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Tout va bien (1972)

 -  Drama  -  16 February 1973 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,966 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 24 critic

Godard examines the structure of movies, relationships and revolutions through the life of a couple in Paris.

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Title: Tout va bien (1972)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vittorio Caprioli ...
Factory Manager
Elizabeth Chauvin ...
Genevieve
Castel Casti ...
Jacques
Éric Chartier ...
Lucien
Louis Bugette ...
Georges (as Bugette)
Yves Gabrielli ...
Léon (as Yves Gabrieli)
Pierre Oudrey ...
Frederic
Jean Pignol ...
Delegate
...
Leftist woman
Marcel Gassouk
Didier Gaudron ...
Germain
Michel Marot
Hugette Mieville ...
Georgette
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Storyline

Jean-Luc Godard dissects the structure of society, movies, love and revolution. He asks compelling questions: Can love survive a relationship? Can ideology survive revolution? He also looks at the French student riots of the 1960s with a critical eye, and ends up satirizing contemporary views of history. A battery of thoughts complete with criticism of modern society and movies. Written by Mikael Halila <mikael.halila@pp.inet.fi>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

All's Well  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

References The Ladies Man (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Il y'a du soleil sur la France
Lyrcis by Franck Thomas & Jean-Michel Rivat
Music by Eric Charden
Performed by Stone et Charden
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Formalist elements, politics and above all ennui
14 November 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

From the first credit sequence, Godard captures a realistic storyline in a formalistic fashion. Although these two schools are commonly combined, in Tout va bien they frequently contrast. From the credits at the start the viewer is introduced to the process of making a film, the sound of the clapperboard is followed by an unidentified hand signing off the costs of the film, normally invisible to an audience. The formalism is not particularly abstract but more utilitarian, whether the personal views of the workers are being recorded or two storeys of the factory are shown simultaneously, the viewer is constantly reminded of the artificiality of what is being put in front of the camera in these scenes. In addition to the formalistic shooting, there are strong elements within the storyline that detract from the seriousness of the situation. The comedy with the factory owner's desperate search for a toilet and the prescribed pattern of two lovers falling out and getting back together damage the credibility of the documentary-style scenes. With these constant reminders, it is hard to treat any of the action as real or serious; the revolution in the supermarket seems childish and futile, especially as it takes such a long time for the dreary process of shopping to be converted into a vibrant revolution; the chanting by the strikers also seems unnaturally orchestrated and weak. Symbolism is understated but the blue in the sausage factory seems important as every surface is being painted. In film this colour is associated with subdued emotions, it isn't a fiery colour of revolution but a cool, stable colour, even at its most vivid. Other recurring symbols might include the police, who are labeled as fascists and so on, dressed in black overcoats, dehumanised, until one policeman is turned from pursuer into pursued, again perhaps a comic moment and one that could be stretched to symbolise the brief glory of Mai '68. In general though, the large numbers of police imply a zero-tolerance approach to dissenters that coincides with the small numbers who turn out to demonstrate showing the trend to abandon the picket line in favour of earning a living.

Godard has his main character speak directly to the camera of the feeling of dejection and missed opportunities that followed Mai '68. The candid expressions and the direct address give a warm, honest feel to the character that encourages sympathy; we are expected to agree with what he says. Following Mai '68 a cross-section of society seemed to support widespread social change, workers felt that their voice would be heard and an enormous feeling of euphoric empowerment was experienced. Following those events, the C.G.T leadership as well as the communist party seemed to abandon the cause of the ouvriers taking up contradictory positions of passive acceptance. The issues that remained a problem went unresolved whilst the energy was gradually sapped out of those willing to protest until they became marginalised and unpopular. This is expressed by the loneliness of the strikers, the pettiness of the student rioters, and the way that when the rioters clash with the police they are inevitably outnumbered: society no longer has any time for them; they have become nothing more than a nuisance. This leads to the political leaning of the film. Aside from the fascist police, the right, exemplified by the factory owner are broadly ridiculed. Even the radio station where Jane Fonda works is clearly put in the wrong by the film. Sympathy is felt for the workers but they don't seem to have any particular ethos, certainly gauchistes aren't glorified in any sense. The only support politically seems to be given to the spontaneous and apparently anarchic students but there is no sense of moral resolution in their favour, on the contrary the ultimately inconsequential nature of their protest encourages the same cynicism that was reserved for the other political stances represented in the film. All this is contributes to the overall impression given off by the film, that of ennui. Many of the other comments posted have picked up on the boredom inspired by the film but I would differentiate between the two. Ennui being a French word, and one that has been explored by the greatest authors in French literature, it is not surprising that one of the greatest multimedia essayists in the world, who also happens to be French, should explore ennui in another medium. The difference between French ennui and English boredom is that ennui carries with it an enormous sense of frustration. The two C.G.T cronies are expressive of boredom as they wait for their spokesman to finish his lengthy speech; the censorship of Jane Fonda's character, the isolation of the factory strikers, the sleaziness of Yves Montand's rotting career, in fact the feeling of disinterest inspired by most of the scenes, these encompass ennui. If it can be assumed that Godard took the usual degree of care in making this film, then it must be the case that the drawn out shots in the factory and the supermarket that seemed to express ennui most clearly are deliberate. Whether this is sufficient defence for a film that flopped at the box-office is debateable. Nevertheless if Godard's intention was to portray a situation devoid of inspiration and where hope cannot extend beyond a fragile personal relationship, then his film has succeeded.


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