La Chinoise (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“La Chinoise” is Godard’s profound masterpiece in which the filmmaker/writer going through an exploration of ideas through characters, explore actions knowing all too well, the film may not change a thing. “La Chinoise” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 KINO LORBER. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: La Chinoise


DURATION: 96 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (1:37:1 Aspect Ratio), 2.0 French Monaural

COMPANY: Kino Lorber

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: October 10, 2017

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Written by Jean-Luc Godard

Cinematography by Raoul Cotard

Edited by Delphone Desfons, Agnes Guillemot

Costume Design by Gitt Magrini


Anne Wizamsky as Veronique

Juliet Berto as Yvonne

Jean-Pierre Leaud as Guillaume

Michael Semeniako as Henri

Lex De Bruijn as Kirilov

Omar Dip as Omar

Francis Jeanson as Francis

Blandine Jeanson as Blandine

Eliane Giovagnoli as Son Ami

La Chinoise is a pop-art masterpiece by Jean-Luc Godard that both channels and parodies the revolutionary energies of Paris in 1967. Disillusioned by their suburban lifestyles, a group of middle-class students, led by Guillaume (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Véronique (Anne Wiazemsky), form a small Maoist cell and plan to change the world by any means necessary. After studying the growth of communism in China, the students decide they must use terrorism and violence to ignite their own revolution.

For French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, while celebrated for his French New Wave films, his supporters and even his friends started to see a change with the filmmaker who shifting towards films that were becoming more political and going after government and also society.

While Godard would begin to go full force with his radical films in 1968, two years prior, we started to see Godard’s film shift into this direction beginning with “Made in U.S.A.” and then his two films in 1967, “La Chinoise” and “Weekend”.

The film is written and directed by Godard and would star Anne Wiazemsky (“Au Hasard Balthazar”, “Teorema”, “Rendez-vous), who would become Godard’s wife that very year; Juliet Berto (“Weekend”, “Celine and Julie Go Boating”, “Neige”), Jean-Pierre Leaud (“The 400 Blows”, “Stolen Kisses”, “Masculin Feminin”), Michael Semeniako (“Le Cercle de Minuit”) and more.

“La Chinoise” is considered as one of Godard’s best films and it was released on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber.

While the film was not supposed to be prescient of what would eventually take place in May 1968 in France, the film no doubt examines New Left activism and the film was didactic in its approach to Maoism.  For those not familiar with Maoism, it is a political theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong and was applied as the political and military ideology of the Communist Party of China and it guided many revolutionary movements around the world.

The film revolves around five university students who represent different ideologies and have different personalities.  They are conspiring to overthrow the Russian Imperial regime through revolutionary violence.

The film is set in Paris and these five students belong to a radical Maoist group known as Aden Arabie Cell and consists of Nanterre University student Veronique (portrayed by Anne Wiazemsky); a young bourgeois actor named Guillaume (portrayed by Jean-Pierre Leaud); the girl from the countryside, Yvonne (portrayed by Juliet Berto); science student from the University of Grenoble, Henri (portrayed by Michel Semeniako) and a Dutch painter named Kirilov (portrayed by Lex de Bruijin).  And a visit from their friend, Omar (portrayed by Omar Dio).

Each of these students are in summer vacation and they spend their time studying political articles, practicing their lectures with one another, inviting guest speakers to their pad and dreaming of a revolution.

And reading text about advocating violence in the name of resolution, these individuals decide to assassinate Soviet novelist, Mikhail Sholokhov, who happens to be in Paris as a cultural ambassador representing the Soviet government.


“La Chinoise” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:37:1 aspect ratio). This is probably the best I have seen of this classic film.  Presented in 1080p, detail of closeups are well-done and I saw no signs of film damage or any artifact issues while watching the film.


“La Chinoise” is presented with French with English subtitles. Lossless audio is 2.0 Mono and for those who have never watched a Jean-Luc Godard film, while you will get crystal clear dialogue, expect to hear Claude Channes “La Chinoise” being played multiple times.


“La Chinoise” comes with following special features:

  • Interview with actor Michael Semeniako – (38:28)
  • Interview with Assistant Director Charles Bitsch – (19:49)
  • Interview with 2nd Assistant Director Jean-Claude Sussfield – (17:39)
  • Interview with writer Denitza Bantcheva – (18:55)
  • Interview with film historian Antoine de Bascque – (30:55)
  • La Chinoise Trailer


The Blu-ray comes with a 16-page booklet with essays by Richard Hell and Amy Taubin.

The film before filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard would go onto create his more political, radical films, “La Chinoise” was no doubt created during the frustration building in France at the time and a foretelling of what was to come a year later.

“La Chinoise” is a Godard masterpiece that manages to capture cinema, politics and didactic principles that would pave the way to Godard radicalism and non-docile filmmaking.

The film marks Godard pursuing to look into Maoism, while casting Anne Wiazemsky as his main lead and an actress who won audiences for her performance in the 1966 Robert Bresson film “Au hasard Balthazar”, would marry Godard that very year and would later become a successful novelist.

The film would also star two of France’s well-known young talents who have appeared in previous and later Godard films, Jean-Pierre Leaud and Juliet Berto.

What I enjoyed about “La Chinoise” is that it’s a film where Godard is trying to understand and gain knowledge of political ideology through his characters.  In fact, Godard would refer to Wizaemsky as “Cinematographic education” and unlike his previous films that may incorporate some sort of form of love, “La Chinoise” is about students who stay at a friend’s apartment during a summer break from university terms to learn about each other’s ideology and through discussion of violence as a necessity to achieve revolutionary goals.

Reading text about advocating violence in the name of resolution, these individuals decide to assassinate Soviet novelist, Mikhail Sholokhov, who happens to be in Paris as a cultural ambassador representing the Soviet government.

“La Chinoise” represents the intelligent cinema that demanding cinemaeaste want to see.  Wanting to expand their views on cinema, wanting characters that are non-banal, with substance.

You have Veronique (Wiazemsky) who’s appearance of a beautiful, intelligent college student attending University Nanterre but yet wanting to shut down the university with bombs.  Veronique wants a violent revolution.  Going further, Anne Wiazemsky’s real-life philosophy professor at the Paris X University Nanterre, Francis Jeanson is in the film and Veronique and Jeanson are in a discussion in which he tries to argue against the use of violence to shut down French universities.  Jeanson in support of cultural action, Veronique through violence to inspire a revolution.

The real-life Jeanson was committed to the National Liberation Front (FLN) during the Algerian War his appearance in the film  was no doubt fascinating.

Godard and his actors would not know that a year later, protesting students and millions of French workers would go on strike, paralyze the country but in effect, would lead France and liberate French society.

Jean-Pierre Leaud’s character of Guillaume is no doubt a character that is a mouthpiece for Godard.  For those who watch a Godard film, there are always moments where Godard likes to use his characters and allow the character to speak for him.  And in Guillaume’s scenes, Godard goes Brechtian style and one of the most powerful scenes is when Guillaume goes to a blackboard with the names of famous playwrights including Sartre, Giraudoux, Racine, Cocteau, Goethe, Sophocles, Chekhov and Shakespeare and as Guillaume erases each name, one name stays and it is Brecht.

The film is crafted in a way that it doesn’t try to pick which side is right or which side is wrong.  While some may feel that a film about characters who are into Maoism, Marxism, Lennism, makes the film too radical, may not know that after the premiere of “La Chinoise”, those who are Marxist-Leninist Maoists complained and were furious about how they were portrayed.  That “La Chinoise” made them look irresponsible.

Film critics praised the film as a Godard masterpiece and that the film captured the revolt of youth.  The film is may seem too hip for students to pull off such a revolution but it happened in France in 1968.  For something more brutal, Kino Lorber also has a film from Koji Wakamatsu called “United Red Army” which shows how normal university students of the ’60s and ’70s dedicated their lives to communism and also wanting a revolution, chose a path of violence and murder.  Where students were allowed to voice their opinion among the students featured in “La Chinoise”, in Japan, members who were weak-minded were killed and these students chose to become terrorists, recruited by a Palestinian group and attacked Lod airport near Tel Aviv, killing 26 people and injuring 80 others.  Both films about students wanting a revolution.  Godard’s film being surreal without despair, Wakamatsu’s film showing the barbaric nature of homegrown terrorism.

I looked at “La Chinoise” as a flip-flop of “Masculin Feminin” (1966), where the 1966 film was more pop with slight political undertones, “La Chinoise” is slight pop with more political undertones.  Both entertaining, both wonderful films, different execution, different Godard in terms of mind-set but yet “La Chinoise” being more poetic, didactic and experimental.

The film looks great on Blu-ray and the best I have ever seen of the film so far.  Presented in 1080p, the film features a monaural 2.0 soundtrack and numerous interviews.

Overall, “La Chinoise” is Godard’s profound masterpiece in which the filmmaker/writer going through an exploration of ideas through characters, explore actions knowing all too well, the film may not change a thing.

“La Chinoise” is recommended!

