Daily Archives: January 4, 2017

All and Nothing [IRREVERSIBLE & AMEN.]

From the March 14, 2003 Chicago Reader. — J.R.

Irreversible

* (Has redeeming facet)

Directed and written by Gaspar Noe

With Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, and Philippe Nahon

Amen.

** (Worth seeing)

Directed by Costa-Gavras

Written by Costa-Gavras and Jean-Claude Grumberg

With Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Muhe, Michel Duchaussoy, and Fontana Ion Caramitru.

http://content.internetvideoarchive.com/content/photos/657/027606_46.jpg


Why link an arty exploitation picture about rape, murder, and revenge with a sober adaptation of Rolf Hochhuth’s The Deputy, a 1960s German play about the failure of the Vatican to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust? One reason is to point out a critical difference between them. In Irreversible Gaspar Noe elects to show us everything — two faces being smashed to bloody messes, the heroine being raped and beaten for an agonizing ten minutes — while in Amen. (which played last week at the Music Box) Costa-Gavras shows his hero Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur), a newly commissioned SS lieutenant with a conscience, watching the gassing of Jews through a peephole with other officers but refuses to show us any part of what Gerstein sees.

The difference here concerns more than just etiquette. In the terms propounded by Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985), it concerns ethics.… Read more »

Catching Up with Godard (an interview)

From The Soho News, September 24-30, 1980. Their title (not mine) was “Bringing Godard Back Home”. This is the first of two interviews that I’ve had with Godard to date; the other one, 16 years later, can be found here. — J.R.

Jean-Luc Godard seems to be into transportation metaphors a lot nowadays. It’s been rumored that when Paul Schrader sidled up to him recently at a film festival and said, “I think you should know that I took something of yours from The Married Woman and put it in American Gigolo,” the Master coolly replied, “What’s important isn’t what you take — it’s where you take it to.”

Every Man for Himself, Godard’s first movie to open in America and show at the New York Film Festival in eight years, is first of all a vehicle designed to bring him back to us. It has all the ingredients that mainstream critics have been clamoring for: stars (Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc), clearly defined characters and plot, lush music, beautiful 35mm photography, flaky eroticism, humor. “I’m really making my landing on the earth of story,” Godard tells me at one point. “Like a plane.”

Can it be sheer coincidence that he seems to take up prostitution as a theme only when he’s working in 35mm?… Read more »