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November 29, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Audio Commentary by critic David Sterritt, WEEKEND (1967) A FILM BY JEAN-LUC GODARD, DVD Release Date: August 23 2005, New Yorker Video, 00:15:15-00:22:53
  2. Bazin, André. (1967-71). What is cinema? Vol. 1 & 2 (Hugh Gray, Trans., Ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. 23
  3. Centuary of the Self, Dir. Adam Curtis, 2002, BBC, United Kingdom: Documentary
  4. DVD Interview with director Mike Figgis WEEKEND (1967) A FILM BY JEAN-LUC GODARD, DVD Release Date: August 23 2005, New Yorker Video,
  5. French Film directors – Jean-Luc Godard, Douglas Morrey, Manchester University Press 2005,78
  6. Godard on Godard: critical writings by Jean-Luc Godard, Translation and Commentary by Tom Milne, 1972, De Capo Paperback, Cinema Two
  7. GODARD: IMAGES, SOUNDS, POLITCS, COLIN MacCABE, 1980 THE MACMILLAN PRESS LTD LONDON, P – 10 – 70
  8. http://thoughtcatalog.com/2010/’breathless’-jean-luc-godard-movie/ by Dan Hoffman, 14/07/2010: Accessed 29/10/2010
  9. http://www.dvdjournal.com/reviews/s/sunrise_fsc.shtml: Sunrise Review,  Accessed 15/10/2010
  10. http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/9805/offscreen_essays/may68.html: May 1968 article
  11. http://www.marcuse.org/herbert/pubs/64onedim/odmcontents.html: One Dimentional Man, full online text by Herbert Marcuse: accessed 18/10/2010
  12. http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/issue3/ganis.htm: Essay on Warhol
  13. http://www.shmoop.com/portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-man/identity-theme.html: Identity
  14. http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0013.html: Essay on Apollo and Dionysus in 2001: Space Odyssey
  15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ScGLdfqdYo&feature=related: weekend traffic jam scene: accessed on 02.10.2009
  16. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxESwPAKrw0&feature=related: 1980, Dick Cavett Interview Godard: accessed 29/10/2010
  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEzrvHC6e2o
  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQW_dcTQFJ0: Source, Weekend, Sandwich scene
  19. Hugh Gray (1967). Evolution of the language of cinema, What is cinema? Berkeley. 23
  20. James Joyce (2000). A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ,.
  21. James Monaco (1976).THE NEW WAVE. New York: Harbor Electronic publishing. 207, intro, 109-
  22. Jean-Luc Godard: Interviews, Edited by David Sterritt, University Press Mississippi 1998, Gene Youngblood 1968, 9-49
  23. Jean-paul Sartre, Nausea 1938, Penguin classic paperback: mild refrence
  24. Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki (1998). Speaking about Godard. New York: New York University. 83-113.
  25. Margaret Attack (1999). MAY 68 IN FRENCH FICTION & FILM. USA: Oxford University Press. 9-11.
  26. Martin Scorsese (2005). Im Not There. USA: Paramount Pictures. -.
  27. .MOVIES AND METHODS Volume 1, Edited by Bill Nichols, University of California press, 1976, Brian Henderson:  Non bourgeois camera style, 423,
  28. Nietzsche, Friedrich (1883). Thus Spoke Zarathustra. pp. Prologue section 3.
  29. Richard Brody (2008). Everything is Cinema The working life of JEAN LUC GODARD. London: Faber and Faber Limited. 313-314, 53-57
  30. The films of Jean-Luc Godard – Seeing the Invisible, David Sterritt, Cambridge University Press 1999, p 89-126
  31. The Power of Nightmares: A politics of Fear, Dir. Adama Curtis , 2004, BBC, United Kingdom: A documentary
  32. Walter Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche, New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1982, p 124.
  33. Wheeler Winston Dixon (1997). The films of Jean – Luc Godard. New York: State University.  90-99.
  34. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062480/: for film details, budget ect.
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November 29, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

Godard’s use of INTER-TITLES in weekend is an argument in favour of Walter Benjamin’s view: ‘That which withers in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is the aura of the work of art’. Discuss this view.

