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2014: The Year of the JLG

“I think what (Godard’s) talking about — and this is one of the reasons the dog Roxy is very prominent in the film — is that he’s trying to get people to look at the world in a kind of an unspoiled way. There are hints throughout the film that animal consciousness is kind of closer to the world than we are, that language sets up a barrier or filter or screen between us and what’s really there. And although the film is full of language, talk, printed text and so on, nevertheless I think there’s a sense he wants the viewer to scrape away a lot of the ordinary conceptions we have about how we communicate and look at the world afresh.”

— David Bordwell, interviewed on NPR

GTL_poster

When I started my annual tradition, in December of 2010, of writing a blog post that anointed a certain director as White City Cinema’s “Filmmaker of the Year,” I thought I was doing so with an impish sense of humor: I wanted to give these “awards” to the directors whose films I had spent the most time watching and thinking about over the course of the calendar year, knowing full well that the directors in question, whose work would be extremely relevant to me personally, would also most likely be dead or have their best-known work decades behind them. (Hence, Fritz Lang, on the strength of the “Complete Metropolis” restoration, was my inaugural winner, followed by Orson Welles in 2011, Alfred Hitchcock in 2012 and John Ford in 2013.) I’m happy to announce that this year my Filmmaker of the Year award goes to the soon-to-be 84-year-old Jean-Luc Godard but not on the basis of past glories — although I certainly could have done that if only to celebrate the occasion of Rialto Pictures’ digital restoration and theatrical re-release of Alphaville, which arguably looks more prescient today than in 1965, and Cohen Media Group’s essential, extras-stacked Blu-rays of two of Godard’s best latter-day films: Hail Mary (1984) and For Ever Mozart (1996). No, JLG is, for me, the filmmaker of 2014 solely because of his revolutionary new 3D film, Goodbye to Language, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and which I was extremely fortunate to see in its sole Wisconsin screening on the evening of November 13th (a benefit fundraiser for the University of Wisconsin’s Cinematheque). I concur completely with film scholar David Bordwell, who introduced the screening I attended, when he said that it is both the best new film he has seen all year as well as the best 3D film he has ever seen.

GTL_Glasses

While Godard has been a restless innovator for over half a century, his first foray into 3D feature filmmaking has been uncommonly fruitful, resulting in one of his most visually exciting movies. In an interview with the Canon camera company earlier this year, Godard spoke about his attraction to the 3D format by saying, “It is still a place where there are no rules.” In Goodbye to Language, Godard puts his money where his mouth is by intentionally breaking what little 3D rules there are (i.e., one should not allow too much separation between background and foreground objects, one should not allow more than six centimeters between the two cameras being used, etc.). As a result, Godard’s film is as far away as possible from the kind of banal and limited-in-conception 3D effects that one sees in contemporary Hollywood movies with 100 million dollar-plus budgets (where the actors frequently appear superimposed over flat-looking CGI backdrops). Instead, Godard and his cinematographer Fabrice Aragno use stereoscopic cinematography the way one imagines Orson Welles might have — to enhance the natural depth of field of an already deep-focus image; in some of the breathtaking seascape shots, for instance, the horizon appears to stretch out to infinity. But Goodbye to Language‘s most revelatory moment is one that so profoundly merges form and content that it has inspired spontaneous applause and laughter at many of the film’s screenings to date (including the Cannes premiere and the Madison show I attended): a 3D image of three characters splits apart to create two separate 2D images when one of the cameras in Godard’s homemade 3-D camera rig pans to follow two of the characters as they walk towards a lake while the other camera remains trained on the man who stays behind. The two separate images then resolve themselves back into a single 3D image when the three characters are reunited. To witness this retina-bursting shot on a theater screen is to witness the language of cinema expanding before one’s very eyes. It also renders utterly meaningless the possibility of watching a 2D version of the film, which takes the act of seeing and the concept of borders — whether linguistic, geographical or artistic — as its primary subjects.

