Even by the extraordinary standards of Jean-Luc Godard’s filmmaking, Eloge de l’amour must count as one of his most perceptive and playful works. A story of love told in two parts, the film begins with a director, Edgar, planning a film production. While searching for actors he meets a young woman who he feels is perfect for the role, and who he is sure he has met before.
The first section, filmed in breathtaking black and white 35mm, gives way to a second, which is shot in colour-saturated digital video. In the second half, the action is from two years earlier, when Edgar is at the house of an elderly couple who are negotiating the sale of their life story under Nazi occupation with a Hollywood studio. Their granddaughter is the woman he encounters later while casting his film. Within and around this narrative told in reverse chronology, Godard offers a wealth of insights and observations on the questions which have informed so much of his work: the nature of cinema; the relationship between the past and the present; cultural colonisation and forms of resistance. He also offers an ode of love of a different kind, an elegy to Paris which is at once modern and timeless.France, 2001. English subtitles. Black and white/Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 95 min.