At age 80, French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard still commands attention from the worldwide league of cineastes, to become, perhaps, even a household name with his “Lifetime Achievement” Oscar in 2010. His latest foray, Film Socialisme, is a sometimes screaming collage of daring, dense and demanding references to the tragedies of late 20th century politics, economics and film history. Structured as a “symphony in three parts,” he looks for meaning as a concerned European behind longtime existential angst for our rootless times. Å disco-gambling cruise ship on the Mediterranean sets the overall stage, then moving to a family gas station with a pet llama, the film becomes a dizzying montage (revisiting the famous Odessa Steps sequence of Eisenstein), along with some Hollywood-bashing. Using a variety of digital imagery including pristine HD footage and pixilated cell phone recordings, multi-layered soundtracks, and trademark use of fragmented subtitles, he returns again to the cruise ship.
Conservative critics who desire straight, traditional narratives were upset at its Cannes (Un Certain Regard) screening last year, while the broad majority of viewers accepted its experimental status. No doubt, as the irascible onetime French New Waver (Breathless, and his other 1960’s films that changed way films are made) is still in the running in the ‘most influential’ directors derby, this first film of his in seven years will be hard to avoid.
Print Source: Kino Lorber, Gary Palmucci, [email protected]