Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Weekend: Jean-Luc Godard

The word that best describes this movie is riveting. That it is such utter captivity, such immense satire is what makes this a cinematic experience worth remembering, a tour de force for the senses. We are aware as we watch it that this is a movie of ideas, one after the other, like chapters in a book, thrown incessantly at your face, relentlessly, savagely. That there are so many of them, with so little warning, that it becomes a trifle difficult to watch it, to follow it sometimes.

An almost anarchic couple, who would not mind killing each other, leave Paris on a weekend to claim inheritance by shady, almost immoral means. They get trapped in a traffic jam, almost a vision of hell. There are cars lying in heaps, bodies by the roads, blood on the roads, a couple playing chess and all these things seem to be going on inspite of themselves. we watch this couple flee armed people, french revolutionaries, immigrant Arabs delivering speeches till they get caught up in a revolutionary militia that cannibalises , ending in the woman eating a bit of her husband too, after the mother has been murdered for money.

This movie is a ferocious response against bourgeoisie values. only a new horror can spare us from bourgeoisie horror, we hear. Marx equated with Christ, Engels and Morgan and we understand that this is not satire for satires sake but a revolt, an artistic attack against commodity fetishism, against not the usual dreary montage of existential angst but a profound indictment of social anarchy against a background of consumerism.

With Godard, one knows that we are watching a movie made not just by a great artiste but an intelligent man, a director making a movie of ideas, like a Russian novel of ideas. It is a phenomenal movie, a great movie, one that lingers in the retina, and one that can be made sense of long after having watched it. It is nothing short of brilliance. It must be watched a few times to grasp its luminosity.

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