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Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still (1972)

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Title: Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still (1972)

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Herself - Narrator
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Jean-Pierre Gorin ...
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10 October 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lettre à Jane  »

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This film is featured as a bonus feature on the Criterion Collection DVD for Tout va bien (1972). See more »

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Follows Tout va bien (1972) See more »

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D'ya like Maoist Semiotics?
4 February 2002 | by (San Diego, CA) – See all my reviews

Godard and Gorin's collaboration LETTER TO JANE, a follow-up to their relatively more conventional TOUT VA BIEN (1972), is pretty much impossible to see these days, except in film school. Unsurprisingly, there's not much demand for it.

The viewer sees a series of still pictures, accompanied by narration by Godard and Gorin in heavily-accented English. The photo that keeps returning to view is one of Jane Fonda listening to Viet Cong members during her infamous visit to Hanoi. Fonda was the star of TOUT VA BIEN, and Godard and Gorin predictably criticize her for not being "radical" _enough_ in her activism-- the opposite of what the many haters of "Hanoi Jane" say. G & G analyze that and other photos of Fonda and other people, using trendy French theories of semiotics.

Ironically, the two philosophers criticize Fonda's thoughtful facade as reinforcing evil Cartesian thinking-centered philosophy-- all the while speaking of subjects they themselves _thought_ about a lot, and presenting this analysis as important. Being Maoists, of course, they want to validate revolutionary _action_.

If you're interested in conceptual art, like I, you will probably appreciate LETTER TO JANE, even if you disagree with the politics. Others will never see it, anyway. A novel format-- philosophizing-over-still-pictures is certainly unique in film history. However, as with TIMECODE, I wouldn't want every film to be like this-- especially with such dubious politics.

The narration itself is also quite amusing, for those who find bad English funny.


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