Le Gai Savoir (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I am in no way an aesthete when it comes to French history or politics but “Le Gai Savoir” is a complex, abstract and fascinating film but there is a message that even the viewer can deconstruct and ponder about. Anyone wanting to watch a radical Godard film will no doubt enjoy “Le Gai Savoir”.

Images courtesy of © 2017 KINO LORBER. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Le Gai Savoir


DURATION: 92 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (1:37:1 Aspect Ratio), 2.0 French Monaural

COMPANY: Kino Lorber

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: October 10, 2017

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Written by Jean-Luc Godard

Text by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Cinematography by Georges Leclerc

Edited by Germaine Cohen


Juliet Berto as Patricia Lumumba

Jean-Pierre Leaud as Emile Rousseau

Jean-Luc Godard (Narration)

While alone in an abandoned television studio, two militants, Émile Rousseau (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Patricia Lumumba (Juliet Berto), have a discourse on language. Referring to spoken word as “the enemy” – the weapon used by the establishment to confuse liberation movements – the two deconstruct the meanings of sounds and images in an attempt to “return to zero” and truly experience the joy of learning.

For French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, while celebrated for his French New Wave films, his supporters and even his friends started to see a change with the filmmaker who shifting towards films that were becoming more political and going after government and also society.

While his film “Pierrot le fou” touched upon certain themes for very few scenes, his interest in German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht and the thought of alienating a viewer through a separation of elements in the medium.  Characters would address the audience about their thoughts, feelings and more.

And so the period between 1968-1979 is called his “Militant Years” or “Revolutionary Years” in which Godard abandons mainstream filmmaking to pursue low-budget political films and collaborating with Jean-Pierre Gorin.

And Kino Lorber has release two films from this period on Blu-ray, his 1968 film “La Chinoise” and “Le Gai Savoir” (Joy of Learning).

The film focuses on two primary characters, Patricia Lumumba (portrayed by Juliet Berto) and Emile Rousseau (portrayed by Jean-Pierre Leaud).  Narration was done by Jean-Luc Godard.

To provide a background on this film, the film was shot before civil unrest took place in France and after.  In France, there were massive strikes and many people on strikes would occupy universities and factories throughout France.  Students went on strike against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism and traditional institutions.  This spread to 11 million workers on strike.

So bad were the strikes that the entire country’s economy was brought down and there was fear of civil war or a revolution.

While looked at as one of the dark times in French history, it is also regarded that the events led to a cultural, social and moral turning point for France.

In the film, Emile Rousseau (portrayed by Jean-Pierre Leaud) is the great-great-grandson of Jean-Jacques (Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a Francophone Genevan philosopher, writer and composer of the 18th century) Patricia Lumumba (portrayed by Juliet Berto), Third World delegate of the Citroen auto plant who got caught for giving people with recording devices, come in contact with each other inside an unused TV studio.

Patricia’s goal is wanting to learn and teach everyone that they must turn back against the enemy that weapon which he attacks everyone through “Language”. Emile tells her that because they are on TV, to go into people’s homes and ask them what they want to know.

The two take part in seven late night TV dialogues and eventually the two analyze the relationship between cinema and politics.

The two would then meet up for seven evenings to analyze sound and images.  To decompose and to recompose.


“Le Gai Savoir” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:37:1 aspect ratio).  The majority of the film features Emile and Pamela surrounded by black backgrounds with lighting on them.  There are then a plethora of classic images shows.  The film received a 2K restoration and you can see details, especially Juliet Berto’s freckles.  With that being said, for the most part, the picture quality is great but it’s not exactly a film that people will be expecting to see a whole lot as it limits visuals to Emile and Patricia.  No backgrounds, just the two performing (like as if they were on a blacked out stage with a spotlight on them).


“Le Gai Savoir” is presented with French with English subtitles.  Lossless audio is 2.0 Mono and for those who have never watched a Jean-Luc Godard film, while you will get crystal clear dialogue, expect to hear a multitude of songs especially annoying sounds but also inclusion of sounds that are being analyzed by the characters.


“Le Gai savoir” comes with Godard film trailers (for films released on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber) and a short video by Fabrice Aragno (DP of “Goodbye to Language” and “Film Socialisme”) titled “Promenade Dans Le Gai Savoir”.


The Blu-ray comes with a 16-page booklet with essays by Richard Hell and Adam Nayman.

May 1968, France’s economy was shut down. The largest general strike in an advanced industrial country, 11 million workers were on strike for two weeks and student protests ran rampant. It was a blow to President Charles de Gaulle’s government and groups revolted against modern consumer and technical society.

1972. Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard ala the man who was instrumental for Nouvelle Vague was no more. The era from the late ’60s to early ’70s was the filmmaker’s “radical” years. His interest in Maoist Ideology led to his partnership with Jean-Pierre Gorin and together they formed the socialist-idealist Dziga-Vertov Cinema group (named after Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov) and both would go on to create political films and from 1968-1973, the two would create films showcasing their Maoist beliefs.  Also, Godard incorporating his Brecht style to alienate viewers.

“Le Gai Savoir” is a film that you will either love or hate.  As many film critics who championed Godard’s earlier work would distance themselves from reviewing the filmmaker’s films during his revolutionary period, his radical years, because films such as “Le Gai Savoir” are complex and for some, incomprehensible.

Two characters who are literally opposites, wanting to meet each other in a TV studio to analyze film and politics, to analyze sound and images.  To decompose and to recompose.

And knowing that they can get into people’s homes via television, they plan a three-year course to re-educate people through a political program.

Similar to classic Godard films which would often cut away to other scenes, to eliminate sound, bring back sound or throw in other sounds, these two characters want to start from teh beginning and go back to zero.  To start anew and believing a revolution is waiting to happen.

The two read, they listen to radio and discuss the information they come across and eventually developing mutual beliefs.

For all its worth, the film proves to be a didactic style that Godard would be known for.  He was not interested in going back to the days of being popular.  In fact, when “Breathless” became popular, he wasn’t thrilled about it.

So, I am going to tell you right now…If you have never watched a Jean-Luc Godard film, do not start with this film. To appreciate this Godard film, you need to go along with the journey of knowing Godard’s previous films. Seeing how this filmmaker changed from “Breathless” up to “Weekend” and then seeing how the turbulent times had changed Godard.

From what transpired in France in May 1968, the Algerian War to the Vietnam War, those French New Wave years were over and this Maoist Ideological version of Godard is what the late ’60s and ’70s is what had become of the man.  So, if you enjoy “La Chinoise”, enjoy “Le Gai Savoir”, then you will no doubt enjoy “Tout va Bien”, but if you enjoyed “Breathless”, “Band of Outsiders”, “Pierro le fou”, “Masculin Feminin” and want those similar style of films, Godard’s style of filmmaking and creative direction changes completely from “La Chinoise” and “Weekend” and on.

I am able to enjoy Godard films because I was able to go through the journey of Godard films, watching his films over and over and discovering something new each time. While I have no doubt the impact of this film is felt more by the French, especially those who lived during the late ’60s and saw or experienced the political unrest have feelings probably after watching this film.

I am in no way an aesthete when it comes to French history or politics but “Le Gai Savoir” is a complex, abstract and fascinating film but there is a message that even the viewer can deconstruct and ponder about.

Anyone wanting to watch a radical Godard film will no doubt enjoy “Le Gai Savoir”.

Paris Belongs to Us – The Criterion Collection #802 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


“Paris Belongs to Us” is a Jacques Rivette film that will no doubt make French cinema fans in the U.S. say, “About time!”. The French filmmaker’s debut film is mysterious take on a woman succumbing to disillusionment and conspiracy theories. Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1961 Les Films du Carrosse. 2016 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Paris Belongs to Us – The Criterion Collection #802


DURATION: 141 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, black and white, 1:37:1 aspect ratio, French Monaural with English Subtitles


RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2016

Directed by Jacques Rivette

Written by Jacques Rivette, Jean Grault

Produced by Roland Nonin

Co-Producer: Claude Chabrol

Music by Philiippe Arthuys

Cinematography by Charles L. Bitsch

Edited by Denise de Casablanca


Jean-Claude Brialy as Jean-Marc

Betty Schneider as Anne Goupil

Biani Esposito as Gerard Lenz

Francoise Prevost as Terry Yordan

Daniel Crohem as Philip Kaufman

Francois Maistre as Pierre Goupil

One of the original critics turned filmmakers who helped jump-start the French New Wave, Jacques Rivette began shooting his debut feature in 1958, well before that cinema revolution officially kicked off with The 400 Blows and Breathless. Ultimately released in 1961, the rich and mysterious Paris Belongs to Us offers some of the radical flavor that would define the movement, with a particularly Rivettian twist. The film follows a young literature student (Betty Schneider) who befriends the members of a loose-knit group of twentysomethings in Paris, united by the apparent suicide of an acquaintance. Suffused with a lingering post–World War II disillusionment while also evincing the playfulness and fascination with theatrical performance and conspiracy that would become hallmarks for the director, Paris Belongs to Us marked the provocative start to a brilliant directorial career.


Filmmaker Jacques Rivette has numerous beloved films in his oeuvre.

