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Criterion unleashes their second Jean-Luc Godard Blu-ray edition, and it's a (purposely) noisy, anarchic mess...
Criterion / 104 Minutes / 1967 / Unrated / Street Date: November 13, 2012
The history of 20th century cinema cannot be told without spending time investigating the oeuvre of Jean-Luc Godard, but I have resigned myself to the fact that I don't have to be happy about doing so. Of all the esteemed 'artfilm' directors, Godard has remained for this writer a tough nut to crack, a talent clearly working on all cylinders, but to no apparent aesthetic aim: his films are clearly rich in terms of intellectual and cultural acuity, but they're not all that fun to watch.
And after trying to get through Weekend again - thanks to Criterion's new high-def edition - I've all but given up on ol' Jean-Luc. I've read some of Roger Ebert's pieces on the excitement he'd feel in the 60s and 70s when new, increasingly anarchic Godard films would hit the scene, I've engaged colleagues in conversation about what I've been doing wrong as far as approaching Godard works inappropriately - as whiny and pretentious as it might sound, I've given Godard the ol' college try.
Yes, the famous tracking shot in Weekend is wonderfully constructed. And sure, the opening moments with two lovers having a sort of chiaroscuro confessional with one another is formally intriguing. Yet Weekend was nearly impossible for me to stomach, even with a running time of less than two hours. Those who understand and appreciate Godard's unique vision will be enraptured by this Blu-ray's innate technical prowess, I'm sure, but I continue to wonder what all the fuss is about.