it's funny how words betray the film. they do not lie, but they betray it. films like inglorious basterds or munchen betray levinas, but differently. in spite of sophisticated choices of texts and additional music,i found this film spiritless. if tolerance accepts two types of opposing certitudes, then how can it still define war as good vs. evil, since it is the clash of such equal systems of certitudes that war is?
Perhaps Godard's best 21st century film, not only unlocking all the others but doing so in a way that feels as impassioned as cerebral. The opening is lucidly horrific. The middle is rich with too many ideas to count, chiefly the failure of art to do justice to complex political reality. The ending is a pained, self-reflexive reminder that "Paradise", both philosophical and cinematic, is an exclusionary privilege.
What makes Godard great is that people are there with the strength and dignity of Ford or Costa. Irony, distanciation, abstraction of space and time, discoursive or didactic dialogues, intertitles and the insistence on intervals doesn't implicate hate or despise. On the contrary, this film is about the suffering of people on the modern world and its Dantesque structure is a powerful metaphor. Beautiful and moving.
After a rolling montage of war and devastation, and with the burnt ruins of Sarajevo still standing as a solitary witness to the last great horror of the 20th century, Godard asks the question: "how can we live?" The audience responds: "with our fingers in our ears and our eyes tightly closed." Heaven really is a place where nothing ever happens.
I'm quite disappointed about this one, despite awarding it four stars. The opening ten minutes of Godard's film essay contained some of the most harrowing yet beautiful marriages of image and music that I have witnessed in cinema. I was looking forward to adding this film as one of my favourites, but sadly, after these ten minutes were over, it devolved into a stagnancy that never matched the earlier resonance.