cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILMMAKER GODARD A Weekend with Conjugal Dread





Jean-Luc Godard 1951 Photo: F C Grundlach

Jean-Luc Godard Berlin, 1951. Photo: F C Gundlach



A feed from a Godard forum is a request from Gloria for help using Godard’s Weekend in a course about the road movie.

Two suggestions were made by Francis van den Heuvel:


Un week-end avec Jean-Luc Godard
~ blog La Nouvelle Vague, 25 June 2013


Week End (1967)


Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau, Panorama, 6 June 2006


Notch that one up for a Godard post. Some are not posts about Godard, which I feel a strong desire to make so simply by typing in the letters G-O-D-A-R-D as if I were M. Godard himself in one of those scenes he films of himself typing away on a typewriter with which he accedes to the modern by making it one with electronic memory, so he can type then let the typewriter type as if it’s not him typing. Who is typing him or the machine? God given inspiration. That sort of thing. Noise and cigar smoke. Girl and a gun.

There must be someone out there in the big wide world who has done a thesis on Godard’s typewriters. Almost certainly 12 on his specs through the decades. If I was a young person I’d start with, “He needs to cut it up”, which will lead in six degrees of separation to montage. Type. Cut. Rearrange. Separate. Godard. Odd. God. Ra. Goad. Road! No! Has to be in French for this to work.

Wonder if anyone ever received an anonymous threat letter from Godard – financial backers possibly? – made of cut-out letters of various sizes all jumbled together, but everyone who got one knew immediately who it was from – they’d seen all his films.



August 14, 2015 Posted by | film directors | , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD In search of Godard’s ‘Sauve la vie (qui peut)





GODARD POSTER Sauve qui peut [la vie]




QUTATION GODARD say with letters




In search of Godard’s ‘Sauve la vie (qui peut)’


Hooray, another excuse to Godard a post! Though of course this time it’s about Godard not a Godard slipped into a post in the most tangential or even irrelevant fashion.

This academic paper by Michael Witt, Prof. of Cinema, U. Roehampton, London, tells the story of how he tried to re-construct a now disparu special film Godard made to go with the showing of Sauve Qui peut (la vie) at the 1981 Rotterdam Film festival, irritiatingly called Sauve la vie (qui peut).

Godard made Sauve la vie (qui peut) – see how this is going to be really irritating – by taking “a print of Sauve qui peut (la vie), excised parts of it, and combined what remained with extracts from four other films from the Film International collection.”

Whoops, we’re back in Historie[s] territory. As you see Histoire[s] was started in the 80s and completed in 1998. Without giving anything away Witt mentions, “.. Sauve la vie (qui peut) functioning as a laboratory for Histoire(s) du cinema.”

Anyway let’s not spoil the story. Read. Handy simplifed diagram to show the structure of both films.



July 14, 2015 Posted by | Jean-Luc Godard | | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD A Woman is a Woman [1961]





FILM GODARD A Woman is a Woman [1961]



A Movie is a Movie

by

Darrell Ron Tuffs

 

A World of Film, 28 April 2015

 

 

May 28, 2015 Posted by | Godard | | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR GODARD glasses, darky






A member of a Godard forum I subscribe to wonders if anyone has a date for this photograph.

It’s probably the most well-known, iconic photograph of Godard. Dark glasses, fag (Gitaine or Galois?). Looking at 24 frames or so. Not in a second though.

If you know Godard it has to be the 60s during the New Wave. Would there be many of him before this?

If you looked at the photo alone – epoché prior knowledge – just the image: age, hair style and glasses. I’d go for personal history of specs. When did he start and stop wearing those. Many years? Did they break and he had to buy another pair? Or did he put them away in a draw or an old glasses case? Are they just shades or prescription? That and looking for other versions of the same photograph. Is this a cropped version?

The date question wasn’t mine. I thought I could find a date quickly and did, 1960, though what I discovered at the bottom of another copy of this photograph, doesn’t guarantee it’s correct – looking so intently at versions of this photograph made me wonder if it was posed. Let’s have a look to see if there are any other versions. Is it the only one or were others taken at the same time? Was it perhaps an impromptu photograph taken by a hanger on or something he orchestrated for publicity?


Does he look as if he might put you straight on these questions?





Does he look here as if he is going to put a date on anything? You might get a divertimento on time discipline.

