After watching the entire film over a four day period, I can conclude that it was definitely an enjoyable experience and one I am happy I had the opportunity for. A very challenging and demanding watch that is also tremendously rewarding; the holy grail of anti-cinema, as well as the French New Wave.
The most "intense" and varied episodes; they serve as a satisfying closure, great subtle humour, powerful scenes, some of which are genuinely eery and mysterious, surreal at times. Overall: a truly unique, interesting experience. Challenging? absolutely yes, but I'd say it's worth it. Not perfect - true, but it has left a lasting impression and has definitely grown on me, for that alone 5/5.
Spectacular film. I read there is a short 4 hour version - so let's see that MUBI! Please? Big Brother without the flatulence : ) Reminds me of Victoria - the film made recently in one take. (not sure why!) Mesmerising. 70's Paris as if it was literally yesterday. Or tomorrow. Timeless. Etc! As two characters say near the end 'it is easy to be cynical but hard to create something..'
At least now no one can tell me that the reason I don't like this film is because I haven't seen it in its entirety. I have, I've watched it from beginning to end. This is one of the most atrocious films ever made. It's boring, conceited, pompous, and unbearably pretentious.
This film’s structure is a spiral which tightens on itself or spreads out depending on the point of view - being both sprawling and intimate. Ironically it takes time to shake off the dictatorship of time. Is it this first steps in the direction of a new cinematic realism where performance reveals what’s hidden and unifies, and life steps up as a performance of lies, games and half truths where nothing can be known?
I actually really enjoyed these last two episodes, in a kind of 'French film where people talk a lot and not much happens' kind-of-way. Totally unsure about the near-sadistic pre-amble of the first few episodes, though. Overall, file-under 'The Emperor's New(Wave) Clothes'.
I joined MUBI precisely to watch this, as I've wanted to see it for so many years, and missed a recent rare screening. Not sure what I think in the end: I do like the spirit, the tone, the world; there are lovely and memorable and striking scenes, especially later, but the extraordinary drawn-out quality of many scenes baffles me: what exactly is it achieving when your pulse has already nearly stopped?
Now that everything is said and done, the mysteries made somewhat clear and the labyrinth-like passages connected, what I will remember the most are the characters and their relationships, mannerisms and behavior. They are what kept me engaged through the 13 hours, and they are what I will take with me now that it's over.
Having watched the full 13 hours of this magnum opus I feel I should have been awarded the Legion d'Honneur. It is too long by about 10 hours and lacks a cohesive plot but the characters, once you get to know them, are appealing despite their incessant scriptless blathering about nothing much. That said, I loved it. Four stars for now, five possibly on further reflection.