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Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires (1989)

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7 May 1989 (France)  »

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Historia/e kina: Wszystkie historie  »

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Included in Sight and Sound's poll in 2012 as one of the top 50 films of all time in See more »

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History Godard Style
16 March 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Histoire(s) du cinema {Toutes les histoires} (1988)

** (out of 4)

It's funny to think that one of the most loved and respected filmmakers is also one of the most hated. When Jean-Luc Godard announced that he was going to be doing a documentary on the history of cinema most people got excited but when the film eventually premiered it was greeted with some calling it a masterpiece while others wanted to kill the director and drag his body over stakes. I'll admit upfront that I'm not one who finds Godard to be a genius even though I've enjoyed a few of his films. For the most part I don't buy into his "genius" label so it would seem like I'd hate this picture but I didn't. Those wanting a straight documentary structure are going to be disappointed because we basically get 52-minutes worth a film clips that are sped up, slowed down, edited over art photos and we even get various sound effects added. The "art" in the film comes from the strangeness that Godard uses in bringing them images to the screen and I'm sure some will find a meaning to them but I personally didn't see one. I'm not sure what the director was trying to say and I'm really not certain if he was trying to say anything. Either way, this film kept me somewhat entertained because I do find the idea of someone given all the movie clips he wanted and trying to do something with them. This is certainly a Godard picture as the thing moves all over the place and while it really doesn't teach you anything about the history of cinema it's at least fascinating to see. I enjoyed, somewhat, what Godard did with the material as it was like some sort of surreal visual that you kept waiting to see what it would eventually add up to. Like the first portion of the film ends up being about Irving Thalberg, which was rather interesting considering how many movies that the young producer actually took away from the filmmakers and edited himself to give a more commercial touch to the film. I was a little surprised to see Godard's view on him but it was interesting. We are given thousands of film clips ranging from Griffith to Hitchcock to Huston to Welles. Just about every genre and sub-genre is shown but just don't expect clips adding up to some sort of story. There are some rather bizarre and to me pointless images including some of Chaplin from THE GREAT DICTATOR, Hitler and then images from concentration camps.


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