by Nick Hasted.
Jean-Luc Godard has lived in self-exile for most of his film-making life, a now 80-year-old enfant terrible. After the seismic ruptures to film grammar in his self-aware, playful Sixties work, he largely abandoned narrative and popularity at the start of the Seventies.
But his enduring idealism came through in a rare recent interview when, dismissing his more conventional and beloved nouvelle vague peers Truffaut and Chabrol, he sighed: “This was not the cinema we had dreamt of.” I haven’t seen much by him since 1967’s Weekend, for which I now suspect I should hang my head. Film Socialisme shows Godard is cinema’s last revolutionary, still willing it to wake to its potential.
Replacing narrative this time are three sections, centring on an ocean liner, a rural French petrol station and great, allusive chunks of old film. Themes include Palestine, the 20th century and its Holocausts, Jews, Hitler and Hollywood. The whole film sometimes seems a mournful, furious farewell to the conflicts and desires that defined Godard’s post-war generation of film rebels.
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