Two Or Three Things I Know About Her
Interesting, grueling essay/painting about changing economy of France during the Vietnam war. This movie could have been made the day before yesterday.
As much a piece of writing as a film. No characters but tropes. Goddard is using the movie to write with.
Largely complaint via portraiture of the culture of first world economy via an allegorical bourgeois emptiness. Not just an annoyance at kinds of people, but a representation of a global system. You could easily juxtapose Iraq carnage and Paris Hilton with the same effect today. The film is devoid of the kind of playfulness you get in Weekend or Alphaville or Band of Outsiders, except for the universe in a coffee cup shot and the kid narrating his dream where he sees twins merging into one and interprets it to his mother as North and South Vietnam reuniting - that's startling.
Aggression towards the audience/hatred of the audience (arty middle class people): the kid shooting a toy gun into the camera. The intentional tediousness of the film is also kind of attack on the audience (how much poetry is like this?) because the audience ... is the economy? hmmm... It's not clear how much he implicates himself in this equation. This tendency evolves eventually with Goddard into exhausted self-righteousness years later with In Praise of Love.
Cars are filmed more lovingly than people. Beautiful oversaturated oranges and reds, clothes and signs. Grey construction scenes with the algebras of shape and connotation I know well from living in New York: creativity, organization and resources put toward increasingly undo-able and undesirable ways of life. The distant consequences of our development leak in in brief whips of language on the radio and TV.
Scenes take place in unassumingly stark, socially disconnected consumerist space -- bars, lots of liquids consumed: coffee, beer and coke. Also domestic family space. A brothel (or is it day care?) where people pay the hotel manager in cat food: barter thrown into a setting involving the purist expression of capitalism.
Centralized capitalist economy controlling how people live, what they feel, and the meaning of their time -- the movie works by never expanding from this theme or introducing too much ambiguity about it, but pounding away at it incessantly by dramatizing an exaggerated portrait of the culture it creates to perpetuate itself. Capitalism makes people steal without them intending to.
Orpheus riff with the pilot/father listening to the radio but it isn't poetry being broadcast but Johnson speeches about bombing Vietnam.
The film is mostly women's faces: reciting poetic essays about their own emptiness. Little male presence in the movie.
"what is it about signs that makes me distrust language."
"your shirt is very America Uber alles"
"yes but they invented the jeep and napalm"
The main character is reciting philosophical poetic prattle in front of an apartment building while in the background two people, who look like they really live there, lean languorously at a distant window. After a while it's impossible to listen anymore to the character's speech - and the people in the background become the most interesting thing. He's created a feeling here where you wish to escape from the movie -- escape from the new Americanized global economy/culture.