“I am not interested in making political films but in making films politically”-Jean-Luc Godard
“All you need to make a film is a girl and a gun”—Jean-Luc Godard
“I believe a film should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.”
Happy birthday, Jean-Luc Godard! The great French “New Wave” director turned 80-year-old today. Godard, one of the most important film directors and theoreticians of French post-war cinema was recently given a special honorary Oscar award, but this was not without controversy in certain quarters. The idea that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thought he’d show up to accept it—I don’t even think he acknowledged it—is ridiculous in the extreme.
Below, his wild, seldom-seen anti-capitalist screed, British Sounds a.k.a. See You at Mao (US title) a short film made for, but never broadcast by, London Weekend Television, in 1969. When Godard toured American college campuses in the 1970s, this was often the film he screened at his lectures. I recommend that you forward to the next scene if you start getting bored. It’s a neat film, but even 40 years ago, this would have difficult to watch straight through. Parts of it are more interesting than others (something that can be said of many Godard films, of course!)
Here we have my personal favorite scene in all of Godard (pity the quality is so “eh” here, because it’s a stunner on DVD) a typically looong Godardian tracking shot, this from his 1972 critique of consumerism, Tout Va Bien, with Yves Montand and Jane Fonda.
And finally, a sub-titled (but fascinating) 1972 interview with Godard about Tout Va Bienand his political ideas.
Download John Zorn’s long out-of-print avant-garde musical tribute to the French auteur, Godard ça vous chante? here.