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The 2010 Glen Workshop In Santa Fe, NM

In Praise of Love
Movie Poster for Carl Theodor Dreyer's Ordet
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Produced by Alain Sarde
Ruth Waldburger
Written by Jean-Luc Godard
Music by Arvo Pärt
Ketil Bjornstad
Cinematography by Julien Hirsch
Christophe Pollock
Editing by Raphaëlle Urtin
Stéphane Foenkinos
Release Date 2001
Running Time 97 min.
Language French
Clips
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In Praise of Love
(Éloge de l'amour)

Edgar wants to make a movie about love, showing it from the perspectives of three different couples—one young, one adult, and one old. No matter how he approaches the project, though, he runs into the same problem: He cannot figure out how to convincingly depict adult love, or even come to a clear understanding of what it is.  

Edgar’s struggle with this project is shown in the meandering, strikingly-composed, black-and-white first half of In Praise of Love. He runs lines with a prospective leading couple, but the words sound wrong; he wanders past homeless men on the street; he debates the nature of memory; and he is haunted by a woman. 

Throughout In Praise of Love, the camera goes dark in the middle of a scene, as if it is blinking, and words occasionally appear in the darkness. The most frequent phrase is “De Quelque Chose De L’Amour” (roughly, the “trifles and trinkets of love”).  

The second half of In Praise of Love shifts abruptly, moving from 35-mm black-and-white film to color digital video. It shifts in time, as well, to two years in the past—Godard uses the change in cinematography to suggest that the past can be brighter and more vibrant than the present.  

The “two years ago”  story centers on American film developers from “Spielberg Associates and Incorporated” who have come to buy the rights to the story of two French resistance fighters, now an aged couple struggling to pay their bills. “The Americans have no real past,” one character says, criticizing the Americans’ interference. “They have no memory of their own. They buy the pasts of other people, and sell images.” 

Godard’s motivation for showing this flashback is not just to denigrate ugly Americans (a charge leveled by A.O. Scott in his New York Times review of the film); the resistance fighters’ granddaughter meets Edgar during these scenes, as well, and their meeting seems to leave a lasting impression on him. 

—Tyler Petty, from his blog Faces Unveiled

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