Monday, July 27, 2009

MIFF 2009 Day 4 - 27/7/09

  • Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, France/Italy, 1965)
Pierrot le fou
This is the only day that I've only scheduled one film - the calm before the storm? I know that MIFF Senior Programmer Michelle Carey is very fond of Jean-Luc Godard and recommended the three Godard films in the Anna Karina retrospective. Me, I'm still not sold on his work and that ambivalence continues with this brand new print of Pierrot le fou. It's a lovely looking film, it's bizarre, with a strange sense of humour that appeals to me. Still, there's something I can't engage with, and today's screening revealled to me something new.

A recurring feature of Godard's films is, of course, his intellectualism. What I noted today is that his films border on didacticism. L'histoire(s) du cinèma is a manifesto, maybe even an angry rant at the audience. That element is there in Alpahaville and I detected it again in Pierrot le fou. Paul Belmondo's character is a surrogate for Godard, giving us the same monotone rant. Godard may be a pioneer of French cinema, or perhaps cinema itself, and I respect his intellect, but his films don't talk to me. They don't grab me by the jugular and compel me to get involved in their stories. They leave me feeling indifferent and I may be the loser, but I don't care. Not yet, anyhow. I'm going to continue exploring the work of Godard and remain open to the possibilities, but it hasn't struck me yet. Pierrot le fou is definitely worth watching, but I don't rate it highly.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. Week End was the only one of his films that wowed me in a major way, and even that film had problems. I also feel very indifferent towards them. After I watch a Godard I just shrug and meh. I find them very forgettable.

I also find his constant obsession of breaking the fourth wall annoying. Ok, Godard, we get it, we are watching a 'film'. No need to bash our head with it.

I haven't seen Pierrot le fou or all of Alphaville, so I'm not sure if he does it in those films, but I'm sure he probably does, since that's his whole שטיק.


Toby said...

I have never been able to fully embrace Godard like so many others. I find his films to be intellectually rigorous but lacking any emotional connection which is fine. Kubrick did similar things but his films are much more compelling. My favourite Godard is CONTEMPT and daylight between that and the rest of his films.

Trent Vittorio said...

Did you have any idea why the session started half an hour late?

rodney said...

I think you're missing out.Between 1958 and 1967 Godard was in the midst of one of the greatest creative peaks in cinema history.The only other director who compares with this peak is Von Sternberg between 1927-1935.Interesting they both had a favorite muse,Dietrich and Karina,making 7 films with each.Out of the 15 films made in this period,10 are masterpieces.I mentioned to Anna Karina that Godard was like Bob Dylan in the 60's and that his later films are hard going,she laughed.Godard appeals to hardcore cinephiles,the many references/injokes can go over the head of the casual audience member.His 60's films are actually his most joyous/humane,it's his post'68 films I find more cerebral/cold.

This is the first time I've written in.I find your blog most informative,it has the best coverage of the festival.Keep up the good work.

Paul Martin said...

Trent, I believe a session had technical problems, not unusual at film festivals because of the different grades and types of media being screened. Apparently, MIFF is holding up all sessions when one runs late so that they're all in sync. Previously, one would be late, and it would throw your whole schedule out. So, while the session may have been late, the technical problems could have been elsewhere.

Rodney, thanks for your comments. Am I missing out? I don't know. But I'm willing to give it a try.

I don't really like the idea of artists and muses; I find it slightly degrading (to the muse). Just like Woody Allen and Scarlett Johansson, not that I have any idea about the basis of that relationship.