From “Celine and Julie Go Boating”, “The Gang of Four”,”Va Savoir” and what many consider his masterpiece, “La belle noiseuse”.

But every filmmaker has a first film which many cineaste are curious to compare many of their films too.  And for Rivette, his first film was rather fascinating because like other French New Wave filmmakers that wrote for “Cahiers du Cinema”, many of them went on to create masterpieces earlier in their careers.

With Rivette, of the 29-films he had made, it was his later films that people would strongly resonate with (a similar situation with filmmaker, Eric Rohmer).

The film which was created in 1957 but without a distributor, “Paris Belongs to Us” would not be released theatrically until 1961, and thus not becoming one of the first films of the French New Wave.  Because of this, the film was deemed as old-fashioned because the setting of French cinema had changed within four years after the film was created.

Nevertheless, “Paris Belongs to Us” is a first film that is interesting because it was produced by Claude Chabrol and the film would feature cameos by Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Demy and also Rivette.

And now “Paris Belongs to Us” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of The Criterion Collection.

“Paris Belongs to Us” focuses on Paris’ bohemian underground and follows a university student, Anne Goupil (portrayed by Betty Schneider).

As she meets and has communications with people, many are talking as if there is a conspiracy that is happening with people they know and within society.

Everyone appears to be fatigued, paranoid and in some sort of disillusion with life begin to take its toll on Anne.


“Paris Belongs to Us – The Criterion Collection #802” is presented in 1:37:1 black and white and in 1080p High Definition. The film looks absolutely beautiful on Blu-ray!

White and grays are well-contrast, black levels are nice and deep and the detail and sharpness is fantastic. I did not notice any issues with the picture quality with blurriness or any scratches or dust during my viewing of the film.

According to the Criterion Collection, “this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution from the original camera negative on an ARRISCAN film scanner equipped with wet-gate processing.  Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, and warps were manually removed using MTI’s DRS, while Digital Vision’s Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain, noise management, jitter and flicker.”


As for the lossless audio, “Paris Belongs to Us – The Criterion Collection #802” is presented in French LPCM 1.0 without any buzzing or crackle.

According to the Criterion Collection, “the original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35 mm magnetic tracks. Clicks, thumps, hiss, hum and crackle were manually removed using Pro Tools HD and Izotope RX 4.

Subtitles are in English.


“Paris Belongs to Us – The Criterion Collection #802” comes with the following special features:

  • Richard Neupert – (24:48) Featuring a 2015 interview with Richard Neupert, professor of film studies at the University of Georgia and author of “A History of the French New Wave Cinema” discusses the themes and legacy of Jacques Rivette’s debut feature, “Paris Belongs to Us”.
  • Le Coup Du Berger – (29:00) A 1956 short film by Jacques Rivette about an adulterous wife and her lover’s attempt to figure out how she will explain his gift of a mink coat to her husband. Featuring cameos by Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.


“Paris Belongs to Us – The Criterion Collection #802” comes with a six-page foldout with the essay “Nothing Took Place But the Place” by Luc Sante.


For those watching “Paris Belongs to Us”, Jacques Rivette’s first film is no doubt a complex mystery film.

From the beginning, when we are introduced to the character of Anne, a student who is tired of studying, but no different from any other student going to college, the major difference are the characters she comes in contact with.

Her neighbor talks about the death of individuals and if her brother is Pierre.  Her brother Pierre tells her about a party which Anne attends and everyone is wondering of why a young Spanish composer named Juan has committed suicide.

Everyone around seems depressed and bitter, from the drunken Philip Kaufman (an American journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, who has been exiled to France as a victim of blacklisting during the McCarthy era), we see Philip slapping the face of Terry Yordan, Juan’s lover and blaming her for his suicide.

We are then given a break of fresh air when Anne comes across an old classmate, Jean-Marc (portrayed by Jean-Claude Brialy), who has come to Paris for a career in theater and takes Anne to a barn for a production of Shakespeare’s “Pericles”.

Theater director Gerard Lenz has a difficult time because the entire cast never shows up at one time and so he uses Anne to fill in and she immediately becomes a member of a production when an actress doesn’t show up.

But as they need a guitar score, it becomes a search for why Juan really killed himself.

And then suddenly people that Anne knew begin to disappear and Anne gets caught up wondering why these individuals are disappearing.  To the point it becomes an obsession for her.

The film is interesting in the fact that in ways, the film is a style of French New Wave in the fact that Rivette, like his other contemporaries, goes against traditional Hollywood cinema by not making certain situations obvious.  Is this scene taking place in the present, the past, the future.  Are these people sane or insane?  Are these people good or bad?

One can simply chalk this film up to Anne getting involved with shady people and becomes to immersed by these people that she starts questioning life, motivations and eventually, driven to find out why certain people are gone?  Is it by murder?  Did they leave on their own accord?  Why the hell does Anne care so much, when other people don’t?

Thrown in cameos by fellow writers/filmmakers Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard and even Rivette makes an appearance in the film, there is no doubt that these men were in the cusp of making groundbreaking cinema.   But because Godard, Chabrol, Truffaut and other contemporaries were able to explode into the cinema scene and were on fire, because of the lack of distribution, Rivette’s “Paris Belongs to Us” did not receive the same following.

It came out four years late and for Rivette, he may not be known worldwide as Godard or Truffaut but for those who follow French cinema, know very well of how magnificent of a filmmaker he truly is.  And the fact that even in his reviews, unlike other writers who champion a filmmaker’s more popular films, Rivette never followed the pack, choosing to write and watch the more underappreciated films of other directors.

Similar to his taste in films, Rivette slowly caught on with cineaste and while a winner for the Sutherland Trophy for “Paris nous appartient” (1961) and “L’amour fou” (1969) at the British Film Awards and nominated for a Palme d’Or in 1966 for “La religieuse”, it wasn’t until 1989 where he would win the FIPRESCI Prize for “La bande des quatre” at the Berlin International Film Festival and 1991 until his film would win the Grand Prize of the Jury for “La belle noiseuse”.

And while there are cinema fans late to the game of discovering the films of Jacques Rivette, for cineaste, it has been a long time coming, but finally a Jacques Rivette film has been released by the Criterion Collection and one can hope for more releases in the very near future.

The Blu-ray release of “Paris Belongs to Us” looks very good with picture quality showcasing wonderful contrast and sharpness.  Lossless monaural audio with no signs of crackling or hiss and you get two special features, which includes Rivette’s 1959 short film, “Le coup du berger”.

Overall, “Paris Belongs to Us” is a Jacques Rivette film that will no doubt make French cinema fans in the U.S. say, “About time!”.  The French filmmaker’s debut film is mysterious take on a woman succumbing to disillusionment and conspiracy theories.


Goodbye to Language 3D (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


“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! 

Images courtesy of © 2014 Kino Lorber. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Goodbye to Language 3D


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

Marie Ruchat

Jeremy Zampatti

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!

Every Man For Himself – The Criterion Collection #744 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


As a fan of Godard’s oeuvre, “Every Man For Himself” is a Godard film that is best experienced than reading reviews about it.  No words can describe the film correctly because everyone will have their own opinion of what the film is about.  But if you have enjoyed Godard’s films from the past to even his later films, one can appreciate Godard’s contribution to cinema.  In this case, a creative, bold and unique film that can never be duplicated.  “Every Man For Himself” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Every Man For Himself – The Criterion Collection #744


DURATION: 88 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Color, 1:66:1 Aspect Ratio, French Monaural, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Janus Films/The Criterion Collection

RELEASED: February 3, 2015

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Scenario by Anne-Marie Mieville and Jean-Claude Carriere

Music by Gabriel Yared

Director of Photography: Renato Berta, William Lubtchansky, Jean-Bernard Menoud

Edited by Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Mieville

Art direction by Romain Goupil


Isabelle Huppert as Isabelle Riviere

Jacques Dutronc as Paul Godard

Nathalie Baye as Denise Rimbaud

Cecile Tanner as Cecile

Anna Baldaccini as Isabelle’s Sister

After a decade in the wilds of avant-garde and early video experimentation, Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless) returned to commercial cinema with this work of social commentary, star-driven and narrative while remaining defiantly intellectual and visually cutting-edge. Every Man for Himself, featuring a script by Jean-Claude Carrière (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) and Anne-Marie Miéville (Ici et ailleurs), looks at the sexual and professional lives of three people—a television producer (Van Gogh’s Jacques Dutronc), his ex-girlfriend (The Return of Martin Guerre’s Nathalie Baye), and a prostitute (White Material’s Isabelle Huppert)—to create a meditative story about work, relationships, and the notion of freedom. Made twenty years into his career, the film was, according to Godard, a second debut.


After a decade of focusing on militant left-wing films and becoming a different type of filmmaker unlike the Nouvelle Vague director that everyone had come to appreciate back in the ’60s, by 1980, Jean-Luc Godard was ready to step back into the mainstream.

With more money and well-known French film stars, Godard would create “Sauve qui peut (la vie)” (a.k.a. “Every Man for Himself”), a film which Godard has called his “second first film”.  It was a film which would lead Jean-Luc Godard to promote the film heavily in the United States but it was also a chance for Godard to show the world of his experimental style of filmmaking, which he had dubbed as “decomposition” (which features slowing down of action via frame by frame).