GTL_Dog

Like most of Godard’s long-form work from the 1980s onwards, Goodbye to Language had an unusually long gestation period and grew out of other projects. Several ideas seem to stem from Film Socialisme, including the earlier film’s throwaway line “And when it comes time to talk about equality, I’ll tell you about crap,” which is greatly elaborated on here as a visual joke invoking Rodin’s “Thinker.” More substantially, Goodbye to Language has its origins in a 2006 museum exhibit entitled Voyage(s) en utopie, Godard, 1946-2006, for which the director wrote a “statement of purpose” that read, in part, “In the ‘I think, therefore I am,’ is the ‘I’ of ‘I am’ no longer the same as the ‘I’ of ‘I think’ and why?” (a Cartesian inquiry that itself has roots in Film Socialisme). Goodbye to Language recycles this question and also seeks to answer it with a resounding “no” by offering a philosophical meditation on the fractured nature of identity in our era of mass communication. Godard pointedly shows, through an impossibly rich tapestry of stereoscopic images and sounds, how language and technology have conspired to create barriers that separate humans not only from each other but also from themselves. I say “humans” because, although the film uses a bifurcated structure to tell the stories of two crumbling romantic relationships (represented by actors Héloïse Godet and Kamel Abdelli in the first half and Richard Chevallier and Zoé Bruneau in the second), the real “star” of Goodbye to Language is Godard’s mixed-breed dog Roxy, who is frequently depicted frolicking in nature, commanding both the most screen time and serving as the subject of some of the film’s most dazzling 3D effects. The shots of Roxy’s handsome snout in the maw of Godard’s camera, which convey an overwhelming feeling of love for the animal on the part of his owner/director, are so rapturously beautiful that they may make you want to cry. The film ends by juxtaposing the sounds of a dog barking with that of a baby wailing on the soundtrack, thus linking Roxy not only to nature but, implicitly, to a state of unspoiled innocence that humans possess only prior to learning to speak.

GTL_Dog2

The main idea that I took away from this dense and allusive film — at least on first viewing — is that Godard believes the cinema itself has become a language that imprisons viewers through its technological inflexibility and over-reliance on traditional narrative structure. At one point, a female says, “In Russian, Kamera means prison,” a line that is complimented by a recurring shot of Ivitch (Bruneau’s character) standing behind a grate of metal bars with a lake in the background behind her. Ivitch grips the bars with her hand, which, thanks to Godard’s 3D camera, seems almost impossibly far in front of her. A man’s hand soon appears in the frame, gripping the bars on the other side of the grate. This image of imprisonment plays out like the negative version of the “empty hands” shots that recur throughout Nouvelle Vague (1990). But Goodbye to Language is thankfully much more than a movie about watching movies; it is also, as David Bordwell suggests, about how to see the world. In another incredibly striking shot, a little boy and a little girl run through a green grassy field beneath a hyper-saturated blue sky. A female voice tells us in voice-over that when she was a girl she “saw dogs all over” while her lover saw “the clouds and the sky.” The implication is that children look at nature with a sense of wonderment that adults lack (an idea the film shares with Pascale Ferran’s delightful Bird People). By contrast, the lead adult characters, all of whom are introduced in a prologue in an open-air book market, are depicted reading aloud texts from various books and an iPhone — locked into self-imposed isolation and not listening to each other. Later, one of the couples contemplates salvaging their relationship, and presumably regaining a sense of wonder, through the act of having a child or adopting a dog. If Goodbye to Language feels more optimistic than Godard’s other recent work, in spite of some disturbing asides about political and domestic violence, this is undoubtedly because the possibilities of 3D have allowed him to see the world afresh.

gtl

Apart from its artistic quality, Goodbye to Language has also established itself as something of a zeitgeist movie (at least for those of us who care passionately about cinema) through the mere fact of its existence. It is yet one more example, and perhaps the most profound such instance since 1987’s King Lear, of Godard throwing a wrench into the cinematic apparatus by making a movie that demands to be seen while simultaneously resisting easy commodification. It is Godard’s highest-profile film in quite some time — it won the Jury Prize at Cannes and has earned rave reviews from many mainstream American critics, including Manohla Dargis in the New York Times and Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune). During its first weekend alone, playing on only two screens in New York City, it won the “specialty box office” and made more money than Godard’s previous feature, Film Socialisme, did in its entire 20-week run. Yet in spite of the fact that Goodbye to Language has a U.S. distributor, the always-enterprising Kino/Lorber, and despite there being many U.S. theaters that would like to show it, the film is proving hard to see; so few American “arthouses” are equipped with 3D projectors that Kino/Lorber’s patchwork theatrical release schedule, which as of this writing still omits major markets like Chicago, has been the source of several hand-wringing editorials (see here, here and here). In an era when independent American and foreign-language movies are receiving ever-quicker assignments to the “Video On Demand” graveyard, Goodbye to Language feels like a form of protest (whether conscious on the director’s part or not). By creating an “art film” that can only be properly experienced in palaces devoted to mainstream “entertainment,” Godard has exposed the increasingly large gulf between such silly concepts and made a movie whose true viewership would seem to be some imaginary but more enlightened audience of the future.

