NOTRE MUSIQUE (Jean-Luc Godard, 2004)

After Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece, Eloge de l’amour (2001), Notre Musique is, for me, a major disappointment. It’s exquisite, dotted with brilliant insights, but patchy, schematic and lightweight. Its principal source of humanity is Godard playing himself, but on this occasion his filmmaking is so-so. Also, I must confess I don’t “get” the third segment, “Paradise.” I can see how Godard’s hell is hell, and how his purgatory is purgatory; but I’m not sure why his paradise is paradise. Perhaps the point is that there is no paradise, which would also help explain the segment’s unexpected brevity.
     The first segment, “Hell,” may be the best compilation since Esther Shub’s 1927 Fall of the Romanov Dynasty, and the material in the second segment, “Purgatory,” psychologically weighing Israel and Palestine against one another—what a creative approach!—fascinates. But, all in all, Notre Musique strikes me as quite minor Godard.


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