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September 11, 2002

Godard redux


In your posting Walter Hill redux you remark: "I can't think of another filmmaker so talented whose work has gone so completely to hell. Can you?"

Unfortunately, I can: Godard.

Maybe precipitous declines are a risk of greatness in movie-making, something like "the bigger they are, the harder they fall." Or maybe because art in movie making (at least in the modern movie industry) seems to be much more a matter of balancing on some unconscious or at best semi-conscious razor's edge than in some other media.

I suspect that's because the conditions of modern movie making don't seem propitious for the sustained engagement with artistically nurturing emotional/technical "problems." (See, I can make you mutter "Say what?" with the best of those post-Modernists.) What I'm getting at is that few of today's movie makers are lucky enough to have anything like the sustaining "problems" of physical comedy underlying, for example, the films of a Buster Keaton. I think a lot of them would be grateful to be goaded from one inventive "solution" to another.

If you want to skip seeing Godard's most recent piece, fine by me. Just rent one of his pre-1968 movies and write your heart out. I mean, if we're going to discuss Greek architecture, I'm happy to go straight to the Parthenon and skip the little plastic knick-knacks now on sale at the Athens Airport gift shop.



posted by Friedrich at September 11, 2002


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