Thursday, April 8, 2010

Godard's latest provocation, and a tribute to his "brother" in cinema

This week on the Funhouse I’m paying tribute to filmmakers whose work I love: the Kuchar brothers, Nicholas Ray, and Marco Ferreri. Thus, I thought it would be only fitting to pass along links to two new short works by a gent who dwells in the top of my personal Pantheon, Jean-Luc Godard, aka “Uncle Jean” for those who care.

Godard’s “older brother” Eric Rohmer died some weeks back, as I chronicled here. Well, there was a very special night Feb. 8th at the Cinematheque Francaise, where various friends and collaborators of Rohmer shared their memories of the man. The participants included Barbet Schroeder, Arielle Dombasle, and Claude Chabrol. Uncle Jean was present in the form of a short film that he and the Cinematheque have allowed to be shown on the Internet. The page containing Godard’s film and tributes by the other celebrities (in French, no subs) can be found here.

However, for those who don’t speak/read French, and would like to have the “in” references to Rohmer and Godard’s friendship decoded, I’d recommend visiting “The Auteurs” website to read the comments that were posted below the film, which basically translate Godard’s narration, and also explain what his references are about. The film is beautifully done (no surprise) and perhaps the grace note is JLG’s final citation of the last line of Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, “That was the happiest time we ever had.” Uncle Jean is getting sentimental in his old age, and it’s very touching. We’re very lucky to still have him around.

And because he is still primed and ready to make cinema, I should direct you to the weirdest “stunt” associated with any of his recent-vintage films. Various trailers have been posted online for his latest film, Socialisme, which is set to do the film festival circuit shortly. I linked to the original trailer for the film here.

Because he will always be a provocateur in addition to one of the premier cinema poets, though, he also has provided two other trailers that are wholly unique: their visuals comprise the *entire movie* played at very fast speed. Thus, you can “see” the whole film in its visual state, which means that Godard is either commenting on the nature of trailers “revealing” the heart of a movie — or he is possibly pissed at his producers or distributors. In any case, it’s a very weird experience to watch what is surely a 90-minute film flying by in four minutes, with onscreen titles explaining what one will encounter in the film (things, words, etc.).

Here is the four-minute version of the trailer:

And for those with real ADD, here is Godard’s one-and-a-half minute version:

And for those who’d just like to see the actual, “normal” trailer for the film, replete with English subtitles, here it is. The fact that “god” is part of the man’s name is not at all in accurate.

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