Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
Original title: Le Gai Savoir
France/West Germany, 1969. Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française, Anouchka Films, Bavaria Atelier. Screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard. Cinematography by Georges Leclerc. Film Editing by Germaine Cohen.
Godard explores the obsessions typical of his essay-like ventures, mainly the commodification of sexuality and warfare in the post-World War II era, without adding much to the experience in this dithering experiment of a film. Juliet Berto and Jean-Pierre Léaud discuss matters of popular culture and politics on a bare stage with sharp, minimal lighting, portraying aliens who have recently arrived on Earth and give their opinion on what they see, while collages of imagery play out underneath Godard’s pompously whispered ruminations. In many of his works, such contemplation happens between scenes of people going through the motions of even the slightest hint of narrative, where it makes the man seem like a complex and intuitive storyteller, but here he is just marking time until he is actually inspired to make something like Tout Va Bien. The attitude with which he executes his diatribes, that he is the only one who can translate the hypocrisies of the modern world to our simple ears, is the opposite of Pierrot Le Fou‘s self-conscious humour, and ninety minutes of didactic running in place gets to be incredibly grating very quickly.
Berlin Film Festival Award: Silver Bear