Weekend Title

“That which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art” is a quote from Walter Benjamin’s artwork essay ‘The Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ published in 1936. In which he discusses how human perception changes with the continual existence of humanity and with these changes comes the decaying of the aura of art and how we experience it. Goddard acknowledges this, in to ways in Weekend.

First is the use of Brechtian theatrical devices, in which he is acknowledging that film is essentially just a reproduction of theatre, where due to the transition the aura of the true stage actor has withered, cinema is just an illusion of  the real thing. “I see no difference between the theatre and movies. It is all theatre. It is simply a matter of understanding what theatre means. That is not generally understood. I mean, what you call the place where a movie is made if not a theatre”, The second way in which Goddard acknowledges Benjamin view is, with the use of pop art imagery in his inter-titles, which we are regularly shown through out the film. he uses these as an innovation on the breachtian distancing device. By introducing language, in to the equation, Godard is using the tool of language to further distance the audience from the action and show them, they are actually watching a move. Godard is also telling us that Film is just a reproduction of language and both are the same.

“If anything his obsession with language became more pronounced than ever as he pioneered new forms of grammar in feature filmmaking, most the characters in his movies are endlessly talking, and his camera flashes to full screen inter-titles or snippets from books, periodicals, combating the lure of the materialistic often dehumanizing spectacles peddled by the mass market culture industry.”

Like Benjamin, Godard is also a Modernist and Marxist. He seems to be in favour of Benjamin view, as he understands film is not really a visual medium, and is one of  the few artists of cinema who has understood the power of text. By using this technique of text in film, he engages different parts of the viewers brain. like a good painting that is almost a cartoon there is somehow more truth in it, because what is interesting to Godard, especially in Weekend is the artists interpretation, rather than the attempt to impersonate.

Weekend doesn’t have a predictable story; it’s more like a portrait, an impressionistic portrait of the period of time and the political ideas. The inter-titles are satirising bourgeois society, who just absorb ideas and turn them in to fashion statements, continually being reproduced to satisfy the culture industry. The whole of Weekend in this view can be seen as apart of this satire.

the inter-titles Goddard uses, say “A film found on the scrap heap“, A film adrift in the cosmos“, the first inter-title  relates to the produce and art which comes from modern bourgeois society. Where every thing is reproduced from the same heap of dirt, same waste-basket. Godard is foreshadowing what will happen to Weekend after we have finished watching it, and consumed it. It will be thrown in to the ‘waste basket’, where all commodities end up in a consumerist society, from where capitalist media reproduces endless garbage for the  masses. The latter inter-title is the film being , self conscious of its own madness, pessimism, and self aware of that fact that it is a hard film to consume and take in. This is apart of Godard’s aims with weekend, which is to make a film which is un-consumable, but can be digested, “a marijuana brownie, rather than a three-course bourgeois meal”. However as he finds out later in his career that nothing really can “remain untouched by commodification.”

However, the title frame seen above, with Weekend repeated over and over, is more closely related to Andy Warhol, who Godard was influenced by. It evokes the assembly line aesthetic of pop, which rejects Benjamin’s notion that art should  have “unique” or “special” properties – a sort of “aura”, If not then it is neither genuine or authentic. Andy Warhol characterised the mechanised processes that produced pop in the 1960’s, his artwork was not to hide the “mass manufactured origin”. The title frame also shows its pop relations, with its use, use of red, white and blue as its primary colours.

“He makes language out of the images, integrating visual material into a language like a structure with recognizable grammar. The weekend title card turns language in to image since its verbal meaning is considerably less striking than its shape, color, and overall visual impact”.

It could be argues that,  title merely reflects an important aspect of Godard’s artistic method, which is his habit of putting words and pictures into “productive competition” with each other. However the image captures the zeitgeist of the twentieth and twenty first century, where quantity slowly  becomes more valued than quality.

