My third Godard

Somehow, I almost feel like reviewing this film as if it was a CD, track by track, and only at the end trying to summarize my feelings about the thing as a whole. It's strange, because this film has much more of an overarching narrative than, say, masculin/feminin, and it's more coherent in tone as well than for instance L'Eclisse, yet at the same time it feels more like a collection of terrific songs than those movies. Take the Billy the Kid moment:

It's not entirely random (it foreshadows a later moment in the film), but it feels like an inspired little riff, a moment that could stand by itself, almost, without knowing who and what it's about. The Louvre sequence is another example, memorably paid homage to in The Dreamers. But the moment that suddenly made me realize I was falling in love with this film was the minute of silence followed by the dance sequence:

There is so much pleasure here just watching these three people move, each with their own thoughts and dreams and motivation but in this moment moving so beautifully together. If you want to be deep about it, it's a metaphor for cinema itself: lives and personalities converging for a moment to create a unit, forever united on screen.

I'm not sure I'll watch the film as a whole very often, though it's entertaining enough - as with all CD's, there are some 'songs' that just aren't that memorable or special. I am sure, however, that in lost moments this is one of the films to pop into your DVD player just to enjoy a single scene.


cjKennedy said...

I'm still making my way through Godard's filmography and I've only seen each film once except for À Bout de Souffle which I've seen a couple of times (and you're right, Gere is no Belmondo.

He continues to confound me and make me feel like I don't know as much as I think I do. It's a little frustrating but also an interesting challenge. I hope my 2nd time through his films will give me a little more confidence.

Anyway, I was especially looking forward to Bande à Part because of The Dreamers (did that film get a better reception in Europe than it got here? I loved it) and because of the name of Tarantino's production company and because the Mia/Vincent dance sequence in Pulp Fiction felt like more than a little nod to the dance in Godard's film.

In the end, I liked it, but I'm still not sure what to make of it. Your fragmentary appreciation is interesting though. I think that's kind of the reaction I'm having to many of his films. They defy my ability to sum them up, but certain scenes, moments and images from each one stick in my mind.

Also, I think I'm in love with Anna Karina.

Catherine said...

I'm not a huge Godard fan. I haven't exactly seen every film he's done, but out of the three I have, this would be my favourite. The dance scene is priceless, made me dislike Tarantino even more than I already do.

cjKennedy said...

Not to put you on the spot Catherine, and not to suggest you're wrong, but I'm curious what it is you don't like about Tarantino.

I'm not looking to pick a fight, I'm just curious. For the record I like him quite a bit, but I'm not always convinced he's as great as his most passionate fans would have you believe.