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 na├»ve 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.