with him and tries to successfully raise his son. I believe the small boy in the film had a separate birthmother. Pierre tells Charlotte that he wants to have a baby with her, Charlotte responds by telling him he already has one, Pierre states that the boy is not hers. Robert also wants to have a baby with Charlotte, which was stated in one of many overdone scenes of close-up touching.

In between measuring her breasts and fantasizing over lingerie advertisements and in vogue magazines, Charlotte discovers that she is pregnant. This is a strange predicament since she is having sex with two men that both want to conceive a child with her. This issue is left unsolved and the audience is left wondering what happened.

The movie is filled with symbolism and long philosophical rants that are often broken into categories or chapters. I particularly enjoyed Pierre’s co-workers definition of intelligence; in fact this may have been my favorite part of the film. I do believe Godard added this scene to reveal Charlotte’s stupidity. She was the exact opposite of the given in depth definition of intelligence.

Again, the female lead irked me. She was an incredibly materialistic person who was mostly influenced by main stream media and pop-culture. She needed to fit the “ideal”. I found it hilarious when she was measuring her bust—it seemed to be the most complicated and inaccurate way to measure anything! The magazine told her to draw imaginary lines after every measurement. Charlotte seemed pleased because she was very close to having “the perfect bust”.

All around I was pretty disinterested in the film, mainly because I was disinterested in Charlotte and both of her lovers. Pierre seemed both spineless and demanding. He must have known she was unfaithful since he once had her followed. It was almost like he used his wife’s infidelity as a way to control her. He would ask her questions such as “Have you been a good girl?” It seemed he used this against her to get what he wanted sexually.

Robert was simply a boring character. As far as I am concerned he was just a part of the many overdone close ups of male and female limbs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Band of Outsiders

A naïve little girl lacking the intellectual capability to make a rational decision—this is how Godard portrays Odile (Anna Karina) in “Band of Outsiders”. Odile is coaxed by Arthur and Franz to allow them to steal money from the home she lives in. She first falls in love with Franz, but then realizes that Arthur is more mysterious and available and goes with him. As soon as Arthur is killed she goes back to Franz. To sum it up Odile—although beautiful—was a pitiful character that irked me throughout the entirety of the film.

Now that I got that off my chest, let’s cover some of the stylistic aspects of the film. It is obvious the film was based off of a dime store novel, for it was for the most part light hearted and somewhat humorous. Again, Godard uses a narrator (Franz) throughout the film. This aspect of many of Godard’s films helps me relate to the main character and is very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the infamous dance scene. The music stopped, the characters stopped dancing and the narrator told the audience what each character was thinking of while dancing. This—which Godard often uses various techniques to accomplish—reminds the audience that what they are watching is indeed a film. Another example of this in “Band of Outsiders” was the minute of silence. All sounds were complete cut out for what was supposed to be a minute (I counted thirty seconds or so). This was of course, uncomfortable and maybe the start of a new beginning for Godard –which led to many uncomfortable scenes in movies like “Weekend”.

Franz and Arthur were not very serious character, they were horrible criminals and it was extremely entertaining. Especially since the man they were stealing from was suspicious because they left the ladder outside the window near his safe.

All together the film was entertaining, but unlike most of Godard’s films it did not challenge me intellectually—it was simply entertaining.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Le Petit Soldat

Bruno--a down in luck hit man for a French anti-terrorist group in the midst of the Algerian War—is full of complexities that eventually lead to trouble. Bruno is rethinking his assignment to murder a certain man, and simply cannot bring himself to take action. On his first day of murder attempts Bruno would hesitate every time he had an open shot. Soon after he was captured by the Arabs and tortured. Like a good soldier, Bruno did not give them the information they required (the address of the French group he worked for). Even though he did not give up the information, he was soon betrayed by the very group he was protecting. He killed the man he did not want to kill, they did not fulfill their promises of two passports and they murdered Veronica (Anna Karina).

This was Godard’s second film—made in 1960 but not released until 1963. Here starts his obsession with Anna Karina. Beautifying and worshipping her with the camera, Karina is the only form of aesthetic beauty through the ugly portrait of the underground street gang version of a war. However, Bruno was betrayed and almost tricked by this beauty. The entire time Veronica was working for the Arabs—and once dated a man who helped torture Bruno. He eventually discovered her betrayal, forgave her and trusted her. In fact, he was forced to kill because of her. At the end of the film, I believe Bruno states “It was the woman”, or it was the woman that made me kill. A woman’s betrayal and love may have portrayed Godard’s personal relationship with Anna Karina.

Godard had a raw and rustic shooting style. As far as I could tell he did not use a studio and shot the entire film on the street. I was also intrigued with the sound. Whenever a conversation was taking place there was zero background noise—even when the characters were driving through the busy streets. This allowed the viewer to pay more attention to the dialogue—making every conversation important.

All around I enjoyed the film, but wish I knew more about the Algerian war. I also liked the undertones throughout the film—i.e the newspaper with Hitler’s photo on the front page.