Tag Archives: Jean-Luc Godard

JEAN-LUC GODARD — THE IMAGE BOOK

Johnny “Guitar” Logan (Sterling Hayden): Don’t go away.

Vienna (Joan Crawford): I haven’t moved.

Johnny: Tell me something nice.

Vienna: Sure. What do you want to hear?

JohnnyLie to me. Tell me all these years you’ve waited. Tell me.

Vienna“All these years I’ve waited.”

Johnny: Tell me you’d have died if I hadn’t come back.

Vienna: “I would have died if you hadn’t come back.”

Johnny: Tell me you still love me like I love you.

Vienna: “I still love you like you love me.”

Johnny: Thanks. [Takes another drink.] Thanks a lot.

The cinema of Jean-Luc Godard—unmatched in its longevity and rigor—is a history of versions, revisions, and doubles, and his new work The Image Book (Le livre d’image) is a filmmaker’s autobiography by a cineaste whose curiosity shows no sign of flagging. The film has five sections, referencing the fingers of a hand, and borrows from a century of footage, including clips from his own durational Histoire(s) du cinéma.

As in all of Godard’s work, standards of continuity, editing, and sound-and-image sync are distorted or discarded. Flows of knowledge and experience are interrupted and memory is questioned. When Godard’s screen turns blank, we can daydream. But when the soundtrack drops out, a chill descends and the world falls through an abyss of silence.

“A truth in art is that which the opposite is also true.” — Oscar Wilde

For Godard, truth appears in fragments. When it comes to the truth, it would be arrogant to think otherwise. In The Image Book, his use of the “lie to me” conversation from Nicholas Ray’s 1954 film Johnny Guitar speaks to something we demand of cinema, something to do with hope. Film is always eluding us—”running away,” as Raymond Bellour wrote. It’s an act of abandonment by a thousand cuts, relieved only by the assurance that there is so much more to come.

The Image Book is screening twice daily at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre for the next five days. You’ll want to see it more than once.

THE IMAGE BOOK

Daily at 7:30 pm and 9:40 pm. Sunday matinee at 4 pm.

Through Thursday, February 21.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

Jean-Luc Godard, The Image Book/Le livre d’image, courtesy Kino Lorber.

GODARD ENCORE AT THE AERO

A sequel of sorts to the recent American Cinematheque series For the Love of Godard arrives this weekend at the Aero.

CONTEMPT (Le Mépris) and ALPHAVILLE will screen, as well as 35mm prints of LE PETIT SOLDAT and MADE IN U.S.A.Anna Karina’s last film for Jean-Luc Godard, featuring a cameo by Marianne Faithfull.

And if you missed last year’s MOCA screening of ONE PLUS ONE—Godard’s documentary incorporating the Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” recording sessions—it will be at the Aero Sunday night.

(The Cinematheque’s exclusive run of Godard’s new film THE IMAGE BOOKLe livre d’imagecommences Friday, February 15.)

CONTEMPT and LE PETIT SOLDAT

Friday, January 18, at 7:30 pm.

ALPHAVILLE and MADE IN U.S.A.

Saturday, January 19, at 7:30

ONE PLUS ONE

Sunday, January 20, at 7:30 pm.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

From top: Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli in Contempt (1963); Piccoli(left), Fritz Lang, Jack Palance, and Jean-Luc Godard, on the set of ContemptAnna Karina in Alphaville (1965). Image credit: Rialto Pictures.

HELEN MOLESWORTH READS ONE DAY AT A TIME

“When I sat in Manny’s lecture hall [in the fall/winter quarter of 1988], I had no inkling of what a curator even did…
“And my current understanding of its operations, demanding a constant oscillation between the big picture and the details—the big picture being the institution of the museum and its central role in the creation of value, the formation of canons, and the presentation of private artistic acts for public experience; the details involving the development of intimacies with both objects and their makers, the why and how of choosing specific objects, the why and how of installing them, and what each act of adjacency in an installation might connote—was still a decade away.” — Helen Molesworth*
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This weekend, ONE DAY AT A TIME—MANNY FARBER AND TERMITE ART curator Helen Molesworth reads her titular catalogue essay in the exhibition’s gallery. Centered on Farber, the essay moves through the elusive definitions of termite art, still life, and the everyday.

HELEN MOLESWORTH READS ONE DAY AT A TIME

Sunday, January 13, at 3 pm.

MOCA Grand Avenue

250 South Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

 

See “Under the Volcano: Helen Molesworth in conversation with Dorothée Perret,” PARIS LA 14 (Winter 2016): 29–37.

*Helen Molesworth, “One Day at a Time,” in One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art/Munich: DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2018

GODARD’S ONE PLUS ONE

As part of the Los Angeles Filmforum series 1968: Visions of Possibilities, MOCA will screen the Los Angeles 4K restoration premiere of Jean-Luc Godard’s ONE PLUS ONE—part documentary of how the Rolling Stones developed their song “Sympathy for the Devil” at Olympic Studios in London, part 1968 political agitprop by Godard in the wake of the May uprisings.

