• Tout Va Bien has far too much brilliance in it to ignore, and far too many problems in it to rank amongst the best work of the great French master. Godard throws away fifty (50) of the available 95 minutes.
  • Tout Va Bien, with its justifiably memorable supermarket tracking shot, will also be forever synchronized with Weekend (1967) and Godard’s traffic jam shot and sequence in his final masterpiece.
  • Godard brings his postmodern reflexivity to the work right from the very beginning with his movieclapper on the audio track before the trademark red, white and blue titles smack you in the face. Godard also shows the writing of checks for “international star”  (Jane Fonda) and you can hear, (in the wild audio mix) discussions of “Do we need a story?”- haha.

Godard, postmodern and playful, showing the checks used to pay for the film…

…including the “international star” – Jane Fonda- fresh off of Klute and her Oscar win in 1971

  • Dueling voice-overs– him and her—discussions of the film, and objecting to parts of it as it happens. “There will be workers that work—and bourgeoise that bourgeoise.” – hilarious.
  • The film centers on a slaughterhouse and a strike- you combine the material with Godard’s montage style and it is hard not to think of Eisenstein and his 1925 film Strike . The motivation here is the May 1968 movement
  • At the 12-minute mark Godard not only shows the camera moving between walls and floors—but shows off the entire studio set doll house. This is much like Jerry Lewis’ innovative 1961 film The Ladies Man. Lewis was showing off his skill behind the camera, floating around, and so is Godard- but Godard is also highlighting the artifice of it all as he always does. The camera tracks left to right—his trademark tennis match shot, then back. You are aware you are watching a film. He even has them belting out in song together.

an ingenious use of a film set- when Godard is at his best he’s using cinema style to poke holes in the artifice

the doll house idea, primary colors, rolling tracking shots

  • Sadly, much of the film is left to just plain speech-making—direct addresses to the camera in long, didactic sermons- preaching and droning on and on, flatly, about corporate profits. Godard is angry- that’s clear- but for portions here he stops being an artist- and you wonder if part of the point of exposing the artifice of cinema is daring the audience to continue to sit and watch?
  • The best portions early are Godard’s use of the pendulum camera between the doll house doors—capturing some political cartoon-like slapstick.

Godard is also still interested in color here in 1972- his characteristic primary colors. He even has a character in the film, on screen, painting the sets with a roller. There’s the red blood (accentuated) of the slaughterhouse, the red brick background, the blue painted walls.

  • If you can stick with the film and not tune out through the speeches- there is a long, potent tracking shot at the supermarket at the 82-minute mark. It lasts 10 minutes. Godard has the camera track all the way down and come back again like a pendulum.  The audio mix is creative, there’s extras yelling, cops, workers. Godard here, like in 1967’s Weekend, uses cinema (camera movement, duration), as a tool. The goal  is realized- it is quite masterful.

the ten-minute long tracking shot in the supermarket…

…using cinema style to make a statement, and aligning it forever with Godard’s own Weekend

…this is Godard “showing” instead of just “telling”- supremely clever 

  • Random red and blue title cards as part of the montage casserole.
  • Pop song “It’s sunny in France, nothing else matters” lyrics to an ugly gray day- sublime— much like the “We’ll Meet Again” song at the end of Dr. Strangelove used by Kubrick. Godard even uses “finished”  to end.
  • Highly-Recommend film- top 10 quality of the year.