Monday, October 13, 2008

Godard @ the Oak Street

Although the three-day run of Contempt, with the fabulous (cue French accent) Brigette Bardot, is over, there are five more films left to go in the Oak Street's mini Godard retrospective. The Oak Street's future is a mystery shrouded in an enigma, and whether or not films will be playing there a month from now is anyone's guess. However. Supporting Minnesota Film Arts right now also means you get to see a good film as well. (I would like to suggest a membership to MFA, but until the board and the powers that be decide to release some sort of plan, like, anything at all, there are probably better places to give your money.) If you need added incentive, they have 50 cent Mountain Dews in cool cans and a shelf of dollar candies. Be there, or don't be square (all reviews borrowed from the masters of the capsule review at Time Out):

Band of Outsiders (1964)
October 13-14, 7pm and 9pm
"Godard at his most off-the-cuff takes a 'Série Noire' thriller (Fool's Gold by Dolores Hitchens) and spins a fast and loose tale that continues his love affairs with Hollywood and with actress Anna Karina. Karina at her most naive is taken up by two self-conscious toughs ('The little suburban couins of Belmondo in A Bout de Souffle', is how Godard described them), and they try to learn English, do extravagant mimes of the death of Billy the Kid, execute some neat dance steps, run around the Louvre at high speed, and rob Karina's aunt with disastrous consequences. One of Godard's most open and enjoyable films."

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966)
October 15-16, 7pm and 9pm
"Despite some time-bound concerns and irritating conceits, the sheer energy of Godard's dazzling sociological fable is enough to commend it. Paris and prostitution, seen through 24 hours in the life of a housewife-prostitute (Vlady), tell a story of selling yourself to buy happiness, but getting paid in bad dreams. A fictional documentary of Alphaville's nightmare, its virtuoso display of confession and analysis, the sublime and ridiculous, show Godard's deft grasp of the subversive nature of laughter and passions. Too good to miss."

Breathless (1959)
October 17-19, 7pm and 9pm with 5pm matinee on Saturday and Sunday
"Godard's first feature, adapted from an existing scenario written by François Truffaut, spins a pastiche with pathos as joyrider Belmondo shoots a cop, chases friends and debts across a night-time Paris, and falls in love with a literary lady. Seberg quotes books and ideas and names; Belmondo measures his profile against Bogart's, pawns a stolen car, and talks his girlfriend into a cash loan 'just till midday'. The camera lavishes black-and-white love on Paris, strolling up the Champs-Elysées, edging across café terraces, sweeping over the rooftop skyline, Mozart mixing with cool jazz riffs in the night air. The ultimate night-time film noir noir noir... until Belmondo pulls his own eyelids shut when he dies. More than any other, this was the film which epitomised the iconoclasm of the early Nouvelle Vague, not least in its insolent use of the jump-cut."

Alphaville (1965)
October 20-21, 7pm and 9pm
"One of Godard's most sheerly enjoyable movies, a dazzling amalgam of film noir and science fiction in which tough gumshoe Lemmy Caution turns inter-galactic agent to re-enact the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice by conquering Alpha 60, the strange automated city from which such concepts as love and tenderness have been banished. As in Antonioni's The Red Desert (made the previous year), Godard's theme is alienation in a technological society, but his shotgun marriage between the poetry of legend and the irreverence of strip cartoons takes the film into entirely idiosyncratic areas. Not the least astonishing thing is the way Raoul Coutard's camera turns contemporary Paris into an icily dehumanised city of the future."

Pierrot Le Fou (1965)
October 22-23, 7pm and 9pm
'Put a tiger in my tank' says Belmondo to an outraged Esso pump attendant... and the voyage begins. Pierrot le Fou was a turning-point in Godard's career, the film in which he tried to do everything (and almost succeeded). It's the tragic tale of a last romantic couple fleeing Paris for the South of France. But then again it's a painting by Velazquez (says Godard); or the story of a bourgeois hubby eloping with the babysitter; a musical under the high-summer pine trees; or a gangster story (with Karina the moll and Belmondo the sucker). She was never more cautious about her love; he was never more drily self-aware; and the film agonises for two hours over a relationship that is equal parts nonsense and despair. In desperation he finally kills her and himself while the camera sweeps out over a majestic Mediterranean sea. And a voice mockingly asks: 'Eternity? No, it's just the sun and the sea'."

MFA website here with full details.

No comments: