Friday, January 31, 2014

Godard Forever: Part One TIFF Cinematheque Retrospective

Godard Forever: Part One

TIFF Cinematheque: Retrospective

On now until Feb. 13   at TIFF Bell Lightbox
If it’s important to make an effort to see any filmmakers’ work, that filmmaker would be Jean-Luc Godard.  They broke the rules, set new trends and swept through the new wave in the 60s and they are life-alteringly good.  Jazzed with life, colour and warmth they come from humane, authentic and imaginative place. 

Godard created films that burst with wild whimsy, pop culture icons, and truths about the human condition and there are a few cinematic jokes that are astounding in their innovation.  
In what other films do we run through fields, stubble upon bloody carcasses falling out of wrecked cars, watch Jean Paul Belmondo yawn and spout gobbledygook? 

Or casually stroll by miles of crashed cars with dead bodies Godard’s huge imagination and insatiable curiosity take us to places we’ve never been, figuratively and literally, for example colossal modern architectural gem The Casa Malaparte in Capri ...

...  where Bridget Bardot takes a nude swim,  the tree lined in France that he appears to revisit from project to project and inside the heart of a cruel woman?  These films were made when it was unusual to work on location.
Godard’s films are obsessed with movie culture and laced with film references; we actually learn about films while watching a film, as when Fritz Lang critiques the day’s rushes for Odysseus

 and American producer played by Jack Palance throws a violent fit over the content.  

Jean Paul Belmondo browses through movie magazines in A Woman is a Woman.  Cinema is paid attention to in all his films, whether it’s a scene in a movie house, or a discussion of the latest films or a marquee or poster but it’s always just in front of us.
Godard’s work is heightened by some of the most beautiful music in film, by composers like Alfred Hitchcock stalwart Bernard Hermann. 

Majestic, swelling soaring strains sometimes give the most mundane moments glorious life and importance that the scene might not deserve so it can seem like a hoax, and sometimes it highlights moments, events or images, that require big sound in perfect ways. 
But Godard also looks deeply inside of us, refusing to make heroes and villains, and preferring to give characters with real life in them, made of all kinds of actions and thoughts, good or bad, found in the rainbow of human existence.

He puts them in the context of politics, love, work, daily life and extraordinary moments.  Evil actions are put in the context of the mundane, like casual murders lead characters commit.
These moments explode with life or stand dead still and seem lively.  His unique style, colours, backdrops – mostly in the natural world, with some attention paid to garish graffiti style pop art and mid-stream graphic announcements, political grandstanding and nonsensical, often sickening events make this a revelation about the human condition and how easy it is, in the right circumstances to go berserk. 
He places blame on many different factors like rampant consumerism and the political upheaval in Europe following the World Wars.  And yet it somehow looks like today.  He’s not what you’d call subtle.
TIFF Cinematheque’s thrilling retrospective Godard Forever has finally arrived at TIFF Bell Lightbox and with it, the opportunity to see his wonderful films on the big screen.  

It’s hard to imagine a more welcome programme to get us through the winter doldrums.  They have the power to delight and move.
                                                 Jean-Luc Godard                                               
For the complete list of Godard films on offer go to or better still, just head on down to Lightbox at King and John Streets.



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