Jean-Luc Godard


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Breathless (1959), 7.6/10
A Woman Is a Woman (1961), 6.5/10
My Life to Live (1962), 7.4/10
Le Petit Soldat (1960), 6.9/10
Contempt (1963), 7/10
Les Carabiniers (1963), 6.9/10
Band of Outsiders (1964), 6.8/10
A Married Woman (1964), 7.1/10
Alphaville (1965), 7.4/10
Pierrot Le Fou (1965), 7.3/10
Masculin Feminin (1966), 7.1/10
Made in USA (1966), 6.5/10
Two of Three Things (1967), 6.5/10
La Chinoise (1967), 7/10
Weekend (1967), 7.5/10
Tout va bien (1972), 6.5/10
Number Two (1975), 6.5/10
Every Man for Himself (1979),
Passion (1982),
First name Carmen (1983),
Detective (1985),
Je vous salue Marie (1984),
Grandeur et Decadence (1986),
Keep Your Right Up (1987),
King Lear (1989),
For Ever Mozart (1996),
In Praise of Love (2001),
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If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.

Jean-Luc Godard si mise in luce negli anni '50 come critico acuto e come cinefilo incallito. Diresse anche alcuni cortometraggi prima di girare A Bout De Soufle/ Breathless (1959), scritto da Francois Truffaut. Benchè la nuova generazione vantasse già le affermazioni internazionali di Chabrol, Truffaut, Resnais, Varda, fu l'opera di Godard ad imporre uno stile nuovo e ad essere considerata il manifesto della "nouvelle vague". Con quel film Godard assumeva la posizione più radicale all'interno del movimento. Era un film realizzato con pochi mezzi, ma con grande passione, un film essenziale che badava unicamente al contenuto, un film che si ispirava a tutto il cinema hollywoodiano degli anni '50, in particolare al film noir e al gangster movie; un film aggressivo, provocatorio, anticonformista, un film che potrebbe essere tenero e romantico visto la storia, ma invece e` un antimelodrama i cui personaggi non sembrano avere emozioni.

The flimsy plot is clearly not the reason that the film exists. Godard was more interested in breaking cinematic conventions. The camera's freedom of movement, almost neurotic, exudes an anarchic spirit. The photographic realism is almost a repudiation of the alternative reality implicit in film. The actors are directed so as to exude exuberance and spontaneity in a style that exaggerates the style of Hollywood B-movies. Godard contrasts Michel, who is a pastiche of Hollywood stereotypes, with Patricia, who is a new kind of female stereotype. He is mocking the past at the same time that she is mocking the future. One wonders whether the real protagonist is him or her. He is dysfunctional, but she is more than that: she is an unhappy, insecure, tortured soul. And that's probably why she likes the gangster. In theory, she is the traditional femme fatale of the film noir; but in practice she represents something new because she exhibits no interior, psychological life. She is the opposite of passionate: she merely drifts through life, picking up what is unusual about it in a desperate quest for meaning. It is not clear who is really running away: is the film about Michel running away from the polie or is she running away from something bigger, from life itself? Neither seems to have a moral compass, but at least he knows what he wants (escape to Italy) whereas she lives by the day with no goal in mind. He is merely copying the lifestyle of his role models (as a movie poster reads, "Live dangerously till the end"), mere posture. In the name of her freedom she even betrays him and lets the police kill him. She is puzzled when a writer tells her that he wants "immortality". The film's abrupt jump cuts do not express so much Michel's pathetic odyssey (ultimately a variation on the Don Quixote leitmotiv) as Patricia's tormented anxiety.

Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a young handsome hoodlum, clearly influenced by the myth of US actor Humphrey Bogart. He steals an Italian sport car. On a long drive from the Riviera to Paris he talks to himself, dreaming of escaping to Italy. At one point he turns and talks straight into the camera. He finds a gun in the glove compartment and starts playing with it, imagining to shoot at trees. When cops try to stop him for speeding, he has to kill one of them. He visits an old girlfriend in Paris and steals money from her while she struggles to get her dress over her head. then looks for and finds another one, Patricia (Jean Seberg), who is originally from the USA, a pretty aspiring journalist who pays for school by peddling newspapers in the street. He buys one newspaper from her, then walks away reading the headlines. A car hits a passer-by and kills him. Michel briefly stops to look at the dead man, then walks away indifferent. In between meetings with Patricia the gangster tries to locate a friend who owes him money. His plan is to leave Paris and head for Italy as soon as he gets that money. However, a police inspector is already after him: they have identified him as the murderer of the cop. In a public bathroom he mugs a man and steals his wallet. Patricia lets him hides in her apartment, but he doesn't tell her that he is wanted for killing a cop. Patricia meets a compatriote at a cafe and tells him that she is free but not happy. He is helping her become a reporter at the newspaper. Michel sees them leave togeher, hand in hand, and kiss in the car. She comes back home in the morning and wakes up Michel who is sleeping in her bed. After a lengthy discussion in which she even claims to be pregnant of his child, and presumably they have sex, Patricia bends a newspaper to look like a telescope and stares at Michel. He tries to convince her to flee to Italy with him. Michel asks Patricia: "Do you think about death? I do, all the time." Patricia reads Faulkner to him. He proclaims: "I want all or nothing. And now I know", implying that it will be "nothing". They make love under the bedsheets. She is as indifferent to his life's story as he was of the accident's victim. Actually she seems to fall in love with him only as a side effect of learning that he has murdered and that he is married. While she is waiting for him in a cafe, he follows a man in an elevator to learn where he lives and then steals his convertible car. He then gives her a ride to the newspaper office and notices that the newspapers have his picture asking the public to find him. She is sent to interview a famous writer (played by Jean-Pierre Melville). The other journalists ask stupid questions about women and sex. She asks what is his main ambition. He replies: "To become immortal, and then die." He tries to sell the car but realizes the dealer is trying to get him trapped. The inspector shows up at the newspaper's offices. She initially denies recognizing Michel's picture but, under pressure, admits she knows him although she doesn't know where he leaves. The inspector leaves her his phone number. Michel is outside witnessing the whole scene. To lose the police she walks through a political parade and then into a movie theater (while an Otto Preminger film is playing). The police officer even follows her in the restrooms but she manages to lose him and meet up with Michel. Michel and Patricia watch a western from the 1950s but we see them kissing. Finally, Michel and Patricia find Antonio, the man who owes Michel some money. Antonio arranges for Michel to hide at a photography studio. She tells Michel that she had dumped the journalist. It seems that she is finally his girl, but something in her words reveal that she's not satisfied with him either. She walks out ostensibly to buy a newspaper but in reality to call the police inspector from a cafe (she has kept his phone number in her purse all this time). Back in his apartment she proudly confesses to him that she called the police. They talk but don't even seem to talk to each other, detached in Brechtian style. Her excuse is simple: "I don't want to be in love with you." The money is finally delivered by Antonio in the street, and Michel stares at the camera for a second uttering: "I'm tired. I want to sleep." The police arrive. The friend throws him pistol and speeds away. As Michel tries to grab the weapon, the police shoot him. Michel, wounded, runs down the street, ignored by passers-by. Patricia runs after him. Michel collapses. Lying on the asphalt in his last moment, he tries to smile at her and closes his own eyes with his own hand (a gesture that normally others do to the dead person). She doesn't even understand the meaning of his last words. She turns towards the camera with a last emotionless gaze. Godard sembra piu` interessato a riprendere la citta`, la natura e la gente, che a raccontare la storia. Nel film sono stipati modelli classici del cinema francese: il film noir (il criminale condannato dal fato), l'esistenzialismo (la crisi dei sentimenti), il poliziesco. Il protagonista è cinico e nevrotico e Godard adotta uno stile che ricalca queste caratteristiche, e in generale tende a rappresentare visivamente il suo flusso di coscienza. La carica eversiva del film viene dalla struttura della trama: i personaggi non agiscono secondo la logica della motivazione e il protagonista in particolare è un nichilista che rifiuta tutti i valori.

