Containing Multitudes Since 2004
Lauren Bacall dressed better than Jackie Kennedy ever did.
Godard makes for an interesting case study. Up to the late-mid-60s, his importance was based on evidence. Even critics who detested him couldn't deny his importance in the cultural scene and felt obliged to debate against him. Even they admitted Godard introduced a new spirit to film-making and provoked ideas on making and discussing cinema. But since the 70s, Godard's reputation had rested more on cultist devotion and faith than on any discernible evidence. A film doesn't have to be accessible or identifiable in meaning(in first or subsequent viewing)for it to be interesting, but it has to offer some key and clues as to why we want to enter its universe in the first place. Latter day Godard films have us waiting outside the door as if they must be approached with infinite patience and faith on our part. Godard has been a bad host, mailing out invitations but letting no one inside but a few of his closest devotees who, even as they praise the master to high heaven, never seem able to explain what his latest offering is all about. If profundity can be boring, its name is late Godard. His cult has survived all these years as a function of radical boomer worship than anything else.He became such an icon of 'radical film-making' that his followers will prop him up even if all he wants is to laze around and doze off. Orson Welles as teller of lies is forgivable if we accept that he approached conversations like everything else: as an art of trickery and gamesmanship. The strength was in the telling than what was told, just like many of his films were more about the making than the message.If making up stuff made for a better tale, Welles always chose a good story over banal truth. This doesn't justify lying in any moral sense, but artful cons provoke and challenge our sense of truth more than drab confessions do, which is why the games of deception are so rewarding in David Mamet films.
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