Goodbye to Language rating: 10

My personal top 10 favorite Jean-Luc Godard films (in chronological order):

1. Vivre sa vie [My Life to Live] (1962)
2. Le Mepris [Contempt] (1963)
3. Alphaville (1965)
4. Pierrot le fou (1965)
5. Weekend (1967)
6. Prenom Carmen [First Name: Carmen] (1983)
7. Hail Mary (1984)
8. Nouvelle Vague [New Wave] (1990)
9. Histoire(s) du Cinema (1988-1998)
10. Adieu au langage [Goodbye to Language] (2014)

You can watch Kino/Lorber’s Goodbye to Language trailer via YouTube below:

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About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

33 responses to “2014: The Year of the JLG

  • Susan Doll

    Your enthusiastic review makes me both happy and sad. Happy because the film sounds amazing and sad because it is not coming to a theater anywhere near me. Great essay on the movie, however.

    • michaelgloversmith

      Thanks, Suzi. The fact that it’s not going to play Chicago is insane (especially considering how many theaters here would like to show it). I imagine there will be “3D film festivals” in the future that show the best 3D movies (like this one) in much the same way that the Music Box and other theaters around the country have “70mm film festivals.”

  • Teohua Villalobos

    I was lucky enough to catch this (and 3X3D) in Minneapolis. I’m happy that Godard never reached the corny old man phase. Still ahead of his time after all these years

    • michaelgloversmith

      Great to hear from you, T! I still haven’t seen 3X3D but I agree with you wholeheartedly about Godard not reaching the “corny old man phase.” The fact that he can make a film like this, which is as revolutionary in its own way as BREATHLESS was in 1960, is astonishing. Of course, it helps that Godard has never been one to look back.

      On a side note, I’m still in post-production on COOL APOCALYPSE but I will send you a link to where you can view it online when it’s done.

  • Tracy Cox-Stanton

    I really appreciate this review. It validates many of the themes I saw in the film and helps me piece together my impressions of a film that is really impossible to grasp in one viewing. But it is interesting that the two key qualities you found in JLG’s take on the content– optimism and love– I found lacking. Even the dog seemed alienated to me. I get that he represents an alternative, pre-linguistic or non-linguistic way of seeing, but he was always alone. I desperately wanted to find optimism in the film, but I left the film with this line echoing in my mind: “I have come to say no to you and to die.”

    • michaelgloversmith

      Thanks for the response, Tracy. One of the great things about Godard’s recent work is that it can accommodate multiple viable interpretations, and I completely understand how one could not find optimism in this film.

      Here are two more things to think about:

      1. All of the political rhetoric in the film (e.g., Hitler’s “victory,” violence in Africa, etc.) comes at the beginning. As the film develops, it moves increasingly away from the political and towards the personal and the poetic, which reaches an apotheosis with the appearance of Mary and Percy Shelley and Lord Byron at the end. This movement itself strikes me as optimistic — especially in comparison to FILM SOCIALISME, which makes all of Europe seem doomed.

      2. The film is actually divided into FOUR parts:

      A short prologue that introduces the four principal characters (Josette, Gedeon, Ivitch and Marcus).

      The long first part (beginning with the title card reading “1”) focuses on Josette and Gedeon.

      The long second part (beginning with the title card reading “2”) focuses on Ivitch and Marcus).

      The short third part (beginning with the title card reading “3D”) focuses on Godard and Anne-Marie Mieville, who are not seen but whose voices are heard on the soundtrack. The fact that the film ends with their relationship, which has successfully endured for over 40 years, both professionally and personally, strikes me as optimistic. (And, of course, it’s their dog in the film too.)