He looks suspiciously like a contented blind man. You take a photograph. He hears the click. He smiles. You take another. There is that strange slanting of the shoulder: is that the slant of the smoker as he knocks his cigarette on the ash-tray?

You know the kind of thing: black glasses, white stick – tapping down the street. Curb edges. Street light poles. Other pedestrians politely getting out of the way so he can find the familiar objects he uses to guide himself. Getting on a bus first. Even ladies give up their seat on le Metro. Get the girl: you can’t see whether she’s beautiful or not, its all in the voice. Or vice versa.





I decided to help find the date of the photo using Google Images. It’s not very difficult. Instead of looking for websites using Wordy Google, find images and then work from the images to the website in which it’s embedded. Often it’s a route to aspects of the topic you’re interested in that might not have come up on a ordinary search. I’m visually orientated, so a diagram of something is always my first port of call before tackling an explanation.

What shall we look up as an example. Say serotonin. Familiar word but not much idea what it is. Brain for sure. But lets Google Images: serotonin.

Ah what’s that knobbly picture, looks interesting.





This Godard spec fag pic has the hand holding the film missing. To me that’s the most interesting bit. In the first photo, it’s easy to see he uses his thumb and index finger through which he will pull the film strip. Why would someone cut that piece off?

Strange how you can set off on one journey and end up on another.

Hair is always the give away. Though who knows. Can Godard remember? Who took it would be interesting. My guess is there is only one of these. It gets fiddled with in photo-editing software. Maybe they think by cropping and altering copywrite images they won’t be recognised. Or maybe they feel they can do a better job of balancing the image.

Where there is more of the image it’s possible to discern more of room behind hime. Pleated curtain. The corner of the door frame.





It’s only with this version we see how the film runs over his index finger – while held by thumb and second finger – over the back of his hand, spiralling over the inside of wrist, to shoulder, chest or back.











Crop his hand and the eyes. Is the eye you can see through the lens really looking at a frame? It seems to be directing its gaze to the right of the strip of film.


O.k. you got there before me. Did anyone else get a photo taken of himself like this. Eisenstein. As every film student knows Godard and Eisenstein have a direct line through montage. There are plenty of sources if you haven’t a clue what that’s all about. Godard and Eisenstein is a short post in Godard Montage, and more importantly Le Gai Savoir Godard and Eisenstein — notions of intellectual cinema by Ruth Perlmutter in Jump Cut.


There’s extrapolation and there extrapolation. If Godard is not paying homage to Eisenstein through his own image I’d be surprised. Mind you, it’s easy to get carried away. All film people who use celluloid and edit in it rather than digitising and then returning the edit to film for projection, look at bits of film.

But anyone who has looked into Godard and editing know he looked upon montage as more than mere editing.

Take a trip into the world of Godard and Montage. Read The Cinema Alone: Essays on the work of Jean-Luc Godard 1985-2000, edited by Michael Temple and James S. Williams. The whole of Chapter 2 Montage, My Beautiful care, or Histories of the cinematograph by Michael Witt is available in the Google Book version.




January 25, 2015 Posted by | Godard | | Leave a comment

FILM Jean-Luc Godard’s favourite films 1956-65





Jean-Luc Godard, Berlin 1961. Photo by F.C. Gundlach

Jean-Luc Godard, Berlin 1961. Photo by F.C. Gundlach






Jean-Luc Godard’s favourite films 1956-65


Hillary Weston, Black Book Nov 2014


Top quote:

I write essays in the form of novels, or novels in the form of essays. I’m still as much of a critic as I ever was during the time of ‘Cahiers du Cinema.’ The only difference is that instead of writing criticism, I now film it.




December 14, 2014 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD A Man, A Woman and a Dog





FILM GODARD Au Adieu au Langage [iPhone]
{1}




Godard has a new film out. And he’s keen/anxious to talk about it, film ‘n stuff.

A few people have seen it, writing and talking about it at great length so spoiling it for everyone else who might have wanted to see it without the comments and interpretations of the expertigensia ringing in their ears, at what you now know are salient or significant points in the film [or the homage points, say, to his own films or film in general] which you’d hope to enjoy, be puzzled or exasperated by at your own pace.

Thank God (the one without the full stop or as the French call it, point, a word J-LG could have a field day with…). I made sure I did not read a lot before watching The Great Beauty. And then when I had seen it, I desisted from even translating the title into Italian or even mentioning that the phrase had been used by a character in the film in a certain way. See, there I’ve done it now. Now you will be on the look out for it, even though there has been no indication why this might have some significance.

