The éminence grise of French cinema, Jean-Luc Godard tackles nothing less than the history of Europe and intractable conflicts around the globe in his latest profound cine-essay. The first hour of Film Socialisme is set on a Mediterranean cruise ship, which docks in ports in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Italy, among others; at each stop, passengers reflect on both the horrors of Europe’s past—the Inquisition, the Holocaust—and its uncertain future. In its second half, the focus shifts to a rural gas station whose owners appear to be in the midst of a marital crisis. Yet here, too, larger sociopolitical issues— the Israel-Palestine conflict, for instance—are never far from the characters’ thoughts. Stunningly shot primarily on highdefinition video, Film Socialisme, like all of the great auteur’s works, is a provocative experiment in image and sound, juxtaposing narratives about Europe’s bloody past with shots of the ship’s passengers seeking out pleasure in the vessel’s casino or at the all-you-can eat buffet. Always challenging his viewers, Godard provides deliberately abstract English translations throughout Film Socialisme, inventively complicating meaning and interpretation.
“Jean-Luc Godard’s place in late-20th-century French cinema is not unlike Pound’s in midcentury Anglophone poetry: endlessly influential and perpetually controversial, a longtime resident of the middle ground between sage and crank. Film Socialisme, is, like many of its predecessors, an assemblage of vignettes, allusions and tracts, a three-part invention in which music, voices and pictures are arranged in a loose, contrapuntal pattern that is by turns provocative, grating, gorgeous and tiresome. In typical Godardian fashion the film manages to be both strident and elusive, argumentative and opaque.”
A. O. Scott, The New York Times.
Otto Goldberg: Jean-Marc Stehlé
Catherine: Catherine Tanvier
Jean-Jacques Martin: Christian Sinniger
Patti Smith: Herself
Bernard Maris: Himself
Best Independent / Experimental Film and Video – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (2010)
LANGUAGE French, German, English, Italian, Russian, Spanish
RUNNING TIME 101’
PRODUCTION France, 2010
RATING Not Rated
FORMAT(S) DVD, Blu-ray
Kino Lorber EDU