Yearly Archives: 1968

Godard — A critical anthology (1968)

From Film Society Review, Vol. 4, No. 4 (December 1968). — J.R.


JEAN-LUC GODARD: A critical anthology

edited by Toby Mussman. New York: E. P.

Dutton & Co.,1968., 319 pages,$2.45 (paperback).


For most people interested in Godard, Toby Mussman’s collection of writing on his films is bound to be useful. For this reader, it manages to be both indispensable and exasperating. For its range and its better pieces, it far outflanks the two previously published books on Godard in English — Richard Roud’s GODARD (Doubleday) and THE FILMS OF JEAN-LUC GODARD (another anthology, edited by Ian Cameron and published in England by Studio Vista). But like its predecessors, it suffers from wildly uneven displays of taste and judgment.

To take a case in point, one is grateful for the seven pieces by Godard in the book, which throw considerable light on his work and are fun to read besides; included are the scenarios of A WOMAN IS A WOMAN and VIVRE SA VIE, a fascinating monologue on PIERROT LE FOU, and a reply to critics of LES CARABINIERS. But the English translations of most of these pieces are grotesque. Unless the reader knows the French titles of American films, references to LA CROISIERE DU NAVIGATOR (Keaton’s THE NAVlGATOR) and “the ‘Aurore’ trolley” (the trolley ride in Murnau’s SUNRISE) are likely to appear meaningless; the English rendering of “Feu sur LES CARABINIERS” — “Taking Pot Shots at THE RIFLEMEN” — is a product of the translator’s cuteness, not Godard’s.… Read more »

Godard: Cities and Carwrecks (1968)

From Film Society Review (Vol. 4, No. 2, 1968), the first film magazine I ever wrote for. The was the second of my three pieces for them. -– J.R.

Godard: Cities and Carwrecks

By Jon Rosenbaum


“The impact of progress turns Reason into submission

to the facts of life, and to the dynamic capability of

producing more and bigger facts of the same sort of life.”

— Herbert Marcuse, ONE DIMENSIONAL MAN


“A heaving sea of air hammers in the purple brown dusk

tainted with rotten metal smell of sewergas . . . young

worker faces vibrating out of focus in yellow halos of

carbide lanterns. . . broken pipes exposed. . . .”

“They are rebuilding the City.”

Lee nodded absently. . . . “Yes… Always . . .”

— William S. Burroughs, NAKED LUNCH

In Godard’s 2 OU 3 CHOSES QUE JE SAIS D’ELLE, Paris is shown and described undergoing a series of strange mutations. One of the most evident of these changes is the monstrous high-rise housing complexes that are being put up in the suburbs, la région Parisienne (the “elle” of the title). Certain housewives living in these new acres of concrete, in order to help ‘make ends meet,’ spend their afternoons in the city as part-time prostitutes.… Read more »

Godard: Anarchy or Order? (Letter to THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1968)

From the Sunday, March 24, 1968 New York Times (“Movie Mailbag”). Coincidentally, I had just taken a bus in Manhattan with a friend the previous night to see Godard’s La Chinoise at an avant-premiere screening in Philadelphia, and before boarding the bus back, I bought the Sunday Times and found my letter published there prominently. — J.R.


Godard: Anarchy or Order?


I SUPPOSE one should be grateful for The Times’s belated “recognition” of Jean-Luc Godard, particularly after a record of disapproval that has helped to keep much of his work unseen and misunderstood in this country for nearly a decade. But Eugene Archer’s slick comments are painfully inadequate for anyone who knows and cares about Godard’s films. and misleading for anyone who doesn’t. Adhering to a hallowed Times tradition, Archer is informative and interesting whenever he sticks to objective facts about Godard’s career; it is only when he turns to the films themselves that he shows his naivité.

Essential to his understanding of Godard are three questionable assumptions:

l) In order to be an artist, a filmmaker has to be a “dramatist,” not an “essayist.”

2) Godard’s films are composed of arbitrary and unstructured selections of material (“Godard…shoots anything that strikes his fancy and edits it into his film”).Read more »