Monday, 15 August 2011

Jean-Luc Godard - Women in Close Up 1959-2010

If a film-maker has a singular voice, each frame will be as good as a signature and each image like a self-portrait. 

Some believe that the Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is a self-portrait. In that spirit here is a portrait of Jean-Luc Godard (and his films) via the faces of his actresses - from Charlotte et Veronique in 1959 to Film Socialisme in 2010.


video


Music: Rachmaninov prelude op.23 no.5, played by Sergei Prokofiev

5 comments:

  1. Well Stephen you can be rest assured I absolutely adore the Rachmaninoff prelude as orchestrated by Prokofiev!!!

    But honestly this is truly a loving presentation in every sense, and it doesn't take a Godard fan to appreciate it. As you probably may remember I run hot and cold (mostly cold) with this director, but have always acknowledged some masterpieces and unforgettable faces. Your presentation here is not only an entrancing trip down Memory Lane, but it frames literally (and figuratively)what is behind the faces.

    Beautiful idea for a post, and lovingly negotiated.

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  2. Sam,

    Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I struck gold with the choice of music. I know many say that Cinema is about faces and I think that especially true in some of Godard's films.

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  3. This is coming from a Godard neophyte (I've seen 4 of his '60s films), but it struck me strongly while watching the video: In his early films, Godard was working with major actresses and it shows in the stills--these are *movie stars*. In the later films, though, the women look like you and me, people we could see on any street corner, *real women*. Yet it is the latter, un-glamorized images, that I find the most beautiful, human, and empathetic. I find this interesting, because it is the opinion of many that in his later years Godard has become increasingly cold, intellectual, and obscure, yet these stills, at least, seem to belie that.

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  4. Stephen,

    "In his early films, Godard was working with major actresses and it shows in the stills--these are *movie stars*. In the later films, though, the women look like you and me, people we could see on any street corner, *real women*."

    That's a very good observation and I, largely, agree with your conclusion that the later images are more "beautiful, human, and empathetic".

    Yes, I have heard many critics and cinemagoers say that Godard's films have become too cold, abstract, introspective. I don't agree and I'm glad that these stills put across the emotional charge that I feel run through these works.

    Thanks for the comment.

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