Goodbye to Language 3D (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
April 19, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Goodbye to Language 3D” is an entertaining, complex and yet cerebral film. One that requires multiple viewings, a film that requires you to be fully in the zone and not distracted as you may miss certain important references or dialogue. And with over 70-years of dedication of cinema, Jean-Luc Godard has managed to challenge the cineaste and will continue to do so as long as he is creating cinema. “Goodbye to Language 3D” is recommended for the cineaste ready for a challenge!
TITLE: Goodbye to Language 3D
FILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 69 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2D and 3D, 1:78:1 for 3D, 1:85:1 for 2D, Original Aspect Ratio, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English Subtitles
COMPANY: Kino Lorber
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Written and Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Produced by Brahim Chioua, Vincent Maraval, Alain Sarde
Cinematography by Fabrice Aragno
Heloise Godet as Josette
Kamel Abdeli as Gedeon
Richard Chevalier as Marcus
Zoe Bruneau as Ivitch
Christian Gregori as Davidson
Jessica Erickson as Mary Sheley
Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Goodbye to Language 3D is a triumphant masterpiece from Jean-Luc Godard. Using 3D technology to mind-bending effect, the film follows a couple whose relationship breaks down along with the images, which in its second half takes a dog’s-eye view of the world. It is a meditation on history and illusion that creates 3D effects more spectacular than any Hollywood blockbuster, figures merging and weaving across the screen along with the film’s ideas about romantic love and being-in-the-world. It has the feeling of a final statement, but knowing Godard’s penchant for re-invention, hopefully it is yet another beginning to an extraordinary career.
In 2014, French director Jean-Luc Godard would create his 42nd feature film, a French-Swiss 3D experimental narrative essay which Godard also wrote.
The film would star Heloise Godet (“Girl on a Bicycle”, “Errance”), Kamel Abdeli (“Djihad!”, “Une Journee sur la terre”), Richard Chevallier (“Cafe de Flore”, “Part-Time”), Zoe Bruneau (“Les gazelles”, “Pas tout de suite”), Christian Gregori (“Attention aux chiens”, “Les Petites couleurs”) and Jessica Erickson (“8th Wonderland”, “Graduation Day”).
Wanting to collaborate with cinematographer Fabrice Aragno, Aragno was dissatisfied with modern professional 3D cameras that he created his own custom rig with Canon 5D DSLR camera, Canon 1DC and inexpensive Flip Minos. And for four years, both he and Godard shot footage, with Godard editing the footage in 2D and Aragno via 3D with color correction and surround sound. But also experimenting with double exposure 3D image and shots with parallax.
The film would win the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and won Best Picture at the 2014 National Society of Film Critics Awards. And as such with many Godard films, there were film critics who praised the film and others who dismissed it as incomprehensible.
And now “Goodbye to Language” both in 2D and 3D (2-Blu-ray Discs) will be released in April 2015 courtesy of Kino Lorber.
I will not bother giving a summary of the film, because the film is demanding of the viewer to watch it several times. Even watching it several times may not make a connection to the viewer and the characters, female actresses Heloise Godet and Zoe Bruneau and male actors, Kamel Abdelia and Richard Chevallier, will no doubt confuse viewers as both look like each other, which the casting was intentional.
“Goodbye to Language” is an experimental narrative about a couple who are having an affair. The stories are “1 Nature” and the other “2 Metaphor” focus on couples Gedeon and Josette, the other on Marcus and Ivitch. Davidson is possibly a scholar, and Marie and her boyfriend also make an appearance.
We know there are discussions of Vladimir K. Zworykin, Adolf Hitler, Rodin’s “The thinker”, Mao Zedong’s opinion of the French Revolution and quite possibly, an affair between one of the couples.
Meanwhile, Jean-Luc Godard’s dog, Roxy is seen, swimming, taking a dump, paraphrasing Clifford D. Simak’s “Time and Again”.
During the film, while people are talking, clips of many films show in the background and makes references to art, science, literature, philosophy and political theory.
