A video project begun by Jean-Luc Godard in the late 1980s and completed in 1998. The densest of Godard’s films, Histoire(s) du cinéma is an examination of the history of the concept of cinema and how it relates to the 20th century.
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Made pretty much exclusively for people who recognize stills from Night of the Hunter, Godard's rumination on 100 years of film history improves the deeper you sink into cinephilia. His academicism can often lapse into humorless self-parody, but as a montage artist (with metaphors cohering from the sea of pixels), he's a wizard. The final effect is emotional rather than academic. Which means it's cinema after all.
Thoroughly odious. Narcissistic, incoherent, and more than a little insane, this series finds Godard editing footage of Nazi death camps with photographs of Charlie Chaplin and Hitler, cut with not a little bit of hardcore pornography, while the "auteur" spews about Vietnam, Francis Bacon, Irving Thalberg, and Arthur Rimbaud in mumble-coughing voiceover. One must "read meaning" into this. Take your pick.
A spellbinding glimpse into how a hardcore cinephile perceives the relationship between cinema and various other artforms, such as literature, poetry, painting and music. The shortcomings and the success of cinema's past, the possibilities and the limitations of this artform, everything is explored in this masterpiece. A beautiful tribute to Italian cinema, reminiscing about the nouvelle vague, so much to enjoy here.
80/100 - Though challenging, Godard’s symphony of cinema history is a deeply impressive testament to the limitless possibilities of the medium.
Que c'est la fin du monde (Godard's cinema: "If a man passed through paradise in his dreams and received a flower as proof of passage, and on waking found this flower in his hand...") mais le soleil revient enfin.
The Paramount Theatre in Boston seems to be playing the Histoire(s) at the rate of one per month. Chapter 3(a) is screening as the bottom half of a double-bill with Rome, Open City in March: http://tinyurl.com/4snqsym. They're being projected off BetaSP, with English subtitles, and they look terrific. Seeing them in a cinema is a wonderful experience.