“Godard had the crew lay down tracking rails that ran in a figure-eight throughout the studio… In ten-minute takes, Godard followed the song’s metamorphosis from a straight-ahead rocker to a pantheistic samba. Drummer Charlie Watts put down his drumsticks in favor of Algerian hand drums, and the four backup singers (including Marianne Faithfull) congregated around a microphone for gospel exhortations.

“The last night of the shoot ended prematurely as the studio caught fire when a gel filter on an overhead light ignited.” — Richard Brody*

Alternating with the studio footage are scenes Godard shot with Anne Wiazemsky playing “Eve Democracy,” who, followed by a documentary crew, responds to elaborate political questions—many of them lifted from a 1968 interview Norman Mailer did with Playboy—with “yes” or “no” answers. “In bringing Wiazemsky to London and casting her as the absurd and naïve Eve Democracy, Godard mocked not only democracy but Wiazemsky’s non-revolutionary commitment to it.”*

ONE PLUS ONE

Thursday, November 8, at 7 pm.

MOCA Grand Avenue

250 South Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.

 

*Richard Brody, Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008), 338, 340.

From top:

Film poster with Jean-Luc Godard’s title. (An alternative cut—titled Sympathy for the Devil by the producers—re-edited the soundtrack of the film’s final scenes.)

The Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithful lay down the backing vocal track.

Anne Wiazemsky in her One Plus One final scene.

Godard and Mick Jagger during filming.

The Stones at Olympia Studios.

Image credit: ABKCO Films.

MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI

“I feel the need to express reality, but in terms which are not completely realist.” — Michelangelo Antonioni to Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers du cinéma, November 1964.

Over the next two weeks at the Egyptian, the American Cinematheque will present Modernist Master—Michelangelo Antonioni, an extensive retrospective of the work of the Italian writer-director showcasing his key dramatic features, as well as a selection of shorts from throughout his career.

“Your work has proceeded, from moment to moment, in a movement of double vigilance, towards the contemporary world and towards yourself… You have lived through and treated the history of the last thirty years with subtlety, not as the matter of an artistic reflection or an ideological mission, but as a substance whose magnetism it was your task to capture from work to work.” — Roland Barthes, “Dear Antonioni,” 1980*

The series will open with BLOW-UP (1966), Antonioni’s celebrated look at Swinging London through the eyes of a fashion photographer—played by David Hemmings and largely based on David Bailey. The film co-stars Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, Verushka, Jane Birkin, and The Yardbirds.

“For you, content and form are equally historical… Strictly speaking, the artist—unlike the thinker—does not evolve; he scans, like a very sensitive instrument, the successive novelty with which his own history presents him… The artist, for his part, knows that the meaning of a thing is not its truth… Your work is not a fixed reflection, but an iridescent surface.” — Barthes, “Dear Antonioni”

The Monica Vitti tetralogy from the early sixties is here—L’AVVENTURA (1960), LA NOTTE (1961), L’ECLISSE (1962), and RED DESERT (1964)—and the closing-weekend double feature pairs THE PASSENGER—written by Peter Wollen, Mark Peploe, and Antonioni—and ZABRISKIE POINT, shot in Los Angeles and Death Valley.

“Your art consists in always leaving the road of meaning open and as if undecided—out of scrupulousness. In this respect you accomplish very precisely the task of the artist as our time requires it: neither dogmatic, nor empty of signification.” — Barthes, “Dear Antonioni”

The series—co-presented by Luce Cinecittà—also takes a deep dive into Antonioni’s early work—STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR (1950), I VINTI (1952, his three-part look at juvenile delinquency), LE AMICHE (1955), and IL GRIDO (1957), starring Stephen Cochran as Antonioni’s only working-class male protagonist.

A rare screening of the documentary CHUNG KUO—CHINA will close the retrospective.

 

BLOW-UP and IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN

Thursday, September 13, at 7:30 pm.

 

L’AVVENTURA, Friday, September 14, at 7:30 pm.

 

LA NOTTE and STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR

Saturday, September 15, at 7:30 pm.

 

L’ECLISSE, Sunday, September 16, at 7:30 pm.

 

I VINTI and LE AMICHE

Thursday, September 20, at 7:30 pm.

 

RED DESERT and IL GRIDO

Friday, September 21, at 7:30 pm.

 

THE PASSENGER and ZABRISKIE POINT

Saturday, September 22, at 7:30 pm.

 

CHUNG KUO—CHINA, Sunday, September 23, at 7:30.

 

Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

*“Cher Antonioni” is a commemorative speech given by Roland Barthes in 1980 in Bologna. It was subsequently published in Cahiers du cinéma 311 (May 1980), and translated into English by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith for his book L’Avventura.

From top: Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings in Blow-Up.

Stephen Cochran and Dorian Gray in Il Grido.

Monica Vitti and Michelangelo Antonioni at the Paris premiere of L’Avventura in 1960.

Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider in The Passenger.

Antonioni with Alain Delon (center) and Vitti on the set of L’Eclisse.