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Goodbye To Language [DVD]
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Goodbye to Language is Jean-Luc Godard’s latest feature film. Winner of the Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2014, the film is an experimental visual and sensory experience, shot in 3D. The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog finds itself between them. The other is in one, the one is in the other and they are three. The former husband shatters everything. A second film begins: the same as the first, and yet not. From the human race we pass to metaphor. This ends in barking and a baby’s cries.
Previous title: Adieu Au Langage
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(this is not a review of the blu ray, I have to say the movie is almost 100% dependent on the 3D stuff, so watching it on a TV set-up with less that satisfactory 3D is bound to be disappointing)
Freud and the art of film began at the start of the 20th century:they both in some ways are parallel developments, exploring reality, based on new techniques. Godard shows us perception and consciousness, how an animal's eyes are unclouded by consciousness. Godard shows human beings weighed down by interpretations,needing interpretation .He uses 3D film in this baffling experimental drama, turning the technology on its head(no car chases,nor animated dragons or objects hurling towards the screen) by using his 3rd dimension to send contrasting images to each of the viewer's eyes or-in one particular haunting sequence-to add spatial depth to the sight of a man sitting on a toilet, pooping.This is a kind of equality we all share. The idea that existence is about trying to reconcile the "real" world with the subjective experience of the world, and the names and notions we use to catalogue and define the world--but the digressions are what make it sing. "I will barely say a word," says a voice on the soundtrack--maybe Godard?--adding, "I am looking for poverty in language." While the film is drenched in the rich sensual experience of Godard's visual language. An interesting motif is images of running water, water lapping shores of a lake,sea water,a river in full spate,rain falling,even the water of a shower:the importance of water in the origin myths of heroes, and dreams linked to childbirth.
Speech no longer exists: the analogue ‘I’ of storytelling has disappeared into cyberspace. Images are fractured,dispersed from the organic, subjective,narrative whole. In 35 mm cinema the image came with the sound. Godard is saying goodbye to his own way of speaking which cinema still allows. ’We can still create a mix of images and words.’ We can feel, hear what is outside the frame. We can escape from the rules, from ideas: then the story is simple, a man, a woman and a dog, and to be understood you repeat it, keeping the dog to restore the balance. Godard foresees a future when people will be told by technology what to think and feel. In Goodbye Godard gives light and sound an exhilarating sense of renewal-abstracting reality : actions off screen are suggested by sounds, faces are cut out of the frame, sounds distorted through constant modulations and tonal shifts. Reality through imagination by the poet of cinema. He is on the side-lines,reflecting the modern world through philosophy and technology. With the loss of words( 'lost in the forest or in Africa or with the animals or the poor... or the mentally impaired or the homeless. But language no longer exists.So there is something else, it conjures up other images.').
He quotes Monet as painting what he doesn't see. We as human spectators,look at the observable universe. To scientists,numbers and the laws of science are real,independent entities,but they are constructions of human thought attempting to seize something of the universe.There is no transcendent perspective,we are dreamers.We can only really see ourselves when we are looking into another person's eyes.The camera captures everything it sees-we passively like the camera comply-and yet not seeing anything. As though Godard is making the movie for the camera and for the sake of the film itself. There are no conventions of plot or character. One of the characters says she "hates character". Density,compression,digression,montage are utilised freely.Lettered Texts are printed on top of each other or over images. We get ideas tossed at us like Hitler's rise to power coincided with the invention of TV, or will Russia ever be a part of Europe,without ceasing to be Russia? That a new Godard film is an event, something that may better be seen in an art gallery:already distribution in the UK by Studiocanal has folded and it's been rushed to DVD. This is a shame as the full 3D experience can only be gained in a movie theatre. In Goodbye, Godard's use of 3D is a matter of using the screen (with its illusory extra dimension of depth) as a multimedia space in the true sense: he's creating both a painting and a sculpture. Obscure,maddening, obsessed with history and cinema. In a word: awesome!
Godard runs some ideas by us which hold some weight, also. Chilling to consider Hitler as having succeeded in his intentions, through the conquering of land with ideas, just as Napoleon may have been defeated militarily but the idea of the Republic had conquered Europe. I think Godard's recent work has been strong in illuminating how many victories fascism has sustained into present-day Europe, despite its apparent defeat. He takes the trouble to list the longer-lasting achievements of the Republic, while he's at it, and one of the characters gives us a heads-up to Jacques Ellul, and his powers of prediction in seeing the modern age. I had never heard of him, but I was aware of the "think global, act local" philosophy which is apparently attributed to him. I find you always learn from Godard. I was ignorant of Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil, before seeing his 21st century films, of which I still think Eloge de l'amour is perhaps the best I've seen so far, although I feel Film Socialisme was under-rated and I like Notre Musique.
Some of the relationship between the couple gets lost in the midst of the film, I'm not really sure what's going on here, or if I need to know. This is redeemed somewhat by the loving film of Roxy, Godard's dog, who gives some nice comic touches to the later parts of the film.
The cinematography is of course stunning, the colour is luxurious, simply done on small cameras for the most part I think but the flowers look great.
So, an idiosyncratic film, made for the 3D, so best seen in that format (dare I say it may fall flat in 2D?), but fascinating nonetheless and worth a look.
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