Friday, August 21, 2009

Hidden in Plain Sight: Godard rarities on Daily Motion

Though nowhere near the insane rabbit-hole that YouTube is, Daily Motion contains many clips that are not on YT: primarily things that have a “wisp” of nudity or have been posted there so they will escape the errant Kopyright Kops who sporadically patrol YT (you pay on DM, however, by having to suppress the ads that pop up at the bottom of the image about once every three minutes). Since Godard is arguably the greatest living cinema master, I went diving to see what Uncle Jean rarities the site has to offer and found the items below.

First, a June 2009 interview with JLG in which he is quite happy to talk about his early exposure to cinema, Contempt, and the film frame, among other topics (no English subs):

Here is an absolutely goofy ad for Godard’s Detective (1985), which I’m willing to bet good money he had nothing to do with (unsubbed, but it’s so ridiculous you’ll figure it out — the trenchcoated guy is saying the dame didn’t want to see this great movie):

Here is a commercial that Godard *did* direct, with tongue-in-cheek while he was in the midst of his “Marxist phase” in 1970:

An early JLG short, Charlotte et Son Jules (1960, but made before Breathless), in which the young lead actor, Jean-Paul Belmondo, is dubbed by Uncle Jean himself (J-P was doing his military service, and Godard assured him that he would use him in his first feature in return for this indulgence):

In 1968, Godard, Chris Marker, and several other filmmakers put together no-budget “Cinetracts,” made on 16mm and meant to be seen as soon as possible in any circumstances whatsoever. This Cinetract, no. 19, looks to be the work of Uncle Chris rather than Uncle Jean. There are no subtitles, but this is a marvelously edited montage of photos of the May ’68 Paris riots, reminiscent of Marker’s La Jetée:

Cinetract no. 23 was definitely made by JLG, as his handwriting is literally all over it. Here is agit-prop filmmaking at its late-twentieth century best:

An exquisite short from 2000, “The Origins of the 21st Century.” The film is a wonderfully poetic survey of the horrors (and occasional beauty) of the twentieth century, that moves backward in time and is punctuated by images from a host of movies including The Shining, Breathless, Los Olvidados, The Silence and The Nutty Professor, and ends with the use of a beautifully appropriate moment from Ophuls’ Le Plaisir. (subtitled en Espanol). This is the height of Godard’s art:

Prière pour le refuznik (2006) is a pair of shorts about the Israeli conscripts who refuse to serve in the Occupied Palestinian territory. The first features a scene from Uncle Jean’s own Les Carabiniers set to a song by Léo Ferré:

The second is an even more beautiful meditation on the theme (called a “mini-oratorio” by one Net source). The final title evokes “Earth versus sky”:

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