Set in the near future, Paula, a leftist writer, goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to... See full summary »
In this film, 'Her' refers to both Paris, the character of Juliette Janson and the actress playing her, Marina Vlady. The film is a kind of dramatised documentary, illustrating and ... See full summary »
During the Algerian war for independence from France, a young Frenchman living in Geneva who belongs to a right-wing terrorist group and a young woman who belongs to a left-wing terrorist ... See full summary »
Paul is young, just demobbed from national service in the French Army, and dishillusioned with civilian life. As his girlfriend builds herself a career as a pop singer, Paul becomes more ... See full summary »
Charlotte is young and modern, not a hair out of place, superficial, cool; she reads fashion magazines - does she have the perfect bust? She lives in a Paris suburb with her son and her ... See full summary »
A supposedly idyllic week-end trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse ... See full summary »
In a palace of Paris. Two detectives are investigating a two-year-old murder. Emile and Francoise Chenal are putting pressure on Jim Fox Warner, a boxing manager, who owes them a huge ... See full summary »
Set in the near future, Paula, a leftist writer, goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to investigate? On the surface, faces are beautiful, colors bright, clothes trendy. Beneath, little is clear: some talk to Paula as if she's Alice in Wonderland, corpses pile up, and ideological struggles insert themselves. A murder victim's nephew and a political party's hired hands hover around Paula. Is obscuring things her goal or is it life that's obscure? Written by
Though based on "The Jugger" by Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake), the author received no compensation for this adaptation. Westlake, who passed away at the end of 2008, successfully kept the film from being shown in the US during his lifetime. See more »
There's no filmmaker from the time that makes his influence more obvious, Hollywood and French semiotics, also no one who is more original in creation than Godard, but as to the use and power it has we'll have to see. To face a Godard film is to face the mind of its author after all, it's always so revealing.
It seems the real inspiration behind this was the disappearance of a prominent Moroccan leftist leader in Paris, Ben Barka. One can imagine the scandal caused at the time, how much it said about France and the West, especially to someone like Godard who would be attuned to receive it.
The first thing to glean then is that instead of filming the outrage, the obscuring of truth and malaise, using fiction, Godard reverts back to image and cinema, about fiction. To that effect he plucks a potboiler story from a book about a woman who travels to a coastal town where her revolutionary lover has told her to meet him only to find him mysteriously dead, but instead of filming the mystery and noir conspiracy, Godard films a disjointed tapestry of image and citation.
There are many of these, quotes, abrupt cuts and insertions, ruminations on camera, agitprop played from tape-recorders, all first of course Godard's fooling with cinema to see what it is made of, but moreover his way of delivering the obscuring of truth, the disjointed nature of living in a world where people can disappear in the middle of Paris and we can only grasp at fictions. As more of an afterthought he can joke that this knot of indecipherable plot is his version of The Big Sleep.
More fascinating is what all this shows of Godard. There's a bourgeois intellectual in him, that side of him he would run away from after Weekend, who wants to present his view of a concave reality in this oblique way, but none of it deep, transformative or unsettling, always thinly exposing thin artifice. There's of course talk of Disney and Bogart, there's a Rue Preminger, an inspector Aldrich.
And there's a spiritual side of him, a burning desire to transcend the clutter of narratives and mind, at one point Anna Karina whispers about how she would rather have nothing instead of everything as a way of reaching the absolute. It's this absolute that likely he chased in the chimera of politics and beyond. He doesn't yet know that this nothingness is not only another thought or belief but a cessation of thought, a suspension of disbelief. He would later.
Both sides of him are prevented from piercing from the cutouts to a real world, I count only the second as a real loss. The first is as useful to me as any semiotician, not much.
The other Godard is a great artist and gentle soul, contains the child fascinated by image, the poet fascinated by love, perhaps not the philosopher troubled by being which was only more thought stood in his way. This side is as stifled here as it was after Weekend when he wasted his talent in things like Pravda, and was only really let flourish in the 90s, his transcendent period when you must find him again. Watch only the last few minutes of this to see glimpses of it.
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