Godard by Godard, a wise and chronological portrait (review)

Godard by Godard, a wise and chronological portrait (review)

France 5 is broadcasting this evening a new documentary around the figure of Jean-Luc Godard. A nice archival work.

In 2006, the impossible “Expo Godard” at the Center Pompidou resulted in a sort of messy installation, pompously titled Journey(s) to Utopia, in search of a lost theorem… This non-event – which in fact was one – revealed at the same time the impossibility for Jean-Luc Godard to self-museumize and therefore present a readable portrait of itself. His cinema, made of incessant research, cannot accommodate finitude. The documentary presented by the president of the Cinémathèque Française Frédéric Bonnaud and directed by Florence Platarets, has the merit of not getting around the obstacle, better, of acting as if there were none. “Tell Godard simply? It’s possible! » And in just one hour what’s more! This portrait is similar to an illustrated Godard, where chronologically (wisely) we follow the thread of a journey which goes fromBreathless (1960) to picture book (2018). Film extracts, Godardian projections and testimonies (only from the archive, thank God!) allow us to get a glimpse of the unfolding of this immense work.

This unfolding, in essence, hides the essential, that is to say the world behind each image. This idea of ​​” world » comes up often. Godard thus explains having glimpsed the possibility of making cinema after having seen Journey to Italie by Roberto Rossellini (1954): “ A man, a woman in a car and outside, the world. It is not very complicated and very expensive to set up. I too can bring a man and a woman together. The world, I will see how to put it… » Further, Louis Aragon (from memory): ” When I see a piece of sidewalk in a Godard film, I know that behind there is the sea, there is a world… » Then re-Godard quoting Novalis: “ The world becomes a dream and the dream becomes a world. » Finally, here is JLG on the side of Francis Ponge, places himself in, “ repairer of the universe. » There is also this modesty that Godard knew how to mask with a false relaxation, throwing out axioms in the form of witticisms. An American television journalist laughs about it. Godard discreetly specifies: “ Behind the joke… » The sentence remains suspended, yet no word is missing to understand it.

This Godard by Godard is a romantic film which offers a let’s say – academic – approach to Godard. Those who would like to measure themselves against the Golem can now dive into the History(ies) of Cinema which alone are worth all the portraits in the world.

Godard by Godard written by Frédéric Bonnaud, directed by Florence Platarets… September 8 on France 5, from 10:50 p.m.

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