Histoire(s) du cinéma (1989–1999)
7.4/10
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2 user 9 critic

Fatale beauté 

An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

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An 8-part documentary chronically the history of cinema: "All the Histories", "A Single History", "Only Cinema", "Deadly "Beauty", "The Coin of the Absolute", "A New Wave", "The Control of the Universe", and "The Signs Among Us".

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experimental film | essay | See All (2) »

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29 July 1999 (France)  »

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Connections

Edited from Mr. Arkadin (1955) See more »

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Droll and repetitive like a lackluster history textbook
19 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Since the first episode of Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinéma, I can assure you, I think I figured out what he was trying to go for. Godard seems to be trying to illustrate the experimentation people conducted with film throughout its history, while, simultaneously, making a film that is pretty experimental as well. It's about as meta as one can be, and while it's a novel concept that has some merit, four parts in and I'm almost ready to wave the white flag in defeat to Godard's constant defiling of convention and traditionalism.

Deadly Beauty, the "b" part of chapter two in this ongoing expedition of cinema, offers about the same amount of information as the previous three chapters, which amounts to very little in the long-run. Because Godard goes for a heavily impressionistic style for a documentary that should be constantly informing, there's little information that sticks, and even the beautiful, often poetic images of films and art only linger in ones mind for a brief time before dissipating into empty thoughts.

Godard has some interesting musings in this part, however, from illustrating the idea that cinema has often been about death and murder and how we rarely see miracles like a flower blooming or a newborn baby being born. This idea that cinema has been more concerned with death than life would be hugely interesting if we saw some sort of compilation of clips alluding to that, rather than practically accepting it as anecdotal thought, but unfortunately, the idea is abandoned almost as soon as it is brought up.

On top of that, we once again witness some seriously beautiful images captured under seriously droll and monotonous narration from Godard, which is the same old vagueness in thought and idea we've gotten before. Reviewing this series has almost been as much of a task as watching it because of the fact that there is little to discuss that hasn't been brought up before. Godard has found the style, and, regardless of what I or others think, he's sticking to him. I applaud him as much as I want to never watch another film by him again.

Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard.


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