Monday, February 4, 2019

The Image Book

In The Image Book, Jean-Luc Godard cites Brecht saying “Only a fragment carries the mark of authenticity.” The movie does to the history of cinema what the Tower of Babel did to language and it's the perfect complement to his Goodbye to Language (2014). The late work of artists can often represent an act of transcendence and here meaning itself is under attack. Not that the tidbits which makes up this edit or cut, which is certainly not a coherent narrative, don’t have their subliminal effect. Godard has always been a fetishist and there are scenes of analingus and naked women on leashes that fall under the rubric of "porn," a word that actually appears in the credits. And it wouldn’t be without interest to do an fMRI of moviegoers to see what part of the brain is being affected by the alternating scenes of sexuality, violence and scholarship. Is Godard alluding to Conrad when he introduces Under Western Eyes more than once or tipping his hat to Edward Said’s Orientalism when he cities Alexander Dumas’s L’Arabie Heureuse? What compendium of film imagery would be complete without L’Atalante and the famous scene of Michel Simon turning the record? One can’t but throw one’s hands up, displaying the old-fashioned primitive response that ingenues once showed for abstract expressionism. The only difference here is that your two-year-old couldn’t pull this off, since he or she wouldn’t have access to all the citations.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.