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338 Ratings

King Lear

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
United States, 1987
Avant-Garde, Comedy, Sci-Fi


Everything returns to normal after Chernobyl. That is, everything but art. Most of the great works are lost, and it is up to people like William Shakespear Junior the Fifth to restore the lost artwork of the human race.

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King Lear Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Yes, Godard’s KING LEAR is intentionally inscrutable, featuring a characteristically cacophonous soundtrack, unidentified autobiographical references, aborted scenes, and jarring transitions from sorrow to silliness and back again. Yet it also represents, as Rosenbaum notes, a longing for beauty (albeit of a dense, high-modernist nature) that transcends the commodifying logic of Late Capitalism.
September 16, 2016
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As the title would imply, the film is a retelling of Shakespeare’s play, but then again it isn’t. It is not even, despite an opening that shows abortive footage of Norman Mailer rehearsing lines before leaving the set to return home, even an account of the making of a film about King Lear. Rather, Godard aims higher, focusing on what it means to even make a film, especially one that seeks to adapt a pre-existing work of art.
August 28, 2013
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The grand metaphorical conceit of Godard’s King Lear, albeit arch and puckish, is a project of vast aesthetic, quasi-cosmic ambition, in which Godard’s own comic role as an artistic shaman is central… If, in Passion, Godard sought to film reality and its metaphors, in King Lear he rendered the symbolic and the concrete inseparable, even indistinguishable. In this film more than in any other, he brought together the material and the transcendent, life and art.
May 13, 2007

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