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Detective – 1985 Godard
- Detective, like much of Godard’s work, for better or worse, is built in the editing room. He makes a mash of actors, dialogue, music and settings (a billiards hall, a hotel room, a hotel balcony, a hotel lobby, the sign for a building) and splices them together into one sustained, 95-minute, question mark. It isn’t uninteresting, though to forgive it you must first try to forget that this was the talented auteur that created masterpiece after masterpiece in the 1960’s.
- Just a head scratcher all around- dedicated to Ulmer, Cassavetes and Eastwood—not sure.
- Godard is sort of spoofing computers and computer gaming… I think
- Godard is only 55 years old here- though by 1985 his artistic peak is nearly twenty years in the rearview and Detective feels painfully inconsequential—again, this was perhaps the greatest auteur of the greatest decade in cinema history (the 1960’s). Here he’s omitted not only characters and story (which is fine)- but also color and beauty. What’s left is really only the collage editing style.
- Word cluster titles to open the film, a random sound design — and again Godard’s love for classical music shines. Here it is Schubert, Wagner and Chopin among others.
- The actual story (Godard’s argument is largely anti-narrative) going on is nearly indecipherable— beyond opaque- there’s a boxer, some money, a murder, a prince, a 16-year old Julie Delpy (her first archiveable film)
- The AGFA sign- Godard bounces off it again and again—reading aloud from Shakespeare- but he never stays in any one spot too long.
- It is an indiscriminate puzzle, cuts to a chandelier, a video recorder… with music that randomly crescendos
- Godard has grinded down his aesthetic here so finely – that when you dig it to investigate it, it pretty much evaporates.
- This is certainly the auteur behind Every Man For Himself– even if it a sad shadow of Breathless and Alphaville
- I have to use this- from Nigel Andrews from the Financial Times “Once or twice I thought I espied a theme, much as a birdwatcher after a long vigil in the freezing dawn might think he espied a rare bird. But either I was wrong or it flew away before identification”– this is one of the best things ever written by man https://archive.org/details/FinancialTimes1986UKEnglish/Mar%2007%201986%2C%20Financial%20Times%2C%20%2329873%2C%20UK%20%28en%29/page/n19/mode/2up?view=theater
- Recommend but closer to the fringe of the archives than the top 10 of 1985