Saturday, September 18, 2010


“We master the ideas, which are nothing, but not our emotions, which are all.”

Perhaps the best way to sum it up this Jean Luc Godard masterpiece it to call it- ‘An Elegy filmed on Modern Youth.’ Under the clever title he once again hit us hard a brilliant intellectual film (blank verse) targeted to the directionless modern youth of that era. In one of the film caption he had cleared his stand- This film could be called ‘The children of Marx and Coca Cola make of it what you will.’ What makes it still as relevant and fresh is his visionary stand with uninhibited satirical punch on modern society.

The film explored the postmodernist misanthropic view of new generation and their gender roles programmed and guided by modern society: Girls are empty glamour dolls, self proclaimed pop stars, and pawns of consumerist culture. She’s what today’s upper middle class metro girls too enthusiastic about career and still unclear and gullible what to do with their early owned money, independence and sexuality. Boys are graceless, aimless instinctual fantasy seekers and wannabe revolutionaries. For both of them ‘Love’ becomes the most loose and corrupt word losing it’s innocence charm.

Godard objectively showed the psyche of a boy and a girl through a static conversation scene in washroom- Jean Pierre Leaud and Chantal Goya, both look so refreshingly honest in their expressions; perhaps the reason why Godard abstained casting his routine actors. On another survey interview scene we witness the awful answers of 19 years old wannabe model addressing debatable political- social questions. Like all of his films it has Godard content loaded with his trademark reactionary stand of commercial cinema shuttling between episodic shifting narrations, with political and gender themes, jump cuts and sexual innuendoes all with punching shots of irony aiming on shameless face of so called progressive society.

I can’t resist sharing few brilliant quotable lines:
“Philosopher and film-maker share a generation’s look.”
“Man’s existence not determined by his conscience. Rather, the reverse.”
“Kill a man and you are a murderer. Kill thousands and you are conqueror. Kill them all and you’re God.”

Must for all Godard fans.

Something about the Master from the Master-
This is what Satyajit Ray wrote about Jean Luc Godard in ‘Our Films Their Films’, a gem like book for all serious lovers of cinema.

“Godard is the first director in the history of the cinema to have totally dispensed with what is known as the plot line. Indeed, it would be right to say that Godard has devised a totally new genre for the cinema. This genre cannot be defined, it can only be described. It is a collage of story, tract, newsreel, reportage, quotations, allusions, commercial short, and straight TV interviews- all related to a character or a set of characters firmly placed in a precise contemporary milieu. A cinema of the head and not of the heart, and therefore, a cinema of the minority.”

But then Ray gave a brilliant piece of advice for all the directors who’re going to follow him as the role model (we know who are they!!!) Ray further wrote- “He (Godard) has been bad model for young directors simply because his kind of cinema demands craftsmanship of the highest order, let alone various other equipments on an intellectual plane. In order to turn convention upside down, one needs a particularly firm grip on convention itself. This Godard had, thanks to years of assiduous film study at the Cinematheque in Paris.”

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