The film would star Isabelle Huppert (“Amour”, “The Piano Teacher”, “I Heart Huckabees”), Jacques Dutronc (“Sightseers”, “Factory Girl”, “Moonrise Kingdom”), Nathalie Baye (“Catch Me If You Can”, “An Affair of Love”, “Tell No One”) and Cecile Tanner (“Three Colors: Red”, “Requiem”).

The film would earn Jean-Luc Godard a Palme d’Or nomination at the 19980 Cannes Film Festival and nominations at the Cesar Awards, which actress Nathalie Baye would win “Best Actress – Supporting Role”.

And now, “Every Man For Himself” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

It’s important to note that this film is not easy to describe.  It’s a film that is rather interesting because of its out-of-left-field dialogue but also because of it’s unusual characters and the experimentation which Jean-Luc Godard employs throughout the film.  From slow motion shots, music and sounds just being cut or shortened and how far each of these characters go in order to find their own happiness or to survive.

The film is split up into three sections.  In the first section, we are introduced to Paul Godard (portrayed by Jacques Dutronc), a filmmaker who is dating his estranged girlfriend, Denise Rimbaud (portrayed by Nathalie Baye).

Denise is trying to decide if she wants to give up a hotel she shares with Paul and leaving her job from a TV station where Paul currently works.  She is often riding a bike.

The second section features Paul, who is picking up his daughter Cecile (portrayed by Cecile Tanner) from soccer practice and immediately, he has discussion with the soccer coach if he ever felt like touching his own daughter or having sex with her.  We see Paul’s relationship with his ex-wife and his daughter, but also the arguments that he and Denise tend to have.  Meanwhile, Paul meets Isabelle (portrayed by Isabelle Huppert), a prostitute.

The third section focuses on Isabelle and we get to see her life as a prostitute and the unusual requests that she gets.

By the final segment, everything comes full circle and we see the connection between each character.



“Every Man For Himself – The Criterion Collection #744″ is presented in 1:66:1. Before I begin, it’s important to note that if you want the best picture quality, you will want to get the Blu-ray version of this film.

On DVD, the film looks very good for a film of its age. While I’m sure the Blu-ray version is superior, “Every Man For Himself” shows good contrast, clearer picture quality and grain. While I noticed no film damage during my viewing of the short film.

According to the Criterion Collection, “This new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit DataCine film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative.”

Audio is presented in French monaural and according to the Criterion Collection, “The original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm sound negative. Clicks, thumps, hiss, hum, and crackle were manually removed using Pro Tools HD, AudioCube’s integrated workstation, and iZotope RX 4.”

Dialogue is clear through the monaural soundtrack with no sign of hiss or pops.

Subtitles are in English SDH.


“Every Man For Himself – The Criterion Collection #744” comes with the following special features:

  • Scenario De “Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie)” – (5:47) A 20-minute video submitted to the Centre national du cinema, in place of a screenplay, to secure Godard financing for the film.
  • Sound, Image, and Every Man For Himself – (25:54) Film historian Colin MacAbe explores the way Jean-Luc Godard plays with sound and image.
  • Jean-Luc Godard on the Dick Cavett Show – Featuring a promo plus two episodes (25 min. each) of Jean-Luc Godard being interviewed by Dick Cavett for “The Dick Cavett” show.
  • Godard 1980 – (16:19) A short film featuring Jon Jost, Don Ranvaud, and Peter Wllen interview Jean-Luc Godard.
  • Interviews – Featuring interviews with Marin Karmitz, Isabelle Huppert, Nathalie Baye, Renato Berta and William Lubtchansky and Gabriel Yared.
  • Trailer – Features the theatrical trailer for “Every Man For Himself”.


“Every Man For Himself – The Criterion Collection #744” comes with a 6-fold insert with the essay “Themes and Variations” by Amy Taubin.


“Every Man For Himself” has always been a film that I look at in a variety of ways.

Jean-Luc Godard back home from vacation.  Jean-Luc Godard has had enough of a decade without money making militant left-wing films and now he wants to come back to mainstream cinema.

While I did enjoy “Tout va bien” in 1972 and for the most part, the Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin collaborative years, the ’70s was a political time in Godard’s life as a filmmaker.

By 1980, the filmmaker was ready to take on mainstream cinema with “Every Man For Himself” which included a promotional effort by Godard to promote the film.  With the support of producer Alain Sarde, who loved Godard’s films, he was able to obtain financing from television stations from France, West Germany and Switzerland.

Unlike his films from the past, “Every Man For Himself” marked a new direction for Jean-Luc Godard, the filmmaker.  A difference of technology (in this case, it was the use of a video tape instead of a storybook) but also a difference in cinema.  People held a newfound respect towards Godard for his contributions to French cinema.

But on the set, like his previous films, Godard was still Godard and his attitude on the set was well-known to be problematic, challenging and troubled.

The fact is that the character of Paul Godard reflected Jean-Luc Godard, the character of Denise was modeled after Godard’s companion, Anne-Marie Mieville.

No one knew what to expect from the film because Jean-Luc Godard never informed them what the scene would be about.

In one scene in the film, Godard has the camera focused on young actress Cecile Tanner who played the character of Cecile.  A daughter who played soccer, while her father asks incestuous questions to the coach about his daughter.  While Godard filmed Tanner close-up, she had no idea of the discussion the two men were having about the character.

For Isabelle Huppert (known for her performance in “Amour” and “The Piano Teacher”), she would have one of the more memorable scenes in the film, because they revolve around sex. And they are sexual scenes that are quite interesting to watch on the big screen and don’t expect to see in a Godard film.

From the character of Isabelle trying to get her sister involved in prostitution, meeting an older single man in his hotel room and wanting to roleplay or a scene which involves with a wealthy businessman with naughty requests.

But it’s a film where actress Isabelle Huppert shined.  A woman who was the neutral balance to the characters, but in Godard’s words, wanted a character that would be a woman in suffering.

Nathalie Baye would portray the woman, Denise, a woman who wanted to escape.  Escape the man, the city, the job, the home in order to go about her new life.

The film today may feel as Godard’s triumphant “fuck you” to humanity considering he is a filmmaker who walked on the beat of his own drum.   Saying things that may have contradicted himself, cinema.  Saying things that irritated his fellow filmmakers and even those closer to him.  But it’s because of his style of non-wavering to traditional Hollywood form and being unique and different that we appreciate about him.

Using freeze frames and other cinema expressions that would drive most traditional and modern cinema viewers mad, yet to not understand why a director would make such a film.  The initial response received from those who watched at Cannes for “Every Man For Himself” is no different to Godard in the past and Godard in the present, people will say negative things about his film, there are those who will praise him for raising that middle finger in his films to no abandon, but this is Godard.  This is cinema! He has done things his way, not everyone’s way.  Every film, every decade we have seen a different Godard but for me, having appreciated his films for his audacious direction and going against traditional Hollywood norm, I appreciate him for that.

But I have to admit that I was a bit taken back, once you watch the Criterion Collection release of “Every Man For Himself” of the promotion he did for the film.  Of course, he was making a mainstream film…yet Godard is Godard.

Wanting to create a film that he believed in and took the opportunity to promote the film with talk show host Dick Cavett (that was no doubt seemed at times during the interview that it could have been a disaster) and the return of Godard to cinema, alas, this movie should have been celebrated as his celebrated return to cinema but instead he experienced the ire of viewers who were not supportive of the film’s provocative sexual scenes.  Which I can definitely see why the film shocked viewers then and I can see viewers being shocked about it in the present.

To save the film after the disaster at Cannes, the film was quickly called as “a work in progress” but later shown to the same journalists without any edits and interestingly, would be called a masterpiece.  “Sauve qi peut” (Every Man for Himself) became the talk amongst critics worldwide.

“Every Man For Himself” had become Godard’s “second first film”.  A moniker which he created and a film that will be remembered for its audacity and while one will never fully grasp what message Godard wanted to send to audiences, it’s a film that one would discover something new each time it’s viewed.

I enjoyed this film greatly because it was so unlike any film he had made previously.  The sex scenes were unexpected for a Godard film, the dialogue was surprising but there was also some of that older Godard with the halting of music, the tragic death scene, the woman looking directly into the camera, the creative play of editing that would drive most movie fans crazy because they were never exposed to Godard’s art of cinema.

As a fan of Godard’s oeuvre, “Every Man For Himself” is a Godard film that is best experienced than reading reviews about it.  No words can describe the film correctly because everyone will have their own opinion of what the film is about.

But if you have enjoyed Godard’s films from the past to even his later films, one can appreciate Godard’s contribution to cinema.  In this case, a creative, bold and unique film that can never be duplicated.

“Every Man For Himself” is highly recommended!


Breathless – The Criterion Collection #408 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


If you are a Jean-Luc Godard fan or a cineaste, “Breathless” is an important film worth owning in your cinema collection.  In the context of importance of cinema and its historical contribution to La Nouvelle Vague, “Breathless” is the feature film that launched Godard’s career and for that, I’m so grateful that The Criterion Collection has given fans a wonderful release.  Highly recommended!