One reads the contents of one’s mind before seeing a film, in anticipation of it, which in itself may spoil a film. Book, art, play, film. A filmic or booky equivalent, shall we say analogy, to phenomenological bracketing or epoché is impossible. I’ve already remarked in a recent post that as soon as I saw the poster for The Great Beauty, I knew [as would literally millions of others..] where we were coming from, though not necessarily where we were going to. Eric Morecambe’s famous riposte [applicable to almost anything, like the Actress & the Bishop jokes] to Andre Preview on his, Eric’s, terrible rendition of – was it Grieg’s piano concerto? – “I’m playing the RIGHT notes, but not necessarily in the RIGHT order!” always flings itself up from the recesses of my mind like the lyrics to an incomprehensible ’60s songs like the one by Noel Thingy called The Windmills of My Mind.

Why it is that I think of J-L Godard as the archetype (or prototype) of the incredibly difficult (but obviously highly intelligent) au contrarian conversationalist in any setting – uncle [ton ton] J-J at a family wedding or diner party, seated next to you in aircraft, etc. – who somehow manages to create the immediate suspicion he may well be mad, or temporally cured and released from some sort of mental institution (the old jackets…), yet, underneath the frightening persona, has something interesting to say which holds you there despite your inclination to run.

Really mad people we seem to have an instinct for as we have so much experience of them in everyday life. Like films we have seen too much about before watching them, Jean-Luc Godard comes with such a pedigree, a provenance, we are comfortable in the paradoxical nature of many of his pronouncements. Expect them even. Be lost without them, possibly. We know he, like a lunatic, assumes you know he is God [when it comes to film]. If you do, as he knows he is and you do, then all is simple.

The reviews on Adieu au Langage were not out when I was passed by Glen W. Norton, via a Godard forum, the link to the Canon video interview avec Godard with English subtitles

(…a classic God[.] subtitles joke in there not created by God[.] himself. Qua? Comment? These are accurate subtitles while his are notably unreliable.)

The areas I forced myself to listen to, while going Ni Ni Na Na with hands over my ears [mostly], were the technical ones. And this is reflected in graphics included in the post. Let’s try to grasp (as it is obviously important) why he at one and the same time decries technological advances and at the same time adopts them with alacrity. Except that is, in the case of editing (See relevant tab on the canon interview page) where he it is explained there – something know amongst God[.] watchers – he uses magnetic video tape to edit with, thus getting his technical collaborators who have filmed digitally to make video tapes for him to edit. The amusing thing is he’s renowned as an expert in editing with tape to an extent that makes many scratch their heads at his ingenuity.

I use this digital-magnetic example as a route into the mind of Jean-Luc Godard, in a sense prior to any messages he may be sending to his avid (an even not so enthusiastic) followers about life in general and of course the art of cinema, and Art.

While he argues here about his latest film that 3D is a FWOT

(Along the lines of, “It is useless! We see no more with it than before..” All true of course.)

he still uses it (At least twice so far..). And presumably this is a way of saying something. Well of course it is. And here is where we get to the crusty old uncle who frightens the sh** out of you, who blows cigar smoke into your face, and yet who let’s drop those few words which catch your interest. Words you know are true like you know a word of art by a master is true without being quite sure how to explain it.

With Godard it is for me when he talks of art. If you knew nothing about Godard the film genius and heard him talking of art in relation to all sorts of things, you will be gaining an experience of the mind of a man who has thought very deeply about his art and craft, film. Filmmakers who talk photography are in the same area. Even the knowledge that a film-maker was formerly a photographer says a lot.

The one who now always comes to my mind, when film and photography are mentioned in the same sentence, or should we even say thought in the same thought, is Nuri Bilge Ceylan. And if I may take a God[.]-like excursion down an dark alley which neither you the reader nor I may quite know is a dead-end or not – as this post is as ex-tempore as you are likely to get in postdom – Ceylan, has used severally the trope of bloke-wandering-around-ancient-site-with-camera-ignoring-and-annoying-girlfriend trope.

With Godard we have to understand that every film is the same film because he is trying to get over the same God[no .]-like message about how he as God [with or without .] can use film to get over his agendas [or not]. And so could everyone else to humanity’s general betterment, if they only had the brains and foresight to see. He like many good or even great film directors [even nerdy-looking baseball cap wearing ones..] is steeped in film from the year dot. And he evokes the complete history of film almost in every quakey sentence he utters. It’s always, “What is film?”. And of course, “What can it do and not do?” He seems to be saying all the time, “Film can’t do/isn’t doing so many things that people dreamed it might do.” And that’s because they don’t understand it well enough to see its talents.