Con questo film Godard lanciava il cinema d'autore: il regista esprime se stesso di fronte al pubblico, le proprie opinioni e le proprie sensazioni.

musical comedy Une Femme Est Une Femme/ A Woman Is a Woman (1961)

Vivre sa Vie/ My Life to Live (1962), "a film in 12 tableaux", è un ritratto femminile con il quale matura anche la tecnica del regista, che propende sempre più verso il "documento": una obiettiva registrazione di eventi (non spiegati) che ricorda Apollinaire quando compilava liste di nomi ed estratti di conversazione e che segna un netto abbandono della figura del regista com'era stata cristallizzata da Melies (il magico signore dell'immaginazione). L'eroina questa volta non è una cinica nichilista per convinzione, è il prodotto di una società alienante e spietata, nella quale i valori non hanno più alcun senso.

As the titles roll by, we see the face of a woman who is staring silently. The the camera shows us the woman sitting at a bar, but from the back, without showing us the face, as she is arguing with a man. Nana is frustrated and suicidal. Paul thinks she's leaving him because he is poor. They are breaking up after she cheated on him. She wants to try a career as a theater actress, but she is just a sales clerk in a record shop. She asks him about their son. In the shop she asks a coworker for money. She tries to get back to her apartment but the landlords kick her out. She meets Paul again who brings her pictures of their son. She walks into a movie theater to watch an old silent movie, "Jeanne d'Arc". A man touches her in the dark and she doesn't rebel. She cries watching the movie. The stranger follows her but she dumps him. After the movie she meets a man in a cafe and lies to him about the man who was following her and about her family. She hopes that he can help her get into cinema. She asks him for money too, but he too refuses. Later we see that she has been arrested for theft. She is interrogated by the cop who has to write a report. She admits that she is penniless. Later she is walking down a street, sad and lonely. A stranger approaches her thinking that she is a prostitute. She calmly takes him into a hotel room and tells him her price. One day Nana meets her old friend Yvette in the street and they enter a cafe. Yvette tells Nana that her husband abandoned her and she has become a prostitute. Yvette introduces Nana to her pimp Raoul. Suddenly Nana hears gunshots and sees an armed man shooting at someone against a a wall, while a wounded man walks inside the cafe. Raoul quickly disappears and she runs away too. Next, she writes a letter to a brothel's madame offering herself as a young and pretty prostitute. She shows the letter to Raoul. He offers her a higher income and she accepts. (Note: they are sitting in front of a fake window because the people outside are not moving). Raoul lectures Nana on the profession of prostitute, which becomes a lecture for us on French prostitution. While Raoul is chatting with a friend in a billiard room, she plays a record in the jukebox and performs a lengthy solo dance. She is now a happy streetwalker who uses the same hotel as all the other girls. One day Nana meets an old philosopher in a cafe who tells her the story of Porthos, one of the three musketeers, who died the first time that he stopped to think. They have a lengthy discussion about language and love. A young man reads Poe's tale "The Oval Portrait" and we hear it as a voiceover while we see Nana's face. The tale ends with the death of the woman. She seems to have found love when the young man asks her to move in with him. She accepts and is ready to tell Raoul that she quits, but Raoul comes to grab her: he has sold her to another pimp. He drives her to an appointment with the other pimp and demands to see the money. The money is not enough and so Raoul holds Nana hostage. The other pimp does not hesitate to shoot. Nana is killed.

Le Petit Soldat/ The Little Soldier (1960) è il primo di una serie di apologhi politici. Un disertore francese con velleità marxiste viene catturato e torturato dai partigiani algerini (che leggono Mao e Lenin) e nel frattempo la sua ragazza viene catturata e torturata a morte dai francesi. Il thriller fantapolitico alla Hitchcock è un pretesto per mettere in scena l'agonia di un altro come randagio, fondamentalmente anarchico, indifferente alla politica, che entra, volente o nolente, in conflitto con l'ordine sociale e ovviamente soccombe. Godard's classic traits: mesmerizing photography, jump cuts, location shootings, the automobile, literary references. The action is narrated by Bruno. The plot is ridiculously inarticulate and implausible. Most of the "action" is just the protagonist reminiscing on the events that led to the action (the assassination and the death of Veronica, which is not even explained).

Bruno, a young man, drives around in a Swiss city where terrorists have just killed a man. It turns out he is involved in the political intrigue and is in charge of killing an Algerian sympathizer. At the same time, he meets Veronica (Anna Karina) through a friend and they soon become lovers (he takes lots of photographs of her). He is so indecisive that both the French and the Algerians get mad at him. The Algerians torture him, then let him go. Veronica reveals that she works for the Arabs but they are both fed up with politics and would like to expatriate. The only way to get their passports from the French authorities is that Bruno carries out the assassination. To make sure he obeys, the French also kidnap Veronica. Bruno carries out the assassination, but then learns that Veronica is dead.

Le Mepris/ Contempt (1963), tratto da un racconto di Moravia, e` imperniato attorno alla realizzazione di un nuovo film del celebre regista Fritz Lang. Lang interpreta Lang e Godard interpreta il suo assistente.

Lo sceneggiatore Paul (Piccoli) e l'amante Camille (Bardot) sono invaghiti fisicamente l'uno dell'altra. Paul viene chiamato dal produttore americano Jeremy (Palance), che gli chiede di riscrivere la sceneggiatura del film sull'Odissea che il celebre regista Fritz Lang si appresta a filmare in Francia. Jeremy dissente dall'impostazione di Lang e vuole che Paul diventi il suo uomo fidato sul set. Jeremy dipende completamente dalla traduttrice italiana, Francesca, senza la quale non riuscirebbe a comunicare con nessuno. Paul non e` entusiasta dell'offerta ma non se la sente di dire di no ai soldi. Jeremy, oltre a essere un dittatore, e` anche un volgare e arrogante donnaiolo, che si mette subito a sedurre l'avvenente Camille. Camille e` disgustata dalle sue attenzioni, ma ancor piu` dall'indifferenza del marito, che lascia fare. Man mano che la lavorazione avanza, il malumore di Camille diventa vero e proprio astio per il marito. Gran parte della storia sono discussioni sul senso ultimo dell'Odissea: il produttore vuole un film di successo, il regista vuole un film culturale, e Paul, che dovrebbe fare da mediatore, si immedesima in realta` nella parte di Ulisse, con Camille in quella di Penelope e Jeremy in quella di Poseidone. Camille e` sempre piu` indisponente, delusa che Paul sembri metterla in secondo piano. Jeremy chiede a Piccoli il permesso di passare una giornata con Bardot e lui glielo concede, irritando di nuovo lei. Lei si vendica lasciandosi baciare da Jeremy. Lang e Godard discutono passeggiando lungo la costa come interpretare e mettere in scena la storia. Paul ha un chiarimento con Camille sulla spiaggia, mentre lei sta prendendo il sole nuda. Ma lei rifiuta di spiegargli la ragione della propria indisponenza. La vicenda ha rivelato crepe nella loro relazione. Camille si rende conto che Paul alla fin fine e` simile a Paul, che Paul e` altrettanto insensibile. Non riesce a perdonargli la vera natura che ha scoperto in lui attraverso Jeremy proprio perche' lo amava cosi` profondamente. Ma al tempo stesso adesso lei si ritrova una vita senza scopo. Non sa cosa fare, adesso che non ha piu` lui da amare. Accetta un altro invito di Jeremy e questa volta l'auto si schianta contro un camion ed entrambi perdono la vita. Il simbolismo prevale: il produttore che non puo` comunicare senza interprete, la bellezza fisica di Camille continuamente esposta dalla cinepresa, il parallelo fra Ulisse e Paul, etc.

Les Carabiniers (1963) è il secondo apologo politico alla Brecht di Godard. Due sottoproletari di una bidonville si arruolano nei carabinieri sperando di conquistare un ricco bottino di guerra; non lesinano sforzi per vincere battaglie e saccheggiare i vinti, ma alla fine della guerra si ritrovano con un pugno di mosche e vengono uccisi dagli stessi carabinieri.

Two police officers show up at a shack inhabited by two couples. The men try to escape. After a brief fight, they welcome the police officers like guests in their shacks. The police officers deliver two letters from the king: they are drafted into the army. The police officers promise that they will be able to take from the enemy anything they want. The two men, Ulysses and Michelangelo, hesitate but then sign in and leave with the police officers. Once at the front, they start writing letters to their women describing the farcical atrocities that they commit against civilians. They return with a bag full of postcards of all the world's monuments. At first, the women realize that they have been ripped off, but then they enjoy the presents. The police officers come to award two medals to the men, as a downpayment to the real reward, which will come when the war is over. Fireworks signal that the war is over, but there is still chaotic fighting in town. It turns out that the king has lost the war, and one of the police officers (perhaps turned to the rebels) kills the two brothers.

Anche nella fiaba Godard applica il procedimento della "registrazione di eventi" ma, essendo questi immaginari, il risultato è metà dadaista e metà brechtiano; spira un'aria di sadica goliardica della retorica bellica; la vicenda è svuotata di ogni contenuto emozionale. Inoltre Godard perfeziona i suoi discorsi sul poter del mezzo cinema (un soldato salta dentro lo schermo per afferrare l'immagine di una ragazza nuda).

Alphaville (1965) is a futuristic parable on the consumeristic society, on the loss of moral values, post-industrial dehumanization, on dystopian alienation. In a sense, it is the Marxist version of Orwell's "1984". Godard's technique of juxtaposing and mixing B-genre revisitation and philosophical meditation is at its best. Like all Godard's films, it tends to be too verbose, more philosophy than cinema, and more preaching than art, but here they harmonize better than ever. The parable is often laughable (the scientist's name used to be Nosferatu and is now Vonbraun, the same last name as the German scientist who designed rockets for Hitler and then took the USA to the moon).
As a visionary, Godard is an absolute amateur. People in the future live like pretty much in the 1960s: same cars, same cclotheolothes, same furniture, same cigarettes, same appliances, same weapons, same elevators (sometimes only stairs) even the same neon lights. The setting looks more like a parody of American hard-boiled detective film-noirs of the 1940s, and the protagonist looks like a parody of Humphrey Bogart.

In the distant future, Lemmy is a secret agent who has traveled through the galaxy to Alphaville and pretends to be a reporter. He checks in at the a hotel, that provides free sex. But he refuses the Seductress and has to shoot the hotel's detective for breaking that law. His mission is to find out what happened to another secret agent, Henri, and to bring back a scientist named Vonbraun. He takes pictures of everything and everybody, and we hear his voice as he recorded what happened in his report.
Natacha Vonbraun, the very daughter of the scientist, shows up at the hotel, claiming she has been ordered to take care of him. She becomes his guide in Alphaville, like Beatrice in Dante's Paradise. He thus learns that the inhabitants of Alphaville are not allowed to travel outside and that they don't know what love is. Natacha has in fact never seen her father, but promises to try arrange a meeting with him.
Lemmy finds Henri, who is sick and hated by his landlord. Henri tells him that Alphaville is run by "Alpha 60", a supercomputer. Everybody simply obeys the computer's instructions. Unfortunately, Henri cannot finish his tale because a gorgeous woman walks into the room and he dies as he is making love with her (after having hidden Lemmy behind the door of an armoir).
The other part of the story is told by the computer itself, in a guttural voice. This guttural voice talks to itself, to the world, to Lemmy.
Natacha takes him to a swimming pool where people are executed. As their bodies fall in the pool, the witnesses clap their hands. Emotions (and love in particular) are banished from Alphaville. Words referring to emotions have been removed from the dictionary. People who show any emotion are executed there. Lemmy takes pictures. Natacha is brainwashed and programmed like everyone else who is still alive in Alphaville.
Lemmy sees Vonbraun and tries to approach him, but the guards arrest him. Lemmy is taken to the computer, that interrogates him. But Lemmy outsmarts the computer by submitting a riddle that cannot be solved. The technicians tell him that he is inside "Alpha 60". Vonbraun's real name is Nosferatu. Nosferatu was sent to the desert to perfect his invention and he became Vonbraun and created Alphaville. The people follow no orders from the scientist: their actions are only the logical comclusions reached by the computer.
They walk him downstairs to "Grand Omega Minus", the project to destabilize other galaxies. In a large computer room, news of war declaration with Outlands is received. The story now assumes Hitler-ian overtones: the regular voice (Lemmy's report) narrates how the new society conducted a scientific extermination of the people who could not be educated, and the guttural voice (the computer) adds that the superior race is now ready to attack the rest of the universe.
Back to the hotel, Natacha is waiting for him in his room. Lemmy notes that every person has a code printed on their neck, including Natacha. He tries to talk sense into Natacha, but her brain cannot grasp what he is telling her about love.
Guards break into his room and arrest him for falling in love with Natacha. Again, he is taken to the computer and interrogated. This time he has to shoot his way out with no mercy for the guards and bureaucrats, and even for innocent citizens. He heads for the secret lab where war against the world is being masterminded. And he confronts Vonbraun. Vonbraun offers him a position, leader of a galaxy when the end is over. Instead, Lemmy kills him and then runs away (running his car over the head of someone who was trying to stop him).
The computer has activated the destruction of Alphaville, and Lemmy has only a few minutes to save Natacha. People are beginning to behave like crazy. They flee together in his car towards the Outlands. Healed by his love, Natacha finally manages to pronounce the terrible words: "I love you".

