Sunday, November 16, 2014

Goodbye to Langauge: review of a film by Jean-Luc Goddard

Decades back we'd queue up for a Goddard flick not to savor the layered meanings of his films but to watch unabashedly jump-cut images of naked women filling up the projector screens. Not that we were not interested in meanings but somehow they eluded us amid his multiple jump-cuts and his overt concern with material objects and the meanings thereof. The scenario hasn't changed since then although  there's no doubt that his movies give an insight into a very imaginative & boundary-less mind of their director.

In Goodbye to Language, a 3D film, we witness an arguing  couple , mostly unclothed,  in a lake house beside a forest, a dog and lots of side characters floating about near a bookstore & near a port. They argue , with the aid of a voice-over, about happiness, love , death, thoughts, economy, murder as a means to escape unemployment, dog's vision of a world, language of nature, Hitler, over-regulating state, war etc etc. And all these presented in such a random order while being interspersed with some beautiful images of the lake & the forest and enveloped with classical music  that often just suddenly drops dead; that one can extract no single narrative out of it nor even a single meaning of the whole movie.
To me Goodbye to Language seemed like a collage of images, thoughts & music which questions the power of the state to curb liberalism in thoughts and action through war & regulation , the inability of the world to understand the language of nature, its rivers , lakes & forests or its inability to read the language of the dog as it views the world outside of strife and war. If the man is in pursuit of happiness then the woman is there to say "no" & die and that's the premise over which the argument ensues.
But my review of Goddard is not that important as I'm neither a die-hard fan of his nor his harshest critic; the two species that exist around Goddard's works. Hence for those looking forward to better reviews from these two categories; here are a few. Variety magazine thinks the movie is a stimulating and playful meditation on the state of the world and its images while New York Times gives an relatively unbiased review about Goddard and his works while describing  his 39th & latest movie Goodbye to Language , as one in which the everyday world is made vivid and strange , rendered in a series of compositions and sketches by an artist with an eccentric and unerring eye.
Overall its good to watch Goodbye to Language but probably much saner  not to watch it at all for the meaning of it unless one wants to experience some crafty cinematic techniques with new technology such as 3D.

JAS Rating : 6 out of 10

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