WIND FROM THE EAST (Dziga Vertov Group—Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Gérard Martin, 1969)

Initially creating leisurely rural scenes, both contemporary and “period,” and playing these off a dense, repetitive aural collage of politically-minded voiceovers, Le vent d’est is Jean-Luc Godard’s heartfelt response to the disarray and demoralization of the French Left in the wake of May ’68. Shot in Italy and made by the filmmaking collective to which […]

FILM SOCIALISME (Jean-Luc Godard, 2010)

The Egyptian watch that has passed from wrist to wrist—both wearers that we see are black women—contains the universe in a grain of mechanism. And contains history. In the middle of Film Socialisme, Jean-Luc Godard’s first theatrical film shot exclusively in high-definition video, the gold watch stands—hangs, like a star?—alone, a figure against an illimitable […]

LE DÉPART (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1967)

Something co-written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski that won the top prize at Berlin and stars Jean-Pierre Léaud ought to be my cup of whisky; and, indeed, The Departure, from Belgium, is just that. This dazzling, hilarious, and most tender slapstick comedy-adventure-romance reunites Léaud, who is at his most brilliant here, with charming Catherine Duport, […]

FIRST NAME: CARMEN (Jean-Luc Godard, 1983)

For his bruising Prénom Carmen, Jean-Luc Godard’s most romantic film post-Karina, Bizet’s late nineteenth-century opera, based on Merimee’s novel, is both a springboard and an ultimate point of return, like the sea. This version is contemporary, with the best performance—obscene, hilarious—coming from Godard himself, as Jean Godard, a once successful filmmaker currently deposited in a […]

KING LEAR (Jean-Luc Godard, 1987)

The radioactivity dispersed by the 1986 meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant plunged the world into apocalypse, ending civilization and wiping out its hallmark, art, which therefore had to be reinvented, reconstructed. William Shakespeare Jr. the Fifth (played by stage director Peter Sellars) is thus at work restoring his ancestor’s plays.      The premise of […]

TWO IN THE WAVE (Emmanuel Laurent, 2010)

Its journalistic approach helps make Emmanuel Laurent’s documentary about the rise and demise of François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard’s friendship, Deux de la Vague, dry as dust; nor is it helped by frequent inserts of young French actress Isild Le Besco reading clippings and such to underscore the momentous, somewhat academic history that the bleeding […]