© 2007 Pretty Pictures and Vauban Productions. 2014 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Breathless – The Criterion Collection #408


DURATION: 87 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Widescreen: 1:33: 1, Black and White, Monaural in French with English Subtitles

COMPANY: The Criterion Collection

RATED: PG (Action, Smoking and Slang Humor)

RELEASE DATE: February 25, 2014

Directed and screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard

Story by Francois Truffaut

Produced by Georges de Beauregard

Music by Martial Solal

Cinematography by Raoul Coutard

Edited by Cecile Decugis, Lila Herman


Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard

Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini

Daniel Boulanger as Police Inspector Vital

Jean-Pierre Melville as Parvulesco

Henri-Jacques Huet as Antonio Berrutti

Jean-Luc Godard as Informer

There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same.


Every director has their beginning but for Jean-Luc Godard, his 1960 film “À bout de souffle” a.k.a. “Breathless” was the beginning of a cinema revolution and bringing the world closer to nouvelle vague, the French New Wave.

Godard is a unique director who attracted attention for his innovative editing and his use of jump cuts, his style of not giving his talent a script until the morning of and using improvisation and utilizing film techniques that most directors would never do.  In fact, his filmmaking even infuriated his producer because instead of using a full day to shoot a film, sometime he was in the mood to do only 12 minutes.  But then again, Jean-Luc Godard is not your typical director and in 1960, no one knew what to expect from him.

Many looked at him as a rebel as he wanted to challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood cinema and for those who watched his films evolve year after year, the more we get to see Godard in his characters but also his political ideologies as well.

But “Breathless” was a film that helped change cinema.  For decades, many followed the Hollywood tradition and sure, Jean Renoir did something unique and special decades earlier with “The Rules of the Game”  (unfortunately, no one at the time was ready for the film until three decades later and people acknowledge that his film was ahead of its time) but it was “Breathless” that inspired young directors and showed them that directors, auteurs can do something different.

From the use of jump cuts to capturing Paris with a hidden camera, the film and its director was hailed for its innovation and it was the beginning of the French New Wave.  Interesting enough, although the film made Jean-Luc Godard a popular name, the director himself was not as thrilled by all the attention and popularity of “Breathless” that led him to create “Le Petit Soldat” (The Little Soldier) which was highly political and banned in France for three years.  Regardless of whether or not Godard enjoyed the success of the film, the film was unique and an inspiration to many filmmakers.

For over 40 decades, “Breathless” has been regarded as a film that cinema fans must watch and eventually own and in 2007, The Criterion Collection released “Breathless” in a 2-disc DVD set, followed by a Blu-ray release in 2010.  For February 2014, with the Criterion Collection now focused on Blu-ray+DVD combo releases, “Breathless” has received another release.

In “Breathless”, Michel Poiccard (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, “A Woman is a Woman”, “Pierrot le fou”, “Casino Royale”) is a troublemaker who idolizes noir-ish Humphrey Bogart.  He steals a car and in the process of running from the police, shoots and kills one of them and now there is a manhunt by the authorities to catch him.

So, Michel decides to go to his American girlfriend Patricia (played by Jean Seberg, “Kill!”, “Lillith”, “The Beautiful Swindlers”), a student studying journalism and works at her job selling New York Herald Tribune newspapers on the streets of Paris.  For Michel, he really wants to seduce her and have sex but he grows angry when she spends time with other men.

Michel ends up breaking into her apartment and continues to try and seduce her, while all this time, she has no clue that Michel is a killer and that he is wanted by the police.



“Breathless – The Criterion Collection #408” is presented in black and white, 1080p High Definition (1:33:1).  Having watched the original DVD release, grain is present.  The contrast and detail for the film compared t to the original DVD is much more evident.  Whites and grays are well-contrast, blacks are nice and deep.  Before on DVD, certain backgrounds were not as clear but now, the clarity and detail is so much present on this Blu-ray release.  Simply, this is the best I have seen of “Breathless”!  Is it pristine?  You will see some edge enhancement but there is no artifacts or major film damage, this is the best I have seen of this film and Jean-Luc Godard fans should be pleased with this Blu-ray release!

According to the Criterion Collection, the film is “approved by director and photographer Raoul Coutard, this high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit DataCine from a 35 mm original fine-grain master positive.  Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter and flicker were manually removed using MTI’s DRS and Pixel Farm’s PFClean, while Digital Vision’s DVNR was used for small, dirt, grain and noise reduction.


“Breathless – The Criterion Collection #408” is presented in French LPCM 1.0.  Dialogue for the most part is clear and I detected no major problematic audio issues during my viewing of the film.

According to the Criterion Collection, the original monaural soundtrack was mastered at 24-bit from a 35 mm optical track print.  Clicks, thumps, hiss and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD.  Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube’s integrated workstation.

Subtitles are in English.


“Breathless – The Criterion Collection #408” comes with the following special features:

  • Interviews – (27:00) Featuring interviews with director Jean-Luc Godard, actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg and filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville, recorded for French television between 1960 and 1964.
  • Coutard and Rissient – (22:28) Cinematographer Raoul Coutard (who worked with Godard for 14 films) and cinephile Pierre Rissient, assistant director on “Breathless” recall working with Godard and working on his first film.
  • Pennebaker on Breathless – (10:32) Documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker talks about working with Jean-Luc Godard and his film “Breathless”.
  • Jean Seberg – (18:54) A video essay written by Mark Rappaport (From the Journals of Jean Seberg) reveals the beginning of Jean Seberg and her life ending in tragedy.
  • Breathless as Criticism – (11:09) A video essay written by film historian and author Jonathan Rosenbaum.  Rosenbaum explores the cinematic and literary references in “Breathless”.
  • Chamber 12, Hotel De Suede – (1:18:26) A 1993 documentary by director and popular French TV host Claude Ventura who tracks down, over nine days, the locations and the people who were involved in the making of “Breathless”.  Interviews include actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, filmmaker Claude Chabrol, cinematographer Raoul Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient, editor Cecile Decugis and more.
  • Charlotte et Son Jules – (12:42) One of the short films from 1959 starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anne Collette.  The short film is about a boyfriend who continually admonishes his girlfriend.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:02) The original theatrical trailer.


“Breathless – The Criterion Collection #408” includes both the Blu-ray and DVD version of a film which comes with a slipcase. Included is an 82-page booklet featuring the essay “Breathless Then and Now” by Dudley Andrew, “Godard in His Own Words” and “Breathless in Progress”.


For anyone interested in French New Wave films, “Breathless” is a film that is recommended watching.  It’s a film that changed cinema and launched the career of director Jean-Luc Godard.

What I loved about the film is the acting.  The whole 25-minute improvisation scene in the bedroom is incredible.  I’ve learned through the special features that the scene involved Godard yelling and instructing the Belmondo and Seberg on what to do and also learned that the jump cut scenes were accidental but yet made the film quite creative, unique and artistic.

But is it one of the best Godard films?  This is difficult to answer because personally, there are so many Godard films that I do enjoy but yet this is his first and is an important film in his career. But the problem is, to enjoy Godard films is to know Godard films.  You appreciate his films, the more you watch several of them and learn his unique style of filmmaking.

Also, the film has been given so much credit for its innovation that so many people come to the film expecting something like Orson Welles “Citizen Kane” or a film that with this groundbreaking story and people who experience this Godard film are perplexed and don’t understand what the big deal is. And I think that is what has perplexed Godard after the success of the film.  Godard was very critical of the film to the point that he distanced himself from it and thus created the film “Le Petit Soldat”.

But as mentioned, to enjoy Godard is to know Godard and that is watching his films and learning about them.  Fortunately, The Criterion Collection does a fantastic job with this release of “Breathless” in presentation and also its content.  Not only do you get the film but you get to see the various interviews with the talent, interviews with those who worked with him and easily enough, different interpretations of what people got from the film.  The 1993 documentary “Chamber 12, Hotel de Suede” is a magnificent addition to the film as we get to see and hear from those who are involved with “Breathless”, giving us some insight to Godard and his unique filmmaking style.

As far as my enjoyment of the film, I absolutely enjoyed it!  Godard and Belmondo had a magical partnership during their short time together and as for Jean Seberg, this is an actress that had a bad experience  in her earlier years as an actress, given a chance in “Breathless” (and worked once more with Godard) and had a rollercoaster of a career that ended in tragedy.  If there was one positive, she is immortalized through her role as Patricia in this film.

“Breathless” is a film about two different people, their words and what they mean are different, they talk about themselves but yet never really talk to each other.  Are they even listening to each other?  Do they even care for each other?

There’s no doubt that one can rewatch “Breathless” and see something different each time.  May it be the two talking about paintings, the two talking about Faulkner, this dialogue between the two is something that I found so enjoyable (as I have with Eric Rohmer’s moral tale “My Night at Maud’s” with also a magnificent, smart and enjoyable long bedroom dialogue scene).  There is something about the tone about the film that is just so enchanting.

