Sunday, May 24, 2015

America Über Alles

Two or Three Things I Know about Her (1967) - Godard
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Not as angry as Weekend, but as cynical as Godard can be, Two or Three Things attacks American style consumerism relentlessly in Paris projects background. In Godard's eyes, Paris of 1966 is one whole construction site not dissimilar to Antonioni's world.
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In order to afford all the comfort of modern living, or name brand dress, a low-class housewife and mother of two, Juliette Jesen (Marina Vlady) resorts to prostitution. Raoul Cotard's cinematography (in anamorphic format and technicolor) here is all pop.
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It seems Godard is not really interested in actors despite Vlady's lovely hot mama. It probably had to do with Godard's breakup with Anna Karina and Vlady's rejection of his marriage proposal still fresh right before shooting of this film. But objects in this film, as he narrates in hushed whispers about objects and subjects and objects and people, has more importance. At one points he whispers that 'objects are more alive and people are already dead'. With that, a cup of black coffee becomes our galaxy.
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Godard's idea of language vs images is strong in this film. He plays with iconic posters, brand names and signs to illustrate the easily malleable nature of words.
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With Vietnam War still raging, Godard has a lot to say about American Imperialism and rampant capitalism it represents. 'America über alles' as one of the characters says.
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19-year old Juliette Berto is a stand in for Anna Karina in an extended cafe dialog scene as she flirts with the intellectual garage worker husband of Jesen (Vlady).
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Trapped in crude capitalist system, everyone has to prostitute himself to live. Vlady's Juliette remains distant as she addresses directly to the camera, emotionlessly. She is not a hapless victim but a willing collaborator in the monstrous system and therefore deserves Godard's contempt.

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