Godard’s “cinema is dead” or “It is now!” [UK football ref there you no UK people..], or “Well, I thought it was then but it really is now” can confuse people. But it’s simple. He believed like Eisenstein that film was purely for political ends. The montage was the method. The Way, The Truth and The Light.

And so fast forward to a film like Adieu au Langage [3D]. Just like me with my immediate and deep apprehension of the depth of Italian cinema through a balding man sitting on a classy bench with shades that look suspiciously like the Ray-bans Marcello Mastroianni wore in 8 1/2, we should get the fact that every time Godard speaks on film (and life) he is thinking of how film failed. He may talk enthusiastically and yet mockingly or ironically about advanced technology, but you know he is still trying to get there, by any means at his disposal.

And all the time, he is still using the same film-text-film-text-text-film-film he developed from his earliest films. At one point in my Godard journey, I felt sure he was saying film could not replace writing and so his films had to constantly show this to be true. For the audience this can be both irksome and difficult. A major facet of this is his voice and text overs are in French. Unless French is your first language or a good second, his efforts to overlap three things at once are pretty much wasted on you, as an immediate effect.

If this all seems a bit too arcane and you have not got to Histoire[s] du Cinema (and perhaps never will) try reading Celine Scamma’s schema for Histoire[s] – a blog search in COTA will get you there.

And finally, as The Two Ronnie would say, there is that thing about Godard and his unreliable subtitling. Apogee: Film Socialism. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but I sense he is saying that you can’t translate poetry into another language without destroying or partially destroying its original meaning. Which is true. Godel, Escher Bach, for some ideas and background. And he quotes poetry a lot in his films. As well as showing and talking about art.

And so for film. The very act of trying to make a film helps to remove your original intention (He seems to be saying..amongst many other things). If you just use film. So he, wanting to be sure of getting over whatever message he intends, falls back on words in films as text and commentary (plus the obligatory art),which in itself is an essay on the limits of film. Or the dialectic between The Word and The Film. (Being some kind of Marxist, he would want to show that dialectic is real moving things forward).

And so (and here back to latest interviews) he feels he can’t say directly (and never could or would) simply, in words, what he wants to say about film. This is both because it dishonours film (and maybe dispels some of its magic and mystic) and because he doesn’t want to make the whole thing seem simpler than it is. Instead he picks up on small points (in the Canon interview he starts with SMS, the modern, the dubious) from which to expand (why not start anywhere?) outwards and back inwards at the same time, to the core of what he sees film is and can do. And of course what life (using an iPhone) is and can mean (film your day he suggests..). That goes without saying. Though, like God[.], I’ve said it to make sure you don’t miss it.



Other

With Canon interview spoiler…

1/. Godard comes in many shapes and sizes
– He briefly reprised his views on aspect ration with Gallic hand gestures demonstrating the cutting off of the upper part of a shot, etc.

2/. Something I feel strongly: what a film is about or meant to be about can be taken separately from how it was made. Or not. They can complement each other. Or not. My natural inclination is to run these in parallel. Weaving in and out. Often when the going gets tough on the film itself as a story with a narrative imperative (or not), resorting, or even retreating (out of the sun into the shade..), to the How Did They Do That? seems the most sensible place to go. Even if in the end that strip of bright sunlight between the shady tree and the house has to be crossed.

Godard is often talked about in terms of his oeuvre when a new one pops up (as one does of directors in general). We get the jump cut standing for À Bout de Souffle, or Fritz Lang standing for Le Mépris (who starred in it but to whom Godard was also paying obeisance to as a director. (Wiki:Contempt (film) is an Idiot’s Guide to the latter with some of the associated Langifications – A browser search on Fritz on that wiki page will do the trick).



May 24, 2014 Posted by | Douglas Hofstadter, DSLR cinematography, DSLR Digital Cinematography Guide, Eisenstein, European art cinema, European cinema, European film, film analog/digital, Film and The Arts, film aspect ratio, film reflexivity, film sex, Film Socialisme, film technique, film theory, film [its techniques], French films, Fritz Lang | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM CANNES 2014 In conversation with Jean-Luc Godard





SNIP FILM GODARD Adieu au Langage [4]


SNIP FILM GODARD Adieu au Langage [2]


Images above © Jean-Paul Battaggia*


SNIP FILM GODARD Cannes interview 2014 [1]




So he was giving interviews. Thank God-ard, this one’s subtitled in Anglais mon brave.