      Finally, didn’t the shot of Roxy rolling around in the snow just make you go “Awwwwwww”?

      • Tracy Cox-Stanton

        Thank you so much for this rich and compelling reply! I’m going to stew on it for a while. And I should add that in complete contradiction to my sense of the film’s pessimism was my jaw-dropping “Holy Wow!” response to what was going on with the 3-D…. even though (or maybe because) it made me a little nauseous sometimes.

  • John Charet

    My friend has a multi-regional dvd player and he is ordering Goodbye to Language from Amazon.com’s UK affiliate which will be released on December 8th. He pre-ordered his copy so it will be delivered on exactly that same day. He is going to invite me to watch it. Nevertheless, compared to the 3-d experience, the 2-d is going to look sober by comparison:( Anyway, here is the link to my favorite films by Jacques Tati:)

    http://cinematiccoffee.com/2014/11/13/my-favorite-jacques-tati-films/

  • Girish Shambu

    Michael, Tracy–I really enjoyed the post and your exchange!

  • drew

    Thanks for the great review. The question is, for those of us who will never have an opportunity to see the film in 3-D or a theatre, how much will be lost? It sounds like practically everything. And I agree it’s nice to see Godard is continuing to break all the rules.

    • michaelgloversmith

      I’ve heard that Godard only wants it seen in 3D and that it will only be distributed that way theatrically. I’ve heard that a 2D version will be released on DVD in Europe next month. I would actively discourage anyone from seeing it that way, however, because the experience would be meaningless. This isn’t just a movie made in 3D, it’s a movie ABOUT 3D. It’s kind of hard to explain but most of the film’s humor stems from visual jokes that will only work in 3D (such as a shot of a naked woman holding a bowl of fruit in front of her).

      I think I’m going to buy a 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player just so I can watch this again when Kino’s 3D Blu-ray comes out in March. So there’s a chance you may still see it yet!

  • drew

    I look forward to seeing it in next June!

  • Top Ten Films of 2014 | White City Cinema

    […] of the best new movies I saw in 2014. If that were the case, Jean-Luc Godard’s astonishing Goodbye to Language, which I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to see in 3D in November, would have unquestionably been […]

  • Goodbye to Language as Narrative / A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night | White City Cinema

    […] after three viewings, I have a much better handle on what Godard is doing with this movie than when I first wrote about it in November; although Goodbye to Language is loose and wild and full of intellectual provocations […]

  • Top 100 Films of the Decade, pt. 4 (#25 – #1): A Contest | White City Cinema

    […] In Jean-Luc Godard’s 1996 film For Ever Mozart, the director poses the question, “In the ‘I think, therefore I am,’ is the ‘I’ of ‘I am’ no longer the same as the ‘I’ of ‘I think’ and why?” Goodbye to Language seeks to answer this Cartesian inquiry with a resounding “no” by offering a philosophical meditation on the fractured nature of identity in our era of mass communication. In his astonishing first feature in 3-D, the now-84-year-old Godard pointedly shows, through an almost impossibly rich tapestry of stereoscopic images and sounds, how language and technology have conspired to create barriers that separate humans not only from each other but also from themselves (“Soon everyone will need an interpreter to understand the words coming from their own mouths,” is one characteristically epigrammatic line of dialogue.) The film is split into three parts: “Nature” (a section demarcated by a title card reading “1”), which focuses on Josette and Gedeon (Héloïse Godet and Kamel Abdelli); “Metaphor” (a section demarcated by a title card reading “2”), which focuses on Ivitch and Marcus (Zoé Bruneau and Richard Chevallier); and a short third part (beginning with a title card reading “3D”), which introduces a third couple–Godard and his longtime collaborator Anne-Marie Mieville, who are not seen but whose voices are heard on the soundtrack. The real “star” of Goodbye to Language, however, is not a human at all but rather Godard’s mixed-breed dog Roxy, who is frequently depicted alone, frolicking in nature, commanding both the most screen time and serving as the subject of some of the film’s most dazzling stereoscopic effects. The shots of Roxy’s handsome snout in the maw of Godard and cinematographer Fabrice Aragno’s homemade 3-D-camera rig, which convey an overwhelming feeling of love for the animal on the part of his owner/director, are so rapturously beautiful they may make you want to cry. The film ends by juxtaposing the sounds of a dog barking with that of a baby wailing on the soundtrack, thus linking Roxy not only to nature but, implicitly, to a state of unspoiled innocence that humans possess only prior to learning to speak. Godard’s poetic use of 3-D in Goodbye to Language, the best such use of the technology in any movie I’ve seen, puts this groundbreaking work in the class of his (and the cinema’s) great achievements. Full review here. […]

