Daily Archives: March 9, 2006

The Director’s Cut

From the Chicago Reader (March 9, 2006). — J.R.

Moments Choisis des Histoire(s) du Cinéma

**** (Masterpiece)

Directed and written by Jean-Luc Godard

Ironically, the two greatest works by the two most innovative filmmakers of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette, were originally designed as TV series. Rivette’s 760-minute, 16-millimeter serial Out 1 (1971) was rejected by French state TV, and he spent most of a year editing it down to a 255-minute version to show in theaters, Out 1: Spectre (1972). Less a digest than a perverse variant — some shots were rearranged so that they had radically different meanings and contexts, and much of the comedy was turned into psychodrama — it’s the only version that’s ever shown in the U.S., though it hasn’t been screened for years. The original — almost certainly the best film ever made by anyone about the 60s counterculture and its demise — still shows periodically in Europe.

Godard’s eight-part, 264-minute video Histoire(s) du Cinéma (1998), conceived and made over 20 years, has fared better, but it’s still pretty hard to come by. The only version ever sold in France is a lousy mono video transfer; a package of CDs and books in several languages transcribing major portions of the stereo sound track came out here years ago.… Read more »

Just Another Girl On The I.r.t.

A film Hollywood dared not to do is how writer-director Leslie Harris described her lively 1992 moviea brave independent quickie with only a 17-day shooting schedule, about an ambitious and angry black teenage girl (Ariyan Johnson) living in one of the Brooklyn projects who goes into denial (with catastrophic results) when her boyfriend (Kevin Thigpen) gets her pregnant. What’s both refreshing and off-putting is that Harris’s sense of urgency isn’t accompanied by any clear or consistent analysis; her heroine’s denial eventually overwhelms the movie. Yet Harris’s refusal to treat her heroine strictly as role model or bad example makes her portrait a lot livelier and less predictableas well as more confusingthan the standard genre exercises most reviewers seem to prefer. What’s exciting about this movie is a lot of loose details: frank girl talk about AIDS and birth control, glancing observations about welfare lines and the advantages of a boy with a car over one with subway tokens. R, 92 min. (JR)… Read more »