Masculin Feminin (1966) è un altro apologo politico (questa volta su un giovane che esplora il mondo femminile e discute di politica con tutti) con il solito finale disperato (la morte del protagonista, forse suicida) e una serie di episodi violenti (una donna che uccide il marito, una donna che uccide due neri sul treno, un uomo che si pugnala da se`, un uomo che si da` fuoro).

The scenes of the film are numbered and sometimes the transition from one to the next is usually signaled by a gunshot, sometimes by philosophical meditations.
Paul is sitting in a cafe when the beautiful Madeleine walks inside. He recognizes her his friend Robert knows her former coworker Marcel at a magazine. She tells him that she now is a singer and trying to record her first record. He tells her that he just completed 16 months of compulsory military service and vents his anger at the military-industrial complex While they are chatting they hear a man and a woman argue at another table. The man takes their child and walks outside. The woman pulls out a revolver from her purse and shoots him. The film doesn't show up what happens next. Paul walks into another cafe where he meets his friend Robert, who tells me that the workers are on stike, including him, and asks him to sign a petition in favor of political prisoners in Brazil. They use a trick to check the breast of a girl who is sitting at another table. The voiceover informs us that there is no "average" French woman. Robert inquires about Madeleine as if he were already Paul's girlfriend, and Paul replies that he's not interested. Paul is hired at the magazine, where apparently Madeleine started working again. Paul asks Madeleine for a date and she asks him if that means that he wants to have sex. Initially he refuses to answer but then admits that he wants to sleep with her. She says she hasn't thought of it. She asks him if he ever slept with prostitutes and he admits it. She is in charge of fashion photos at the magazine. He interrogates her about her friends. The voiceover, who is actually Paul's voice, informs us that it is the time of the French presidential election, he is about to turn 21 and therefore eligible to vote, and he has become Madeleine's boyfriend. She introduces Robert to her roommate Elisabeth who is still a virgin. One day Paul and Robert see a young woman getting out of a US diplomatic car in front of a US mission. Paul approaches the driver and talks to him so that the driver doesn't notice Robert painting "Peace in Vietnam" on the other side of the car. Madeleine's voiceover informs us that her first record is about to come out and she is willing to let Paul sleep with her. On the subway Paul and Robert witness two black men arguing with a white blond. Paul tries in vain to warn the black men that the woman has pull out a revolver. We then hear the shot. And the film doesn't show us what happenes next. Paul and Madeleine enter a cafe. She is upset because he's wasting her time: her record is coming out that day. But Paul insists to talk to her and inally, after much hesitation, he proposes to her. She walks out in a hurry and postpones an answer. The following time they see each other she is angry at him. After she leaves, Paul is approached by a girl who takes him into a photo booth and offers to show him her breast for money. Paul ignores her and instead records a romantic message for Madeleine in a coin-operated recording booth. He then walks into a room where he is confronted by a man wielding a knife. As Paul walks backwards away from him, the man stabs himself in the belly. The film doesn't show up what happens to him. He meets Robert in a laundromat and tells him that three mysterious men have been following him. Robert is reading an article about Bob Dylan in the newspaper and Paul asks who is Bob Dylan. Paul tells Robert that he has been kicked out of his rented room and plans to ask Madeleine to find him a place to stay. The voiceovers discuss technological progress. Paul moves in with Madeleine and her housemates Elisabeth and Catherine. Catherine tells Paul that Madeleine is afraid of getting pregnant. Madeleine's record is a hit in Japan. Paul mocks an article that talks about her and then plays a record of classical music. Paul interviews a friend of Madeleine, Elsa, who has just been voted "Miss 19", and tells her that he quit the job at the magazine and is now a pollster working for a polling institute. Pretending to be polling French women, he asks her a lot of questions about socialism and birth control until he makes her uncomfortable.
Paul has lunch with Elisabeth at a cafe and talks about his father. He is rude to her and tells her that Madeleine is pregnant, but Elisabeth doesn't believe him. Just then Madeleine arrives, panting. Madeleine notices the woman who shot her husband in the cafe. She is talking to a man and sounds like she's negotiating a price for sex, but she also mentions that her parents died in a concentation camp. At another table there's a blond who looks like Brigitte Bardot rehearsing a theatrical play with a man. Paul, Madeleine, Elisabeth and Catherine go to a semi-empty movie theater. Paul finds two men kissing in the restrooms. When he returns to the theater, Madeleine tells him that she loves him while watching the film. Paul gets upset that the projectionist is using the wrong format and runs inside the projection room to complain. Everywhere he goes, he sprays anti-government slogans. Then he rejoins the girls inside who are watching the film, an erotic scene. A haughty Robert accuses Catherine of being in love with Paul. Robert interrogates her about her sex life. She asks him if he sleeps with prostitutes and he admits it. He insists that she's in love with Paul and she insists she's not, while munching on an apple. And finally he tells her that he loves her. Catherine admits she's still a virgin. He boasts of his militant activities.
Paul and Catherine are walking in the street when a man asks Paul for a match. The man then (not shown) pours gasoline on himself and sets himself on fire, like the Buddhist monk in Vietnam, and leaves a note against the war in Vietnam (but we don't hear nor hear any commotion in the street). Paul and Catherine walk into the studio where Madeleine is recording a song. She walks out with them. Outside a reporter is waiting to interview her. Madeleine jokingly tells Paul to get her a car and Paul gets one by calling the war ministry and pretending to be a general. While we see footage of ordinary life in the streets of Paris, Paul's voiceover informs us that he continues to conduct opinion polls of all sorts, and he is self-critical about his unprofessional methods.
Catherine is interrogated at a police station about Paul and we learn that Paul fell from a window and died. She rules out suicide. The cop then interrogates Madeleine and asks about her future since she is pregnant. She looks down, worried, and says that she's not sure.

