Friday, January 9, 2015

Making Film is a Bitch

Passion (1982) - Godard
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Film financing is a bitch. After reading Richard Brody's book on Godard, funding seems especially messy and difficult every time Godard have made his films. And many of his films are about, in some ways or another, making films. Passion is also one. Jerzy the Polish film director (played by Polish actor in exile, Jerzy Radziwilowicz) is trying to make a film in the West. Taking cues from the masters of western art- Rembrandt, Goya, Delacroix in a TV studio setting, he is trying to conjure up the opening scene. The production is stalled because of some unknown lighting problems and already 4 million over budget. With civil unrest in Poland in mind and under pressure by the film's Italian financiers while keeping his German wife Hanna (luminous Hanna Schygulla) happy and entertaining the possibility of getting involved with a beguiling, Wałęsa inspired factory worker Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert), Jerzy's struggling to keep everything under control. There are talks of censorship, public appeasement and subversiveness in art, in relations to those masters work and film. Is going to the USA, just like his producer and only friend (László Szabó)'s suggestion, the end of all problems or end of creative freedom?

As usual, Godard mixes up current political affairs with his lifelong examination of film medium, the rise of video technology, beauty, representation of truth in art. The usual slapstick comedy is there along with discordant soundtrack and out of sync dialog. The other Godard regulars include Michel Piccoli as the ruthless and greedy factory boss, Miriem Roussel as deaf-mute ingenue. Again, Raoul Coutard provides some beautiful images and there are so many babes/boobs in this movie. Another delicious concoction.