French Film Festival Weekend
Redoubtable 15 (S)
Michel Hazanavicius (Oscar-winning director of The Artist) delivers a brilliantly realised glimpse into the life of iconoclastic French filmmaking legend Jean-Luc Godard, his search for inspiration in late 1960s Paris and his subsequent spiralling into philosophical and romantic crisis.
Film director Jean-Luc Godard (Louis Garrel) is a restless, inquisitive iconoclast who has just blazed through the '60s like a comet, rewriting the grammar of cinema. But in 1967, seven years after his debut feature À bout de souffle had rocked international cinema, France's most prolific and influential contemporary filmmaker finds himself undergoing a profound artistic crisis. His marriage to Anna Karina, muse of his early groundbreaking films, is over. Sensing cultural and political change in the air, Godard embarks on a new film, La Chinoise, with a new muse, actor and student activist Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin). It was a pivotal moment. But when reception to his new film is met with indifference it unleashes a profound self-examination in Jean-Luc which, coupled with French civil unrest in May '68 that threatens to overturn the republic, reveals deep-rooted conflicts and misunderstandings that will change him irrevocably. Revolutionary, off-the-wall, destructive, brilliant, he will pursue his choices and his beliefs to breaking point.
Louis Garrel’s performance pulls off the near-impossible in inhabiting this most enigmatic real-life figure. Few punches are pulled as the arrogant and diffident sides of the Godard are both depicted, as well as his determination to evolve. Capturing the human struggle behind the art there is much to enjoy in this political, philosophical and biographical roller coaster about a cultural flashpoint and a great filmmaker's response to it.