Made in USA (1966) ribalta invece la situazione: una giornalista dà la caccia agli assassini di un comunista finchè li scova e li giustizia, smascherando al tempo stesso una società in cui la violenza più efferata alligna dietro i cartelloni pubblicitari.

Godard veniva progressivamente coinvolto nel dibattito ideologico che travagliava la Francia gollista e nel generazionalismo dei campus americani. Pur rifiutando ogni attivismo e affermando più volte il suo scetticismo sulle personalità rivoluzionarie della società americana.

Bande a Part/ Band of Outsiders (1964) is an atmospheric film, somewhat indebted to the theater of the absurd, a satire of love melodramas, caper movies and of show business in general. The plot is as insignificant as it gets in Godard's movies, basically a random sequence of scenes that employ the same actors in the same roles with countless irrelevant detours. In fact, it's the "irrelevant" that characterizes this film.

Franz is driving Arthur in a convertible car. The narrating voice informs us that it's been two weeks since Franz met Odile. They stop to look at the villa by the river where Odile lives. Meanwhile, Odile is pedaling on her bicycle. They meet at a class of English. The teacher boasts that the school employs a modern method. She reads from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", but in French. Meanwhile, Arthur writes nasty notes to Odile that make her uncomfortable. When class is over, Franz introduces them properly and then leaves. Odile tells him that her aunt Victoria wants her to become a nurse. Arthur suggests that she becomes a nurse, seduce an old rich man, makes sure he dies quickly, so that she can inherit the money. He asks her if she knows how to kiss and then kisses her in an awful way. Franz and Arthur give her a ride home. During the ride they remind her that she told them about a large amount of money in the villa that belongs to a man named Stolz. She doesn't know why he keeps it there. They want to steal it. She bikes home and finds the money in a closet while they drive around like maniacs. When her aunt asks her what she likes, Odile replies that she doesn't know. Odile leaves the house and (after passing by a man with a tiger) looks for the two crazy boys who are reading grotesque news in the newspaper. Odile, Franz and Arthur stop at a cafe. She tells them that she's scared about stealing the money. Franz and Arthur decide to strike in two days. Arthur finds it strange that Stolz's room is unlocked. Odile uses the restrooms and sees a brunette who is reading in the newspaper how to make up her eyes. She tries a scientific experiment on Arthur but it fails. Because they don't have anything meaningful to say, they decide on a minute of silence. And the film goes silent for one minute. Then they dance. The narrating voice tells us what the three are thinking, notably that Arthur is lusting for Odile. Arthur and Franz flip a coin to decide who gets Odile and Arthur wins. Odile asks Arthur to be nice to her because she loves him. They take the subway to his place. They stare at the other passengers. She sings a melancholy song. We see Franz already asleep in his bed. Then we see Arthur and Odile asleep in Arthur's bed. In the morning Arthur sends her home in a taxi. He's attacked by his relatives who knows about the money and want a cut of it. Arthur promises to them and promises not to tell Franz. Arthur loads his pistol. Then he tells Franz that they have to carry out the robbery the same evening. Alone with Franz, Odile tells him that she is afraid and he advises her to leave town. Franz tells her that he intends to travel to North America because he is fascinated by Jack London, especially a short story about an "Indian"; but if she comes with him he would rather go to South America. Back in the car with Arthur driving, they decide to visit the Louvre and to beat the record for fastest visit ever: they run through all the rooms of the museum in less than ten minutes. Wearing her black stockings as masks, Franz and Arthur enters the villa but find the room locked. They comically try to use a ladder to enter from the window but the window is closed too. Arthur, frustrated, beats Odile but is stopped by Franz. Arthur tells her to find the key to the room and that they will be back the following day. When Franz and Arthur come back, Odile tells them that all the locks of the villa have been changed after her aunt found traces of the ladder. Franz and Arthur force their way in, Odile screams, her aunt Victoria comes out, Arthur demands that she opens the room and pulls out his pistol. They tie and gag Victoria, and lock her in a closet, forcing a desperate Odile to cooperate. They finally enter Stolz's room but they find no money. They decide to interrogate Victoria, but she has fainted. Franz thinks that she's dead and Odile starts crying. Franz and Odile leave in the car while Arthur continues to search. Franz and Odile see Arthur's uncle driving towards the villa, make a U-turn and chase him. When they arrive they see Arthur finding the rest of the money hidden in the doghouse, the uncle shooting at him, Arthur dropping the money and shooting back. The uncle keeps shooting at Arthur but Arthur still staggers forward until the uncle drops dead. Arthur staggers comically before falling dead next to his uncle. Franz and Odile hide just in time before Stolz drives to the villa in a luxury car, and we see him collecting the money from the ground and catch a glimpse of Victoria at the door. Franz and Odile drive away. Franz tells her to choose between North and South America. Odile randomly chooses South. The narrating voice promises a forthcoming big-budget film about Franz's and Odile's adventures in South America.

Une Femme Mariee/ A Married Woman (1964), un altro ritratto femminile, compie un passo avanti nel definire la teoria godardiana dell'immagine: il cinema è realtà e finzione al tempo stesso, la trama è frammentata in spezzoni eterogenei (scene sensazionali, interviste etnologiche, monologhi interiori, dibattiti sociologici), l'immagine è l'oggetto dei suoi film (manifesti pubblicitari, quadri, spezzoni di film, fotografie, fumetti). In tal modo Godard rompe con la tradizione francese e si avvicina all'avanguardia pop.

Une femme mariè racconta una giornata di una donna che è la moglie di un pilota e l'amante di un attore. L'alienazione rientra nella casistica degli eroi neutri di Godard, individualisti più o meno cinici e nichilisti schiacciati dall'ordine sociale: pigra, diffidente, bugiarda, conscia della caducità delle cose, confusa e incerta. Questa adultera (la cui condizione è stata descritta da un lungo elenco di fatti) sa di essere incinta ma non sa di chi e prima di rivelare il suo stato vuol capire quale dei due ama.

