Saturday, April 30, 2005

in Godard's own words

Courtesy of Steve (who also sharpens a few necessary barbs for John Berger):
"It's over," he sighs. "There was a time maybe when cinema could have improved society, but that time was missed."

Yet he continues to study film and experiment as energetically as ever. He is brutally dismissive of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and of the spate of other recent films attacking globalisation, warmongering and US cultural imperialism. "They say they are attacking Bush, but they are not doing it in movie terms, but in words." He calls Moore (in his idiosyncratic English) "just a Hollywood reporter man", and compares him unfavourably with the great cinéma vérité documentary-maker Frederick Wiseman. He even suggests that Moore's work may actually have helped Bush. "It's not enough to be against Adolf Hitler. If you make a disastrous movie, you're not against Adolf Hitler." (Whether he has actually seen Fahrenheit 9/11 is not in any way apparent.)

Nor is Godard especially flattering about the legions of admirers who make reference to him in their own movies or even name their companies after him. Quentin Tarantino, for example, calls his production company A Band Apart, in deference to Godard's 1964 classic, Bande à Part. "He says he admires me, but that's not true," Godard muses, then makes a cryptic remark about the torture and humiliation of prisoners by US guards in Iraq. "What is never said about Tarantino is that those prisons we are shown pictures of, where the torture is taking place, are called "reservoir dogs". I think the name is very appropriate."

Who was it who said, "...if you're always having to write about "The Matrix" maybe you really don't have that much to say in the first place..."? You have to admire Godard's dismissiveness. Much like Derrida's, a calibration of (im)patience and (non)interest with regard to such 'pop' "tributes" that some would dismiss as hopelessly old world. But I often find them spot-on. Little tolerance for...what? maybe poshlost' (at least in Nabokov's rather generous conception).

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