Sunday, December 3, 2017

Euclid and Pascal

JLG JLG: autoportrait de décembre (1994) - Godard
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This is my initial thoughts on JLG JLG (will have to rewatch very soon):

With Anna Wiazemsky passing this year, it hit me that Godard, who just turned 87 today, outlived most of his contemporaries. Even though lately he hasn't been as prolific as past several decades, he is still at it. With JLG JLG, which came out more than 20 years ago now, in his 60s, I think his carrier gave him a chance to look back to see what he had gained, what he had lost. He looks mighty lonely at the empty shore of Lake Geneva.

Godard tells that JLG JLG is not a autobiography, but autoportrait near the end of the film. The year is 1993- The Bosnian War is still raging, Israel/Palestine conflict saw the signing of the uneasy Oslo Accord after much bloodshed and injustices, European Union was formed to compete economically with America. The film reflects Godard's contemplation on these matters and mortality, art and culture, and of course, cinema.

Dark empty corridors contrasts wintry landscape of Lake Geneva, as Godard narrates in his usual intentionally distorted, gravelly voice. The scenes are accompanied by hollow footsteps and nature. But usually the shots are mostly devoid of humans. He appears on screen, scribbling and reading, conversing with nubile housekeepers. There are a peach fuzzed studio exec who looks like 19, a blind assistant editor and an old woman who's sitting in the snow ominously speaking in Latin.

Godard's seemingly abstract connections through politics, history and art are not without fangs. Like light and darkness, there's two sides always competing, but what if there is only one side but the other is just an reflection of one's self? "JLG by JLG," he says at one point. It's only you who can truly represent yourself and on the same token, truly judge yourself. "I am legend." He declares on the pages of his note book- he is thoroughly aware of his past. The past is never dead. He's the director of Breathless and Pierrot le fou among others. But over the years, his persona (his name) has taken over a center stage rather than his films. How do you reconcile the two? He also has to live up to his name. With everything that was going wrong in the world at the time, speaks of love, as if there is a chance in the rotten world that gives us meaning to all of this. He will be remembered in art history. He is legend. He has been tirelessly exploring and in turn, elevated cinema as an art form. Happy Birthday Monsieur Jean.

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