"When you see your own photo, do you say you're a fiction?"
March 8, 2005 11:13 AM   Subscribe

“The problem is not to make political films but to make films politically.”
In "Tout Va Bien", just released on Criterion DVD, four years after May '68 Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin examine the wreckage: fading workers' empowerment (page with sound), media fatuity, capitalist sprawl, global imperialist mayhem, interpersonal disconnections. "Tout Va Bien" is the story of a strike at a factory as witnessed by an American reporter (Jane Fonda) and her has-been New Wave film director husband (Yves Montand). Included on the DVD is also Letter to Jane (1972), a short film in which Godard and Gorin spend an hour examining the semiotics of a single, hypnotizing photograph of Fonda as she shares feelings with a Vietnamese villager. More inside.
posted by matteo (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Opening in Paris on April 28, 1972, Tout va bien was, per Colin MacCabe, “a critical and commercial disaster.” Scarcely more than two months later, Fonda gave the most controversial performance of her career: July 8, she deplaned an Aeroflot jet in Hanoi, where she made ten broadcasts on behalf of the North Vietnamese government.
posted by matteo at 11:16 AM on March 8, 2005

salve matteo
posted by clavdivs at 11:40 AM on March 8, 2005

This is good.
posted by chunking express at 11:41 AM on March 8, 2005

chunking express:
hah! that's what you would say.

(JP Gorin regularly screens Chunking Express as part of his "Hard Look at the Movies" course at UCSD)
posted by radiosig at 11:47 AM on March 8, 2005

Excellent, matteo, thanks for the heads-up, and the backstory links too.
posted by carter at 11:52 AM on March 8, 2005

i had the great pleasure of studying with "JP" Gorin during my film undergrad at UCSD. He made quite a name for himself by cursing at students, sleeping through class, taking frequent smoke breaks in 400+ person lectures, and I swear I even once saw him kick a student in the ass for suggesting he was going over his alloted class time.

Here is his paraphrased mission statement, once told to us after a lecture on the vague merits of "Fight Club":

"I want you, years from now, to be watching a film in the movie theatre, maybe you're with your wife or whatever...and the whole movie, you hear the voice of some fat frenchman behind you saying 'what the fuck is this...'"

Not a month ago I saw him in public, years later, and told him that, although he didn't remember me, I still have a french bastard speaking into my ear every time I see a film. He died laughing...
posted by plexiwatt at 11:52 AM on March 8, 2005

I prefer Godard when he makes political films romantically/romantic films politically, but then I'm a reformist rather than a revolutionary.

MetaFilter: The children of Marx and Pepsi Blue.
(I'm assuming you threw that 'Criterion' in there for irony).
posted by liam at 12:17 PM on March 8, 2005

Or perhaps, the children of Chomsky and Pepsi Blue.
posted by liam at 12:21 PM on March 8, 2005

Thanks, matteo! Now can we expect them to release Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle? If anyone can find a decent print to work from, they can.

(I'm assuming you threw that 'Criterion' in there for irony)

Huh? It's out on Criterion. Criterion does excellent DVDs. Where's the irony?
posted by languagehat at 12:34 PM on March 8, 2005

I second languagehat's statements about Criterion doing excellent DVDs. I'd love to see them take on Masculine Feminine - it recently played at NYC's famous Film Forum theatre. Has anyone seen Criterion's new release of A Woman Is A Woman? Recommended?
posted by Dallasfilm at 12:46 PM on March 8, 2005

this is not a bad print at all: Vive la France, L-Hat
posted by matteo at 12:47 PM on March 8, 2005

Dallsfilm: MF is spic-and-span, Coutard worked on the transfer
posted by matteo at 12:48 PM on March 8, 2005

Dallasfilm, I missed the link for MF's DVD: it's here

on the other hand, I haven't seen Criterion's Un Femme
posted by matteo at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2005

Where's the irony?

In a post about marxist film-making, naming the company distributing the dvd just seemed a little ironic, and pepsi-bluish. Good post, though.
posted by liam at 12:58 PM on March 8, 2005

Ironic because in his pre-Marxist 'Masculine Feminine', Godard had described the young generation as "the children of Marx and Coca-Cola".
posted by liam at 1:02 PM on March 8, 2005

matteo - thanks for the link. I didn't realize MF was available on DVD at all. It's almost enough to invest in a Zone 2 DVD player just for that!
posted by Dallasfilm at 1:08 PM on March 8, 2005

Surprised this film was not mentioned more over the years since Jane won an Oscar prior to its release.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:09 PM on March 8, 2005

Wow. Onto Netflix this film goes.
posted by painquale at 2:10 PM on March 8, 2005

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