Despite Michel being the uncaring young bad guy, somehow you can’t help but be intrigued by his character.  He’s a dangerous man but yet Patricia is even more dangerous in some ways.  Compared to other films showing around the world during its time, “Breathless” was fresh, unique and different from what was seen in traditional cinema.

Cinematography for “Breathless” is absolutely beautiful.  Because timing and space was a concern, Godard elected to use a wheelchair to film.  Not wanting to use expensive lighting, Godard wanted to capture a realistic feel of these two characters by using natural light.   So, many different techniques employed in this film.

In fact, when they were seen in public, cinematographer Coutard was hidden in a cart as the two are seen walking down the street.  No one around the two actors are aware that the scene was being filmed.  And of course, I go back to the jump scenes and the editing but accidental as it may be, it was definitely a major part in introducing the world to nouvelle vague and changing the scope of cinema.

As mentioned with this Blu-ray release, the detail and clarity is so much better than its DVD counterpart.  This is the best I have seen of “Breathless” and in no doubt in my mind, fans will be pleased with this Blu-ray release.

With the release of “Breathless” via Blu-ray and DVD combo-pack, those who owned the previous DVD release and the 2010 Blu-ray release may be wondering if it’s worth getting this version.  If you have a Blu-ray player and HDTV, then upgrading to “Breathless” on Blu-ray is indeed worth it!

But with this 2014 Blu-ray release, there is no difference from the 2010 release other than Criterion Collection having released it via a Blu-ray+DVD combo pack.  The booklet and special features are the same and there was no major change in overall picture or audio quality.

Overall, if you are a Jean-Luc Godard fan or a cineaste, “Breathless” is an important film worth owning in your cinema collection.  Is it Godard’s best film?  That’s a matter of preference, as I personally enjoy “Band of Outsiders”, “Pierrot le fou” and “Mascullin Feminin” much more.  But in the context of importance of cinema and its historical contribution to La Nouvelle Vague, “Breathless” is the feature film that launched Godard’s career and for that, I’m so grateful that The Criterion Collection has given fans a wonderful release.

Highly recommended!

Band of Outsiders – The Criterion Collection #174 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


I enjoyed the playfulness, the youthfulness and how entertaining the film came to be. As well as it began to transition to include the more darker undertones. “Band of Outsiders” is just an accessible and enjoyable  film by Jean-Luc Godard and this new Blu-ray release featuring the 2010 Gaumont restoration features much better picture quality with better detail, contrast and looks so much better than its 2008 DVD counterpart!  Definitely worth the upgrade if you owned the DVD and recommended on Blu-ray!

Image are courtesy of © 1964 Gaumont.  2013 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Band of Outsiders – The Criterion Collection #174


DURATION: 95 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:33:1 aspect ratio, Black and White, Monaural in French with English Subtitles


RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2013

Based on the novel “Fools’ Gold” by Dolores Hitchens

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Music by Michel Legrand

Cinematography by Raoul Coutard

Edited by Francoise Collin, Dahlia Ezove, Agnes Guillemot


Anna Karina as Odile

Sami Frey as Franz

Claude Brasseur as Arthur

Daniele Girard as English Teacher

Louisa Colpeyn as Madame Victoria

Chantal Darget as Arthur’s Aunt

Georges Staquet as Le Legionnaire

Ernest Menzer as Arthur’s Uncle

Narration by Jean-Luc Godard

Four years after Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard reimagined the gangster film even more radically with BAND OF OUTSIDERS. In it, two restless young men (Sweet Movie’s Sami Frey and Eyes Without a Face’s Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of both of their fancies (Pierrot le fou’s Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery—in her own home. This audacious and wildly entertaining French New Wave gem is at once sentimental and insouciant, effervescently romantic and melancholy, and it features some of Godard’s most memorable set pieces, including the headlong race through the Louvre and the unshakeably cool Madison dance sequence.


In 1964, French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard went to work on his latest film “Bande à part” (Band of Outsiders) which was created with a small budget at around $125,000 and unlike his previous film “Contempt” which was in full color, Godard decided to go back to basics by filming in black and white and also to avoid any interjecting of politics in the film and thus many critics have called it Godard’s most accessible film because it s quite different from many of the films he has directed in the 1960′s.

“Band of Outsiders” is a film based on the novel “Fools’ Gold” by American author Dolores Hitchens and a film which Godard describes “Band of Outsiders” as “Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka”. For many critics, they like to call the film a B-Noir in which the film contains noir elements but also other elements of humor and things that you would see from a French New Wave film. When it first came out in theaters in the US, not many people could understand the concept of the film and thus it didn’t do well in the theaters. But now as the film is 46-years-old, publications such as Time Magazine has selected “Band of Outsiders” as part of its “All Time 100 Movies”.

In 2008, “Band of Outsiders” was released on DVD courtesy of The Criterion Collection and now, the HD version of the film featuring Gaumont’s 2010 high-definition restoration with uncompressed monaural soundtrack was released on Blu-ray courtesy of the Criterion Collection in May 2013.

“Band of Outsiders” revolves around two wannabe criminals Arthur (Claude Brasseur) and Franz (Sami Frey). Franz who attends an English class with a young woman named Odile (Anna Karina) is told by her that a large amount of money is stashed in the villa that she lives at with her Aunt and Mr. Stoltz. Because of this, Franz has told his friend Arthur about it and immediately, Arthur sees this as an opportunity to make some money and knows that in order to make this happen, he must first gain the trust of Odile. So, Franz takes Arthur to meet her at the English class and immediately, Arthur does what he can to make Odile know that he’s interested in her.

Franz has been attracted to Odile for quite some time but because he’s so shy, he never really had the opportunity to get close to her. But Arthur has much more experience with women and immediately, uses his bad boy charm to attract Odile’s affections and thus gets her to ditch her English class and for her to join him for the day in order for him to learn from her about how much more money is inside the villa. With Odile, hooked to Arthur’s words, when she goes home she happens to finds so much money that when she tells Arthur and Franz, immediately the two start planning on how they can steal the money.

But Odile tells them to wait a few days but with Arthur having problems with other people demanding some money immediately from him, he is forced to steal the money sooner than Odile is expecting.



I gave the 2008 DVD review a positive when it comes to picture quality, but with this restored version courtesy of Gaumont’s 2010 restoration of the film, “Band of Outsiders” in HD definitely surpasses its original DVD version in clarity, detail and contrast.  The film is not soft or blurry, you can actually see much better detail in the clothing, well-contrast within the whites and grays of the film and black levels which are inky and deep.

According to the Criterion Collection, the digital master came from a restoration undertaken by Gaumont in 2010.  For the restoration, a high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from a 35 mm composite fine grain at Eclair Laboratories in Epinay-sur-Seine, France.


“Band of Outsiders” is presented in French monaural LPCM. According to the Criterion Collection,  The original monaural soundtrack was restored from a 35 mm optical soundtrack positive.

Subtitles are in English.


The “Band of Outsiders” comes with the following special features:

  • Visual Glossary – (17:58) Featuring selected quotations from “Band of Outsiders” and an explanation of the quotation.
  • Godard 1964 – (5:17) Featuring Jean-Luc Godard talking about Nouvelle Vague and its Raison D’Etre with filmmaker Andre S. LAbarthe for the documentary “La Nouvelle Vague Par Elle-Meme”.
  • Anna Karina – (18:26) Featuring an interview with Anna Karina, recorded in 2002.  Karina talks about loving films, working with Jean-Luc Godard, Raoul Coutard, running into Claude Brasseur and more.
  • Raoul Coutard – (11:00) Featuring an interview with Raoul Coutard discussing his work with Jean-Luc Godard, the challenges he had in shooting complicated scenes, the French New Wave and more.
  • Les Fiances Du Pont Mac Donald – Featuring the short directed by Agnes Varda (used on Agnes’ 1962 film “Cleo From 5 to 7″) starring Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, Sami Frey, Daniele Girard and more.
  • Trailers – Featuring the original and the re-release trailer for “Band of Outsiders”.


“Band of Outsiders” comes with a 26-page booklet which includes the essay “Get Your Madis On” by Joshua Clover, “The Characters According to Godard” from the original press book and “No Questions Asked” featuring an interview between Godard and Godard critic Jean Collet from 1964.


“The Band of Outsiders” is a charming and enjoyable film. Is it my favorite Godard film, I would still have to give the title of “My Godard Favorite” to his 1965 film “Pierrot Le Fou” but I will say that “Band of Outsiders” manages to pull me in with its various scenes and its interesting plot. Needless to say that many Godard fans enjoy the film and even prompted Quentin Tarentino to name his production company “A Band Apart” after the French title “Bande à part”.

The title of the film “Band of Outsiders” is about these three individuals who are outsiders. From the two male characters named after Godard’s favorite authors Arthur Rimbaud and Franz Kafka, Arthur is a player and obviously have some experience breaking the law and schmoozing with women, while Franz is the silent type who you can tell is not so comfortable when his friend actually starts to win Odile’s heart. And as for Odile, an innocent girl with not much experience with being around men and she is very much a different person from these two men. When Arthur asks for a kiss with a tongue, her inexperience shows as she sticks out her tongue. But it’s how these three individuals react to each other, you wonder how in the heck can these three people get mixed up together?

