Friday, August 05, 2005

Notre Musique (2004)

What I've seen of the politicized Godard is, essentially, the work of a philosophy professor who doesn't care whether or not you're following his lecture. It's all words and hidden meaning sans any kind of framework or context. So imagine my surprise when genuine humanity crept into this, his latest film. It's a film of resignation and sadness, of longing and regret and despair. It's framed as a journey from the infernal to the sublime. We start by being bombarded with images of death and violence -- some real, some fabricated, and the point is that after a while the fictional representations of horror begin to feel indiscernable from the actual (or is it the other way around?). We then move into a kind of limbo, where we get the famed JLG logorrhea. But this time there's a different timbre about it -- the middle section of the film is set in Sarajevo, and this bombed-out city, set against the unrest of our current world political situation, tamps down the normal incendiary rhetoric of Godard. He means this time around to bring us together and not apart. Finally, we reach divinity and words themselves become unnecessary. It's beautiful in its way and a bit haunting too: Basically what we have here is an old revolutionary throwing down his guns. Of course, this is still late Godard. There's a certain level of pretension that has to be accepted, and I just can't totally commit to it. But this is impressive anyway.

Grade: B


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