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Looking for Godard


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#1 Tim Willson

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 06:27 PM

A friend emailed me the other day wondering if I knew where he could find VHS or DVD copies of Godard's films. I don't, but said I would throw the request to you all.

QUOTE
Everything I'm looking for is directed by Jean-Luc Godard. His post 60's stuff is near impossible to find, or if you can find it, people want $100 for a tape. Not gonna happen. But used, bad condition, I don't mind, I just wanna see these movies.
 
For Ever Mozart
JLG/JLG -- sometimes called JLG by JLG, or JLG On JLG
Germany Year 90 Nine Zero
Nouvelle Vague
Keep Your Right Up  -- or, Keep Up Your Right, french: soigne ta droite
King Lear
Hail Mary
Every Man For Himself -- french: sauve qui peut (la vie)
Oh, Woe Is Me -- french: helas pour moi
 
and last but not least, the massive documentary Histoire Du Cinema (1989 - 1998).


Any potential sources for these would be appreciated.
Thanks!
Tim

#2 SDG

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 06:41 PM

Then... this thread isn't about a Samuel Beckett play?

(nevermind)

#3 M. Leary

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 10:42 AM

Here is the rundown. Anything from the 70's to the mid 80's is nearly impossible to find except on ratty old VHS tapes (some of which are PAL) that cost about 60.00 a pop. You should direct your buddy to Facets. Facets does have a good Godard selection for rent and some for purchase (at steep prices). Their website is currently down, but that is going to be the only place you will find some 70's and early 80's stuff for rent or purchase. Other than that wandwvideo.com is another rental place that often has a great selection of his harder to find stuff, and they are going to a mail rental system this summer (so they say).

The reason you won't find anything from the late 70's or 80's is because much of this work was made for television, and suprise suprise, was never actually shown or released.

His earlier 70's stuff is so hard to find because it really wasn't appreciated critically or even very well liked popularly. There is a period during which he produced a lot of "films" that were more visual and textual diatribes that expressed the Maoism of the French leftist student movement. History has forgotten these. BUT, here is what I know about these particular releases:

For Ever Mozart - You can rent this at your local film rental place. I have even seen it at Blockbuster. It is a fairly decent, but not among his best work.

JLG/JLG - Facets may have this.

Germany Year 90 Nine Zero - This should be available for rental on VHS at your local art house rental place.

Nouvelle Vague - Have fun finding this, I think Facets has it.

Keep Your Right Up - videouniverse has this regularly for around 25.00

King Lear - Bestprices.com has had a copy of this for about 14.00 for a while.

Hail Mary - This one is often on Ebay. There are two copies on Ebay right now actually for very cheap. You can also find it on Amazon cheaply

Every Man For Himself - Have fun finding this.

Oh, Woe Is Me - I think Facets has this for rental, I know they have it for purchase.


Passion, First Name - Carmen, and Weekend, Sympathy for the Devil, and Two or Three Things I Know About Her are all easy later films to find.[/b]

#4 Persona

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 11:34 AM

Wow. http://www.facets.org

QUOTE
We are currently down due to multiple hardware failures(5 HDD died simultaneously) taking out both our primary and backup RAID systems. We hope to be back up in a few days.


I was wondering what the deal there was.


I am getting Contempt from Netflix in a few days. Totally stoked.

-s.

#5 Tim Willson

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 11:39 AM

Thanks, (M)! I knew someone here would have some good leads.

And, no, this isn't about a Beckett play... but it could be the title of a John Malkovich film. :wink:

#6 jrobert

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 12:43 PM

QUOTE

Every Man For Himself - Have fun finding this.


If you ever do get a chance to see this, don't pass it up. It's wildly entertaining (in the way Weekend is entertaining...ymmv) and deeply thought-provoking. It might be my favorite Godard. And before I sound like some high-falutin' cineaste, Every Man for Himself is one of only two or three post-'68 Godard films that I've seen. It just happened to screen here in Chicago several years ago.

Thanks for the rundown, Mike.

J Robert

#7 M. Leary

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 12:57 PM

Please don't get the impression I have this info at my fingertips. I just know it because I just finished a big piece on Godard recently. Working on that made me want to track down some of these more obscure titles more than ever.

La Chinoise is the holy grail of unseen Godard flicks. I saw it long ago somehow and haven't been able to come in contact with it since. I would consider paying quite a bit for a copy of it.

#8 Thom

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 01:35 PM

I have been meaning to pick up Band of Outsiders which was released in 1964, I believe. I think I'll stop and pick it up tonight.

#9 M. Leary

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 02:16 PM

I watched that again last night. It has one of my favorite scenes ever halfway through. Odile goes up to the guy's room to find his money. Godard inserts a montage of faces from these bills and then cuts to Odile sporting the most delicious smile Godard ever got on film. It is easy to see how he fell in love with her immediately.

Asher, while you are at it, try to see if you can score Contempt. Believe it or not, they were made virtually in the same year. That makes an interesting double bill just in terms of style.

And as per our previous discussion, Godard invented "pow."

#10 Thom

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 02:40 PM

"POW!" Contempt is available on VHS so I guess I will have to pick that up as well.

