Friday, November 18, 2016

Creative Process

Keep Your Right Up/Soigne ta droite (1987) - Godard
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Godard presents himself as Prince Mishkin in Keep Your Right Up. He is a director who needs to deliver a finished film in a breakneck pace to some philosopher quoting industrialist who will pay top dollars for it. The director is seen as a bumbling idiot who doesn't know which way is up or down or east or west. But as always, he deals with grander themes - mortality, nature vs technology and of course, cinema.
The film has three distinctive narratives running concurrently, cutting back and forth. One is with the Buster Keaton-ish idiot's journey on the road, the other one is about musicians, the 80s French pop band Les Rita Mitsouko (Fred Chichin and Catherine Ringer) as they compose and rehearse their musical numbers and lastly people going somewhere by car, plane and train, immobile and mobile at the same time.

Music is great. Les Rita Mitsouko's synth, rhythm box heavy pop is very catchy and Ringer's deep, sexy voice is infectious. Godard manipulates the sound like he does with images, using Mitsouko's recording sessions- playing with layers of studio recording. It's the creative process he is equating with music, as he had done since the beginning of his career, albeit crudely arranging two tracks of optical audio (as you remember dialog cutting off abruptly and replaced by music and vice versa). The later more sophisticated examples are Forever Mozart, Nouvelle Vague. This film would be a more polished/improved version of that experimentation. Bright primary colors are there, so as madcap slapstick, clusterfuck comedies of yesteryears. Keep Your Right Up feels freer and even more energetic than Godard's other films in the 80s- playing a fool and not taking himself seriously probably helped. It might be minor Godard, but no less fun.

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