Jean-Luc Godard

La Chinoise 6 February 05

Section: godard

Categories: Film / dvd

With this film I finally have the opportunity to start a Godard section in this culture log. The sections reflect my interests, my loves, but they are also limited by the things I have seen since I started the log.

Part of a dialogue from La Chinoise:

Art never reproduces the visible, it creates the visible.

Yeah, but the esthetic impression is imaginary.

Yeah but this imaginary reflection is never a reflection of reality — it is the reality of this reflection.

This film ages much better than I imagine some would like to think considering its revolutionary themes. It survives as an elegant, fluid and dialectical distillation of at least some intellectuals’ struggles with Maoism in the 1960s.

Jean-Luc Godard was here in Frankfurt ten years ago to receive the Theodor-W.-Adorno-Preis. While in town, he attended a showing of one of his films at the Deutscher Filmmuseum and stayed for questions afterwards.

After the Q&A period had already started, one man came in, took off his light London Fog raincoat, folded it over his arm, stood in the aisle a while and finally posed a question. He apparently didn’t speak German and presented his evidently well prepared question in French with a very strong American accent. Even without much French I could get the gist of his question, which was provocative, as in agent provocateur. I don’t recall the exact question (part of the background context and discussion of the award having been given at all to Godard was Godard’s progressive politics and the fact that Adorno was of Jewish heritage). He mentioned how Godard was always so critical of the U.S. during the Vietnam war, and of Israel, etc., and where was he when it came to criticizing the Palestinians? The translator didn’t really bother to translate the question into German. Godard listened patiently, then he said something like: "I’m going to take this question seriously." His ironic tone came through in the French, but the translator didn’t really understand it, or at least didn’t manage to convey it. Godard then went about answering the question slowly, eloquently, and incisively, taking it apart like he was eating a steamed, buttered artichoke heart, a small one, before moving on to the next question. The questioner then left as he had come in.

  • Title: La Chinoise


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