In conversation with Jean-Luc Godard. Filmmaker extraordinaire



FILM GODARD Adieu au Langage [2]


From this page the interview in 2 parts, the short trailer and background info. Interesting to note that God.[Fr.point] doesn’t stoop to digital technology but has the digital ‘footage’ converted back to video tape so he can edit it. I remember reading elsewhere how he got really expert at using this medium. Here brief mention of this practice under the workflow tab, with cinematographer Fabrice Aragno. Under equipment he seems to be saying things like 3D gives you no more, we see the same.


* These are from a set on the webpage. I’ve tried to keep them in the right proportions but it’s easier said than done.
A picture speaks a 1000 words, so couple of images to give a bit of an idea of what 3D involves using SLRs. The rig looks home-made, which is an encouragement young film-makers. And of course a bit more advertising for Canon. Godard talks of filming with an iPhone. I have only just seen how my son can run up a music video on his mobile using on-board apps. Note what Godard says about the equipment side in the interview.



May 21, 2014 Posted by | Fabrice Aragno, Godard | , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM BOOK Godard – Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television



BOOK COVER PUBLISHER CABOOSE caboose_History_of_Cinema

Images are freedom and words are prison.

–Jean-Luc Godard



Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television

Godard’s lectures and discussions in Montreal in 1978—a series of fourteen meetings that pave the way for the eight chapters of his Histoire(s) du cinema (1988–1998). Translated by Timothy Barnard. Caboose.


COTA has 2 posts on Histoire[s]

FILM VIDEO Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma {2010}

FILM Godard Histoire(s) du cinéma {2009}

both mention

La « partition » des Histoire(s) du cinéma de Jean-Luc Godard created by Celine Scemama.

In the first sample page 1 of the partition makes it immediately obvious what the partition is, and how useful it can be as a follow-up on a viewing [or two] of Histoire[s]. It’s in French, but if you’ve had to watch Histoire[s] only partially understanding the French, this is blessed relief.


Celine Scemama has since written:

Histoire(s) du cinéma de Jean-Luc Godard: La force faible d’un art
By Céline Scemama-Heard [2006]

Musique, photographie, peinture, gravure, sculpture, littérature, archives, philosophie, poésie, discours, histoire et …cinéma. Godard a mis un s à ses Histoire(s) du cinéma. L’oeuvre de Godard impose une contemplation paradoxalement violente parce que l’écran des Histoire(s) est à l’image des plis du temps où sont retenus toutes les souffrances et tout ce qui est inachevé. Le montage permet des substitutions, des surimpressions et des rapprochements qui font du cinéma une grande puissance historique




May 18, 2014 Posted by | Caboose, Celine Scemama | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM The Great Beauty 2013 [1]





Toni Servillo in The Great beauty



Dead in the water. Stuck. Wanting to spill out you thoughts on a film you heard about, watched and then, hey everybody, this is good, it’s….ah,um….you’ve got someone you’d like to watch this film before you spoil it by explaining all. Who hasn’t had that sinking moment when you ask someone about film, only to realise the whole film is going to be recalled from prodigious memory for you, and there is no escape. Yes, seen it. Brilliant. And here is entire right down to the details of all the dialogue.

I’ve got the same problem with The Great Beauty directed by Paolo Sorrentino. What can I say? I’ve tried writing it through to see what can be said, ending up with half-written sentences stuttering to a halt well before reaching their destinations. I was even going to use a few Italian phrases heard in the film. No. There is no way round this except to say it’s termed an art-house film. It’s Italian. English sub-titles. It won the best Foreign Film Award at the Oscars last year. Must be worth watching for foreign film enthusiast. It is.

What to say on a film you want someone to watch before you say anything? Are there films you can say quite a lot about without spoiling someone else’s viewing? Is the smallest vignette permitted? No. Not in this case either. All I can say now is, Lo, a film, try it. So. Not even the title translated into Italian. How one has to exercise steely control. And so this post is also addressed to someone who has seen the film who might understand why the title has not been translated in the heading, or in the body of text. (But who can have a conspiratorial wink about knowing why, and in turn not being able to put a kibosh on things by making a comment..)

Perhaps as a displacement activity to assuage the frustration : une petite idée de film.

