A quick update from my summer holiday. Cinema is a gift. Cinema can expand borders of any kind and can easily destroy any obstacles on the way. It makes you think and it challenges the hell out of you. It can do that. You just have to look in the right places. I’ve began my Jean-Luc Godard watch. During these couple of weeks I plan to revisit all of his works. For now, I leave you with a few notes.
- Breathless (1960) – Godard’s debut is like the title suggests, a breathtaking experience. It is a film, that like so many other works from the French author, explores the relationship between two human beings who are not suited for one another. They love each other and at the same time they feel disgusted by the other’s presence. The camera creeps in whenever there is a real connection between the two lovers (played by the beautiful Jean Seberg and the young, dynamic Jean-Paul Belmondo) and fades out once the connection is cut in half. The two lovers, immersed in the loveless city of Paris, are the typical example of New Wave protagonists: insecure, scared and ambitious. They have dreams, but Godard doesn’t let them fly for too long.
- Vivre sa vie (1962) – Godard searches for answers in the world of prostitution. We follow a young woman who wants to become an actress despite being poor and alone. It is presented in twelve episodic tales that portray the life of a Parisian woman (the iconic Anna Karina) and her slow descent into prostitution. This film studies spaces. Godard begins to shape his style that will later on consist of one question: what is real? The camera is always there to limit our view. We want answers but we have to work in order to get them. We have to get dirty, just like the young woman.
- Contempt (1963) – probably my favorite Godard and his most hated one by the public. It is his most mature work, and one that feels strongly inspired by the works of Antonioni, another master at telling stories that deal with everything and nothing at the same time. For Godard relationships are just a mere excuse to be with someone else. Lovers exist because the world says so. Not because we want to. Contempt is a story of two people who learn to hate each other. It is also a film dedicated to cinema. It is a film dedicated to music and culture. Brigitte Bardot, the beautiful star of the 60s, plays the wife of a playwright. The two drift apart from each other and their relationship becomes a Greek tragedy. Godard would go on and continue the use of his long shots, filmed in Technicolor, in order to highlight the hopelessness we are born into. For Godard, everything is about cinema. Love can wait.