Speaking about Godard

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Many devotees of classic Godard view the subsequent films as artistic solipsism. They wonder whether Godard long ago lost interest in meeting his audience halfway, or even, in his famous contrarianism, was willfully fleeing in the other direction. The film, which debuted at Cannes last year and had its U. The nonprofit Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre is planning a limited run, though no date has been set. Considering that the filmmaker is now 80, and reportedly in declining health, possibly the last feature of his extraordinary career will not get a proper airing.

But it is dispiriting. It is not only a laudable new work from an aging master, it is often gorgeous and moving, and ultimately exhilarating, not least because of its piercing glimmer of optimism — yes, optimism — that shines through the thicket. A three-part meditation on a culture corrupt and adrift, embodied by a bloated vacation cruise ship on the Mediterranean, the film ultimately is buoyed by the wonder in its images, by its humor, and by the tender and stubborn idealism of youth at its heart. It is no secret that so-called art-house films have had a difficult time finding a home in L.

But this is Godard. Like him or loathe him, it would be difficult to name an active filmmaker who has had more influence on the art or whose work continues to examine the art with more intelligence and vigor. That should be enough to book the Nuart for a week. Despite the contraction of suitable L. Greg Laemmle of Laemmle Theatres, the only other commercial destination in L. The box office numbers thus far have been woeful. For its U. Most likely, it will screen as a part of a Godard retrospective, he said. In recent decades, the reins have tautened on directorial opportunity as well as liberty, resulting in a flattening of the flavor and quality of the movies.

There was surely a Golden Age of cinema, and if our time is not the Dark Ages, it is defined by an overabundance of mediocrity. And now, even the few shining lights emanating from beyond the beaten path, as well as many interesting curios, are increasingly lost to those who would seek them out. We stay end. Notsure why. Classic Godard yielded to modern Godard with the collective experiments under the name the Dziga Vertov Group, followed in the s by more experiments, this time with the new technology of video.

By the s Godard had returned to film, and he has assiduously explored the art of the motion picture in various media ever since. Along the way, he lost his audience. Yes, but that was two years ago and it was the French situation of that time. It was different. It was utopian.

2. The love affair: a "ménage à trois" at the birth of a new cinema

Yippies in a French way, maybe. I remember a discussion in Berkeley this year. We Black Power people like real guns. One of the problems I felt about the Yippies you portrayed in Weekend was that I was never sure whether there was any causal relationship between their will and the situation they were involved in, whether they were really a reflection of what was happening, whether they were in fact controlling the situation in some way, or whether they were just victims.

They were terrorists. Or nihilists. Like the first young Russian nihilists putting bombs under the Tzar. They were nihilists and not really revolutionary, but revolutionaries are sometimes nihilists too. They have that picaresque quality to them. They travel around and things happen to them. Maybe, because this movie was done with personal feeling and intuition. After the May-June events I became aware of how late I was.


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It came from a personal feeling, a personal intuition, as in Pierrot le Fou. But the intuition in Weekend was closer to the social situation in France than it was in Pierrot le Fou. It came from a clear political analysis and was then transformed into a movie. One Plus One was more of that, and the next one, the American film, will be more yet. The idea is to make the script out of a political analysis and then to convey that, sometimes in poetry, sometimes science, sometimes all it takes is a film. The film itself is less and less spectacular because I think very strongly now that the more spectacular you are, the more you are absorbed by the things you are trying to destroy.

After Pierrot le Fou , your films changed.

Speaking about Godard

I was addicted to movies as the hippies are addicted to marijuana. All the earlier films were extremely romantic — the sensibilities of all your protagonists were related: all of them seemed to be dominated by the feeling of early death, lack of relationships and detachment. All those early characters died, except for the character in Le Petit Soldat , and he was a fascist character. Yes, because I was an idealist, and the idea of death relating to love and things like that is not completely fascist maybe, but if you get too much involved in that, you are going in the wrong direction.

No, because it was just one step after another. The film that made Potemkin possible was a fascist American movie called Intolerance. But they took out of it just what they needed, from a very technical standpoint, and then they changed it.

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That may be, for the moment. They enjoy it. But a lot of people who lack their intelligence or their militancy are poisoned by that.

