Everything should go into film – Godard

It is natural that Deleuze talked about Godard in Cinema books. Since the beginning of his career, he has shifted his interests continuously, and as a result, there are distinct periods according to his different interests. For example, it is obvious to find different approaches of his filmmaking between Vivre Sa Vie, Alphaville, and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Film Socialism. His early films seem to have a clear narrative structure, and later he radically explores the possibility not for the storytelling but for film as medium: indeterminable relations through montage, between music or text and images, disconnected narratives and so on. We can make connection between Deleuze and Godard in several ways.

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, the film that Godard made before his turning point to political ways clearly resonates with Deleuze’s difference and philosophical attitude in general. How we generate thought? Based on my understanding of Deleuze so far, that generation happens when we encounter, simply speaking, new things that does not fit into our pre-existing knowledge of world. This confrontation immediately stimulates our fixed interpretations and leads us to move beyond our limits. This film creates this process from the beginning to the end of the film. In the beginning, Godard whispering explains the construction in Paris region first and then moves to the introduction of actress and her character (Juliette Janson) in the film. His whispering, of course, creates immediately some distance between the viewer and film. And the introduction that consists of two almost identical sequences of images and actions keeps creating unexpected encounters, and even after Godard whispering, Juliette speaks about herself a bit. Godard already puts several elements together in his own ways that provides us different ways of interpretations of this beginning. We can examine of relations between two separate introductions such as limitation of language, and find ourselves thinking of something different.

As pointed out in Douglas Morrey’s book, the way of representation in this film is very related with Deleuze’s difference; “…life results from the affirmation of difference…Godard refuses an approach between that which is and is not suitable material for a film.” Like an explanation by Morrey about a specific scene, 360-degree pan starting from Juliette and returning to her, Godard embodied his thought through images and dialogues; “No event is experienced in isolation. You find that it is also inked to what surrounds it”. Part of Juliette dialogue has same sense; “The feeling of my ties to the world. Suddenly I felt I was the world and the world was me. It would take pages and pages to describes it.” With whole relations with the world, which creates difference, we can do thought. Godard’s demonstration is accomplished well this simple 360 pan. In this scene, we can also see Godard’s belief on cinema and his ambitious and earnest desire to achieve this belief though camera. Through camera, reality becomes images but Godard agonizes over what these images are and the possibility of series of images in cinema. Godard’s anxiety establishes his attitude to cinema in historical sense. And this tendency is still alive in his recent films.

Personally this 360-pan scene is beautiful even the moment when Juliette smiles because of her dialogue “She looks like Chekhov’s Natasha. Or the sister of Flaherty’s Nanook” (I am not sure whether Godard used an earphone for this scene). Also, on the background, it is great to see two people looked out of the window of the apartment. Like this scene, Godard never loses his capability to depict images with his thoughts beautifully. Another example – Morrey also explains in detail the café scene of this film. This scene has abundant resources for images, meanings and objectifications like separate images from magazine or close-up of coffee. Right after this scene, with gentle music as transition, the next scene that three different takes of Juliette walking on street. Her dialogue is “I’ve tried to recapture the feeling all day. There was the smell of trees. I was the world. The world was me “. Personally, this short scene somehow looks like Godard’s comforting words although I do not know why I feel, but in terms of cinematic expression, music, voice over of Juliette, and three similar shots work together perfectly- at least for me.

When I read The Smooth and The Striated chapter, personally it is important to think about actual activity in real world, and considering his film career, Godard is clearly a filmmaker who keeps deterritorialize boundaries to create the smooth space. When we talk about Godard, intellectual characteristics of his film often are mentioned. But besides his radical approaches, his attitude to the art, human and world cannot be missed. Last year, I saw his latest film, Film Socialism, and at the end of film, I saw his decisive decisions, ceaseless study of images, and his desire to make the film free to anything (although I only saw the film one time and did not fully understand it). It is surprised that Godard keeps making his films with his own way without compromise.

The tile of this posting is the actual title of Godard’s article for his film, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (Morrey, 68).

Reference: “Jean-Luc Godard” by Douglas Morrey


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