“Goodbye to Language 3D” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:84:1 aspect ratio) and is presented in HD. Because of the experimental style of this film, shot with DSLR’s and other types of cameras, the scenes vary to clear, noisy, soft and for the most part, not going for consistent but experimental in nature.
“Goodbye to Language 3D” is presented in French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Don’t expect Godard to go on easy on the audiophile as the lossless audio can get a bit frenetic.
“Goodbye to Language 3D” comes with the following special features:
- Canon Europe Interview – (46:19) Featuring an interview with Jean-Luc Godard about the making of “Goodbye to Language” and more.
- Theatrical Trailer – (2:27) The theatrical trailer for “Goodbye to Language 3D”.
Leave it to Jean-Luc Godard to explain his movie and making it seem so simple.
Godard said about his 2014 film, “It’s about a man and his wife who no longer speak the same language. The dog they take on walks then intervenes and speaks.”
In many ways, I can understand where Godard is coming from. A failure of a marriage and relationship is often due to the lack of communication, often the differences between the individuals.
But unlike earlier Godard films in which the relationship is straightforward, “Goodbye to Language” is not.
In fact, I think “Goodbye to Language 3D” as a film for Godard to take on new technology, to take on the growing number of 3D films and break convention and as always the rebel, buck away from traditional Hollywood practices and give us his version of a 3D film.
Working with cinematographer Fabrice Aragno who decided to do away with the 3D technology employed in Hollywood, opting for DSLR’s and mini-digital recorders, “Goodbye to Language 3D” is an interesting experiment with these technologies to create a narrative of two couples, who look very much like each other but the circumstances are similar and also very different. Like the red and blue of 3D glasses, they work similarly but the colors are very different.
Throw in a professor, a young man and woman and a dog who then occupies most of the film and we are left with a movie that is intellectually unforgiving, a movie that is possibly to some incomprehensible and for others, leaving them with a smile on their faces, because Godard has created a film that few will truly understand (or so they think they do).
What I can best say about “Goodbye to Language 3D” is that it is a film about multiple stories, which reference to many other multiple stories and despite having watched this film several times, even I can’t tell you what I watched, because one time I focused on the couples, then I found myself focusing on the dog and then I found myself zeroing on the references, may they be archival and another time, I tried to see if the experimentation used in the film served any major purpose.
The answer is yes, but how they correlate, I’m not even sure myself if they are supposed to.
While watching this film, there are parts of me that want to give off this maniacal laugh because I feel like other Godard films, there is a subtle “Fuck you” message from the filmmaker who could care less whether or not you understand the film or not.
Once can read a plethora of reviews from those who get the film, yet each give off their own different perception of what the film is about. I have watched the film several times now and I find myself fighting what I thought what I thought was what the film was, just to find out that I came up with another new perspective.
And while my best memories of the film are naked people and a dog having fun in the country, the narration is complex, thought-provoking and I keep going back to it, because there are many references but I try to zero-in on the message.
Every Godard film that I have watched, I found a message, no matter how complex or political, I got it. “Goodbye to Language 3D” is problematic for me as a reviewer because it’s a first for me to watch a Godard film and yet, fighting my every thought of the film which I think I understand, but really don’t. Maybe that was intentional, like the experimental use of video and audio for the film. You take things as they are, whatever your interpretation is and go with it.
Overall, “Goodbye to Language 3D” is an entertaining, complex and yet cerebral film. One that requires multiple viewings, a film that requires you to be fully in the zone and not distracted as you may miss certain important references or dialogue.
And while this may be a first for me watching a Godard film in which I continually contradict each perspective I originally had for the film, perhaps that is a good thing. But yet, I can’t help but give out a maniacal laugh to Jean-Luc Godard for creating films that people will love, hate, a film they will understand or not understand but yet, creating a film that he wants to do, the way he wants it to be, under his own terms and could care less whether or not you get it.
And with over 70-years of dedication of cinema, Godard has managed to challenge the cineaste and will continue to do so as long as he is creating cinema.
“Goodbye to Language 3D” is recommended for the cineaste ready for a challenge!
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