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And you discover how to do that by being linked to the militant people, by being yourself as militant as you can. He said: Where are the right ideas coming from? Are they coming from the sky? They are coming from social practice. What is social practice?

There are three kinds. There is scientific experiment. There is struggle for production and there is the class struggle. Instead of being apart from the society, one will be in it. The fantasy at the end of Bande a Part will become real. We will do it. To make the end of Bande a Part possible, we have to have a South American revolution. I prefer all. Or pretend that since all is impossible, we might as well prefer nothing for the moment, the way hippies and others think.

Towards the end of Weekend , you use a slogan to the effect that one can only surpass the horror of the bourgeoisie with more horror. Yes, I think so. Especially in the scientific experimentation. Not in the struggle for production or power, but in scientific experimentation, yes. You have to burn the opera. You do have to build some cars. But there are still beautiful operas around. No, not burn them, just forget about them a bit. As Mao said, if we burn books, we would not know how to criticize them. Is it unfair to say that in Weekend , the sense of aggression that you feel towards the bourgeoisie might not in fact be an aggression against yourself?

Of course. If it would have been possible to have made the film dirtier pornography, then I would have. Why did you have to kill those animals? Well, why not? A lot of people are killed in Africa and Vietnam. But the killing of an animal is naturally and too easily shocking. I think an audience will be much more shocked by the death of a pig than by the death of a human being, even if it were told that it was a real human being.

One is not used to the idea of shooting animals just for a movie. Then it has to be destroyed. This is the way we are. We are killing innocent people.

You do it. You quote Lautreamont in Weekend. Now Maldoror in fact, underneath all the fantasy, is an incredibly strong indictment of the self-destructive processes of the bourgeois family.

In other words, the attack on the bourgeoisie has been made often before. What makes your focal attack now different? It was more of a Yippie movie I think. A toy gun. They are not fascists, because they attack the fascists. Well, a criticism that has been levelled against Weekend is that if you attack the fascists in that way, then you may be slightly fascistic yourself. At the end of Weekend , the Yippies are shown to be cannibals. How do you justify cannibalism even in the world being as it is? You have to criticize it. This is not a Hollywood movie.

There is no relationship between the screen and the spectator. You have to talk about it afterwards. What do you mean by that? I mean that the movie is not on screen. The movie stems from moving. The movie is a mover. The move from the reality to the screen and back to the reality. And the screens are nothing, just shades. This is the screen. Who is the swimmer, filmmaker or spectator? They both are. In One Plus One you show some interviews. They were rehearsing, trying to learn from their comrades in the U.

But I had a sense of the impotency of the whole revolutionary movement because everyone was quoting something or someone else. There are all these microphones and cameras. Eve Democracy can only say yes or no. Because she is democracy. What else can democracy say? But Frankie Dymon too? Yes, but this is the way it is. And it has to be shown and told frankly so that we can analyze it better and know how to do it.

There is no meaning in the movie. The meaning comes before and after. The screen is nothing. I just had a feeling of futility about everything that happened. Yes, more or less. But the only ones to escape from that were the Blacks. What did you mean when you were supposed to have said: the Jefferson Airplane is me?

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How do you feel about the Stones and the Jefferson Airplane? Well, the Rolling Stones are much more accomplished that Jefferson Airplane, who are more like tribal people. That is, they present something which exists: The music and the hippie. There is some invention, but it should be politicized. The Stones are more political than Jefferson Airplane, but they should be more and more so every day. It seems more like a palliating to life. The Stones are still working for scientific experiment, but not for class struggle or the struggle for production.

I just wanted to show something in construction. To show that democracy was nowhere, not even constructive. One of the points, too, was that Eve Democracy was walking in a lush green field and the Black people were in a junkyard. And do you think of using colors conceptually in your films?

You seem to use color almost symbolically in Contempt. And in Made in USA , the color seems much more aesthetically beautiful than what happens in the film itself. They were just plain colors. I think the ideology of beauty should be very well analyzed, first destroyed, and then analyzed. Because we are completely mystified by beauty. So maybe we have to make horrible songs first in order to destroy and then to learn what beauty is. No, not at all. Are you happier with yourself? Yes, much. I just forget about that.

But because of the May-June events, it came in two months.

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