Monthly Archives: December 1968

Godard — A critical anthology (1968)

From Film Society Review, Vol. 4, No. 4 (December 1968). — J.R.

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JEAN-LUC GODARD: A critical anthology

edited by Toby Mussman. New York: E. P.

Dutton & Co.,1968., 319 pages,$2.45 (paperback).

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For most people interested in Godard, Toby Mussman’s collection of writing on his films is bound to be useful. For this reader, it manages to be both indispensable and exasperating. For its range and its better pieces, it far outflanks the two previously published books on Godard in English — Richard Roud’s GODARD (Doubleday) and THE FILMS OF JEAN-LUC GODARD (another anthology, edited by Ian Cameron and published in England by Studio Vista). But like its predecessors, it suffers from wildly uneven displays of taste and judgment.

To take a case in point, one is grateful for the seven pieces by Godard in the book, which throw considerable light on his work and are fun to read besides; included are the scenarios of A WOMAN IS A WOMAN and VIVRE SA VIE, a fascinating monologue on PIERROT LE FOU, and a reply to critics of LES CARABINIERS. But the English translations of most of these pieces are grotesque. Unless the reader knows the French titles of American films, references to LA CROISIERE DU NAVIGATOR (Keaton’s THE NAVlGATOR) and “the ‘Aurore’ trolley” (the trolley ride in Murnau’s SUNRISE) are likely to appear meaningless; the English rendering of “Feu sur LES CARABINIERS” — “Taking Pot Shots at THE RIFLEMEN” — is a product of the translator’s cuteness, not Godard’s.… Read more »