Jean-luc Godard

Jean-luc Godard

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'Boyhood' Beaten by Godard's 'Goodbye to Language' in Major Movie Award


Richard Linklater Jean-Luc Godard

Boyhood, Richard Linklater's award-season heavyweight that looks most likely to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards come February, has been beaten in one of the final major awards hand-outs before the Globes and Oscars. The National Society of Film Critics decided to award its Best Picture gong to Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language, catching many commentators by surprise.

BoyhoodBoyhood is the clear favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars

In fairness, Linklater's movie almost snatched the award, needing one more ballot in the first round of voting to secure it. In the end, it was beaten by Godard's movie 25-24.

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Jean-Luc Godard Cannes Farewell: ‘Goodbye To Language 3D’ Is A Baffling Extravaganza


Jean-Luc Godard

Swiss-French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard despatched a film full of 3D images to the Cannes Film Festival this year in what many are perceiving to be a farewell to the festival from the 83 year-old, who did not attend the annual celebration. Critics seem to be having a hard time trying to decide what to make of Goodbye To Language ('Adieu Au Langage') described as a "70 minute cine-collage" by some and a film "full of moving paintings" by others.


Continue reading: Jean-Luc Godard Cannes Farewell: ‘Goodbye To Language 3D’ Is A Baffling Extravaganza

Hail Mary Review


Good
"Denounced by the Pope" is pretty heavy marketing material, and one look at Hail Mary's premise can certainly make you see why he'd not take kindly to the film. Here, the lovely Myriem Roussel is a teenage gas station attendant named Marie, who becomes inexplicably pregnant despite being a virgin. She marries her boyfriend Joseph. Eventually she has a son.

Sound familiar? This reimagining of the birth of Jesus is both hauntingly beautiful and often quite funny, just the sort of surreal experience that is the hallmark of director Jean-Luc Godard's best work.

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Breathless Review


Excellent
It's fun on the run in this film, which most say launched the French New Wave with its spontaneous, rollercoaster ride across France. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg are boyfriend/girlfriend... and after he kills a policeman, it's obvious they're doomed. But how will it all come down? Jean-Luc Godard's panicked style here continues to inspire filmmakers today, and even if some of Breathless remains inaccessibly arty and obtuse, it's nonetheless a film of watershed importance.

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A Woman Is A Woman Review


Excellent
Jean-Luc Godard calls A Woman Is a Woman "a neorealist musical -- that is, a contradiction in terms." He couldn't be more on the money. Woman is disorienting and unfamiliar, and altogether compelling.

Anna Karina owns the film wholly: She's a stripper in Paris who decides she wants a baby. She approaches her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy), but he refuses. So she turns to another guy: his best friend.

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My Life To Live Review


OK
Straightforwardly -- almost clinically -- Jean-Luc Godard presents this brief story of a woman's descent into prostitution. It's hardly a descent, really, as Anna Karina, in that unmistakably French way, happily chooses to start being paid for sex. Meanwhile, non-sequiturs abound to pad the plot, including dance numbers and a playful mime's act. Say what? Only in Paris.

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Weekend Review


Excellent
Weekend is probably Jean-Luc Godard's most renowned, disturbing, and controversial film finally comes to DVD, where old school fans can rediscover it, and modern filmgoers can give it a spin and say, "What the hell!?"

The film is a broad indictment of consumerism, politics, and pretty much everything about humanity in general. In essence it's a story about a couple who try to take a weekend vacation in France, only to be stymied at every turn by traffic, revolutionaries, and ultimately murder in the woods. It's basically a comedy, inasmuch as any film in which a civil war erupts and people get eaten by each other can be considered comedy.

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Le Petit Soldat Review


OK
French Bruno is assigned to assassinate an Algerian sympathizer, but darn it, the hot hot hot Anna Karina gets in the way. Turns out she's a sympathizer too. Nothing much happens in this heralded thriller/romance from Jean-Luc Godard, as the film sidetracks into long idylls in hotel rooms and on the streets of France before our hero finally gets to his opponent. When he does, it's shocking, as he doesn't just shoot him in the head, he's tortured to such a degree that the film was banned in France. Interesting historically, much less so artistically.

Masculine Feminine Review


Excellent
By 1966, Jean-Luc Godard was the New Wave's premier prankster-ideologue and pop-culture deconstructionist. After sharpening his teeth on Contempt, Band of Outsiders, and Alphaville among a coruscating burst of titles that began with 1960's Breathless, Godard rapidly found his voice in the form of the guerilla-style cinema manifesto. Masculine Feminine, about the dysfunctional romance between a young would-be militant and a budding pop star whose blithe pursuit of fame represents everything he hates about capitalism, comes together in a series of 15 loosely-connected vignettes--or "precise chapters" as Godard calls them. Intertitles, often accompanied by gunshots, read like politically-charged maxims and divide these "chapters" and lend the movie an aura of immediacy at once jarring and hilarious, because they raise what is, at heart, the story of a doomed romance into the realm of Marxist allegory. That sounds incredibly pretentious, but this is Godard -- an artist with a knack for exposing intellectual pretense for the vain tomfoolery that it is, and where the most intimate exchanges are booby-trapped by self-parody and non-sequiturs. In Godard's world, human relationships are negotiations for political power and fertile ground for his brand of deadpan formal antics.

