Thursday, September 30, 2010

Film Socialisme at the NYFF

Considering the difficulty of the film – and the common tendency of NYFF audiences to walk out of films (as though we should wear our impatience and incomprehension like a badge of honor) – I was surprised by how many members of the audience didn't leave Film Socialisme. I would say the auditorium was 85% full at the beginning and maybe 70% full at the end. A large portion of the audience also stayed for the round-table discussion with three Godard scholars Richard Brody, Annette Michelson, and Jean-Michel Frodon, with Richard Peña as interviewer. I didn't stay for the entire discussion but it started very well. They each offered an interesting perspectives on the film. I was perhaps most struck by a comment made by Frodon who noted that despite the elegiac tone of the piece (which can be understood to mark, to some degree, Godard's estrangement from the present – a present that is inundated with images but which has little need for cinema) there is also, at one and the same time, a remarkable clarity to Godard's digital images that suggests that he is perhaps not as out-of-touch as he likes to claim. Godard keeps proclaiming cinema is dead, but he keeps making films that demonstrate the reverse.

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