A man and a woman meet, fall in love. Have a relationship. Then it breaks up for reasons unknown to the audience. On show some bewilderment, anger, sadness, regret, etc. Hankies out. They both loved the movies and spent a lot of time watching them and talking about them. As one does.

They both realise they can’t share anything about film anymore – no communicating at all. They spend a lot of time thinking and imagining what they would be choosing to see, where they would be doing it if still together. Shown by the usual – inevitable – tropes [cleverly masked as homages and satire on] of shots of couples going into movies, etc. Even plugging in DVDs, blubbing, et al. Little scene in which one or other, disconsolate but determined, goes to see a movie. Buys a ticket, stands in foyer with the milling crowd – then after a certain amount of wistfulness, walks back out onto the street.

The upshot, to cut a short story shorter, is the means by each comes to terms with the loss of the film connection amongst the butterflies of lurv, and learns to live and love again. He of course has a film blog and finds he can’t write about films he wants her to see, so stalls, writes around the curly hedges, about production design or mise en scene, or even Godard being rude about actors, anything just to post with the film’s title on the heading. A marker for the future. A dog lifting it’s leg to a lamp post.

Suddenly one day he finds he can write a bit more on films he has seen. But not a lot. He still can’t bring himself to write about the latest releases – he doesn’t want to be a dirty little spoiler. But he realises he can write about obscure art-house movies that no one would want to watch, or even the technicalities of film making like editing.

Here’s one.

In the middle of a long dissertation on Hitchcock’s 1954 Rear Window, from an editing point of view (and POV comes into it a lot..), in Valerie Orpen’s Film Editing, on page 27, referring to an interview with Truffaut, at which point he is talking about the Kuleshov effect:


FILM EDITING orpen p.27 [hitch on actors] [2]


reading this, helps to see a bit more clearly what Godard means about actors. He’s saying the same thing, except he says it in such as a way as to highlight his role as auteur. Ce film, c’est a moi! Tout a fait….mon Dieu….mais oui….c’est vrai….il est moi! Godard=cinema=Godard. And Hitch was in the Hollywood system for the most part i.e. not what would be considered an auteur. Hitch was in control of his projects in a way most Hollywood directors were not. I’ve not read it said he was an auteur in the way the New Wave directors were. Though Godard is greatly interested in him and his work.



May 16, 2014 Posted by | Alfred Hitchcock, Godard, Jean-Luc Godard, POV, Rear Window [1954], The Great Beauty [2013] | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR Atom Egoyan’s pearls of wisdom





Wisdom Wednesday: Atom Egoyan’s Golden Rules




Honestly can’t remember watching any of his films. Ararat rings a bell. And didn’t know he was born in Egypt. His name looks like it’s Turkish or Armenian. Proves to be the latter. wiki:Atom Egoyan. I’m at a slight advantage because we had a couple of -ians at my school: Kevorkian, Torosian. Wiki:Armenian name tells me something I didn’t know either. The -ian means ‘son of’. Surnames, schmirnames. Messerschmidt. It’s forenames that count. And what a name Atom is! Every family should have an Atom in it. When he was a little boy, when you said his name, you could define him as well. Molecule. Mmmmm.

Atom’s #3 struck a chord. [ed. this is changed from ‘rang a chord’.]

#6 is in stark contrast to what I just read in footnote 1, chapter 2 Film Editing: The Art of the Expressive, by Valerie Orpen, on Godard’s view on actors.

“My relationship with actors is very hostile. I don’t speak to them….They don’t have a destiny and they know it. They are always conscious of their mutilation. The gap between the creator and the actor is the same as the as the gap between being and having. An actor cannot be.

[Le Nouvel Observateur, Oct 12-18, 1956]

No, but he can recite Hamlet’s soliloquy. One wonders if Godard had been reading too much of Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness”. Thought he might try it out on actors at their most vulnerable. Pretending to talk to the Arrifex, but clearly to the actors – who he doesn’t talk to – Your Being-in-itself is nothing! Etc.

But who is this Godard? Nothing….

Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot [2013], was mostly thought utter crap by the reviewers [32% reviewers/ 85% viewers, which is presumably based on the US audience]. The Sweet Hereafter [1997] got high praise, but I’d tend to go for Ararat [2002] – a lot because it’s a historical subject that interests me and is a film about a film. And there is some suspicion over why it was banned in Italy. And Turkey once wanted to be in the EU! Huh. Next thing we know it’ll be the German’s kicked out because of the Holocaust…



May 9, 2014 Posted by | Atom Egoyan | , | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR Godard read Proust








Readable in a second tab



October 18, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Proust | , , , | 2 Comments

FILM Not watching films



This is spurred by reading Why Finish Books? by Tim parks in New York Review of Books (13 March 2012). It’s one of those you’ll lose the argument but have fun in the trying ones.


The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette. Rivette?


My first dabble with Rivette was Jeanne la Pucelle (two disc set, Artificial Eye).


Where before have you seen a whole article dedicated to the idea of finishing a book? This is a kind of verboten in the world of culture. Not exactly a taboo, but admitting to failing with Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or more likely Proust, is so much about exposing one’s failings as a work from the literary canon. Though there are a few brave well-known souls who have admitted to finding a book everyone else says was a master-work everyone has to read as dry and dull as ditch water and that they gave up before page 50. (O.k, I admit to finding quite a few of William Golding hard to get into. Though there will come a time when the wind is up and in the right direction when they will seem like a good read.)

Feeling a little more confident after being urged to consider not finishing books, I’m getting to thinking there could be an equivalent for film. Even not to watch something at all. But hey, we do that for books too. Not read them. Ironically, we might read reams about a film’s qualities or failings or confusions or pointlessnesses, and then decide not to watch it. Or, that in the great scheme of things, and limited time, we have to make decisions about what to watch and what not to. Let’s leave out films we watch by mistake.

I don’t have a great deal of interest in films predominantly about people rehearsing plays. Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro is an exception. But that wasn’t really all about play rehearsing.

I have this sinking feeling about the just over 12 hours of Rivette’s 01 which is deemed by many his master work.

Seeing the point of using film to portray rehearsals is not quite the same as being prepared to endure the filmic portrayal of them. Particularly perhaps starring Ben Gazzara in a improvisation. Did he do a play one? No idea. Mind you the more I read about 01 the more intriguing it becomes. That’s not to say the full 12 hours is high on my list of priorities.

Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 1) and Rivette: Out 1 (Volume 2) a dialogue (in two parts) by James Crawford and Michael Joshua Rowin, is a very interesting way to convince yourself not to bother with 01. Interesting ideas and clever quotes, my favourite so far is:


All of the Nouvelle Vague directors I hold dear address cinema from its first principles, like students learning the grammar of a foreign language—and then proceed to break, bend, twist, and ignore the ones they find the most limiting. Rivette finds displeasure in the strictures of storytelling soi-disant, and so, furthering his use of the vehicle as metaphor, lets his narrative motor idle, sputter, and eventually stall while he drifts over to the stuff he finds more intriguing. The problem is thus bequeathed to the spectators, who are asked to cast off their ossified conceptions of film’s ontological categories, and let the film resonate and wash about like music.



Writing this and working my way through both essays on 01 at the same time, it’s looking decidedly like the more I read about the film, the more I’m tempted to look at some of it. Strange to think reading about books, films, art, music, means you rarely if ever come to a work with your own eyes first, but after someone much cleverer and more articulate than you has thoroughly dissected it, broken it down, built it up again for you. A reason perhaps why the able few both do the study and then go out and make one of their own, ensuring the authentic first time experience. You thought it up. if you do – novel, play, film – you’re excused being suffused with intertextuality and referentiality and reflexivity. There’s really no escape from them.



April 26, 2012 Posted by | Chabrol, film watching, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Godard, intertextuality, Jacques Rivette, referentiality, reflexivity, Rohmer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Michael Woods on Godard’s Breathless



At the Movies


Michael Woods, LRB, Vol. 32 No 14 ,22 July 2010


Short, interesting, enjoyable.


Qu’est-ce que c’est degueulasse? Oz Skinner takes it on in his blog Godard Montage.


In Musings on Godard’s 1960 classic, Robert Stanley Martin says:

The film’s ending presents them as tragic figures who can’t even commit to their own tragedy; they can only go through the motions of that as well. Godard highlights that with the film’s handling of a single word: dégueulasse.



Qu’est-ce que c’est dégueulasse? Needs a little examining of course. Strangely my very old Cassell’s (1930 edition) has the verb degueuler, v.i. (vulg.), to spew, vomit, but no examples. Further checking shows a more polite rendering would be degoutant. dégueulasse is from degueuler, to puke, to spew, and degueuler from guele, mouth.


