Saturday, June 2, 2012

Invisible Dreams

Oh, Woe is Me/Hellas Pour Moi (1993) - Godard
hellas 3
I can't decide which Godard films have more beautiful images, as I go through his catalog. Oh, Woe is Me is certainly stunning, but proves to be one of the most inscrutable. Godard seems to suggest that there are limits to the image/film portraying the truth (and faith in god). As one character says, "I'm still touched by words." The film is in book chapters, its characters constantly talking about the existence of god in the modern world and representation of the truth. He ties the idea of faithlessness in the modern world with the limits of the imagery (now I think I understand better about nature images in his films). Then there is light/darkness dichotomy. In a stunning sequence, he closes the lens iris on a portrait shot of a beautiful model from overly exposed to complete black gradually, against undulating lake backdrop. The body gets easily overshadowed by darkness, but our spirit? "The night is for everyone, therefore more democratic," one character says in the beginning of the film. For everyone because they can hide their sins in darkness. God switches bodies with Simon (Gerard Depardieu) to be with Simon's beautiful, redhead school teacher wife, Rachel (Laurence Masliah). Is he pretending to be god or is it all her dream? Contemplative, invigorating, enthralling...just what the doctor ordered. This needs a definite rewatch or two.