Godard has come a long way from his jazzy, upbeat and sexy Nouvelle Vague films. Now he amuses himself with today’s digital mediums and forms. Nonetheless, he continues to this day to flirt with left-wing politics and poetry.
Goodbye to Language is a spectacle of the most interestingly visual uses of 3D since Wim Wender’s “Pina” a couple of years ago. While Godard says goodbye, we say hello to what hopefully is the beginning of a legitimate and clever use of 3D in movies. I wonder if other filmmakers will follow Godard and Wender’s footsteps. Perhaps younger generations of filmmakers will begin to think of 3D differently. A use of 3D that is not just a box office gimmick or perhaps that is what Godard would call naive optimism. Maybe we should take the Godard attitude and be cynical.
In Goodbye to Language there is a dog, a woman and a man, all three of them are naked (except for the dog who “is not naked because he is always naked”). The images are arbitrary and beautiful. We see shots of a boat arriving on a deck, a dog doing dog stuff, a couple in a house where there seems to always be an old Hollywood movie playing in the background.
We begin the film with a quote “those lacking in imagination take refuge in reality”. We can read this as a commentary on cinema itself as a way of showing a truer truth than reality. Cinema is not one’s refuge from reality but perhaps reality is for those who can’t handle cinematic fiction.
The naked man empties out his bowels while he speaks of equality. The naked woman who is significantly younger than him stands in front of him as he does his business. They speak of equality: we are all naked and we all shit.
Godard uses 3D to show us images in one eye while showing us another image in our other eye. The juxtaposition of these images is perhaps what Godard has been trying to achieve even in his earlier films. I think of his less narrative films and more visual essay-like films, films like “2 or 3 Things I Know About Her”, “La Chinoise”, the more political films like “Tout Va Bien” and his recent “Film Socialisme” and “Histoire(s) du cinema”. These films all try in some way or another to combine images, juxtapose them, combining titles and words and essentially playing with them to try and create some political or poetic idea in our mind. And 3D seems to be a perfect form for this.
After watching Godard’s “Goodbye to Language” I immediately wondered why Godard hasn’t tried to do this sooner. I can’t imagine him going back to 2D now.