By William Wolf


Jean-Luc Godard is an icon of cinema and therefore it is only fitting that the 2014 New York Film Festival would have decided to show his “Goodbye to Language 3D” (Adieu au langage 3D”). What one can make of it is another story.

Ever since Godard’s “Breathless” (1959) hit the screens with an impact and set a tone for the French New Wave, along with Truffaut’s “The Four Hundred Blows,” we have followed the course of Godard’s productivity reflecting his changing styles and his genius. His “Goodbye to Language 3D” presents an avalanche of imagery, and looking at it in three dimension with the aid of the requisite glasses, one is struck by the sheer volume and variety of colorful shots and sequences.

One has to credit Godard for his fanciful, eye-catching concepts in his own reflection on cinema and society, an approach that makes no concessions to any need for clarity, just as he has done in his later years, including dissecting images in his take on television. But increasingly, structure and making sense has all but disappeared from his work.

His new adventure seems bereft of meaning, challenging us to look hard and deep into what is going on but finding endless frustration. It is best to just sit back and let the imagery wash over you, and enjoy, for example, the sight of Godard’s dog Roxy moving though the film as a touchstone.

When Godard ultimately is gone, it would be a gift to science--and cinema—to have his brain examined to discern what has been going on there. His film is striking as for visuals that appear to reflect our world as Godard observes it. His thinking seems to be in a world all his own. A Kino Lorber Films release. Reviewed October 21, 2014.


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