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Histoire(s) du cinéma: Le contrôle de l'univers (1998)

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experimental film | essay | See All (2) »

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1998 (France)  »

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Historia/e kina: Kontrola wszechswiata  »

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The home-stretch of a noneventful game
20 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Watching The Control of the Universe chapter in Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinéma is relieving because not only is it the home stretch of one of the most disappointing and underwhelming miniseries I've ever seen, but it's also when I recognized something about Godard and this particular project of his that made me better understand the eight-part series.

Histoire(s) du Cinéma captures Godard's most fully realized period in his life, politically in terms of intelligence and depth of knowledge, structurally in terms of how he fully decided how he wanted to structure and layer his films, and personally, for one gets the idea that Godard has succeeded in expressing and learning himself. This is evident with Godard tossing in his trademarks such as on-screen text, unpredictable cuts in takes, jump cuts, wacky filters, and an indescribable editing style that needs to be seen rather than discussed. When looking at the project from a lens like that, Histoire(s) du Cinéma actually develops a personal meaning rather than looking at it on the surface.

But surface and an overarching meaning that is less personal and more informative on the "histories of cinema," so Godard claims is something that is also necessary, and in this case, it's beginning to sound redundant that Histoire(s) du Cinéma really has yet to do that for me in any conceivable way. Between Godard's long-winded monologues about things I assume I'm too simple to understand over pornographic images intercut with Tod Browning's Freaks and his constant use of a mumble-tone narrative, describing philosophical and existential ideas over seemingly more unrelated and intertwined clips of cinema, there's less to seemingly say besides this series continues to be boring and overlong, and has yet to provide me with any kind of extractable, new information other than repetitive hokum.

Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard.


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