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Thursday, June 5, 2008

TOUT VA BIEN (1972)

The once contentious political concerns examined by Jean-Luc Godard in this doctrinaire/satirical look at a wildcat strike in a sausage factory are not so much dated as irrelevant. Even so, embedding Jane Fonda & Yves Montand, as an upperclass couple, to show the dissipation of fervour just four years after the student riots of 1968, seems positively delusional. But there’s no arguing with Godard’s tremendous visual stylings and playful Brechtian construct in how he lays out the texture & look of his film. (He's such a natural filmmaker . . . it's disgusting!) The two big set pieces (on aptly big sets) -- first up is a cutaway office building so that we can watch the choreography of the strike organizers and the second takes us to a giant mega-store where a stately procession of cash registers devolves into a consumer riot -- are intensely pleasurable and remind you how Godardian aesthetics once upon a time trumped Godardian thinking. But this was long, long ago. Now, he belatedly seems to believe in what he once debunked.

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