Monday, November 14, 2011

Self-Reflexive Politics and Tout va Bien

 In response to the recent post by Lindsey on the anti-capitalist tradition of Godard, especially that represented within Tout Va Bien (1972), I would argue that the French New Wave, along with Roland Barthes paved new pedagogical paths for a new left, or a new left media that would denounce the propagandistic representation of ‘anticapitalism.’  As Morrey writes, “the theme may surface in a number of different guises, but central to it is a questioning of how alienated labour under capitalism has transformed our interpersonal relations and marked our social and sexual bodies” (Morrey 2005; 53). A  goal within the new wave seems to be to render visible the conditions of the psychology of late capitalism and to make these images ripe with questions for a new future; the process is more about raising questions than it is to make prominent the denunciations. 

In developing a self-reflexive form of film, Tout Va Bien places not only the political and social climate at the forefront of his work (this film partly as a response to uprisings in 1968), but also raises questions based on Godard and Gorin’s own capacity to direct or to represent these images in such a hasty political climate. As Morrey writes, “Tout Va Bien might be seen as the outcome of a long process of reflection on the events of May and their legacy” (Morrey 2005; 97), and Godard makes the reflective element obvious within this film. Most evident is during the final scene’s where the camera tracks back and forth in front of the check-out counters in the market place. Here, we begin to imagine all of the events of the film as merely a reflection or staged discourse on major political ideologies, protest, and the military industrial complex within the state. All of this is abstracted, just as is the body of an individual in an oppressive political state.

Andrew Jay Bowe

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