The result of this dollhouse effect in Tout va bien is less about style, but what this effect does for the film. Film is normally perceived as limited to linear motion like a time line moving in forward motion from the beginning to the end of the narrative. Here, Godard uses the dollhouse effect as a temporal vision of spatial depth. The audience has the privilege of witnessing events simultaneously in real time, like one would in everyday activities. Events do not occur one right after the other, events happen simultaneously all at once. The dollhouse effect is an expression of time as what Eisenstein would consider, a form of spatial depth or temporal depth. This notion of spatial depth is an extension of Eisenstein’s argument of superimposition to two conflicting images. Instead of conflicting images, Godard creates a shot of congruent images distinguished by the frame of each individual room. Each room is uniquely different than the other, and each event taking place is uniquely different; however, the participants are only aware of the room they inhabit, and unaware of the happenings in other spaces. The factory becomes a vision of time as it exists, but only through an abstract representation like the dollhouse effect could this take place. For the purpose of this film, pursuit seems to trump style and rather style is a result of pursuit.
In the Anderson film, it is more about homage to Godard’s work or simply the focus on aesthetics. The Brechtian influence is part of Godard’s film, and not so much as Anderson’s. I guess there is a struggle between what is homage, quotation, citation, style and aesthetic. What makes these methods powerful and what makes this just style for style sake? There is seems to be a contributive factor distinguishing these terms and that is usage. It is not enough to use homage without an engaging in the usage in a critical manner. The effect is similar to having a dangling quotation without a reference and without any knowledge from where it came without critically engaging with the material. In Tout va bien the audience never gives into the narrative, for that matter the style does not work to engage, but works to disengage the viewer from the film. However, this description only describes a fleeting moment; the self-reflexivity of the film only lasts for a moment, while Godard actively switches to something new, something we haven’t seen before. It is an experiment in progress that the audience bears witness, rather that a style we are expected to admire or take pride in recognizing.
1 Eisenstein, Sergei. “A Dialectic Approach to Film Form” Film Form: Essays in Film Theory
Ed.Trans. Jay Leyda. San Diego HBJ Book. 1949. PDF File. Pg 4