Daily Archives: September 27, 2019

Letter to Jane (1975 review)

Missing from this review from the July 1975 Monthly Film Bulletin is any acknowledgment that Godard and Gorin’s rather punitive analysis against Jane Fonda’s role in a still photograph might have incidentally reflected some misogyny along with their resentment against the power of a movie star. For those interested in tracking down Letter to Jane, it’s included as an extra on the Criterion DVD of Tout va bien. —J.R.

 


Letter to Jane

France, 1972            Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin

 

Letter to Jane was initially made to be shown in a specific limited context: as a short accompanying Tout va bien at the New York and San Francisco Film Festivals in 1972. As with all of Godard and Gorin’s joint projects, the essential aims of the film are demystification and political analysis. More generally, it pursues a demystification of cinema itself as art object, reflected in the minimal technical means used in the articulation of the filmmakers’ argument (a montage of stills separated by cuts or makeshift wipes accompanied by the voices of Godard and Gorin in English, with brief uses of recorded music as punctuation) — an approach further developed by Godard’s more recent work  with video, which seeks to demonstrate that the “production of sounds and images” need not be as expensive or as technically elaborate as is usually supposed.… Read more »

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 »