Pierrot Le Fou (1965), based on Lionel White's novel "Obsession" (1962), è il punto di massima identificazione fra critica dell'immagine e critica della società dell'immagine raggiunto da Godard. La dissoluzione della trama della pirotecnica parodia dei generi classici aggredisce anche il consumismo e l'alienazione. L'eroe è ancora un alienato votato all'autodistruzione (simile a quello di A Bout De Soufle/ Breathless), un giovane sposato che lavora alla pubblicità televisiva e che cerca di evadere dalla routine della fabbricazione delle immagini artificiali attraverso l'arte (legge libri di pittura e perfino fumetti), attraverso l'amore passionale con una gangster (Karina), attraverso il crimine (picchiano, rubano, uccidono) e attraverso il viaggio (fuggono sulla Côte d'Azùr).
Godard employs a variety of narrative techniques (some grotesque and parodistic) and countless detours in a plot that is deliberately implausible. The dialogues are verbose and full of literary references. She always called him "Pierrot" and at the end he paints himself like a clown before blowing himself up.

The film begins with an intellectual discussion by the narrating voiceover on Velasquez's painting. It's Ferdinand, who is reading a book while bathing and smoking a cigarette. His little daughter comes to listen. Ferdinand's Italian wife has planned for them to go out with their friends Frank and Paola, leaving their niece to babysit the child. We learn that Ferdinand has been fired by his employer, a TV station. At the party thrown by his wife's parents, filmed with lenses of different colors, Ferdinand, bored, meets a filmmaker from the USA but quickly decides to leave. He takes Frank's car to go home. Back home he finds the babysitting young woman, Marianne, fallen asleep, and drives her home. We learn that they were lovers years earlier. He tells her that he is married to a rich Italian but he's not happy. She tells him that she left her American boyfriend. She calls him "Pierrot". He spends the night at her place. In the morning she sings him a long song. A man comes to visit and the scene is shown with no sound. The man has the keys because he has an affair with Marianne. Marianne hits him in the head with a bottle of wine. Ferdinand drags the dead body away. She tells him that she is in trouble with thugs of a terrorist organization opposed to Algeria's independence. They drive away in the dead man's car. They stop at a gas station but don't have money to pay so they have to fight the three attendants and flee. Now she's driving and Ferdinand asks where they are going but she's vague. She mentions her brother Fred, who sometimes is a gun smuggler in Africa and sometimes works for a TV station in France. At one point the action is told by both narrating voices (Ferdinand's and Marianne's) who complete each other's sentences. Later each one describes what the other one did. A number of ordinary people introduce themselves staring in the camera and then we see them chatting casually with Ferdinand and Marianne. Ferdinand's wife has alerted the police and people can easily identify them, but it is not clear whether they are running away from the police and from the gangsters. so they decide to fake an accident when they run into a car that had a real accident against a tree (with two dead people inside). They set fire to the car (including apparently a suitcase full of gangster money) and walk away. They wave a river and walk through a forest. She keeps calling him "Pierrot", the sad clown. He reads a comic book for children. They steal a car at a gas station. Now Ferdinand is driving. They read in the newspaper that Ferdinand's wife has invented a story about them. At one point Ferdinand turns to the camera and makes a comment about Marianne. She asks who he is talking to and he replies "to the spectators". Suddenly he drives straight into the sea. They have to wade to the beach and then sleep on the beach. Staring at the Moon, Ferdinand invents a story about the only inhabitant of the Moon. They live there for a while, without a tent, without a sleeping bag. He starts writing a journal. She fishes and somehow finds food. Pierrot reads poetry and philosophy, often with a parrot next to him. They find an abandoned house. She gets bored of their pointless life. They need money to go anywhere so they mime the Vietnam War for American tourists (she paints her face and quacks to look and sound like a Vietnamese girl) to raise some money. She insists that she wants to live. He seems more interested in reading. She sings another long song. He keeps philosophizing and at one point he says: "We are made of dreams.. and dreams are made of us". They hire a boat to move to another town. Ferdinand enters a restaurant (from a window) and orders a drink. He is approached by a man who reminds him that he owes him money and that he slept with his wife; but then the man walks out and Ferdinand keeps reading the newspaper. Marianne is taken to an apartment where a gangster, a midget who communicates with others via a rudimentary radiotelephone, threatens to kill her if she doesn't tell him where is the money (the money burned in the car). She calls Ferdinand at the restaurant asking for help. When he arrives, he finds the midget dead, killed by Marianne with scissors. He doesn't find Marianne but finds two gangsters who torture him to find out what happened to the money. He sends them to a dancehall and they let him go. Pierrot wanders in the countryside until he settles in a hotel. We see him in a movie theater watching a newsreel about the Vietnam War. He works for a princess of Lebanon in exile until Marianne finds him. She still calls him "Pierrot". Her story of why she disappears doesn't make a lot of sense but he doesn't seem to care. She drives him away in her sport car to a yacht and the yacht takes them to her brother Fred. Marianne and Fred involve Ferdinand in a gun deal with the gangsters that is actually an ambush to kill them (she shoot them with a professional gun like a marine in Vietnam) and to steal their money in a manner that only Ferdinand is seen by witnesses. She takes the money and runs away on Fred's yacht: he's her lover, not brother. Ferdinand understands that they used him and fooled him. After he sees them leave on the yacht, he listens to a crazy man who talks about his favorite record that has haunted all his life (a long pointless soliloquy). Then Ferdinand jumps on a boat and asks for a ride to chase Fred and Marianne. He has a gun. He finds them and kills both of them. Her last words are "forgive me Pierrot" and he reminds her one more time that his name is Ferdinand. He then paints his face blue and straps sticks of dynamite to his head. He lights a match and sets fire to the cord. Then he realizes he's an idiot and tries to put it off, but it's too late: we see the explosion from a distance.

Deux ou Trois Choses Que Je Sais d'Elle/ Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967) procede nella direzione ideologica di una denuncia del capitalismo; il film abbandona una struttura puramente astratta per assumere qualità brechtiane di critica e riflessione politica. Il film racconta la vita nei quartieri popolari di Parigi di una donna, madre di famiglia, che d'accordo con il marito meccanico decide di prostituirsi per arrotondare le entrate familiari che non permettono tutta una serie di spese consumistiche.

Godard intrattiene il pubblico con i suoi pamphlet sociologici, girati a ruota libera attorno al tema della crisi della società occidentale.

La definitiva ideologizzazione del cinema di Godard avviene con i film del 1977.

La Chinoise (1967) is the analysis of five Maoist students raised by bourgeois families, of the angst-filled vitality of young awkward intellectuals that aim at emancipate themselves from the capitalist society that their parents have created. The film is an intriguing, and sometimes farcical, collage of fiction, reportage, rehearsed scenes, improvised scenes, agit-prop posters and archival photos. The film examines the psychology that brings a young woman from a rich family to become a terrorist and assassin, but in the end it feels more like parody than tragedy. These youths are totally unprepared for real life and real struggle, easily fooled by demagogues like Mao and completely alienated from the masses that they want to "liberate". The film is also notable for the crystal-clear images.

