Godard’s first English-language film, originally titled One Plus One, continues his anarchic observations of artists and civilians in the grip of impending social revolution. As in such previous works as Deus ou Trois Choses que Je Sais d’Elle or Weekend, his sequences are fragmented, dialogue is carefully used for ironic, philosophical contrast to what is upon the screen and violence dominates his attitude toward society. This film is divided into two major sections, intercut with one another. One section observes the Rolling Stones in rehearsal; they are preparing a new album, and it is fascinating to watch them work out the problems of a new song (Sympathy for the Devil). It must be admitted, too, that with this film one may feel some slight twinges of rancor about Godard’s tendency to pan the camera away from the performers, just when they reach a particularly fine musical climax, and to focus upon inanimate objects. This is most likely due to the presence of Mick Jagger, who, when entranced by the weavings of his own melodiousness, is a glorious monster, indeed. The second section of the film describes, in true Godardian terms, some Black Power activists whose headquarters is a used car dump. Here, carloads of white girls are brought and executed, while sections from the speeches or writings of Stokely Carmichael and Eldredge Cleaver are read on the soundtrack. This enigmatic business is further complicated by other, intermittent sequences in which the director’s wife, actress Anne Wiazemski, walks through a forest, answering a barrage of complex questions with a yes or no. The effect of Sympathy for the Devil will differ for each spectator, and the film is certainly less of a preachment that Le Gai Savoir. There is much humor in the verbal parodies of popular fiction that crop up now and then (“You’re my kind of girl, Pepita, said Pope Paul VI”), and the final sequence, with Godard himself, spraying his wife with plastic blood is the supreme confrontation of Pop with Dada. —Albert Johnson
The lynchpin of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard was arguably the most influential filmmaker of the postwar era. Beginning with his groundbreaking 1959 feature debut A Bout de Souffle, Godard revolutionized the motion picture form, freeing the medium from the shackles of its long-accepted cinematic language by rewriting the rules of narrative, continuity, sound, and camera work. Later in his career, he also challenged the common means of feature production, distribution, and exhibition, all in an effort to subvert the conventions of the Hollywood formula to create a new kind of film.
Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children. After receiving his primary education in Nyon, Switzerland – during World War II, he became a naturalized Swiss citizen – he studied ethnology at the Sorbonne, but spent the vast majority of his days at the Cine-Club du Quartier Latin, where he first met fellow film fanatics Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette. In May… read more
Now I "get" Godard, (all about drifting along in his words and images like a river of conscious thought), this film makes a lot more sense. Contrary to most opinions, the material Godard contributed to the film is as much of worth, and entertainment, as the Rolling Stones creating one of their most well regarded (and notorious) songs. Its 1968 distilled into a single film, and if its random and a bit pretentious, the mass of voices cancelling each other out, or the mess of comics and porn together in a book store, symbolise this chaos very bluntly from the offset. With a parody of a post-modern novel, read by the narrator, cramming anything culture flotsam and jetsam together it can get its hands on, Godard himself crams all the same flotsam and jetsam into the whole film to show the era this legendary song, with its dark, macabre lyrics of Satan floating to and fro through human history, was born from. Also pretty much how a rock band like The Rolling Stones became the bards for that era amongst other musicians.
i understand the satire in this film, althougt that, this movie is tremendously boring. I got confused because i know that godard admired bergman, but bergman didn't admire godard, but in this filme the 'eve scene' it's horrible, why would you ever make fun of bergman's movies? what an asshole
A smorgasbord of Godard posters on occasion of a major retrospective in New York.