NYFF51 Looks Back at Godard and “Dazed and Confused”

Posted by Nicholas Kemp on 9.5.2013


Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993). Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection.

Exciting announcements about the 51st New York Film Festival keep rolling in! Today, Film Society of Lincoln Center revealed that the festival will serve as a launching pad for a sweeping retrospective of films by French New Wave master Jean-Luc Godard that will begin midway through NYFF51 and continue through the end of October. In addition, the festival will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Richard Linklater's seminal indie Dazed and Confused with an evening featuring soon-to-be-announced special guests.

The anniversary screening will mark the third time Linklater has come to the New York Film Festival. His convenience store-set comedy subUrbia screened here in 1996 and his philosophical animated film Waking Life, which employed a distinctive rotoscoping technique executed by NYFF50 Convergence speaker Tommy Pallotta, played at the festival in 2001. In an event presented by Film Society's New Wave group for film supporters in their 20s and 30s, Linklater's own print of Dazed and Confused will screen at NYFF51 with director and members of the cast in person for what's sure to be an unforgettable evening.


Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965). Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection.

Of course, Jean-Luc Godard is no stranger to the New York Film Festival either. If you include omnibus films and collaborations, over two dozen of his works have screened at NYFF. His history with the festival goes all the way back to its first edition in 1963 and a screening of Ro.Go.Pa.G, a collection of four short films by Roberto Rossellini, Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Ugo Gregoretti. Forty-seven years later, his feature Film Socialisme (2010) screened at the fest's 48th edition.

In his nearly 60-year career, Godard has made 40 features, 45 shorts, and 11 medium-length films, as well as television series, commercials, and several of his own trailers. Four features and two shorts will screen during NYFF51: Alphaville (1965), Weekend (1968) with short Caméra-oeil (1967), Hail Mary (1985) with short Notes on Hail Mary (1983), and For Ever Mozart (1995).

After the festival concludes on October 13, the retrospective, entitled "Jean-Luc Godard – The Spirit of the Forms," will continue with classics including NYFF titles Le petit soldat (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961), Les Carabiniers (1962), Band of Outsiders (1964), Pierrot le Fou (1965), Made In U.S.A. (1966), Masculin Féminin (1966), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1966), Le gai savoir (1968), Wind From the East (1969), Tout va bien (1972), Every Man for Himself (1979), Nouvelle vague (1990), In Praise of Love (2001), Notre musique (2004) and Film socialisme (2010).


Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend (1968). Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection.

Also screening as part of the retrospective are Godard’s three monumental series Six fois deux (1976), France/Tour/Détour/Deux enfants (1979) and Histoire(s) du cinema (1988).

Reflecting on the retrospective, NYFF Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “No matter how many times you’ve seen Vivre sa vie or France/Tour/Détour/Deux enfants or Nouvelle vague, you can never know them completely: their beauties run as deep as their mysteries, their disturbances and disjunctions are as numerous as their revelations. Whenever they appear to settle into a fixed rhythm, they upend and reconfigure themselves in order to arrive at another rhythm pitched at a higher level. Godard’s work, whether it’s on film, video or HD, unfolds like no one else’s, and shocks the viewer into a new relationship with the world and with images.”

General Public tickets to the 51st New York Film Festival will be available on September 8. The film schedule and titles screening in the Jean-Luc Godard: The Spirit of the Forms series after NYFF will be announced and available for purchase on September 12. Below are descriptions for the four features and shorts screenings during NYFF51.

WEEKEND (1968) 105 min.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Country: France
Godard’s farewell to commercial cinema begins as a savage critique of French bourgeois/consumer culture and ends in a state of pastoral calm, along the way incorporating Georges Bataille, Frantz Fanon, Emily Brontë, cannibalism, Mozart’s 18th piano sonata played in the middle of a farmyard and Lautréamont’s “Chants de Maldoror” reinvented as a revolutionary anthem with a beat. With this unforgiving, incendiary and wildly inventive film, Godard not only caught the mood of the moment but anticipated the events of May 1968 by almost a year. Weekend will be shown in a new 35mm print, courtesy of Janus Films.
Screening with:
CAMÉRA-OEIL (1967) 11 min.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard,
Country: France,
Godard’s contribution to the S.L.O.N. omnibus film Far from Vietnam, a montage of images from North Vietnamese films, La Chinoise and a 35mm camera with the filmmaker himself behind it and Godard’s voiceover in search of a concrete answer to the question: how is it possible, as a French filmmaker, to help the North Vietnamese in their struggle?

HAIL MARY (Je vous salue Marie) (1985) 72 min.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Countries: France/Switzerland/UK
Hail Mary was condemned long before it was ever seen by the public, from Vatican City to Manhattan – anyone who attended a screening at the 1985 New York Film Festival will remember running a gauntlet of pamphleteers, prayer circles and newscasters outside Alice Tully Hall. The irony, of course, is that the film itself is far from blasphemous, but rather a glorious cinematic hymn, an attempt to reconcile spirit and flesh, science and nature. “Somehow I think we need faith, or I need faith, or I’m lacking in faith,” Godard told Katherine Dieckmann. “Therefore maybe I needed a story which is bigger than myself.” Hail Mary will be shown in a new 35mm print.
Screening with:
THE BOOK OF MARY (Le Livre de Marie) (1985) 25 min.
Director: Anne-Marie Miéville
Countries: France/Switzerland, 1985; 25 min.
Preceded by Anne-Marie Miéville’s exquisite Book of Mary, about the broken affections between a husband and wife through the eyes of their young daughter.
And:
NOTES ON HAIL MARY (Petites Notes à propos du film Je vous salue Marie)
Jean-Luc Godard, France/Switzerland, 1983: 20min.
Godard’s video notebook for Hail Mary.

ALPHAVILLE (1965) 99 min.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Country: France
“Humble secret agent” Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) arrives from the Outlands in Alphaville, the becalmed territory ruled by the computer Alpha 60 where “No one has ever lived in the past, no one will ever live in the future, the present is the form of all life.” When Caution meets Natacha Von Braun (Anna Karina), the forbidden, illogical power of love opens the path to liberation. All of science fiction is a commentary on the present by way of an imagined future; Godard visually abstracted the Paris of 1964 by way of 1940s Hollywood in order to foreground its smoothly engineered consumer-driven impersonality. Alphaville is presented in a new DCP from Rialto Pictures.

FOR EVER MOZART (1996) 85 min.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Countries: France/Switzerland
An acting troupe journeys to Bosnia to mount a production of Musset’s “On ne badine pas avec l’amour.” When the actors arrive, they are taken captive, tortured, and executed. Godard returned to the war in Sarajevo in his films and his short videos many times. This 1996 feature was the most sweeping of those projects. “It may be a depressing film made in honor of those who have shed blood,” wrote Olivier Séguret in Libération, “but it depends also on a mad physical exultation.” For Ever Mozart is presented as a new DCP from Cohen Media.

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