6.4/10
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7 user 19 critic

Le gai savoir (1969)

How do we learn? What do we know? Night after night, not long before dawn, two young adults, Patricia and Emile, meet on a sound stage to discuss learning, discourse, and the path to ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Patricia Lumumba
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Émile Rousseau
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Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

How do we learn? What do we know? Night after night, not long before dawn, two young adults, Patricia and Emile, meet on a sound stage to discuss learning, discourse, and the path to revolution. Scenes of Paris's student revolt, the Vietnam War, and other events of the late 1960s, along with posters, photographs, and cartoons, are backdrops to their words. Words themselves are often Patricia and Emile's subject, as are images, sounds, and juxtapositions. In addition to the two characters' musings, the soundtrack includes narration, music, news clips, and noise. The result is a montage, a meditation, a reflection on ideas and how words and images mix - and how filmmaking is a path. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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12 July 1969 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Joyful Wisdom  »

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(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

References The Great Dictator (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 (1. Allegro maestoso)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
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User Reviews

 
the semantics and visuals of revolutionary minimalism
12 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

At one point in this cinematic essay (as someone close put it, not really a real storyteller Godard is here but an essayist with camera and sound), some still images pop up with Che Guevara speaking (I think it's Che), and it says that (to paraphrase) in order to be a true revolutionary one must love. I wonder how much love Godard really has to offer, or can really share through his film-making in the case of "The Joy of Learning" or Le Gai savoir. His film here, a capstone of his late 1960s work that started amazingly (La Chinoise and especially Week End with Sympathy for the Devil thrown in the mix) and ended with this, is cold and analytical and sometimes put together in such a way that I would need a professor in an advanced film and politics class to really get everything across in a class discussion. This is no longer a Godard who can communicate philosophical and poetic and political dialog through the means of cinematic entertainment and "CINEMA" (in caps and quotes), but an anarchist out to f*** with time and space and language... and only sometimes succeeding in my estimation.

This doesn't mean that for some intellectuals or just those tuned into the socialist/Maoist revolutionary aesthetic may not have some enjoyment or tickling of the intellect here. Indeed there are some moments that even stick out amid the whole jambalaya of discourse and narration and non-sensible/incredulously self-indulgent diatribes by the two characters. But I was strangely more intrigued by the visual pattern more than the actual dialog and political ideas, wherein the two characters are placed amid a black background, minimal but striking and provocative lighting set-ups, and spliced-in still images of newspaper clippings and communist propaganda with a car's view of driving around a French city. It may be the strongest criticism of all that I connected more (and was wondering what his thinking was) to Godard as a director and editor than as a "screenwriter". So much of what's in here is only interesting in small bits and pieces as far as information goes, and has been presented better, more audaciously in other pictures (and with less satirical bite and bile than La Chinoise, possibly his masterpiece of political cinema), and I'm left with wondering how he did this or that or what his thinking was doing it then the actual ideas.

But that's just me, your 'love most 60's Godard, usually bored or perplexed by everything after' movie-buff.


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