A young man, Henri, reads a communist pamphlet calling for a proletariat revolution against the bourgeoisie. A young woman and a young man discuss their relationship and we only see their hands touching (later we learn that Veronique and Guillaume are lovers). The girl's parents are capitalists who own factories. A young woman, Veronique, listens to a broadcast by "Radio Peking" that praises Mao's "red guards". Serge brings in a bleeding friend, Henri, who was attacked by communists. Guillaume is smoking and talking about Mao's China, his inspiration. His father, who fought the Nazis during the war, now runs a tourist resort which to his son looks like a concentration camp of the Nazis. The camera shows us that he is being filmed. The girls wash dirty dishes and compare that chore to the situation of France. Yvonne, who is from the countryside and was a prostitute for a year, tells her story. When they are penniless, she still prostitutes herself. The five have moved in together in this luxury apartment. A black student of philosophy, Omar, is invited to give a speech on Stalin to them. Every now and then we also see full-screen pictures of famous revolutionaries, of agit-prop posters, and of slogans written in capital red letters. Veronique tells her experience of living in a poor neighborhood of workers and immigrants. She would like to dynamite cultural institutions like the Louvre and the Sorbonne. Then she confesses that her family are bankers. Guillaume gives a talk about pioneering filmmaker Melier and how to interpret the news. Guillaume parodies both the USA and the Soviet Union, and Yvonne plays a Vietcong shooting at US soldiers behind a wall of Mao's "red books" and then cries asking the Soviet Union for help while a toy plane flies around her, a theatrical allegory. Henri give his speech on Marxism while Yvonne washes the windows. Then we see Serge point a gun to his head (like the suicidal Serge in Dostoyevsky's novel "The Possessed") and a naked girl with a sack on her head and chest. It is Serge's turn to give a speech (on the revolutionary value of colors). Suddenly Veronique tells Guillaume that she doesn't love him anymore. The girl in a sack is performing an anti-racist piece. Henri gives a speech and the others booh him, accusing him of revisionism. Veronique advocates terrorism and Henri is the only one opposed. She emerges as the main ideological brain of the cell. Now we also see full-screen pictures of paintings and of comic strips. And suddenly we see Godard's crew that is filming a scene between Guillaume and Yvonne. So far the film has taken place entirely inside the apartment. Veronique takes a train and meets the (real-life) political activist and radical writer Francis Jeanson, who is relocating to the countryside. Veronique is his former student and praises Mao's closure of the universities in the cultural revolution so that students can do manual lavor. Disgusted by teaching, she tells him that she wants to use bombs to shut down the universities. After all he (famously) defended Algerian terrorists during the Algerian war of independence. He lectures her about the difference between participating in a revolution and starting one. She wants to kill people but doesn't have a plan for what she will do next. He warns her that her bombs will achieve nothing if there isn't an entire population backing her ideas. (The conversation is not only with a real-life revolutionary but it also sounds truly improvised on the train). Serge had been depressed for two weeks and Veronique is convinced that he will kill himself. Veronique and Guillaume want Serge to sign a confession that he killed the Soviet politician whom Veronique is planning to kill in order to derail the inauguration of a new university building. Serge does not sign it and instead paints a room with abstract colors and then kills himself with a revolver. Veronique takes the revolver and Guillaume drives her to the hotel where the Soviet politician is staying. She knocks at the wrong room and kills the wrong person. Realizing her mistake, she walks back inside, knocks at the right room and kills the Soviet. Then we see for a few seconds Guillaume dressed like Napoleon disrupting an a show at the opera. Henri is expelled from the cell for being a revisionist and planning to emigrate to communist East Germany. Then we see Guillaume trapped inside a room and women knocking at its glass doors. Two women return to the apartment, one of them the legitimate owner, angry at what they have done to the apartment. We now realize that the five spent their summer vacation in that apartment, owned by Veronique's rich family, discussing and plotting, and that the summer vacation is over. Veronique tells us that it is time for her to go back to school.

Week-end/ Weekend (1967), un'altra slapstick sul costume sulla falsariga di Deux ou Trois Choses, se la prende con la civiltà dell'automobile e con l'ipocrisia e la ferocia dei nuovi borghesi. Se l'andata era stata costellata di scene crudeli, il ritorno è un crescendo allucinante di violenza. Ma anche il finale e` guastato dalla logorroica dialettica di Godard. I testi recitati per minuti e minuti, con il tono di poemi Shakespear-iani, sono per lo piu` terribilmente banali, anche quando non sono politici.

