Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dark Knight and Jean Luc Godard

I'm very excited about the Godard program starting this weekend at Jacob Burns Film Center (in Pleasantville, NY). I haven't seen many of his films...a serious gap in my film education especially given that many critics agree he was the father of the modern cinema, and I vastly prefer modern movies to the older classics. Plus I really love the Rube Goldberg-ish wall sculpture at Jacob Burns. I think it's mostly to there to keep little kids occupied before Sunday afternoon shows, but I could sit and stare at it for hours.

In other film news, I saw Dark Knight (the new Batman film) in IMAX last night, and was depressed afterwards. Not because the movie's so dark and melancholic, but because I couldn't follow the plot, which left me feeling dumb. I'd heard that this is a fantastically great piece of filmmaking, but I couldn't get past my inability to understand what was going on.

But I felt infinitely better after reading David Edelstein's review in NY Magazine, describing the film as "noisy, jumbled, and sadistic," and "spectacularly incoherent." Ah, good. So it's not just me!

And Edelstein liked the same director's previous film in the series, "Batman Begins" (which I understood pretty good, but didn't like at all).


Dave said...

I'll be curious about your reaction to Godard. I haven't seen the majority of his work, but everything I have seen, including his most famous movies, have totally left me cold. Actually, "cold" describes Godard well to me. With the possible exception of Antonioni,another "cold" director, none of the "major" directors turns me off as much as Godard.

Jim Leff said...

Interesting. Thanks for posting that. I'll be sure to report back my impressions. "Coldness" alone isn't a deal-breaker for me, but I'd imagine it would be especially off-putting in a situation like this, where I'm diving into a multiple film retrospective!

Anonymous said...

I would suggest two of his best:
Breathless and Pierrot La Fou. He was a modernist but with a thorough knowledge of cinema tradition, especially classic American and "B." "Hip" people would line up to see his films but disdain the movies that were his inspiration.

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