Moments Choisis Des Histoire(s) Du Cinema

Jean-Luc Godard’s eight-part, 264-minute video Histoire(s) du Cinema (1998) has rarely been seen outside France, occasioning this feature-length reworking of many elements in his magnum opus that’s neither an anthology nor a digest. The selected moments have been transferred to 35-millimeter, and at 84 minutes this reconfiguration is more accessible (if less celebratory) than the original. Both versions portray cinema as a 19th-century invention that recorded the history of the 20th century, though the pessimism here about cinema’s failure to bear adequate witness to the Holocaust is even more pronounced. The beauty and power of this ambitious, dreamlike work are incontestable in any version; as in Finnegans Wake, the meanings are more easily felt than understood. The English subtitles are sparse but work better that way. (JR)

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