#11 Persona

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 05:15 PM

You've borrowed practically every DVD i own, why not just wait and borrow my Netflix when it gets here.

-s.

#12 Thom

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 10:49 AM

I have only borrowed 5. You offered and I accepted. The kindness of your offer now seems so disingenuous. Plus I had your last DVDs a little to long for comfort.

#13 Persona

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 11:21 AM

Heh. smile.gif I LOVE YOU MAN!!

Borrow 'em all, take 'em all, burn 'em all, just don't ever leave me!!

-s.

#14 M. Leary

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 11:44 AM

So Thom, any feedback on Band of Outsiders?

#15 Thom

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 12:10 PM

QUOTE
Heh. smile.gif  I LOVE YOU MAN!!  

Borrow 'em all, take 'em all, burn 'em all, just don't ever leave me!!

-s.


You are the greatest! Where's Faust? I am getting my matches ready.

QUOTE
So Thom, any feedback on Band of Outsiders?


Planned viewing is tonight or tomorrow. Had to get Stevie in over the weekend or it is just money out the window.

#16 Thom

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 12:19 PM

QUOTE
Heh. smile.gif  I LOVE YOU MAN!!  

Borrow 'em all, take 'em all, burn 'em all, just don't ever leave me!!

-s.


P.S. I must return the generousity so I got a little somethin', somethin' to loan you.

#17 Thom

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 11:34 AM

Some quick comments:

I viewed the “cinema” created by Jean-Luc Godard last evening. This is truly part of the French New Wave possibly even more so. Godard was much less conventional, or classical, in his approach than the others, including Truffaut.

There were many things I really liked about Band of Outsiders the first being the lack of classical approach to the narrative. I enjoyed the music selection which changed from a Chaplinesque, vaudeville theme when Odile was prancing around to a very serious criminal sounding theme when Arthur and Franz (or the three of them) we together. The music definitely enhanced the view of each character and their relationships, which is about as classical as Godard got in this film. The handheld camera gave it a unique, unbalanced effect that I understand to be unintended but effective in the overall feel and theme of the movie.

I have to say that my appreciation was greater after viewing some of the “loot” on the DVD. It heightened my understanding of his use of quotes and references, especially to American pop culture, throughout the movie. I found this to not only be enlightening but it added an element of realism to the characters and overall feel of the film, especially the comedic element. His use of poetic quotes gave the film a literate feel which I see paralleling the beatnik movement happening back in America, although, at the time, it was coming to an end. These movies could have actually prolonged the beatnik subculture since it was the beats who were really digging these directors and their movies when they came to the states.

I am looking forward to my plunge deeper into the French New Wave

#18 Thom

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 02:25 PM

Also, what about Godard's Detective made in 1985, is it worth the viewing? I am able to get a copy on vhs.

#19 M. Leary

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 03:24 PM

Detective is alright. It is marred by the same thing many of his 80's films are: a seeming half-heartedness and inability to do much more than probe slightly beyond the scope of his 60's films. Out of the 80's, the better stuff is Prenom Carmen, Passion, and Hail Mary. Some of the other things are really hard to find.

Detective is really tough to watch and follow, and if anything has value only as an example of Godardian storytelling.

Forever Mozart and Eloge de l'amour are two late Godards that are easy to find and well worth watching.

The thing about Godard Asher that is tough to fit into the stream of French film history is that he is an anomaly. But he is an anomaly that fed and informed mainstream European and independent American cinema for years. So his influence runs parallel to the New Wave even though he is a part of it.

I have a shpeel on Godard hopefully appearing somewhere soon, and the gist of the piece is that Bazin's aesthetic argued for getting to the "real" through long takes, ambient noise, and other typically Bazinian things. Truffaut really was his visual prodigy, especially his very early stuff. But for Godard, the real for modern culture is the forms and conventions that mediate the "real" to us. This is why he begins to deconstruct Hollywood and literary convention so early. Those conventions are what are real for society, for Godard they stand opaquely between us and Bazin's "real."

So cinema can produce a version or form of the real that is entirely unique for film. It is a quintessentially modern version of the "real." (And this is before we could really even start talking about "post-modernism".)

Godard thus rejects Bazin's long, smooth, (ethical :wink:), deep-focus tracking shots and re-discovers the montage. It is the montage that is concerned with the present tense. The montage is a means of both being influenced by and influencing film. Montage is the means of permeability that all cinema should strive for. Thus it is Godard's method that truly penetrates and is penetrated by the real in a modern sense.

Some of these thoughts are key for really putting his early films together, even if he discovered much of it by mistake and unfamiliarity with editing. His later films ride the wave of a much more complex (but related) thought pattern.

#20 SoNowThen

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 05:07 PM

But of course the thing to remember about that is most montage (modern anyways) is designed to achieve economy of narrative and to show passage of time, as well as establishing believability (eg. cutting together a fight scene from various set-ups), whereas Godard's use of montage was to fragment these things, and call attention to form.

He would very much predict his future direction in one of his earlier essays for Cahiers (I think it was called Montage And Mise En Scene) where he brings up those conflicts that (M)Leary said he had with Bazin's theories.