Sunday, December 14, 2008

Response XVI- 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

Many film critics would deem "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" the very best of Godard's work. I would agree with them; however, that does not mean that I liked this film. In fact, I hated it. I simply did not get anything out of it. This film is very different from what my general definition of film. I always believed that film was a a story that was told visually with artistic value. This film definitely has some sort of artistic value, however it lacks a plot. In addition, I found it boring and way too abstract.

This film is very political in nature and is full of anti- Vietnam war, anti- capitalist, and anti-materialist symbolism. There is film is very dense and I would imagine one would have to view the film several times to understand Godard's political message and to obtain some sort of appreciation for it.

In many ways this film is anti-Gaullist and is reminiscent of the political and social instability in France during the 1960's. During the 60's in France Charles de Gaulle's government had a great deal of conflict with the rest of French society. The French were not particularly pleased with their government. Filmmakers like Godard made political films that were anti-Gaullist and students had a big strike that shut all of Paris down. It is clear that with this film, Godard was demonstrating his desire for change. Godard includes many images of large buildings being constructed in this film. I believe that this is symbolic of the construction of Godard's vision of a future city that is new and opposite what corporations and advocates of capitalism want.

Godard also comments on the ubiquity of certain products in this film. Esso and Mobil products seem to be everywhere in this film. Instead of just accepting these products and certain objects, Godard tries to make his audience contemplate them. This is especially true of the scene where a cigarette is shown is an extreme close-up. The camera stays on this object for a long period of time and the ember is shown becoming bright once in a while suggesting someone is puffing on the cigarette.

This film barely has a plot. If one were to ask me what this film was about, I basically would say that it is about a bourgeois housewife who occasionally works as a prostitute for a little extra money. This plot reminded somewhat of Gustav Flaubert's novel "Madam Bovary." In this novel, one meets Madam Bovary, a wealthy woman who is married and begins cheating on her husband for the fun of it because she is bored. I believe that Flaubert and Godard were essentially making the same statement on the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. I believe they were both saying that both those classes live in a fantasy world and do not understand the real world. They do stupid things like Madam Bovary and Juliette Janson to make their lives more exciting.

I felt like this film was all over the place. There was political symbolism, it illustrated social instability in France and it included philosophical elements from philosophers such as Heidegger and Sartre. I remember a quote from Heidegger was used in this film "language is the house we live in." I cannot say that I entirely understand what Godard was trying to do by including all of this philosophy. If this film were a painting I am sure the artist would be Salvador Dali. I do not know if I would call this movie surreal but it definitely reminded me of something that Dali would paint.

I probably should not be so quick to say that I hated this film after seeing it only one time. I am sure if I watched it a few more times I would develop some sort of appreciation for it. All I know is that I could never enjoy this film or be entertained by it. It is just simply too dense and it is not what I would consider a "good film" simply due to the fact that it is not entertaining and it does not tell an intriguing, engaging story.

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