Goodbye To Language 3D
"Those Lacking Imagination take refuge in reality" Godard at the spry age of 84 throws this at you in the opening, and it is here that it will allure it's followers and shoo away it's detractors. To discuss it using the language the film debases, feels arbitrary, but I must try. The reality Godard references, is also home to this verbal language. Reality is an imprisonment, and so our means of communication, if only verbal, is impractical, limiting, and aggravating. I take film seriously, I don't see it as just an entertainment, or even just an art form. I see it as a deeper means of communication, not just a visual language, something more. Every time I watch a great film, I'm developing that vocabulary, every time I make one, I'm flexing it and creating my own. There's ideas that simply cannot be expressed with the languages we've written out for ourselves. These human constructs have surrounded us, they're walls. Godard has always tried to tear them down.
Godard heeds to crush that wall with more blistering intensity than he ever has. The film's excitingly incoherent, choppy, imaginative, and breathtakingly oblique. What's more is that Godard has done this his entire career, never compromising, always seeking to send norms crackling down to their demise. 3D has never been used so artfully. There are scenes in which two different shots are layed over each other. Close your right eye, and you'll see one of them in full detail, close your left, and you'll see the other. Open both, and eventually one of the shots will track into the other and gratifyingly mesh into one (my audience sighed in satisfaction). Some compositions take full, subtle advantage over the depth. Often it places emphasis in the foreground, center, and background, having characters play back and forth within those spaces.
He plays with the strain of the 3D glasses. For every obscure image that requires great attention, there is one of critical release and beautiful respite. A static shot of highly saturated waves, a relieving portrait of a face, or the sickly colorful smeared images of a grass field shot on cheap digital. Godard's master shot is one of a woman peering through a vertical lined gate. Her hand rests on the other side of the gate, and settles within the 3D field, allowing it to just barely reach off the screen. And Behind her, a vast ocean; it would not have been so effective if not for the 3D that augments it's three layers.
He also plays with sound. Conversations will travel from the left speaker, to the right, and then to both. Narrations are whispers, or sometimes a jolting screech. Classical music begins to build up and is cut off right before we've been satisfied. It's this kind of resentment for comfort and standardization that makes a Godard film. It frustrates, it shakes you, and then relieves you with wonder.
And then there's faint political talk, meanderings on equality, all this human infrastructure that's the only 'real' thing that we have to cling to. But most of it's mumbo jumbo. You understand that there is a distraught couple, and that the inability to communicate through language is what tears them apart. They're often naked, maybe they can articulate through sex, but it fails and an affair seems to occur. All this, through the eyes of their dog. Maybe a child would help presumed the man, but the woman insists that they first raise a dog. There's a line that floats over like the rest of them about Darwin's perspective on dogs. He believed that they're the only animal that could love another more than they loved themselves, and this sets up an interesting subjective lens for these scenes regarding the couple.
There are two camps of people that will predetermine their perspective on the film by the opening line I referenced. Those that will, as a reaction, shun it away cowardly when they realize it does not befit their expectations and reality systems. And those that will unconditionally claim to nestle it in fears that they will not be considered competent, even if they didn't necessarily understand it or enjoy it. Both perspectives will paint an infantile picture of what Godard has accomplished, and both are undone by a similar fear. Godard treads heavy on new and untraveled grounds, so the fascination of his discoveries are the sum of it's awes and missteps. It's Godard at the top of his form (Which, in the context of his name, means he cares even less about 'good movie' guidelines than he ever has) . You'll go into it anticipating your expectations to be subverted, and they'll be subverted anyway.
(Note: If you do see this film, I beg you not to watch it in 2D. It's the only film so far released in the format that I'd say is absolutely essential to the viewing experience)