Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Trailer of a Film That Will Never Exist


                                  Caveat Emptor!!!   

Cyril Leuthy's Godard Cinema, currently completing a run at Film Forum, is a biopic of the director/provacateur with cameos by Nathalie Baye, Julie Delpy, Hanna Schygulla, Anna Karina, Marina Vlady and Nathalie Baye--an alumna of Call My Agent. One can only guess what Godard would have thought about the appropriation and commodification of his star. Godard Cinema actually plays second fiddle to the director's last work,Trailer of a Film That Will Never Exist: Phony Wars (2022), probably the longest trailer at 20 min in film history and the most enigmatically brilliant--also part of the current bill. Le Gai savoir (1969) is not referenced along with the classics A bout de Souffle (1960),Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle (1967),Weekend (1969), but it's an important key. Le Gai savoir, "the joy of learning" is a quote from Rousseau who famously authored Emile, or On Education, a kind of Civilization and Its Discontents of socialization. Along with other non sequiturs, "sight and "sound" are framed and bookended with an abstract ball of fire--that actually looks like an Adolphe Gottlieb painting. Is this latter, preconscious thought? There's a plethora of backstory both about the director's marriages (particularly to the ethereally beautiful Karina with her misspelled nom de plume). Godard had, it turns out, more in common with the millenarian sci-fi of JG Ballard whose Crash bears more comparison to Weekend than Spielberg's sentimental Empire of the Sun did to Ballard novel on which it was based. And Godard's history of film including Eisenstein "Odessa Steps" sequence from Potemkin is a resource itself. But the "trailer" is Godard's last work. Based on Charles Plisnier l937 novel Faux Passports, it's his When We Dead Awaken, his Long Days Journey, his Tempest (in a teapot) whose ultimate irony is that it presages nothing. Godard's trailer, shown 8 days before his death, at the Venice Film Festival, is his epitaph.

read and listen to the playlist for The Kafka Studies Department in Largehearted Boy

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