REVIEW: Godard Mon Amour

Louis Garrel and Stacy Martin as Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky; Photo: Philippe Aubry

“Godard Mon Amour” is a funny, charming film about the brief marriage of nouvelle vague film director Jean-Luc Godard and the late actress Anne Wiazemsky, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, best known for directing 2011’s Oscar-winning “The Artist.” Originally released last year as “Redoubtable”, it has been renamed for its US release. (The original title refers to a radio story about a famous French submarine heard in the film. The name becomes an inside joke for the couple.) A remarkable pastiche, Godard fans will love the numerous homages to his films as well as the ironic use of soundtracks from them to cue certain scenes. For example, the music from his film “Contempt” plays during a late scene in which Godard visits his wife while she is in Italy acting in a film directed by Marco Ferreri (1969’s “The Seed of Man.”) His intense jealousy threatens their marriage in much the same way the scene did in “Contempt.” Hazanavicius has separated the film into chapters, much as Godard often does with his films, and has the couple occupying flats that look just like the ones lived in by couples in “A Woman is a Woman” and “Pierrot Le Fou.” A black and white sex scene is filmed in the same way as a similar sequence in “A Married Woman.” And it wouldn’t be a proper homage if the fourth wall wasn’t broken, with characters and narration addressing the audience. Read more

NYFF52: Goodbye to Language, ’71 & Misunderstood

Filmwax Radio blogger Herbert Gambill’s 2nd dispatch from the New York Film Festival press & industry screenings. The New York Film Festival runs from Friday, September 26th through Thursday, October 2nd.


2014 NYFF poster (Artist Laurie Simmons)Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, “Goodbye to Language” is in 3D, and the iconoclast disrupts its conventions almost as brilliantly as he did two dimensionally in his first feature, “Breathless.” Turns out, for example, that a lap dissolve doesn’t quite work in a 3D film; neither does increasing the contrast of the image. But “Goodbye to Language” is much more than an essay about the relationship between a form of pictorial representation and its ideological assumptions. Godard continues using his most recent palette (even at times re-using some images from his “Histoires de Cinema” and references to images like Courbet’s painting “The Origin of Life”) which means only a Godard enthusiast–which I encourage everyone to be–will appreciate this 70-minute film. The minimal plot is the same one he has used in many films: a couple argues. Discourses multiply. Godard may be saying goodbye to language but not to parole (speech), a fact underscored by the sounds of an infant babbling and his dog Roxy’s barking which ends the film. There is also much of the unfortunate petulant comments about history (“Hitler didn’t invent anything.”) that sound less ironic when they are narrated as opposed to coming out of the mouth of a character. But when it comes to image, sound and the communicative and poetic possibilities and dangers of myriad discourses (used book customers distracted by iPhones), Godard always provokes in an interesting way. Maybe love means never having to say anything? Read more