Sunday, November 23, 2003

Claude Brasseur, Anna Karina and Sami Frey take a crack at "The Madison" in Godard's Bande a Part

Godard, 24 fps

Saw Godard's fantastic Bande a Part for the first time. It’s a so-so story -- two guys, a girl, a robbery, some dancing -- transformed by his highly distinct style, which in this case means absorption in the doe-eyed beauty of Anna Karina, the loose, devil-may-care spontaneity of the actors Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey and the story they are in, and the casual, tossed-off quotes to literature and pop culture -- none of which I got on my own (or likely you will, whoever you are), but which the DVD helpfully points out. What do you feel in a Godard film? You feel a love of the moving image and its possibilities; a love of faces and streets and the flow of everyday life, and that is not a love you feel in what you generally see at most movies or in TV -- what you feel there is people just doing their job. You feel he is a genius and that he is one of a kind. You don’t feel a whole lot for the characters, though -- you don’t even think of them as characters so much as actors in a Godard film, and the story is too ordinary to get much of a response. You just know whoever made it is fucking marvelous, and one feels affection toward him, although I can’t say it is repaid. He’s like Kubrick; he gives off the nerdy cineaste vibe of someone who has disappeared into his own craft (and craft does seem like the right word), like Nabokov’s Luzhin disappearing into the chessboard. He’s Jean-Luc Cinema Godard alright; he is the film and the film is him. This is not all there is to say about him or the film, but it’s all I feel like saying at the moment. I really did love the movie though, and I’m sure I’ll see it again. I am particularly enamored of Karina’s distended tongue when Brasseur gives her a kiss.

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