101 minutes| France-Switzerland| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


He may have celebrated his 80th birthday last year, but Jean-Luc Godard shows no sign of mellowing with this dense, often visually striking essay film on history and language. We’re definitely in late-period JLG, so this is more Eloge de l’amour and Notre musique than Breathless or Weekend, unfolding as a collage of fragmented texts, music and images that express the complexity of situating ourselves in the modern world. A tripartite structure moves from a cruise ship (special guest: Patti Smith!) whose sheer garishness suggests a consumerist hell to a rural French petrol station where issues of character status and the electoral process are prioritised over the customers, to a closing discursive section playing the historical legacy of the great Mediterranean cultures against their representation in cinema history. Interpretation is the viewer’s business, a process made even more sportive by Godard’s deconstructed ‘Navajo English’ subtitles. The whole thing is infuriating, rewarding, provocative and quite unlike anything else. In a word, Godard. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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