Plot-wise, this is refreshingly simple stuff. Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud), a spray can-toting socialist in 1960s Paris, spends his time rallying against all things American, when he falls head-over-heals for Madeleine (played by real-life yé yé singer Chantal Goya), a pretty but clueless brunette on the verge of commercial breakthrough (she's already burning up the charts in Japan). Broke and evicted, Paul moves in with Madeleine and her roommates, Elizabeth and Catherine (Marléne Jobert and Catherine-Isabelle Duport), where he continues his attempts to reconcile his disapproval of Madeleine's money-driven dreams with his deep-seated hankering to get it on with her.

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Alphaville Review


OK
While private eye Lemmy Caution has ventured all the way to another planet to visit the futuristic Alphaville, it certainly looks a lot like Paris. And what are the odds that they'll speak French, huh?

Jean-Luc Godard's oddball sci-fi spends a lot of time ostensibly bemoaning the dehumanizing effects of technology but doesn't make much of a case for it here. Sure, if we were dumb enough to literally allow a computer to rule our lives, we might get what we deserved. But modern life (and even reasonably forseeable life) has no signs of Godard's "outlawing of emotion" and oppression of individuality. In fact, these ideas are more prevalent than ever, which tends to horribly date Alphaville against its more thought-out successors like A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner.

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Band Of Outsiders Review


OK
Jean-Luc Godard's Band of Outsiders isn't his best work, but it's full of interesting little touches and stolen moments that make it worthwhile. Most notable is the smashing Anna Karina's performance, which glues together a tepid, self-confessed dime-store novel-class story of Karina and two friends (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) who hatch a harebrained plan to rob Karina's aunt. A pair of set pieces -- the trio dancing in unison in a bar and their famous 9-minute, 43-second run through the Louvre -- make the movie worthwhile alone, but the disjointed, meandering, and somewhat random narrative isn't anything to write home about.

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Pierrot le fou Review


OK
Perhaps the greatest entry into the theater of the absurd, Godard's Pierrot le fou starts out as ridiculous and gets progressively sillier. Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as a family man named Ferdinand, who up and quits his family man life to jet through France with a mobstress (Anna Karina), who inexplicably calls him Pierrot. Their adventure through strangely tinted sets and with occasional dialogue drawn from TV commercials. Totally bizarre and ultimately without much point -- Godard's message about commercialism is drowned in a sea of oddity.

Tout va Bien Review


Grim
Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin were interested in leftist, specifically Maoist, political theory at the time they filmed Tout va Bien (which translates to All's Well, a possibly ambivalent reference to activists being marched away by police at the end of the film). The film starts off amusingly, narrated by two voices (presumably supposed to be the filmmakers) who want to make a "political" film but don't seem to have any particular ideas in mind -- except that for monetary reasons the film needs to have "stars." So Yves Montand and Jane Fonda are injected into the story (dream casting, since both were stars who were also leftists). Montand plays Jacques, a former filmmaker who now shoots slick commercials to pay the bills; Fonda is Suzanne, an unsuccessful journalist.

All too quickly, though, the film goes straight into politics, as Jacques and Suzanne go to interview the manager of a sausage plant and are locked in with him by activists who call a strike. Here the film gets very talky, but also credibly presents the activists' concerns as they wonder what settlement the union will seek with the management. There are some effective sequences in which the strikers complain to Suzanne about working conditions in the plant, and Godard's technical skill (and interesting use of a cutaway set of the factory) makes even this preachy part watchable for a while.

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Forever Mozart Review


Weak
Godard's Forever Mozart is one of his more inscrutable films, a story (ostensibly) about a film crew that sets its period piece on the shores of Bosnia, during that area's horrible civil war. Aside from that basic premise, there's no real structure or setup here, just people in costume wandering among the exploding bombs, waxing existentially about life, the movies, and whatever else might have been on the mind of the then-66-year-old auteur. Random and uninspired, the film gets a few points for its looks, but nada for its plot.

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In Praise of Love Review


Unbearable
One might expect a cathartic viewing experience walking into a new Jean-Luc Godard film. After all, he was a founding member of the highly influential French New Wave. He is also an esteemed film critic, lending intelligence and historical perspective to us in much of his writing. However, his latest creation, In Praise of Love, is possibly the most exasperating film experience of the year.

The abstract concept on which the film is based had merit, to dissect love into the following four categories: meeting, physical passion, quarrels, and reconciliation. These four universal truths would be revealed through three different couples: young, adult, and elderly. It is Edgar's (Bruno Putzulu) self-appointed task to capture these moments after a recent breakup, to define a central idea: "It's only when things are over that they make sense." Whether this project will end up a play, film, or opera remains undecided. The thesis is simple enough that, if played right, it could really hold sympathetic value for anyone.

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Jean-luc Godard

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