Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Movie a Day: 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)

There are not a lot of directors to whom the term "genius" can be applied. Kubrick comes to mind. Bergman. Welles, certainly. I'd argue Resnais, obviously. Coppola, too, though I don't think anybody will ever fully understand him, and I still feel like much of the time he lacks the capability to get out everything he's trying to express, which is actually a lot of the reason I've been enjoying his recent work so thoroughly. But that's a topic for another time. Anyway, I feel the label can be applied to directors so amazingly inventive, so consistently expressive, who time and time again push not only the medium forward but art itself.

It didn't take much for me to realize Godard was a genius. There's a popular sentiment that goes that the smartest person in the room isn't the guy who's making a lot of ruckus about it, but the guy (or gal) who stays quiet, oberserves, and cuts in when need be. While I generally agree with that, Godard is absolutely the loudest man in the room, constantly making a show of how smart and culturally aware he is. Which is totally fine. To name two other key artists of the 1960s, Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol certainly weren't quiet about their genius.

If there's a problem with Godard's films, and this is only if you view this as a problem, it's that they're more thought than felt; closer to essay than narrative. Personally, I'm fine with it, even, as I said in my piece on Made in U.S.A, when I don't understand very much of it. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is ostensibly about a married woman who works as a call girl, but what it's really about is the influence and invasion of consumerism and modern convenience, both replacing the opportunity for any sort of genuine emotional engagement, and what people would say if they could say what they felt.

Not bad for a first viewing, eh? Anyway, I was a big fan of it. Pierrot le Fou is still my favorite of his, but this is up there with Contempt...but in its own way, nothing's as good as Contempt.

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