Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Making cinema politically not political cinema, Godard

Politics involves both past and present. When you read Churchill's memoirs, you understand very clearly what is happening today. You think, so that is what he was thinking when he took part in such and such conference; but you only learn this twenty years later. It is more difficult in cinema: you have no time since you are dealing with the present. (Godard on Godard, p.225)
Godard has a particular approach to the way he does cinema and thinking about film the way he constructs it as a political construction is a version that rethinks the way we can talk about politics and society with different perspective. His recurrent questioning becomes the content and the form of his films. In his interview with Cashier (Godard on Godard, p.215-234) about the film Pierrot le fou he gives a description of how the questioning the things in between events (history) and daily life that lead to one another. Within this construction Godard explains that he the Vietnam references are linked to "the world of violence, and it is violence that controls the way things evolve [...] my reference to Vietnam was pure logic: it was to show Belmondo that they were playing a game, but that nevertheless the matter of their game pre-existed. 

I repeat making a film is an adventure  comparable to that of  an army advancing through a country and living off the inhabitants. So one is led to talk about those inhabitants. That is what actuality is: it is both what one calls actuality in the cinematographic and journalistic sense, and casual encounters, what one reads, conversations, the business of living in other words. (Godard on Godard, p. 224)
This is basically what Godard means when he says he makes films politically and not political cinema. Although some critics might catalog his inclusion of political themes in his films as a superficial approximation of the subject. Godard's films are essays on a subject and take form in a film that draws from the construction of characters, to the use of citation and text, and the inclusion of actuality in his films in relation to the story and the subjects. Everything that lies between the event and daily life. 

By Natalia Guerrero

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