  • ondrea

    I watched Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language, and I loved the contrast of bright to dark images and how he shows nature in this movie, the special affects are outstanding, he not only shows us a great 3-D world of cinema, but also the natural side of nature with his dog Roxy, and how we should be come more like Roxy, in relations to being one with nature, I feel he wants people to not let technology and social media takeover who they are in society, but allow social media to become only a part of who we are by not saying goodbye to language.

  • Roxanne

    Godard’s Goodbye to language left me speechless. I was trying to understand the meaning behind each scene but it turns out, I should have just looked at the bigger picture of the film instead of trying to break things down and try to figure out if every scene had the same exact message. It was very confusing but I get it now. And he does make a point that we’re not in touch with mother nature the way other animals are. We are so consumed by social media and new technology that we lost touch with our true selves. And Roxy is a great representation of how Godard wants us to be, natural and free.

  • Daria

    British writer and veterinarian James Herriot once said “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better than a lot of humans”- which in my opinion reflects one of the ideas that Godard was trying to say in the film.
    Goodbye to Language indeed leaves you with a sense of bafflement after watching it. It is really hard to make something coherent out of the chaos of colors and sounds that the movie is full of. It seems like a puzzle, we see different scenes: book sale, dialogs, someone gets shot, naked couple, the ride.
    However, the scenes with the dog Roxy (who is a truly the star of the movie) seem to make sense of most of what is going on. We see the dog running in the countryside, exploring the forest, tumbling in the snow, then hiding under the table, and laying on the coach. Those scenes show the openness of an animal and how naive and innocent the way animals see the world. It is compared with the scenes when we see couples naked at home.
    The couples are just having a debate about all kinds of things: politics, literature, art, and relationships. This shows that the ability to speak is what makes the difference animals and humans. Godard suggests that people forget how to look at the world as an animal as soon as they learned how to speak, and that, in my opinion, what’s meant by the title ‘Goodbye to Language’.
    Also, in this film Godard uses old tricks of the French New Wave’s movement by referring to other works of art in literature and film. Moreover, as I learned later the whole movie was made of the quotes from different plays. Having that as a base of the dialogs suggests the idea of how human’s minds are full of the problems that distinguishes so far from the animal’s prospective.
    Of course I have to underline the use of 3D in this movie. The whole 70 minutes consist of beautiful shots that are presented the way that they make you feel like you were there and witnessed everything with your own eyes. The scenes with the boat impressed me especially, because the texture and the movement were extremely realistic. It was also fascinating to see the new technique that Godard used in a few shots where the image on the left side stays, and the image on the right moves at the same time. This trick is another feature of Godard’s way of making films – to break all the rules, since no one has done anything quite like this before.

    It was an interesting and very different experience of watching a film and I will surely watch it again with a goal of finding new details and ideas.

  • Juan Brito

    Godard’s “Goodbye to language 3D” is an explosive emotional roller coaster that at the end leaves asking “What happend to me and my mind?”. It is a fast paced engaging movie compared to nothing that I have ever seen before. The constant however was WATER. Water was used as a cleasing tool, a mode of transportation, a background for the nature scenes, a mirror into peoples lives, and of course the famous shitting scenes. That later just brings a touch of French into the whole thing. Even towards the end the dog is playing around in the pond area. Water can be a divider liken in typhoons or disasters but also a cleanser like a nice summer rain cleaning the streets and bringing out the smell of sweet freshly cut lawns. This movie also in my opinion uses the archerd shell as the background for the events. The archered shell if you search for it, will show you that we all start from nothing and then grow in a same pattern. But in the end we pass. So life is just a pattern that we follow until the end. Proven by the fact that the 2 couples can go through similiar things in a pattern. At the end I was glad I had an opportunity to see this film and experience all of it.

