It’s Paris, 1967, and tortured filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is beginning a transformative journey. After the lukewarm reception of his latest film ‘La Chinoise’ (starring his teenage girlfriend Anne Wiazemsky), he grows increasingly dissatisfied and disillusioned with the world in which he works. The pair marry, and we see the development of his growing obsession with being a revolutionary, and the subsequent distance this creates between him and his young bride.
Louis Garrell delivers an admirable performance as Godard, perfecting the role of the tortured artist with characteristics of brilliant and arrogance that these prodigies often possess. Stacy Martin, who plays his wife Anne, is also a fantastic match. She is reserved, yet we empathise with her, being married to this man who is becoming more and more egotistical. Her quiet but slightly mocking study of her husband’s obsession with becoming the radical political figure provides a needed lightness to some of the more weighty subject matter.
The film is not afraid to laugh at itself, cramming in as many Godardian cinematic techniques in as the two hours would allow, and breaking the fourth wall between the characters and the audience. Those who take Godard very seriously may not appreciate the way in which the film portrays him, as he is the butt of a few of the jokes, including the ritual smashing of his glasses when he takes part in riots. If you are willing, however, to not take it too seriously, and enjoy a beautifully shot, lightly amusing film about two interesting characters, then there is no reason not to enjoy it.
The scene in which Godard, Anne and four of their friends drive from Cannes back to Paris, all crammed in a tiny little car, is nothing short of brilliant. The tensions have been building between them over the last few days, and it all comes to head whilst they are crammed on top of each other in the car. The scenes documenting the riots in Paris are also brilliantly shot, sometimes through Godard’s lens, which is an interesting touch.
I would recommend this film unless you are looking for a portrayal of Godard the untouchable genius. This film doesn’t shy away from poking fun at its subjects.
Biography, Comedy, Drama | France, 2017 | 15 | 11th May 2018 (UK) | Thunderbird Releasing | Dir. Michel Hazanavicius | Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Bérénice Bejo