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Godard's Passion (1982)

Passion (original title)
A film director has an inspirational crisis while working on the production, Passion, and struggles with the nature of work and art.


Jean-Luc Godard


Jean-Luc Godard
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Isabelle
Hanna Schygulla ... Hanna
Michel Piccoli ... Michel Boulard
Jerzy Radziwilowicz ... Jerzy
László Szabó ... László
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Le machino
Patrick Bonnel Patrick Bonnel ... Bonnel
Sophie Lucachevski Sophie Lucachevski ... Script-girl
Barbara Tissier Barbara Tissier
Magali Campos Magali Campos ... Magali
Myriem Roussel ... Myriem
Serge Desarnanos Serge Desarnanos
Ágnes Bánfalvy Ágnes Bánfalvy ... (as Ági Bánfalvi)
Ezio Ambrosetti Ezio Ambrosetti
Manuelle Baltazar Manuelle Baltazar


On a movie set, in a factory, and at a hotel, Godard explores the nature of work, love and film making. While Solidarity takes on the Polish government, a Polish film director, Jerzy, is stuck in France making a film for TV. He's over budget and uninspired; the film, called "Passion," seems static and bloodless. Hanna owns the hotel where the film crew stays. She lives with Michel, who runs a factory where he's fired Isabelle, a floor worker. Hanna and Isabelle are drawn to Jerzy, hotel maids quit to be movie extras, people ask Jerzy where the story is in his film, women disrobe, extras grope each other off camera, and Jerzy wonders why there must always be a story. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Godard mixes up politics, love and the workers plight, with the struggles of filmmaking, in his cheeky brand of art.


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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France | Switzerland


French | German | Polish

Release Date:

26 May 1982 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Godard's Passion See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sara Films,Sonimage,Films A2 See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The first choice for cinematographer, through a recommendation from Francis Ford Coppola and Zoetrope films, was Vittorio Storaro. Godard replaced him right before shooting began with Raoul Coutard, whom he hadn't worked with since the mid 1960s. See more »


Isabelle: Sometimes I see movies or I watch TV and they never show people working. I think that deep down labor and pleasure are the same. In labor and lovemaking, the same gestures are involved. It's not necessarily the same rhythm, but the gestures are the same.
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Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une histoire seule (1989) See more »


Written by Gabriel Fauré
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User Reviews

Haste war du cinema
30 August 1999 | by nunculusSee all my reviews

Godard scholarship, lined along the axes of variants of French post-structuralism, would appear to have gotten it all wrong: a Godard movie can't be assimilated into a coherent and non-self-contradictory statement about work, gender, representation, or whatever academically approved topic you might name; it can't even be assimilated into a coherent process. What has to be confronted is that the work is essentially diaristic and subjective; these films are the more or less uncensored insides of Godard's head, not a white paper on a topic (no matter how "challenging" or "frustrating to expectations").

It also must be acknowledged that for Godard, even ideation is essentially sensuous, aestheticisable; ideas, like a piece of irruptive slapstick staging, a stale aphorism, a blast of the Mozart Requiem, are objects of delectation and desire, and finally repositories of aesthetic emotion--handwrapped presents. To say that the ideology of Godard's Maoist period was finally another aesthetic object for him is not to condescend to him as a radical-chicster. Very simply, Godard is an artist for whom the gland that produces aesthetic feeling works ten times more overtime than anyone else.

This produces the jarring and sometimes tonic feeling that we are overhearing the disordered and associative thoughts of God as He falls asleep. In a late, lyric work like HELAS POUR MOI, this quality becomes transcendent: the film is like a communication from a higher alien intelligence. In PASSION, that desire to aestheticize everything in sight, to wave a wand marked "excruciating beauty," in essence to make like a cinematic Goldfinger, is tripped up by the story Godard was required to tell in order to receive funding.

The necessity of telling a story is one of the (many) subjects that flit by in this production, which followed Godard's minorly popular comeback, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF. And the story Godard tells is so halfheartedly offered it disrupts the all-pervasive atmosphere of heightened lyricism he generates elsewhere. In essence, it's the same old movie about the making of a movie: the director (Jerzy Radzilowicz) is an idiot caught between a virginal proletarian (Isabelle Huppert!) and a slatternly hanger-on (Hanna Schygulla). The director pontificates, the producer (Michel Piccoli) avoids paying checks, and the inevitable phone calls for completion funds are delivered in dirty rooms.

If this reminds you of everything from BEWARE OF A HOLY WHORE to LIVING IN OBLIVION you're right; but nothing in those movies compared to Godard's strategy of contempt-uously making his stars Huppert and Piccoli stutter and cough, respectively. Or to the moment when a grip tells a child extra out of nowhere, "O those who will come after us--do not harden your hearts against us."

PASSION reminded me of John Simon's review of LE GAI SAVOIR, which began in the manner of, "I have seen no movie more illucid, arbitrary, and, yes, insane as..." PASSION genuinely is insane--it raises every line, every gesture, every landscape to a plane of unbearable intensity, and refuses to draw any lines between them. The cumulative effect suggests the personality of a slightly depressed but highly stimulated schizophrenic. Godard's late work is so beyond the prison of our narrative and identificational expectations that we may have to wait several lifetimes for its voice to be genuinely, not just indulgingly, heard.

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