In part one there is talk of a project on the subject of love, with the example of three couples, one young, one mature and the other elderly. At this point the author comes into contact ...
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Jean-Luc Godard's densely packed rumination on the need to create order and beauty in a world ruled by chaos is divided into four distinct but tangentially related stories, including the ... See full summary »
In part one there is talk of a project on the subject of love, with the example of three couples, one young, one mature and the other elderly. At this point the author comes into contact with a young woman he had already met three years earlier. Just as the project is about to become reality, all problems of an artistic or financial nature having been resolved, the author learns that the young woman has died. Part two concerns the events of three years earlier. While interviewing an historian, the future author meets for the first time the young woman, who is training as a lawyer. She has been asked by her own grandparents, formerly of the French resistance, to examine a contract offered to them by Americans who want to make a film about their activities during the Nazi occupation of France. Written by
As frustrating and cold as it is involving and interesting
Edgar is a director trying to pull together a project around the subject of love. While drawing it up the author meets a young woman he once knew very well and he spends time with her again while jumping through the various funding and organisational hoops. In the second part of the film we skip backwards two years to the point where the author originally met the woman. At this point in his life he is representing Hollywood and is in the process of purchasing the rights to the story of the girl's grandparents, who ere in the resistance during the majority of World War II.
There's one thing to be said for Godard and that's that you can be fairly confident he isn't going to be directing the next Harry Potter film as this 2001 movie shows he is as difficult and rewarding as he could be. The first half of the film is in black and white, while the second is in blistering digital colour. If my plot summary suggests a total cohesion then forget it the suggested connection with a romance is more from my summary than the actual film. Instead what we have is free flowing dialogue that covers issues around America, art, love, age, humanity and so on it is difficult to get into but it is worth trying. The dialogue is rather pretentious and too 'deep' to be natural or realistic but it still engages the brain in a way that kept me interested even if I struggled to get into narrative or characters, or to really agree with much of what was being said. I say it is worth trying but I would suggest that this makes it a weak film by the standards of more linear films and should be seen as more of an experience than a story or 'normal' film.
Matching this, the direction is both hypnotic and off-putting. Shots are framed in very arty ways with the characters in shadow, out of focus, out of shot etc for much of the film; the b&w section is crisp and feels older than it is, while the colour section is startling in its intensity. Again all this has the dual effect of coming across as rather pretentious and overly arty but then also being interesting enough and imaginative enough to keep you watching. Of course many audiences will be put off, and rightly so because not even once does this film take a step towards the audience to help us out instead it pitches its tent and simply says that we can take it or leave it. In my own 'difficult' style, I managed to do both and found the film as frustrating and alienating as I did interesting and involving. The cast are hard to judge because they are rather stilted and cold throughout, but none of them really give anything that could be described as a poor performance.
Overall this is a strange film and one that is worth a try and worth sticking at for what it does well. However this is not as simple as it should have been and the film does very little to help the audience keep involved and interested. Visually it is true art-house stuff but yet is also great to look at starkly beautiful or weirdly colourful; meanwhile the dialogue is unnatural and pretentious but yet still interesting and thoughtful. A strange mix but one that is worth a try.
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