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 Post subject: Re: Movie Thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:34 pm 
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[quote="Lyev"]I don't post here much at all, but I was browsing this thread and felt the urge to intervene as Godard is filmmaker who's quite close to my heart. First thing I would say is I don't think that the Situationist International has a monopoly on "revolutionary" art, or revolutionary cinema more specifically. I think something like Cinema Novo could definitely be considered revolutionary, and it quite clear that Russian formalism around Eisenstein et al is quite indisputably a revolutionary cinema. Likewise, in other visual arts, surrealism is most definitely revolutionary, for example.

Secondly, Godard's Dziga Vertov work is most of post-'68 work until 1972; the last Dziga Vertov film is indeed Tout Va Bien, which is at once dealing with the perceived failures of the filmmaking strategies of Godard's post-'68 work, as well as with the failures of the French left in the wake of the événements more broadly. Le Week-end is not of the Dziga Vertov group, which is properly defined as all the films that Godard made anonymously with Jean-Pierre Gorin in the wake of 1968's events, along with similar film collectives such as Chris Marker's SLON (Société pour le lancement des oeuvres nouvelles). To be sure, Le Week-end is a harbinger to those events (what is a more evocative symbol of '68 than the burnt-out car which features almost incessantly throughout the film?), but I would say it's too incoherent ideologically to align itself with the radical anti-narrative didacticism of Le vent d'est (1969), for example. Two other films which aren't part of the Dziga Vertov group are La Chinoise and One Plus One (or Sympathy for the Devil, the film with the Rolling Stones), which was made before May in 1968, but released in November of that year.

I think that it's far too simplistic to say Godard simply "ripped off" the SI and Debord. For a start, there's a strong argument to be made that in fact all art, cinema included, is composed of intertextual allusion, and moreover, an argument that applies very strongly to Godard. His use of quotation and pastiche becomes a kind of polyphony, where it is almost impossible to properly "understand" whole sequences of his films without prior knowledge of those that he is referencing. And also, I refute that Godard stole his techniques (I assume you mean filmic techniques?) from the SI. Godard was a highly accomplished filmmaker formally right from the beginning.

Lastly, his approach to "revolutionary" filmmaker is explainable through recourse to Brechtian aesthetics, which informs and is informed by his work, from the mid-'60s right up until 1972. Self-reflexivity and distanciation (a film acknowledging its position as a constructed artifice) eschews emotional identification in favour of intellectual engagement. The dominant bourgeois cinema ("Hollywood-mosfilm" as Godard called it) functions ideologically through a variety of formal properties. Identification with a central (male) protagonist; linear, causal and transitive narrativity; the creation of a closed consistently-logical diegetic world are some of the chief ways in which dominant cinema effaces its constructedness. There is sense here in which realism (predominantly the "classical" realism a la Hollywood) is equated to illusionism, to mystification. This is all on the fundamental assumption (with which I assume most of us here agree) that art, cinema of course included, is a form of ideology whose principle function is to make the capitalist social formation seem natural. A naturalisation, and kind of inconspicuousness or invisibility (we even talk about continuity editing in terms of its "invisibility") is the crux of the issue here. It's why I would argue that Godard's cinema post-'68 is indeed revolutionary, inasmuch as it very much deliberately and vagrantly does as much as possible to avoid this inconspicuousness (perhaps the precursor to which is the jump-cuts so famous in Breathless) through foregrounding of film form, through the breaking down of a singular, unified and coherent narrative world.

I'd be interested in hearing your response, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my reply, as aesthetics and cinema generally is definitely something of a fascination of mine. And I don't know as much about situationist theory as you obviously do, so I am interested in how you think Godard was actively trying to imitate ("rip-off") the techniques and strategies of Debord and the International. (Also, a big point of reference for how I conceive of Godard's radical cinema is Peter Wollen's essay, "Godard & Counter Cinema: Vent d'Est", which is fairly solid point of departure, and I'm fairly certain the essay in available online as a pdf.)

Edit: if anyone wants to check out JLG, would definitely recommend Vivre Sa Vie (1962), with Anna Karina, it's a stunningly beautiful film, and definitely one of my favourites of his.


