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Here and Elsewhere (1976)
"Ici et ailleurs" (original title)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 357 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 14 critic

Godard, Miéville and Gorin (aka the "Dziga Vertov Group") examine the parallel lives of two families - one French, one Palestinian - using an exploratory combination of film and video.

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Stars: Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville
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Godard, Miéville and Gorin (aka the "Dziga Vertov Group") examine the parallel lives of two families - one French, one Palestinian - using an exploratory combination of film and video.

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Documentary | War

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15 September 1976 (France)  »

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Here and Elsewhere  »

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User Reviews

 
Seldom-Viewed Godard Work Is An Entirely Unique Type Of Film.
15 June 2010 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

French director Jean-Luc Godard had declared that his soul was Palestinian. That being the case, it was hardly surprising that, in 1970, the Palestinian nationalist political party, Al Fatah, commissioned Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and others from the Dziga Vertov cinema set to produce a documentary of Al Fatah's ongoing conflict with the nation of Israel. However, the work could not be realised because a large percentage of the Palestinians utilised in its filming had been killed and it was clear that apart from those slain, there was insufficient subject matter that would be appropriate in order to complete the film. The documentary is woven of fragments taken from the original effort: JUSQU'À LA VICTOIRE (Until Victory), in its alteration becoming a cinematic treatise that explores quite different material: the failure of the initiating footage to credit the reality of its combined images that are than orientated by Godard, Gorin and Anne-Marie Miéville (Godard's third wife) into a political tract that centres upon such themes as genocide and socially acceptable persecution, concluding finally that any sort of staged presentation will be rampant with a medley of contradictions impeding, of necessity, completion of a filmed construct. The "Here" (ICI) of the title signifies a contemporary Parisian family of four, including two children, that is counterpoise for the "Elsewhere" (AILLEURS), referent to Palestine, and becoming a contrast of how each reflects the nature of varying images, and how reality may be determined through these. Godard's disaffection with Dziga Vertov cinema theory is palpable by his shift toward a "softer" use of sound, with less of the type of declamatory that inevitably will propel one voice to a position of dominance over others, regardless of their shared substance. In many instances, this piece will seem to some as having been abstracted from feminist politics that are saturated with impenetrable psychoanalytic dogma, especially whenever male and female voiceovers question the nature of the images that we see, yet we profit by realising that the film provides scaffolding toward the comprehension of the lengthy partnership between Godard and Miéville while offering early footage recording many Palestinians who were slain during the Black September hostilities. Godard states here "The actors in this film were filmed in danger of death". Later, as he tries to efficiently combine multiform imagery in the face of widespread unconcern, he avers that "everywhere things are going badly". A Maoist of long standing at the time of this production, Godard, who considered the Chinese leader as a grand theorist of revolutionary politics, depicts the wife and mother of the mentioned French family group reading the canonical text of Maoists: the Little Red Book. Additionally, he strives, as a moral obligation, to follow his own procedural hypotheses; yet, it is Miéville whose decision to remold the work from its disparate parts that bestows Godard with a fresh perception of death's immediacy. Further, it is Miéville who translates and clarifies for viewers the cadences and symbolic movements of a very young Palestinian girl who, during the film's early minutes, pleads for her fellow rebels to aggressively "reclaim the revolution". Gorin was the primary intellectual force that actuated French-based Maoism, and it was his support of Miéville for her effort to repattern the footage of JUSQU'À LA VICTOIRE that resulted in its modification beneath her hands and those of Godard, the two sharing, by voice-over, visual and audio rumination upon the meaning of history, utilising powerful cinematic imagery that brings established events into the grain of a viewer's consciousness. Ultimately, we must resolve to ascertain the meaning of these without assistance from external direction. The film has not been released in DVD format, but still can be occasionally located as a Facets VHS having good picture and sound quality. The text is in French with excellent English subtitles. This work will be of most value for Godard enthusiasts who will not mind unexplained detail, and for those interested in the aesthetics of deconstructionism, and in particular the critical compositions of Michel Foucault.


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