Even though Godard uses Andy Warhols’s techniques of pop art, his affirmation and aims are radically different, and are more in line with those of Benjamin’s. He would later go on to renounce, commercial film and cinema altogether. Instead searching for other ways to distribute and exhibit his films, this would be his venture in to the ultra political, in a way the weekend title, stamped repeatedly is a parody of the industry Godard is going to abandon, and move away from, it is his last tribute to the, industry he has slowly fallen out with over the years. To him Hollywood and the underground were one and the same  industry, “Hollywood filmmaker and Underground Filmmaker live in the same house but work in different rooms; one works at the top floor the other in the cellar”.

“Cinema is not a dream or fantasy. It is life. I see no difference between movies and life. They are the same.”

REFERENCES:

  1. Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki (1998). Speaking about Godard. New York: New York University. 83-113.
  2. Jean luc Godard Interviews, Edited by David Sterritt, University Press Mississippi, 1998, p20-47
  3. DVD Interview with director Mike Figgis WEEKEND (1967) A FILM BY JEAN-LUC GODARD, DVD Release Date: August 23 2005, New Yorker Video,
  4. French Film directors – Jean-Luc Godard, Douglas Morrey, Manchester University Press 2005, and p78
  5. The films of Jean-Luc Godard – Seeing the Invisible, David Sterritt, Cambridge University Press 1999, p 89-125
  6. http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/issue3/ganis.htm: Essay on Warhol
November 29, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

ESSAY PLAN

A SHORT ESSAY:

Godard’s use of pop-art imagery in weekend is an argument in favour of  Walter Benjamins view in the ‘Age of mechanical reproduction’, And relates to Andy Warhol’s use of Pop Art. Discuss this view.

Is Godard using the effect  for satire or just to be cool?

November 28, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

END OF CINEMA

End of Cinema

End of Cinema : As Godard Famously declared at the end of Weekend , this foreshadows all the events which were to occur, after Weekend, as detailed in the post below. This wasn’t just the end of Godards ususal style of filmmaking, but the end of an era, the end of the new wave, the end of a generation.
November 25, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

FORESHADOWING: May 1968

French Riots May 1968

Godard sees no difference between film and reality, in May 1968 one bled in to another. starting in the University of Nanaterre, students, and far left artists, started a protest, which took the form of a riot that spread across France through out may, it included eleven million workers and saw the countries largest ever general strike causing the economy to come to a standstill.

It can be argued Godard was fully prepared of the political eruption which took, by foreshadowing the events through his films. As we have already established, at the time of making Weekend, Godard was at a very pessimistic phase of his career and became more of a philosopher, poet and revolutionary who started to use film as his medium.

However this phase really started with ‘La Chinoise’, which was inspired by his adoption of Maoism. The film is about five Maoist students who attempt to find and think up, different ways to overthrow the government, using terrorism. La Chinoise captured the feelings and distaste, while it was Weekend which captured the atmosphere and chaos more clearly With these films Godard was sketching the essence of a period as well as sending a message to the audience and population which were still passive and unaware.

His message which exploded in extradoniary precision only mere months after the film’s release proves that, his aim has always been to change the way we live. When asked in 1968 if he was trying to change the audience, he replied, “Well I’m trying to change the world yes.” His constant attempts to scramble our conventional styles and, reorganize the way we perceive images and sound are a part of that agenda. He is attempting to scramble the language of cinema he has embodied for so long, and discombobulate our preconceived notions of life.

At the same time, When asked, “At what exact point in time did the break from bourgeois to revolutionary filmmaking occur?” Godard replied, “During the May-June events in France in 1968.” This was a turning point in filmmaking for Godard who saw the revolutions as a chance to radicalise filmmaking, which led him to create the Dziga Vertov group detailed in an earlier post.

1968 was an important point in film history. not only did it change Godard, some would argue it also was the real end of the French new wave, when the elements of the new wave films started to become over used clichés in Hollywood and mainstream films. Godard is not only a part of cinema history, he is also cinema’s most important historian and critic through the language of film, just as Picasso was art’s most important historian and critic through painting.

