The latest from Jean Luc Godard: "Le Livre D'Image"

Sept. 23, 2018

Since the beginning of his career, if there’s anything that has been said about Jean-Luc Godard, it’s that he is a transgressor and provocateur.

The French director was responsible for breaking any type of rule and belief that was impossible to separate from the notion of cinema, which is something we love here on GuideDoc.

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Even his most accessible films to all audiences, such as those of the New French Wave, had elements with which the spectator, who was not a critic, film or academic, could feel a kind "noyse" within an apparent classic narrative.


After those films, another era came, with a Godard a lot more on the edge. His intention to continue discovering the confines of the cinema deepened, and resulted in the realization of several of the most subversive films in the history of the art, among which are "Histoire (s) du cinemá", "Film Socialisme", "Notre Musique "and" Adieu au langage ".

In all of them, Godard tries to solve paradigms of the history of cinema, putting in question its own rules. In "Histoire (s) du cinemá", Godard tries to realize, in 8 long parts, an in-depth study of cinema in the 20th century.

The most interesting thing, however, is that there is a provocation both visual and interpretative about what Godard thinks cinema has been throughout history. The use of film fragments, and a completely unattached edition of any classical notion, makes the film work like a film essay.

The same happens in "Le Livre D'Image", his latest film. After trying to get closer to a more classical approach in "Adieu au langage", Godard decides to continue his search within the cinema itself.

And, to say the least, "Le Livre D'Image" is unpredictable, for many reasons.
Godard goes through numerous films of the twentieth century, where his characteristic imprint seeks to associate the themes, forms and ideas behind each one of them.

One of the things that characterize the film is the way Godard narrates the film. Throughout it, Godard intervenes in each of the segments that we see. What is most disturbing, however, is the nature of his interventions.

The continuous interruption of his sentences and the abrupt cuts of the audio, generate in the spectator a feeling that the French director is editing himself, in "real" time. Behind it there is a speech that reflects the most emotional Godard of his career. And after decades of studying film, there are still too many doubts as to what the images mean.

This feeling of uncertainty is emulated by, in some way, the instability of the film. The projection and video formats change and stretch, and the sound goes from being a surround sound to just come out from one side of the room. Are they projection errors, or provocations?

Godard tries, in one way or another, to summarize the possibilities of cinema in an hour of footage, so that he can dedicate the last thirty minutes of the film to an emotional conclusion, full of self-blame and doubt, but hopeful, still.

Where is the Middle East? What could be a premise in any other film, Godard, in his eagerness to not to be the owner of any truth, places this at the end of the film, as the controlling idea of everything he has told us so far.

The idea that there is no true image of the Middle East is for Godard a real reason to blame, not only himself, but cinema in general. Godard refers to old fragments of old films that inspire hopefulness with short beautiful moments, and even, he subscribes one of the most consoling phrases of his cinema.

"Although nothing went as we expected, that will not change our hopes." Guilt, not only as a filmmaker, but as a human being, makes the film take an unexpected direction, but necessary for the history of cinema and history, in general.

Godard does not claim, and actually he’s very far from it, to have the answers about it. But for him, without a concrete image about the Middle East, we can’t have a true panorama of the real problems in our world. 

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