Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Review: Jean-Luc Godard's 'Film Socialisme' Is A Pointless Exercise In...We Don't Even Know What

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 2, 2011 at 1:36AM

The following is a reprint of our review from the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
3


The following is a reprint of our review from the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

God bless Jean-Luc Godard, but say your prayers for anyone who had to sit through the icon and provocateur's latest. We barely made it.

It's difficult to describe "Film Socialisme" as frankly, we didn't understand what the fuck was going on. The film is presented with no subtitles or rather, with extraordinarily condensed subtitles. Featuring a plethora of languages including French, English, Russian and a couple of others, entire sentences are reduced to no more than three word summaries at the bottom of the screen. This writer has a pretty good working understanding of French and can thoroughly attest that the Cliff's notes-style subtitles leave a lot to be desired. This stylistic choice by Godard was...interesting, but to what end we're not certain. Still, we're sure he had a good laugh about it.


Anyway, we can tell you the film is separated into three parts, all centering to some degree on the usual Godard touchstones of history, politics, myth and truth. What he was actually trying to say is beyond us and we're not going to attempt to define it. Instead, we'll just run down some of the things we remember from the film: something about how the Jews invented Hollywood; a pretty girl standing at a gas station reading Balzac and ignoring people; a young kid air-composing the Russian national anthem; lots of stock footage of historical events; still photos of ancient world landmarks; something about Palestine being DENIED ACCESS; and a lot of shots of llamas for some reason. Oh yeah, Patti Smith is in this too to no real discernible effect except that she's modestly famous.

The film's conceptual presentation certainly isn't aided by the director's trademarked editing style, which this time around boasts voice-over on top of dialogue, on-screen text, drowned-out dialogue, blown-out digital video and sound captured on a camera phone as well as other flashy editing tricks (for example, in a sequence in which a girl is taking photographs, the screen blinks as your eyes would after a photo). And while this is all the director's stock in trade, and has all been utilized by pretty much every student filmmaker in the world at some point in their nascent careers, here Godard has transcended himself, making a film that plays out exactly how you would imagine a crappy student film filled with IDEAS and NON-NARRATIVE and MONTAGE would. It would be embarrassing if not for its outright audacity, but that alone doesn't make a good film (or in this case, even a remotely enjoyable or interesting one).

Talking with a colleague before the screening, this writer remarked that when Godard fails, he does so spectacularly. This is one of those times. A completely obfuscating, obstinate, provocative and ultimately pointless exercise in we don't even know what, "Film Socialisme" is only for the most die-hard Godard devotees. Or, you can save yourself the trouble and watch the trailer for the film which is four minutes long and shows the entire thing in reverse. It will make as much sense as watching it forward and it will save you ninety precious minutes of your life.

We can't even grade this so we'll just copy the last two words of the film, which we're sure Godard would approve of as an evaluation. [NO COMMENT]

This article is related to: Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates