Film Socialisme (France, 2010)

Godard Film SocialismeDirected by: Jean-Luc Godard. First and foremost, this is a Godard film. Godard basically invented a form of cinema that inspired a lot of people to make films that were incendiary and oblique and fast moving, etc. I don’t know much about him, but I know he left all that stuff behind a long time ago to basically make socialist propaganda films—really really arty, abstract socialist propaganda films. This is about the fourth or fifth of his I’ve seen, and only the second in his “current phase.” Le Gai Savoir was made a long time ago, and it was fairly difficult to get through, being solely two people engaged in his direct, presentational, Brechtian dialogue (the themes of the dialogue solely based around socialist theory, the evils of modern American imperial capitalism, etc). There is plenty of that kind of thing here, but this film is definitely more smooth, more elegant, on an aesthetic level, than the intense, jump-cutting films that established him as one of the loudest voices of the French left in the 60’s. His political convictions are as strong as ever, but it seems that they’re also as obscure as ever. I almost didn’t write this review, wanting to watch it again and try to really “get it.” And I probably will—this film had enough beauty and intelligence and provocative little snippets in it to warrant a second viewing. For now, though, I feel like I can tentatively say that this is a pretty indicative slice of Godard as he exists now, an aging socialist making films in an increasingly capitalistic world.

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