I was being lazy lumping La Chinoise and Weekend into the DVG period, sure, but it was Godard's first foray into consciously 'revolutionary' film making. Either way, it's all still in the same field of spectacular Maoism. They might be somewhat incoherent in their attempts at forwarding any sort of unified thesis, but they mark a clear attempt at as much. Either way, they're usually thrown into Godard's revolutionary period, so I figured that the shorthand would serve well enough for my points, which it did. I really don't care when Godard formed his Dziga Vertov group precisely, the films immediately prior to it are marked with the same tinges of neo-Maoism, and thus they are open to much the same critique that may be directed at the DVG.

And while the SI doesn't have a monopoly on revolutionary cinema (mind you, most of Debord's cinematic work occurred after the disintegration of the SI, and Vienet made some excellent detourned films after this point as well) they still more or less laid out the unitary body of critique for it, while producing its best works. Russian formalism is more complicated than that, however, as is the term revolutionary cinema. Eisenstein depicts a revolution purely of image, one entirely in line with the Bolshevik model of 'revolution', which is to say his work is only revolutionary is a particularly limited sense, a sense limited purely to representation which exists in the realm of the concentrated spectacle. As Isou said of his Potemkin, it is the king kong of 'revolutionary' cinema, nothing more. Skip to 12:30 in this video (situationist film made by an American pro-situ which is not without its decent moments) if you care for a more detailed critique of the matterhttp://archive.org/details/call_it_sleep_situ

The same critique can be applied to Godard, as he never manages to truly break through the confines of spectacular cinematic production, of its stale narrative and bloated functions of linear/non-linear production. Godard's 'revolutionary' work amounts to little more than a selection of reiterated 'new wave' platitudes dressed not in the prose of dime store poetry, but equally idiotic Maoist tracts.

And you're right to say that Godard didn't simply rip off the SI; his films would be notably less **** if such were the case. No, he only does so sporadically, incoherently, and in very limited doses, all the while not really understanding what he was attempting. He didn't rip off his wretched boring new wave cinematic techniques from the SI, surely, you're right to point out that he was prior to this point a notably 'accomplished' film maker in the cultural decomposition of the spectacle. This is not a desirable accolade, however, particularly so in the field of revolutionary cinematic negation.

Also, your references at the conclusion of your post, WONDERFUL. FUCKING WONDERFUL.

"In cinema Godard currently represents formal pseudofreedom and the pseudocritique of manners and values — the two inseparable manifestations of all fake, coopted modern art...Despite the absence of any real critiques of Godard, we see developing a sort of analogy to the famous theory of the increase of resistances in socialist regimes: the more Godard is hailed as a brilliant leader of modern art, the more people rush to his defense against incredible plots. "

"His flaunted culture is largely the same as that of his audience, which has read exactly the same pages in the same drugstore paperbacks...Godard’s “critical” art and his admiring art critics all work to conceal the present problems of a critique of art "

*above quotes, excerpts from "The Role of Godard" International Situationniste 10

http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/10.godard.htm
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 Post subject: Re: Movie Thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:18 pm 
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If everything you need to know about the representation of form, motion, light through color and texture is embodied in that black square, then I would say your knowledge, and your need for knowledge is woefully impoverished. I suspect that that is not the real case, it's just a pose... like Belmondo with a cigaret.

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 Post subject: Re: Movie Thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:51 pm 
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S.Artesian wrote:
If everything you need to know about the representation of form, motion, light through color and texture is embodied in that black square, then I would say your knowledge, and your need for knowledge is woefully impoverished. I suspect that that is not the real case, it's just a pose... like Belmondo with a cigaret.


Form, motion, light, texture, all of it maintains a fabricated premium in the world of decrepit art culture. IT would be utterly reductive to consider art primarily as what fills the open graves of the museums, or to even focus formally on the specific works which augment the continuation of the pseudo-field of subjective creation, as none embody much of anything pertaining to the combined suppression and realization of anything worthy of the name art.

Art criticism, a field which you seem to have yet to escape on this matter, remains second-hand spectacle. Malevich destroyed those factors of traditional representation which you hold so dear, thus, he reached the pinnacle of painting imaginable under the unified totality of the spectacle. Other examples, such as situationist industrial and detourned painting, continued on with a similar trend in negation, but they were never designed to embody anything beyond a manifestation of unified political and artistic offensive which existed beyond the presence of any canvas.

All art aside for a moment, I have to show a moment of respect for the quality of that final point of insult, very well done.

Edit: We also have the white square. I don't understand why this discussion is even happening.

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 Post subject: Re: Movie Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:20 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Movie Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:11 pm 
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