  • Gabriela Cabassa

    Within the eyes of a person who has adapted to the formatting of narrative continuity, the film “Goodbye to Language” may seem like a huge cinematic volcano erupting continuously without any comprehensible storyline. But to those who are knowledgeable to Godard’s work, and know of the French Wave, probably expect this craziness that the film “Goodbye to Language” brings and see the unique beauty of it. I am one of those people of the former description with the slightest inclination towards the latter; though the film was very confusing for me, I did however enjoy the work of art that Godard made. The manipulation of 3D was brilliant, which is saying the very least. The outdoorsy shots of flowers dancing in the breeze were a very refreshing scene to see. Usually, a 3D movie consists of stuff such as a punch or debris from an explosion being lunged towards you, while Godard’s film used 3D in the most non-confrontational way and, in my opinion, in a very breathtaking way.
    As mentioned above, Godard did the complete opposite of conventional 3D with this art piece and has most likely set in motion a new trend that will pop up in many movies in the coming years. Ignoring the very confusing dialogue and sequences in the film, which probably mea something grand that I will never understand, this film is one of a kind, no other film could really compare, but, like I said, many will try to remake.

  • Mauricio Rodriguez

    Godard’s “Goodbye to Language” is unlike anything I have ever seen, and that’s probably what Godard wanted. He accomplishes this with his unique and relentless take on modern day film-making, but also modern day life. He exposes many flawed aspects with the way the human world and human societies interact with one another, and how we forget about anything beyond ourselves, even if such thing is actually all around us: nature. I think what Godard was projecting with his film is how fast the world moves and how fast we as humans try to move with it, instead of sometimes just enjoying the ride. There is so much going on in the film, and the changes in action, background, lighting, storyline, plot, etc. happen so fast that it is very difficult to keep up and difficult to catch all the details; very much how life itself happens. He uses the two different couples going through seemingly different and exactly the same things to show us how much we separate ourselves from even other humans in our society, and how we think our issues are unique, when in fact they often times are not. The actual techniques behind the film-making are another story altogether. He breaks so many norms and “rules” behind film-making, directing, and even 3D rules. Often times he separated the two cameras and filmed two different things in one shot, leaving us with the option to choose what we want to focus on, or if we want to try to focus on both. This is very much how life works. He even did this in a scene where we could choose between following a naked woman, or a naked man: is this a take on modern-day sexuality? Godard does so much with so much strength and so much relentlessness, and a complete disregard for any kind of censorship of ideas, content, or techniques that you have no other option that to just sit back and take everything in, fighting your urge to fight what you see with what you already know about previous 3D and even 2D films. I hope to some day catch this film again so I can make a more clear and concise review because there are so many loose ends to this, much like Godard probably intended.

  • Megan Schuirmann

    I somewhat enjoyed this film. I greatly appreciate the experimental use of 3D especially when the two cameras split. I’m not used to being cross-eyed while watching films, however I have respect the risk Godard took. This is a revolutionary piece.

  • Chanel Brown

    One of the things that has stayed with me since my viewing of Goodbye to Language is the way that the use of surround sound and dynamics compliments the visual images. Voices seem to be speaking all around you, behind your back, to the left or right of you. Some whisper, while others almost scream, and they overlap, repeating the same phrases creating a sense of disorientation.

  • Andrew

    I loved the whole experience of going to see this film. At first, i thought it would be a traditional 3D movie like all the ones ive seen before. Instead, the use of 3D in this movie was used in a different way. I also enjoyed the fast-paced movement of the this film. The rapid change in scenes kept things interesting. Overall i enjoyed the film despite how bizarre it was.

  • Trinadi Shires

    While some of my classmates may have found the film more enjoyable than I did, I can certainly agree that there is nothing else like it. JLG brought his characteristic creativity-bordering-on-anarchism to the 3D screen in a way that no other director could. After spending the first half of the run-time desperately attempting to manufacture a coherent plot, I resigned myself to passively observing. This was the single best thing I could have done, in terms of my own experience. I find it interesting that that I was only able to fully enjoy a film entitled “Goodbye to Language” after I did just that. This film definitely deserves, and needs, multiple viewings and I am looking forward to absorbing more when and if I get another chance to see it.

