Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
France/Italy, 1972. Anouchka Films, Vieco Films, Empire Films. Screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin. Cinematography by Armand Marco. Produced by Jean-Pierre Rassam. Music by Jean-Michel Rivat. Production Design by Jacques Dugied. Film Editing by Claudine Merlin, Kenout Peltier.
Godard had teamed up with Jean-Pierre Gorin and formed the Dziga Vertov Group by the time of this interesting and sometimes even riveting drama. Yves Montand and a wickedly sincere Jane Fonda are a couple thrown into the deep end of political struggle when they go to a factory to interview its president and end up in the middle of a worker’s coup. After emerging from the impressively convoluted experience, filmed on an intentionally false set with multiple levels, they find themselves examining their own relationship with each other and are unable to sugarcoat any of their mutual frustrations. Just watch Fonda’s face while she tells Montand off for simplifying their relationship to food and sex, she’s awe-inspiring. Godard was looking to shore up the effects of France’s famous May ’68 strikes and see how things lay in ’72: the result of his study is variable depending on your knowledge of the facts and what you consider important aspects of the cultural shift that May ’68 produced (a filmmaker who goes from making art house cinema to commercials isn’t everyone’s idea of the fall of civilization, after all). Despite being made during the period of Godard’s overwhelmingly political, research-based films, it is surprisingly entertaining and makes very good use of its star power (apparently the collective was looking to make a “commercial” film in order to bring attention to their work, and thinking of this film as commercial is simply hilarious).
The Criterion Collection: #275