REFERENCES:

  1. Audio Commentary by critic David Sterritt, WEEKEND (1967) A FILM BY JEAN-LUC GODARD, DVD Release Date: August 23 2005, New Yorker Video, 00:15:15-00:22:53
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2008/may/12/godardtheembodimentofthes: Goddard the embodiment of the age, Accessed 23/11/2010
  3. http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/9805/offscreen_essays/may68.html: May 1968 Article
  4. Margaret Attack (1999). MAY 68 IN FRENCH FICTION & FILM. USA: Oxford University Press. 9-11.
November 20, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

SEMIOLOGY: Automobile, Horn and Llama

On the Road

Godard is critical of car culture; he knows the powerful lure these objects have in the age of consumption and mass media. However the myth of cars and meaning at the time were closer to that of liberation and flexibility. Not just because of, promotion by the car manufacturers and advertisers, but because the myth was heightened and instilled within the left wing by the Beat Generation. In Jack Kerouac’s book, On the Road (1957), him and the Beat hero Neal Cassidy, go on a liberating quest across the roads of America in search of life, God and freedom, the car in novel was Cassidy’s main tool of spontaneity, and exertion through the world, as he flows through the countrysides of America without ever encountering a traffic jam.

You could argue this is also Godard’s view in his early films, such as breathless (1959), which also represents the beat style dream of freedom and liberation through speed and elusiveness. Cars are used to escape being captured in Paris by venturing across France in to the Mediterranean. However in Weekend Godard’s view and meaning of cars has shifted. In Weekend he has are more cynical direction, paralyzing cars all together, by cramming them together and through the traffic jam scene even the movie stops moving, while Godard starts to deconstruct this myth.

Sound also plays an important role, with the forever honking of horns, their persistence, makes them loose all meaning and value, that of “greeting or warning”, except that to annoy the audience. It also shows the self-assertion of the bourgeois, horning away with no regard for ‘utility’. This is an assault on the audiences ear drums.

The Llama staring at us in the scene is one of the few things Godard’s camera reacts to, and looks back on. Godard shows the creature has assurance, who knows its dignity and integrity are leagues above those of the humans chaotically surrounding it. In this moment, the myth that we are above animals, more superior is deconstructed, in actuality we are the wild ones who should be encaged. And in away, the people in the traffic jam scenes are encaged, trapped in their waste, in their own metallic like cages, Godard is showing we are no different than that of the Llama, apart from it has a better sense of peace than we do.

REFERENCES:

  1. Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1957, Penguin Classic, London: Slight Refrence
  2. The films of Jean-Luc Godard – Seeing the Invisible, David Sterritt, Cambridge University Press 1999, p 89-125
November 15, 2010 / tabrayzkhan

SEMIOLOGY: Capitalism

Shell oil tanker in the midst of Traffic

For reference see posts: 1 and 2
Just like “Andy Warhol’s pop-art happening, the 1960s were an aestheticization of the phenomenon”, where every moment of boredom was turned in to something fascinating. The traffic jam shot in weekend works in to this same “conceptual framework”. You submit yourself to the many objects and people passing by you in a big wave and in their “meaningless become once again meaningful.”

When the camera moves across the road, the cars are turned, from expensive commodities, in to junk. “Weekend gives this a central piece”, due to it being a signifier of equivalences but also because it is signifies that of excrement, in late capitalism the “commodity quickly becomes the waste”

Shot in itself is like, that of a television show, where all the prizes and merchandise are revealed to you in sequence, as you slowly become excited by what you see, waiting to see what the next surprise will be, which you feel because these shows, which are capitalist in nature, develop false needs, within the audience. However while watching the traffic jam, Godard denaturalizes this by making you feel boredom, and nausea, such as the sicknesses Sartre’s character feels in his book ‘nausea’, thus causing the viewer to question their own existence.