  • Kate Rubinas

    The most frustrating part to me about seeing Goodbye to Language when we did was that it was the second-to-last day to see it. After class, I had a(nother) beer with a friend of mine, who hadn’t seen it. When he asked me what I thought about it, I was able to regale him with what details I had absorbed, but I felt like I was punctuating every thought with, “But there’s so much more! I’m not doing it any justice!” I hate that I didn’t have enough time to herd everyone I know into a theater seat.

    It occurred to me later how funny it is that Goodbye to Language is a movie that you CAN’T really talk about if participating parties haven’t seen it, but that you CAN’T NOT talk about if everyone has. It’s a film that requires so much turning over and digesting to understand that, while it bids farewell to conversation in the title, it ushers in a flood of exchanged ideas in its execution. Just look at all these unprompted, non-student comments. Go figure!

    And like I mentioned in the post-viewing discussion, the film’s final juxtaposition between the obnoxious iPhone scene in the beginning, and the equally obnoxious paper&quill scene with Mary Shelley at the end serves to prove, in my opinion, that despite Godard’s obvious disdain for technology, he’s at least reasoned it out enough to know that technology-based communication won’t truly isolate and destroy us any more than the development and distribution of the written word did… despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    As it turns out, we are all, in fact, having a discussion.

    This point is unbelievably cool to me.

  • Darryon

    I really appreciated what the film broadcasted and would definitely agree on the points that are being made here. He uses contrast, saturation, cuts, and repetition to help get this message across. I really saw the connection to the dog as an eye opener and something to really make you think. He perfectly portrays the beauty and simplicity, which is the life of a dog. His contrast technique really guides you without ever having to be pointed out. When the humans are on screen it’s very dark and the dialogue matches with it. There is a somber tone, but it helps you get the overall concept of what the movie stands for in its entirety. He uses daring tactics, shooting and lighting to move the story along. The 3D aspect of the film is super cool because it reminds me of something like a home video which takes away my want or need to follow intensely so that I wont miss what the film is getting at. He is very clever in the sense that he leads you to your focus in a subtle way, yet still allows you to take the movie in for what you may feel is the moral of the story. IT does a great job at showing the disconnect that has taken place in communication, made possible by the domination of what is modern. Overall he’s showcasing the need to step outside the box and enjoy life for what it is; the experience.

  • Mikayla

    I LOVED Goodbye To Language. Prior to this movie I have never seen a Goddard film, but after watching this I have become a fan. I really enjoyed what I felt like he was trying to portray. Majority of this movie actually contained no speaking at all which I feel like he used as a great way to get his message across. One of the scenes at the very beginning was of two people passing a phone back and forth to one another with no actual words being said in between. Towards the end of the movie we see Mary Shelly writing with a quill and by doing this he is basically just paralleling where we are now to where we were then as far as communication.

    Also, he made this movie in 3D and that says a lot to me, because many people believe 3D to be the new wave for future movie watchers (unfortunately) and the actual content of the movie was basically saying this new technology wave everyone is on is completely ruining any communication skills we had before, so by creating this movie in 3D I feel like he is trying to make an absurd point. I haven’t seen anything like it before and I really enjoyed watching the way he decided to get a message across.

  • Lee Edwards

    I enjoyed the amount of passion, that was displayed in response to the movie “Goodbye to Language” by Goddard. Reading this review gave me so much insight on what to expect from an movie as well as director who I know nothing about. I’ve always had a fascination with 3d movies since before spy kids 3d came out in 2003. I’ve always felt though that 3d movies lacked and aspect with, which I could not put my finger on.There are so many forms of 3d movies nowadays. You have real 3d and other forms but in reality 3d is an visual art form which in my opinion should always operate at it’s highest capacity in order for views to get the full experience. Here i read about an director who has broken those rules which in my opinion is great, there shouldnt be any rules that, hold the visual artist back and based on this review I feel as if Goddard made a universal movie which wasn’t afraid to take the extra step.
    I know feel that it would be in my best interest to see a version of this film some way some how, I love the idea of movies their a passion beyond passions an art beyond the norm, in this world we live in I feel creativity is everything. -LeeR. Edwards

  • Top 50 Films of 2015 | White City Cinema

    […] review here. More thoughts here. Capsule review of the Blu-ray […]

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