But perhaps that was the winning combination that made this film work as the three characters manage to keep you’re eyes glued to the screen. Not knowing what are going to happen to them but knowing that with director Jean-Luc Godard, anything can happen and for the most part, if you submit your 95 minutes to Godard, you’re definitely in for a wild ride. The ending might be a bit bumpy but the actual ride is where you feel satisfaction as you will encounter quite a few surprises, twists and turns and that is how I feel about “Band of Outsiders”.

From Odile (Karina) looking directly to the camera when asking a question, to the moment of silence which almost seems like an eternity but at the same time, you can’t help but be amused by it. From the playfulness of Arthur and Franz play shooting each other and my two favorite scenes, when the three individuals take part in the “Madison dance” and the Louvre scene in which the three try to break the American Jimmy Johnson’s record of how fast they can see all the art inside the Louvre. How fun is that? So, I was quite amused to see that scene but really enjoyed the various scenes that just stick to your memory (a lot of Godard films tend to do that for me).

But the creation of “Band of Outsiders” was somewhat of Godard’s comeback at the time (one of many).  After the beating he took for the film “Les Carabiniers”, Godard decided to work together with his wife Anna Karina (both had separated at the time) and the first time the two worked together since “Vivre sa vie”.  But it was a tough time for both husband and wife who were having problems in their marriage, but it was also a film that helped the two grow closer to each other.

Many will take notice that Karina looks different in this film compared to other films and that is because the film was shot after she came out of the hospital after a suicide attempt.  But because of this film, Karina credits “Band of Outsiders” of saving her life.

For Godard, “Band of Outsiders” gave the filmmaker a chance to try something different and whether or not he succeeded or failed depends on the viewer as the film today is seen as one of Godard’s best, but at the time of screening at various film festivals, the film infuriated audiences and also previous Godard defenders, film critics who had problems with the film.  The film also gave Jean-Luc a chance to name a character after his mother (who died in a scooter accident ten years earlier).

While a low budget film, the film was enjoyed by film critics all over the world, as film critic Richard Brody would lend to the film’s ongoing popularity due to the film’s “overt neo-classicism” but Brody writes in his book “Everything is Cinema”, that the failed experiment was trying to separate “instinctive” and “reflective” elements.  The result was failure and so he would come back to combine the elements once again.

As for this Blu-ray release, “Band of Outsiders” looks so much better in HD after the restoration.  No longer soft or even blurry, the film shows much more detail, much better contrast and a cleaner picture.  Also, you get an uncompressed monaural soundtrack and all six special features that were included on the original 2008 DVD release.

Overall, I enjoyed the playfulness, the youthfulness and how entertaining the film came to be, as well as it began to transition to include more darker undertones. But the film is quite entertaining and I had a fun time watching it. Although there are other films I Godard/Anna Karina films I recommend watching before “Band of Outsiders”, the film is still worth having on your checklist of must-see Godard films.

Definitely recommended!

Weekend – The Criterion Collection #635 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Audacious, polemic and unique…”Weekend” is a film that represents the end of Jean-Luc Godard’s involvement with the French New Wave, especially with “bourgeois” narrative filmmaking.  A film that is unlike any other nor is it an easy film that can be easily explained, “Weekend” must be watched and experienced!  A film that I highly recommend for the cineaste who enjoy complexity and cerebral films, not for the casual viewer expecting simplicity.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 1967 Gaumont -Ascot Cineraid. The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Weekend – The Criterion Collection #635 (a.k.a. Le Weekend)


DURATION: 104 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 Aspect Ratio), Monaural in French with English Subtitles


RELEASE DATE: November 13, 2012

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Written by Jean-Luc Godard

Music by Antoine Duhamel

Cinematography by Raoul Coutard

Edited by Agens Guillemot


Mireille Darc as Corinne Durand

Jean Yanne as Roland Durand

Jean-Pierre Kalfon as Le Chef du Front de Liberation de la Seine et Pise

This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema’s great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous sequence in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam, and rich with historical and literary references, Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution, a depiction of society reverting to savagery, and— according to the credits—the end of cinema itself.

Jean-Luc Godard, one of the primary faces of starting “La Nouvelle Vague” (French New Wave) and one of the outspoken film critics of “Cahiers du Cinema”… it would be an understatement to use the word “complex” to describe Godard.

From his collaboration with Francois Truffaut for “A bout de souffle” (Breathless) in 1960, his disenchantment of his work becoming so popular would lead to him creating “Le Petit Soldat” (The Little Soldier) which would be about France’s involvement during the Algerian War, a film with a political message of the denunciation torture used by France and the Algerians and eventually earning Godard criticism from the government and the film being banned for three years.

And while Godard would continue to create films that were smart, witty, intelligent and captivating, you can see how much more critical Godard would be towards society, government and his ideology would begin to creep into his films towards the mid-’60s.

With “Made in U.S.A.” becoming his most political film yet, the film was the final swan song between both Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina, who created films that many loved.  Despite being divorced at this time, she would no longer be his muse and the director would no longer be the director that many people have respected him and loved him for.

His next films “La Chinoise” and “Week End” would truly mark the end of Godard’s narrative and cinematic period of his filmmaking career and from then on, Godard would be a different director focusing on revolutions and his interest in Maoist ideology and would only return to mainstream films in 1980.

While “Made in U.S.A.” was the swan song between he and Karina and featuring the actress killing a man which is said to be a symbolization of Godard and his approach to cinema, in 1967, “La Chinoise” would no longer want to create films for the sake of entertaining the masses, he wanted to focus on films that related to his Maoist ideology and his film about five Parisian revolutionaries who tried to conspire to overthrow the Russian imperial regime through sustained violence, was regarded not negatively but earned the respect and approval of major critics worldwide.  But the film would also be a signal that he was growing tired of “bourgeois” narrative filmmaking.

And later that year, Jean-Luc Godard would go on to create the film “Weekend”.  A film which would feature another collaboration between the filmmaker and cinematographer Raoul Coutard and a film which Godard has called the film “Closer to a cry” than to a movie.  It’s because his feelings of France was at his lowest point.  Known for being one of the primary faces of French New Wave, the filmmaker wanted to disassociate anything that he had to do with France and through “Weekend”, it was his way to destroy France.  To destroy his world as he knew it through cinema (and suffice to say, destroying his relationships with his fellow filmmakers in France as well).

And so, after “Weekend”, he would then join Dziga Vertov and create political films from 1968 through 1972.

But when it comes to Godard films and everyone wanting to know when was the end of his French New Wave films, one would have to watch “Weekend”.  For many years, cinema fans have wondered if there would be a DVD release in North America for Godard’s film and fortunately,The Criterion Collection would be releasing the film on Blu-ray and DVD in November 2012.

As for “Weekend”, the film itself, I don’t know if anyone can truly summarize Godard’s film with efficacy.  In fact, you can read a variety of reviews from film critics at the time and many will give the film some type of explanation or stray away from even trying to explain what the movie is all about.

But in my attempt to summarize the film, I call it a film of fragments.  Each fragment with a political message.

“Weekend” focuses on a bourgeois French couple, Roland (portrayed by Jean Yanne, “Le boucher”, “Indochine”) and Corinne (portrayed by Mireille Darc, “Galia”, “Le Grand Blond”).  Both love each other, both are having affairs and both are planning each other’s murder.  The two discuss visiting Corinne’s parents home out in the country in order to get an inheritance, and even kill him if they have to.

But the drive to the countryside is filled with chaos, traffic jams, car accidents galore and as the two lose their car in an accident, as they wander through France, they encounter people discussing issues of different classes and figures from France’s history.  What will these two discover in this frightening and chaotic world?


“Weekend” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio).  Despite having a large collection of Godard films, I’ve never owned the VHS or DVD release of “Weekend” but according to friends who do, they told me that this Blu-ray release is way better than its DVD counterpart.  With that being said, during my viewing, the outdoor scenes look very good, especially during Coutard’s long tracking shots.  It looks as if the Criterion Collection did an outstanding job with the overall cleaning up of the film because not one white speckle/dust can be seen.  Nor did I see any artifacts or any problems when it comes to video.  Colors are consistent and skin tones look natural.  Considering the film’s age, I can easily say that “Weekend” looks fantastic on Blu-ray!

According to the Criterion Collection, the new digital transfer was created on an ARRISCAN film scanner in 2K resolution from the original 35 mm camera negative.  Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter and flicker were manually removed using MTI’s DRS and Pixel Farm’s PFClean, while Digital Visions’ Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain and noise reduction.


“Weekend – The Criterion Collection #635” is presented French monaural.  I haven’t owned previous releases of “Weekend” to do any comparisons but I can say that the monaural LPCM 1.0 soundtrack is clear and I detected no hissing during the actual film.  Evn Mozart’s Piano Sonata, K. 576 by Paul Gegauff sounds crisp and crystal clear.