Now: dégueulasse


With a bit of reverse translation, there is another nub: rotten “C’est dégueulasse de faire une chose pareille.” That’s a rotten thing to do.


Pas dégueulasse – not half bad : “Pas dégueulasse ce petite vin de pays.”



And finally, WordReference has the sort of list in my post on Haneke’s Caché: dégueulasse, which is pasted in full to get an instant grab of:


dégueulasse adj (dégueu) icky
dégueulasse adj vulgaire (répugnant) offensive, repugnant, disgusting
dégueulasse adj très familier (sale, vicieux) filthy
dégueulasse adj (sale) yucky
dégueulasse adj (injuste) lousy
dégueulasse adj (sans valeur) lousy
dégueulasse adj (sans valeur) crappy
dégueulasse adj hateful, despicable
dégueulasse adj crude, vulgar
dégueulasse adj gross, vulgar
dégueulasse n (expression de dépit) barf


Why worry. Enjoy the film again as depicted by Warren Craghead



April 12, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard, New Wave | , , , | 1 Comment

FILM ESSAY NICO BAUMBACH – All that Heaven allows: what is, or was, cinephilia



All that Heaven allows: what is, or was, cinephilia [part 1]


All that Heaven allows: what is, or was, cinephilia [part 2]


Film comment, Film Society Lincoln Center, 12 February 2012


At time of this post two further parts were promised


Part 1 quotable quote:

Bordwell’s argument is framed as an attempt by an academic to reach out to film critics not simply to heal a rift but to mutually enrich both practices. Yet more interesting, and problematic, he outlines what writing about film can successfully accomplish and what it cannot. He implies that the opposition between academics and critics obscures a more fundamental opposition between two different ideas of what the primary object of writing on cinema should be — its relation to culture and society or to the more localized specifiable effects that films produce. He believes that by ignoring the latter in favor of the former, film criticism and theory have lost sight of their object.



Part 1 mentions Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema


There is a digital cross-through in this version, so I’ve included a couple of other sources: LM 2 and a facsimile of the original article/paper: LM3 (which in a footnote says it’s a reworked version of a paper given in the French Department of University of Winsconsin, Madison, in the Spring of 1973


Baumbach quotes Mulvey:

“It is said that analyzing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it. That is the intention of this article.”



which he then goes on to explain, including:

..her statement came from a conviction that theory about cinema mattered not just in relation to gaining specialized knowledge about a particular popular art form, but to how we live and experience the world.




March 16, 2012 Posted by | Andrew Sarris, auterism, Cahiers du cinéma, Christian Metz, cinephilia, David Bordwell, film analysis, film theory, film theory/film criticism, film [its techniques], George Toles, J. Hoberman, Laura Mulvey, Metz, Rudolph Arnheim, Siegfried Kracauer | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FILM When Truffaut met Godard



When Truffaut met Godard



By


Tobias Grey


Financial Times, 21 January, 2011



February 14, 2012 Posted by | Godard, Godard/Truffaut, Truffaut | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM WRITING – Shot and Counter-shot: Presence, Obscurity, and the breakdown of discourse in Godard’s Notre Musique



Shot and Counter-shot: Presence, Obscurity, and the breakdown of discourse in Godard’s Notre Musique


Burlin Barr, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, Vol, 18 No. 2, 2010



June 23, 2011 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | , | Leave a comment

FILM ~ En Attendant Godard, a review



En Attendant Godard, A Review


Mathew HoltMeier at Cinema Without Organs, 21 October 2009



June 23, 2011 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD INTERVIEW Jean-Luc Godard Speaks with Daniel Cohn-Bendit: A Smile That Dismisses the Universe



Jean-Luc Godard Speaks with Daniel Cohn-Bendit: A Smile That Dismisses the Universe


Translation into English by Craig Keller of interview/chat in French first published in Telerama August  2010



June 17, 2011 Posted by | Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Godard | , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD ~ Godard’s Women- Feminism vs Marxism



Godard’s Women- Feminism vs Marxism


– A review on Godard’s women characters and his idea of feminism


By nom-de-plume Plath-ish (aaargh!)


This version has a different layout



June 16, 2011 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | , , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD ~ Godard for Beginners



Godard for Beginners


From Dave Harris and Colleagues.


The files button at the bottom of the page has a whole lot of links on all sorts of subjects, some of which are film related.



June 16, 2011 Posted by | Godard, Jean-Luc Godard | | Leave a comment