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Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) Du Cinema

JEAN-LUC GODARD’S HISTOIRE(S) DU CINÉMA

22–30 AUGUST 2007

I need a day to tell the history of a second, a year to tell the history of a minute, a lifetime to tell the history of a day. Jean-Luc Godard

The screenings of Histoire(s) du Cinéma 1998-98,Moments Choisis des Histoire(s) du Cinéma 2000 and Notre Musique (Our Music) 2004 point to Godard’s preoccupation with the politics of cinema. Godard’s most celebrated early films will be included in the forthcoming program Breathless: French New Wave Turns 50.

Lecture
Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinéma

6.00pm Wednesday 29 August
Dr Laleen Jayamanne, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sydney, discusses Godard’s unique and prodigious engagement with the history of cinema in his landmark series Histoire(s) du Cinéma.
Cinema A, GoMA

Production still from Histoire(s) du Cinéma 19988-98 / Image courtesy: Gaumont

Histoire(s) du Cinéma 1988–98 Ages 15+

VIDEO, 265 MINS, COLOUR AND B. & W., MONO, FRANCE/SWITZERLAND, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT/EDITOR: JEAN-LUC GODARD / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: CANAL+, CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA CINÉMATOGRAPHIE, FRANCE 3 CINÉMA, JLG FILMS, LA SEPT CINÉMA, SOCIÉTÉ DES ETABLISSEMENTS L GAUMONT, VEGA FILM PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: GAUMONT, FRANCE / SCREENING FORMAT: BETA SP

Histoire(s) du Cinéma 1988–98 is a powerful and visually stunning critique of cinema and its relationship to the other arts, as well as a reflexive analysis of the director’s life and work. Originally commissioned for European television, the production spans ten years and includes eight episodes (of a proposed ten) in four chapters.

The project began in 1988 and emerged from a series of lectures Godard delivered at the University of Montreal in 1978. In these lectures, Godard presented an analysis of his own films alongside others, juxtaposing imagery with additional references to painting, newsreels and television. The project also bears the marks of Godard’s early film criticism published in Cahiers du Cinéma. Central to the project is Godard’s ongoing concern with the politics and materiality of filmmaking — for example, the process of editing, which Godard conceives as analogous to the act of lying. Godard reacts against the simple conventions of editing, continually juxtaposing and superimposing images in montages that search for truth and meaning in cinematic imagery. Godard famously asserted, ‘If directing is a gaze, editing is a heartbeat’.

Session 1
10.00am Saturday 25 August / Cinema A
12 noon Sunday 26 August / Cinema A

Chapter 1a: ‘Toutes les historie(s)’ (All the (hi)stories) 1988 / 51 mins
Chapter 1b: ‘Une histoire seule’ (A lone (hi)story) 1989 / 42 mins
Chapter 2a: ‘Seule le cinema’ (Cinema alone) 1997 / 26 mins
Chapter 2b: ‘Fatale beauté’ (Deadly beauty) 1997 / 28 mins

Session 2
1.00pm Saturday 25 August / Cinema A
3.00pm Sunday 26 August / Cinema A

Chapter 3a: ‘La monnaie de l’absolu’ (Coinage of the absolute) 1998 / 27mins
Chapter 3b: ‘Une vague nouvelle’ (A new wave) 1998 / 27mins
Chapter 4a: ‘Le contrôle de l’univers' (Control of the universe) 1998 / 27mins
Chapter 4b: ‘Les signes parmi nous’ (Signs among us) 1998 / 38mins

Production still from Moments Choisis des Histoire(s) du Cinéma 2000 / Image courtesy: Gaumont

Moments Choisis des Histoire(s) du Cinéma 2000 Ages 15+
6.00pm Friday 24 August / Cinema A

35MM, 84 MINS, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, FRANCE, FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT/EDITING: JEAN-LUC GODARD / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: GAUMONT / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: GAUMONT, FRANCE

Moments Choisis des Histoire(s) du Cinéma is a self-contained version of Jean-Luc Godard’s astounding larger project, offering a critique of cinema history in the form of ‘chosen moments’.

Production still from Notre Musique 2004 / Image courtesy: Wild Bunch

Notre Musique (Our Music) 2004 Ages 15+
6.00pm Wednesday 22 August
/ Cinema A
12 noon Thursday 30 August / Cinema A

35MM, 79 MINS, COLOUR AND B. & W., DOLBY SRD, FRANCE, FRENCH/ENGLISH/SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: JEAN-LUC GODARD / PRODUCTION COMPANIES: AVVENTURA FILMS, LES FILMS ALAIN SARDE, PERIPHERIA, FRANCE 3 CINÉMA, CANAL+, TÉLÉVISION SUISSE-ROMANDE, VEGA FILM AG / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: WILD BUNCH, FRANCE

Notre Musique explores violence and war through the Dantean framework of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven/Paradise. In Hell, Godard mixes documentary footage and images from Hollywood films, recasting cinema’s complex relationship with representations of warfare and devastation. It constitutes a haunting elegy to humanity and its capacity for cruelty. In Purgatory, the film’s largest section, Godard again entwines modes of documentary and fiction as he dramatises the experience of attending the European Literary Encounters conference in Sarajevo and the parallel story of two Israeli Jewish women drawn to opposing forms of salvation. The conference guests (including celebrated Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo) become a locus for Godard’s examination of collective experiences of trauma. The section makes reference to the Bosnian wars, the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the history of Native American oppression and the legacy of the Nazis. Sarajevo provides Godard with a metaphor for the possibility of reconstruction and collectively rebuilding a culture and a country. Notre Musique finishes with Heaven, a surreal coda in which a women from Purgatory finds peace on a secluded beach guarded by US Marines.

Jean-Luc Godard film notes by Jose Da Silva.