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
Wow. 4 of your top 56 actresses of all time actresses make their archivable debut with Godard(Delpy, Binoche, Huppert, Karina).
@Malith- that is very interesting! Thank you Godard for helping to discover and promote these great actors.
Should we assume this is Godard’s final archivable film?
@Zane- We should– it has been a quiet 36 years and counting for Godard
Coming back to this 2 months later but I digress; if you mind sharing, how many other Godard films did you watch that you did not archive, and which ones were they?
@Zane- So I saw 27 films from Godard for my study– and have a total of 20 films of his in the archives right now. The misses were Film socialisme, Goodbye To Language, Oh, Woe Is Me, Notre Musique, In Praise of Love, Le Gai Savoir, For Ever Mozart
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