Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tout Va Bien (1972)

So maybe Jean-Luc Godard works well with others or something. While my previous exposures to his "political" side gave me hives, this film won me over. Unlike Les Carabiniers, Godard didn't leave his intellgence behind to make this one, and unlike Two or Three Things I Know About Her, he doesn't drown his points in endless dialogue. It's sharp, to-the-point and fairly clever as far as radical cinema goes. (Just because you're passionate doesn't mean you have to forget your sense of humor, right?) What's really fascinating, though, is the film's attempts to undermine its own politics. From the opening meta-film gambit (which serves to remind us that, after all, this is all artificial) to the self-critical stretch in the middle where we see the male protagonist discussing the failure of his political intentions and his ambiguity at having sold out to The System, Godard and Co. seem to be questioning the idea of radicalism's capacity to effect change even as he desperately begs for change. It all comes together in the brilliant, formally astonishing supermarket climax, which is either a call to revolution or a resigned admission that forceful revolt occasionally only ends in aimless anarchy. You can see traces here of the impulses that led Godard to make Notre Musique.

Grade: B+


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