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Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin: Five Films, 1968-1971 Blu-ray Review



After finishing his film Weekend in 1967, Jean-Luc Godard shifted gears to embark on engaging more directly with the radical political movements of the era, and thus create a new kind of film, or, as he eventually put it: "new ideas distributed in a new way." This new method in part involved collaborating with the precocious young critic and journalist, Jean-Pierre Gorin. Both as a two-person unit, and as part of the loose collective known as the Groupe Dziga Vertov (named after the early 20th-century Russian filmmaker and theoretician), Godard and Gorin would realize "some political possibilities for the practice of cinema" and craft new frameworks for investigating the relationships between image and sound, spectator and subject, cinema and society.

Included here are five films, all originally shot in 16mm celluloid, that serve as examples of Godard and Gorin's revolutionary project.

Un film comme les autres [A Film Like Any Other]

Discussions between students and workers (strangers, sometimes not filmed from the front) on what happened in May, the occupation of factories, the actions of the police, the desire for revolution, all interspersed with sequences mute documentaries of the events of May 1968.

British Sounds, aka: See You at Mao

an analysis of production and the status of women in capitalist society and a speculation about class consciousness and the need for political organization. A group of men formed by trade unionists and employers debate on what measures would benefit their respective classes. At the same time, a group of young hippies tested several Beatles songs.


Vent d'est [Wind from the East]

The film reflects Gorin and (especially) Godard's interest in divorcing sound from image, as a means of reinventing the language of "bourgeois" commercial cinema.

The soundtrack of the film begins with the story of a kidnapped ALCOA executive but abruptly changes the subject to a lengthy lecture on the history and political context of revolutionary cinema, including Marxist-Leninist self-critique, and a critique of Hollywood's film industry. The visual component of the film features an outdoor natural setting and characters in what appears to be a spaghetti Western film (or a parody thereof). The two components, while separate, frequently interact; the soundtrack occasionally refers to the cinematic tropes that appear onscreen, while the story told in the visuals contains dialogue and sound that overlaps and competes with the primary soundtrack.

Lotte in Italia / Luttes en Italie [Struggles in Italy]

The film reveals how and why a supposedly revolutionary Italian girl has in fact fallen prey to bourgeois ideology.

Vladimir et Rosa [Vladimir and Rosa]

In Godard and Gorin's free interpretation of the Chicago Eight trial, Judge Hoffman becomes Judge Himmler (who doodles notes on Playboy centerfolds), the Chicago Eight become microcosms of French revolutionary society, and Godard and Gorin play Lenin and Karl Rosa, respectively, discussing politics and how to show them through the cinema.



Bonus Materials

  • High-definition digital transfer
  • High-definition Blu-ray (1080p) and standard-definition DVD presentations
  • Original uncompressed monaural audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • A conversation with JLG - Interview with Jean-Luc Godard from 2010 by Dominique Maillet and Pierre-Henri Gibert
  • 100-page full-colour book containing English translations for the first time of writing by, and interviews with, Godard and Gorin, and more

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