According to the Criterion Collection, the soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from a 35 mm print.  Clicks, thumps, hiss and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD.  Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube’s integrated workstation.


“Weekend – The Criterion Collection #635” comes with the following special features:

  • Revolutions Per Second – (24:32) A fantastic video essay by writer/filmmaker Kent Jones.  For those confused by the film, definitely watch this video essay!
  • Interviews – Featuring three archival interviews with cinematographer Raoul Coutard (18:48), classic interview with actor Mireillle Darc and Jean Yanne (3:21) and with assistant director Claude Miller (24:36).  In French, with English subtitles.
  • On Location – (8:15) Featuring an excerpt of “Seize millions de jeunes” from October 1967 with an interview by documentary filmmaker Jean-Michel Barjol.
  • Trailers – Featuring the 1967 original French theatrical trailer of “Weekend” (2:53) and the U.S. 1968 theatrical trailer (2:51).


“Weekend – The Criterion Collection #635” comes with a 42-page booklet with the following essays: “The Last Weekend” by Gary Indiana, “Notes on Weekend” by Alain Bergala, “Theoretical Guns: An Interview with Godard, 1969” by Jonathan Cott.

In 1967, Jean-Luc Godard officially ended “bourgeois” narrative filmmaking.

A man that was now dedicated in being the voice of the students, the workers, the voice of to rebel against the government, the world and even his fellow filmmakers.

While Godard had hints of rebelliousness through his previous films, the tension felt in France in 1967 and Godard’s work would be the predecessor of the May 1968 protests in France.  The largest strike which literally brought the economy of any advanced industrial country to a standstill.  For two weeks, 22% of the working force of France went on strike for two weeks, students were involved in violent clashes with the police and university administrators.

Suffice to say that French communists and socialists wanted President Charles de Gaulle to be replaced, anarchy reigned and for Jean-Luc Godard, he is a man who believed in Marxism and was sick of the bourgeoisie’s consumerism.

While it is known that a year later, Godard would embody Maoist ideology, in 1967, with his two films “La Cinoise” and “Weekend”, his feelings towards France and the bourgeoisie became apparent.

So, for one to watch “Weekend” and you are a Godard fan who loved “Breathless”, “Band of outsiders”, “Vivre sa vie”, “Pierrot le fou” to name a few of his films from 1960-1965, it’s best to not think of “Weekend” in the same context.

In fact, while watching this film, watch it as a film of rebellion, a film of revolution, a film that is cerebral and a film that must be appreciated at a different level.

Legendary film critic Andrew Sarris once wrote in his 1968 “Village Voice” review of “Weekend” and about Godard, “As much as Godard indulges in the rhetoric of rebellion, his deepest feelings seem to be situated before the revolution.  He was born, he implies, too soon and too late, too soon to forget the sweetness of the past and too late to perpetuate that same sweetness, particularly in the remembered realm of movies with subjects not yet swallowed up by the subjective.  Godard seems to want it both ways as the prime prophet of the first-person film and the lead mourner of the third-person movie”.

Another legendary film critic Pauline Kael wrote in 1967 in her review of “Weekend”, “Though deeply flawed, this film has more depth than any of Godard’s earlier work.  It’s his vision of Hell and it ranks with the greatest.  As a mystical movie, ‘Weekend’ is comparable to Berman’s ‘Seventh Seal’ and ‘Shame’ and Ichikawa’s ‘Fires on the Plain’ and the passages of Kurosawa, yet hardly aware of the magnitude of the writer-director’s conception until after we are caught up in the comedy of horror, which keeps going further and further and becoming more nearly inescapable, like ‘Journey to the End of the Night”.

Even in the visual essay by Kent Jones (included with The Criterion Collection release of “Weekend”), he also had his own interpretations of “Weekend”.

Watching “Weekend”, I can see why.  The film is complex, it is cerebral, it is visual but it is a film which audacious yet beguiling.

The film begins with a noir-ish tale of two people making a play towards each other.  Embodiment of greed and bourgeois society that cares about money and luxury, the characters of Corinne and Roland Durand are immoral and amoral.  They care about nothing but themselves.  The film would showcase society as too consumed by their consumerism and also showcasing Godard’s Marxist ideology but then it becomes nearly a titillating film with Corinne talking about her three-way sex experience with detail.

They are dangerous individuals who will get what they want and their next goal is to get and possibly kill Mireille’s father in order to obtain the inheritance.  So, the two must travel on the weekend but nothing goes quite as they seem.

The traffic jam is unbearable as people are playing or doing something in their car, waiting impatiently with horns ablazing, while we see Roland and Corinne trying to drive past these stalled vehicles and leave.  With one of the longest tracking shots you’ll see in cinema (long tracking shots are used a few times throughout the film), you see cars flipped over, dead people lying around, yet no one seems to care.

The vehicles are a symbol of the materialistic nature of the bourgeois and what is hilarious is watching how these people react and behave around their vehicles and possessions.

But then there are moments which probably may fly over the head of many Western audiences.

You have an uncredited cameo by actor Jean-Pierre Leaud as a surreal caricature of Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, as he reads to the audience.  Saint-Just was a military and political leader of the French Revolution and also known as the face of the “Reign of Terror” and dubbed as the “Angel of Death” because he led the mass executions of the “enemies of the revolution” via guillotine (nearly 17,000 people were executed).  But Saint-Just was known for spearheading the movement to execute King Louis XVI.

You will see another scene in which a woman is screaming at a farmer who ran into her rich boyfriend and killing him and ruining her chances of happiness and being rich.

And while there are various scenes throughout  the film based on various figures giving out a message (with one of Godard’s dark humor as both are in their burning car, Corinne screams for help because her Hermes bag is burning The two protagonists end up getting into an accident themselves and while trying to go to Oinville, end up being held by gunpoint, captured by the Seine and Oise Liberation Front who kidnap people, paint them and eat them.

And along with the political message, a little sexual imagery, you also get to see scenes which some may view as cruelty to animals as pig is hit in the head and has its throat slit, while a geese/duck gets its neck twisted and broken and while its body is flapping, we see it eventually die.

Suffice to say, “Weekend” is not a film that can easily be explained.  It has to be watched and possibly be appreciated for Godard’s ability as a filmmaker to be given so much freedom and create a film of this nature.  You’re not going to see anything like it and not everyone is going to love it, I’m pretty sure that a lot of people who said they loved Godard because of his 1960-1965 films will probably be perplexed by this film (and even today, as I have watched many of his films, I am perplexed by his last film “Film Socialisme” from 2011.  But I don’t see it as a bad thing, if anything, I found watching Godard’s most challenging or cerebral films as a task for me to research and try to understand the film even more.

I knew nothing about the May 1968 strikes in France, nor was I familiar with Louis Antoine Leon de Sainte-Just.

But while you watching Sainte-Just talking about how one should fight in desperation against slavery, and even goes to a storyline of a Caucasian man talking about Africans and a Black man talking about the Caucasian, we sense that too much freedom is not a good thing for Godard as it has made people critical of society.  For its anarchists and rebellious groups, they are hippies armed with machine guns, who play drums in the middle of nowhere, but yet are bohemians who travel from one area to another and engage in warfare.

And to probably ignite the flame of the debates of Godard being anti-Semitic, one scene in which a girl screams at Roland Corinne saying “Jews! Filthy rotten stinking Jews!“.  Is this Godard’s mindset or is it his way of creating provocation and being the polemic filmmaker that he is. His films include messages of Marxism, but yet Godard tells Sarris in an interview that he has never read Marx.  Suffice to say, Godard is an ever-changing man with perspectives that are complex and suffice to say, he is a man that no one will figure out.  Even the women and the friends that once was in his life can testify to this changing filmmaker and individual, not always for the better but then again, Godard never gave a damn about the criticism.

But that is what makes “Weekend” a film that is so special in his oeuvre.  A film like no other, a film that not everyone can understand but yet everyone is in a consensus that it’s a film that showcases the dark side of humanity.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Weekend” has been given a wonderful treatment by The Criterion Collection.  Picture quality is wonderful and no dust or scratches can be seen, the booklet included is wonderful reading and the visual essay by Kent Jones was definitely needed, as I can suspect many people scratching their heads after watching this film.  You also get lengthy interviews and overall, this is a very solid release from The Criterion Collection!

Overall, “Weekend” is an important film for those who follow Godard’s career, especially as it is the exclamation point (or question mark) to end his involvement with the French New Wave.  As “La Chinoise” was significant in story and Godard’s mindset, “Weekend” was more of the middle finger to Bourgeois society with a capital F, in “Fuck You” to the government and the people that he could no longer stand and eventually would lead him to create political films for the next few years.

Audacious, polemic and unique…”Weekend” is a film that represents the end of Jean-Luc Godard and his involvement with the French New Wave, especially with “bourgeois” narrative filmmaking.  A film that is unlike any other nor is it an easy film that can be easily explained, “Weekend” must be watched and experienced!  A film that I highly recommend for the cineaste who enjoy complexity and cerebral films, not for the casual viewer expecting simplicity.  Recommended!

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