Just like myth of enjoyment developed by the mass media to fuel consumerism. which is, the need and prospect of ‘enjoyment’ actually never really lasts with the products your made to buy, as your always made to think you need more. With the traffic jam scene, the only prospect Godard is showing us at the end of all the merchandise and needs is the prospect of death, this is the only truth consumerism will lead to. Death is the biggest surprise to the consumerist as they go through life, distracting themselves from their eventual doom with constant false needs.

“The shot offers an ironic commentary on the cult of individualism at the heart of late capitalism”. No two cars in the traffic jam are alike, and in many other respects as well the drivers assert their difference from each other: what they have in their vehicles, how they are dressed, how they spend their time. But all of these drivers presumably headed out into the French highway at the same time, and all them now are stuck in the same traffic jam. It seems that the more equivalent subjects are to each other, the more they will assert their uniqueness.”

Godard shows that, the myth of late capitalism is that’s it gives us a superficial sense of individuality, and the need to be individual, actually makes us more the same in capitalism, capitalism breeds sheep not individuals, and it herds the sheep in the same direction, but by making them think, it is them who are making the choices, one direction, like the camera in the traffic jam. Such are the myths created by neo-conservatives, which at the time was being developed by Leo Strauss. With the aim of creating the ultimate myth, which people will inherently choose to follow. Myths which define, an ultimate good, normally America and the west, and an ultimate evil which the masses can gather and stand against. At the time this ultimate evil was communism.

However Godard is denaturalizing these myths, showing western society, lost in chaos, not just in the traffic jam scene but all throughout Weekend, he is showing the greatest threat to the west, actually comes from within. Godard shows this pivotally with the inclusion of  a Shell oil tanker, in a nose to nose stalemate with a white fiat, seeming to be impossibly trapped against the monstrous metallic monolith. In this Godardian symbol the oil tanker represents consumerism, and Americanization, and the small white fiat, possibly represents white Western Europe, stuck against it, its existence being threatened by it, and with the possibility of being crushed by the tanker. He continually reiterates these images with the his use of colours, the use a red, white, and blue cars always in close proximity to each other, is telling us the cause of the disruption is that of French and American colors’.

“At first, we are so fully engrossed in the surprising spectacle of the traffic jam that we don’t see anything else. But then we notice that behind the stalled cars and trucks lies not an urban or industrial landscape or even one, which might be displayed on a poster or postcard, but a yellow, freshly harvested field. This field frustrates all of our attempts to incorporate it in to what is happening in the foreground, or even in to the categories through which we determine what is visually ‘interesting’. It is without narrative, thematic or photographic significance”.

As mentioned in a previous post The fields and at the time represent nature, unity and wholeness, it is the property of the left wing hippies, who at the time were taking to the fields and countryside’s, to escape the decadence of bourgeois, lifestyle, (like with Woodstock). The myth of a peaceful countryside which has still yet to be decayed Godard again denaturalizes this, in the traffic jam scene, the bourgeois have finally infiltrated the one place where decay has not reached and are slowly filling the beautiful vacuum, with its horns and metal, causing death and despair. This explains the Hippy reactions later in the movie, who in response mark their territory. they do this with more extreme violence and aggression than that of the bourgeois.

Possibly Godard’s statment here whether intended or not is that the, the only way to fight against the oppressors and bring down the bourgeois is with more violence or he is saying Violence breeds more violence. However he does quote Brecht, in an interview later, after the film was made:

Only violence helps where violence rules – Brecht

On the Road a popular novel at the time presents the open road and cars as a form of liberation and freedom, how does Godard deconstruct this myth in Weekend?

In what way did these, deconstructions affect the audience at the time?

REFERENCES:

  1. Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki (1998). Speaking about Godard. New York: New York University. 83-93.
  2. The Power of Nightmares: A politics of Fear, Dir. Adama Curtis , 2004, BBC, United Kingdom: A documentary
  3. Jean-paul Sartre, Nausea 1938, Penguin classic paperback, London: mild reference
  4. Centuary of the Self, Dir. Adam Curtis, 2002, BBC, United Kingdom: Documentary