Due coniugi approfittano del weekend per andare al paese di lei, dove contano di uccidere suo padre per ereditarne la proprietà. Fin dall'inizio il loro viaggio e` disseminato di ingorghi e incidenti stradali. Arroganti e prepotenti, sorpassano una lunga coda d'auto e sfrecciano indifferenti fra i relitti e i cadaveri di un incidente. Arrivano in un paese di campagna e assistono sempre indifferenti alla diatriba fra una ragazza e il guidatore di un trattore che hanno avuto un incidente nel quale l'auto sportiva della prima e` rimasta distrutta e il suo ragazzo ucciso (lei inveisce contro i proletari e si vanta di essersi prostituita per denaro). Vengono fermati da un matto e dalla sua donna che, pistola alla mano, li costringono a una deviazione. Il bandito e` un mago che fa comparire un coniglio e chiede loro di portarlo a Londra. Ma loro gli si ribellano e finiscono per abbandonare l'auto in un paesaggio apocalittico, cosparso di centinaia d'auto in fiamme e di centinaia di cadaveri abbandonati nell'erba. Si mettono in cammino attraverso quei campi/cimiteri e incontrano sul loro cammino personaggi sempre piu` squilibrati.
Il film e` molto parlato. I dialoghi sono ora politici ora metafisici. Questi continui riferimenti al sistema capitalista e alla societa` borghese, o peggio ancora all'Algeria e al Vietnam, interrompono la trama senza aggiungere altro che un senso di noia (un regista cinematografico che si erge a storico e predica con smisurata presunzione nonche' sbagliando tutte le previsioni). Ogni episodio e` commentato da qualcuno: dai due protagonisti, con cinismo, o da personaggi occasionali, che quasi sempre litigano fra di loro o con la coppia. I dialoghi fanno spesso riferimento al film stesso (persino un gruppo di attori italiani che non fa alto che ripetere "siamo gli attori italiani").
Incontrano due ragazzi poeti/filosofi, un maschio e una femmina, vestiti da contadini all'antica, che secondo lui sono prodotti della loro immaginazione, e lui da` fuoco alla ragazza. Chiedono passaggio a un camionista che li lascia in un'aia dove un pianista suona Mozart per i contadini. Riprendono a camminere fra auto e camion sfasciati. La donna viene violentata da un uomo sotto gli occhi indifferenti del marito. Chiedono passaggi a tutti coloro che transitano per la stranina di campagna, ma ogni auto pone loro un quesito politico e loro sbagliano sempre le risposte. Finalmente un camion li carica.
Quando finalmente raggiungono la mèta, scoprono che il vecchio è già morto, e decidono su due piedi di sopprimere anche la vecchia: lui la strangola, lei l'accoltella. Poi si rimettono in cammino, lieti di essere gli unici eredi. Vengono presi in ostaggio da due terroristi armati di mitra che li catturano insieme a una famiglia che stava semplicemente facendo un picnic. Vengono portati in un bosco. E` il campo di una tribu` di strani hippie cannibali. I coniugi tentano invano di corromperli con il loro denaro. Prima cucinano una ragazza infilandole un pesce nella vagina. Lui tenta di scappare, ma gli hippie lo stordiscono e lo squartano. Sulle rive di un lago un hippie declama una sua poesia mentre un altro hippie batte il ritmo alla batteria. Gli hippie-terroristi portano con loro la moglie durante una sanguinaria scorribanda in un villaggio di contadini. Una delle ragazze hippie viene uccisa nello scontro a fuoco, ma la moglie ne prende il posto. Tornati al campo, le servono carne arrostita e le spiegano che si tratta di un turista che hanno appena ucciso e dei resti di suo marito. Lei, rapidamente convertita alla barbarie, non batte ciglio e ne chiede un altro po'.
Un delirio di immagini, una fantasia macabra, un apologo truce e sarcastico sulla quotidianità moderna, dalla quale sono banditi logica e sentimento, persino "felliniano" nell'eloquio caotico e ammaliante e "buñueliano" nella perfidia apocalittica dell'immaginazione.

Il film perde pero` ritmo nella seconda parte, troppo parlata e troppo allegorico. L'effetto shock costruito dalle distese di rottami d'auto nella prima parte non viene sfruttato per costruire una narrazione, ma per imbastire un discorso didascalico da predicatore ambulante.

8. Tout va bien

Il Maggio parigino trova Godard in prima linea. Il regista compie persino il gesto storico di ripudiare il cinema d'autore, considerato ora aristocratico e borghese. Formula il piano di un cinema materialista al servizio della rivoluzione, rende omaggio ai maestri sovietici, gira film agit-prop in tutta Europa e saggi verbosi che riassumono i temi (a volte puerili e di cattivo gusto) delle assemblee universitarie. Novello Vertov, si getta anima e corpo nella nuova impresa, facendo arrossire di vergogna i compagni di strada della nouvelle vague da tempo convertiti al cinema di consumo. La crisi del movimento si traduce però anche in una crisi personale di Godard, che per parecchi mesi si chiude in un cupo isolamento.

Ne esce con Tout va bien (1972), che esamina proprio la condizione dell'intellettuale alle prese con il clima di restaurazione: un cineasta (Montand) e sua moglie, una giornalista americana (Fonda), restano bloccati in una fabbrica in lotta e assistono alle trattative e alle assemblee.

9. Numèro deux

Negli anni Settanta Godard tenta di definire una nuova tecnica cinematografica che prevede l'impiego di metodi amatoriali (super8, videoregistratori) e professionali.

Numèro deux/ Number Two (1975) è un'altra cronaca sarcastica e allucinante (alla Week-end) di una giornata di una famiglia borghese condizionata dai miti consumisti: incomunicabilità, impotenza, crisi d'identità.

Sauve qui Peut/ Every Man for Himself (1979) riprende il discorso sulla mercificazione dell'individuo nella società consumista: una donna vuole abbandonare la televisione e andare a lavorare in una fattoria, un'altra (Huppert) è una contadina ora prostituta che ne prende l'appartamento cittadino, il protagonista muore in un incidente d'auto.

Passion (1982) racconta i fatti privati di una troupe in procinto di girare un film alloggiata nell'hotel di Hanna Schygulla insoddisfatta; in margine alle riprese si svolge la lotta politica di una ragazza (Huppert) licenziata dalla vicina fabbrica; sospeso il film, il regista lascia le due donne e si mette in viaggio con una cameriera spensierata.

Prènom Carmen/ First name Carmen (1983) è la storia, casual e sincopata, di una Carmen moderna, che inscena le registrazioni di un film per rapire un industriale mentre un poliziotto la segue perchè se ne è innamorato; il giorno del colpo però lui tradisce il gruppo e la uccide.

Detective (1985) intreccia quattro vicende di un milieu all'americana (mafia, grand hotel, detective etc.) con sparatoria catarchica: due detective indagano su un omicidio, incontrano un organizzatore di incontri di boxe che deve loro dei soldi ed è nei guai anche con la mafia, il suo pupillo è la grande speranza ma la mafia si scatena proprio prima dell'incontro e proprio quando i detective hanno risolto il loro mistero; muoiono quasi tutti.

Je vous salue Marie (1984) trasfigurazione in chiave moderna della divina concezione di Gesù.

Grandeur et Decadence d'un Petit Commerce de Cinema (1986), detective-film: un regista vuole girare un poliziesco tratto da un romanzo giallo, ma incappa in una serie di omicidi che hanno per obiettivo il film stesso.

Soigne Ta Droite/ Keep Your Right Up (1987) is a fragmentary film, "a fantasy for actor, camera and tape recorder".

King Lear (1989) è una libera parafrasi della tragedia: un discendente di Shakespeare alloggia in un hotel postmodernista frequentato anche da un boss mafioso e da sua figlia che si scambiano battute tratte dal vero Lear; scherzo d'alta classe.

For Ever Mozart (1996),

Eloge de l'Amour/ In Praise of Love (2001),

Nel suo insieme l'opera di Godard costituisce un imponente trattato sociopolitico sulla società francese da de Gaulle a Mitterand.

Il suo cinema è fortemente autobiografico, preferisce la forma dell'apologo e ha imposto un approccio "convenzionale" al rapporto fra autore e pubblico.

Le costanti sono tre: la registrazione degli eventi, la teoria dell'immagine, l'antieroe alienato e segnato dal destino.

Godard spent much of his early career demystifying cinema: the gangster movie in Breathless, the political thriller in The Little Soldier, the musical comedy in A Woman Is a Woman, the war movie in Les Carabiniers, and the science-fiction fantasy in Alphaville. He then turned to sermons against the consumerist and capitalist society with Week-end and La Chinoise.

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