May 01, 2009
godard and the final image
Godard is this month's MoM. I have lots planned. I come back to him time and again, and however large a portion I have seen of his filmography, the man's work is still a mystery to me, nearly impenetrable. As it should be. If I keep coming back to him, it is because I find that some new aesthetic/political/philosophical idea to me is one thoroughly explored by Godard. These are ideas that can only be approximated by poetry. An intellectual cinema. An inadequate viewer.
I'll be posting stuff here on my viewings and musings. I promise, they won't be worthwhile, but they are my contribution to the Godard mania that is about to take place.
I begin with thoughts on my viewing today -- Godard's part of Ten Minutes Older, "Dans le noir de temps." It's here on YouTube.
I don't have much to say in interpretation, which is evidence of how little I understand of what he is actually doing. One of Godard's primary concerns is in deconstructing cultural norms (myths) -- his video essays of the past 20 years, of which this is one, have been consistent in their method of taking images of culture and radically repositioning their contexts. The method is violent, as well as many of its images (how can one deconstruct society without referring to death?). Godard is the voice so many thinkers wish to be. Society is a myth, and Godard is out to expose it.
If there is anything I can add, it is a quotation that has struck me recently. From the ancient Greeks -- it is put (constructed) in the mouth of Prometheus, and goes: "I hate the gods, who do not recognize human consciousness as the highest divinity." What is art -- what is beauty -- but the awe of human consciousness, human spirit? Nothing is more profound than our existence. In his film, Godard takes aspects of human spirit -- courage, fear, etc. -- and posits their end through his material (a lot of it taken from his own past work). The end of human consciousness; the end of divinity. It is painfully poetic. The final image is the end of the human spirit.