Film Museum’s last instalment of its Jean-Luc Godard retrospective is made up of works from the last three decades: his epochal series Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988- 98) which sums up his own oeuvre, the history of cinema and that of the 20th century; and Adieu au langage (2014), an example of Godard’s ability to demonstrate an unfailing zest for innovation in cinema. The latter explores the possibilities of 3D cinema, fuelled by a childlike curiosity and discovering unexpected paths along the way.
Godard’s later works are now being rediscovered, following the fact that their original reception was overshadowed by a drastic change in the nature of international film distribution. Godard’s polyphonically composed and essayistic poetic cinema was marginalised even though he remained a central figure in the industry due to the regular presence of his films at Cannes and his impact on critical discourse.
Celebrated as an eternal revolutionary by his admirers, he was dismissed from the mainstream as an old master and cultural pessimist. Film Museum shines a new light on these works. His decade-long dream project Histoire(s) du cinéma took electrifying stock of film history vis-à-vis the course of the 20th century, and this high point of Godard’s applied film criticism constitutes both an encyclopedic and personal journey.
He has since developed the ideas of Histoire(s) in a new era of digital cinema, as in his two elegies for Europe, Notre musique (2004) and Film Socialisme (2010). The 3D technique of his own making used in Adieu au langage was also far from a farewell: Godard is currently working on a film called Image et Parole at a new historical juncture which sees them both under poisonous attack. The retrospective is supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Austria.
Jean-Luc Godard 3, from 19 April to 10 May, Film Museum, Vienna.
For more, visit www.filmmuseum.at.
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1. Still from Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988- 98).