Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 2 (Jan-Mar 1983) p. 69.

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On Godard

Ashish Rajadhyaksha


"Two or Three Things I've Heard About Godard -;

"Well, of course I liked Godard's films before *68 but... (still from A bout de Souffle and Pierrot Le Fou)

"... since he swallowed all that dogmatic Maoism, he just isn't interested in the cinema anymore (still from Pravda)

BHUS BEGINS Colin MacCabe's book on Jean-Luc Godard, the first major criticism yet available on the latter part of his work which began, as MacCabe says, in 1968. He continues -^after a decade of influential and prolific filmmaking Jean-Luc Godard disappeared from view." As it turned out, far from having disappeared, Godard in fact made as many as 18 films in the decade following 1968. And for those who thought that he had neared the limits of cinematic improvization with Pierrot Le Fou and La Chinoise, this subsequent body of work must appear all the more astonishing. In these 18 films is seen what must definitely be the most intense cinematic investigation yet into the ideological assumptions embedded in all communication within consumerist production-relations. Through these films Godard constantly brings out the fact of how a dominant ideological position is a part of a specific relationship between elements of communication - or, as Godard says, between sound and image. He also brings out how, while establishing a relationship between the film and its audience, not to examine its nature constantly is to fall into a dominant bourgeois position. Thus his latter period is devoted to this examination and, more important, the signification of this examination within the form of the film itself, thus raising it to the conscious level in the audience mind.

For those Indian viewers who liave seen the enormous significance of what Godard is doing since 1968 it is evident that even in comparsion with his earlier avant-garde cinema, these were new heights. Since in the West a vast silence seems to have descended upon the critics as regards this work, one is particularly grateful for Colin MacCabe^s slim volume published by the BFI. Moreover, given the relevance of the Godardi-an structures to our progressive urban tradition, it is gratifying to see that MacCabe "s concerns in writing the book are those we in India can

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