Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jean Luc Goddard

If there was one word that defined hipness in high school and freshman year in college it was Jean Luc Goddard. I first encountered the name being mentioned on WBAI. Apparently, the callers were objecting to the change of the name of the film "One Plus One.
It was being changed to the name "Sympathy for the Devil."
"It is nothing but a sellout from art to commercialism," the caller ranted.
Being a big Stones fan, naturally this caught my eye. Apparently, there was a Rolling Stones movie out directed by a French arteur.

Two weeks later I was on the bus with some friends and we were headed for the movie, "One Plus One", then playing in New York. To be fair, the Stones footage is interesting. The Stones didn't look like they were having too much fun though, and the stuff outside or in the junk yard was preposterous, I thought.

Later at Rutgers, I took the class, "The French Film" (my mother used to get laughs at parties reciting the classes I was taking) and it showed "Breathless". In 1972, Jean Luc Goddard, spoke at school and I got to see him. Jane Fonda had appeared around that time too. Apparently they were both in New Brunswick, tied to the movie "Letter to Jane". Goddard's film criticized Jane Fonda and perhaps she was on the heels of Goddard to stand up for her dignity, according to one story.

"Breathless" I chiefly remember for Jean Seberg selling Herald Tribunes. Saw it again on TCM and I actually enjoyed it and understood it for the first time. I guess there are advantages in age.

I never saw "Weekend" until recently although I told a white lie about it many years ago. The teacher had said in class that we could see any film in the library collection if we needed to for a paper. The next day, however, I was turned down flat by the staff of the library. There I was informed that they never set up a projector for one student. Luckily the library had a book of the screenplay with pictures. I implied in the paper that I had seen the movie when actually I was stretching the truth.

It's hard to say that Jean Luc Goddard was a great filmaker, but he was definitely of his time. In the year 2020 when the class at high school is assigned "movies of the sixties", his films will be introduced as relics of the madness of that decade.

No comments:

Post a Comment