Sunday, October 3, 2010

"A drifter, at times petty criminal, interested in exploring the fringes of Parisian living - this description is equally applicable to Michel and/or Godard as filmmaker."

I think what Paul writes here in his post most adequately describes the type of Godard we will be exploring in class tomorrow, October 4th. With talk of the Situationist International, the idea of Godard as a cinematic "drifter" brings to mind his characters that seem to walk aimlessly around Paris and its fringes, from tradition and classicism to negation and modernism, as if a Baudelairian character in the midst of two worlds. The idea of being  adrift in the exploration of Cinema is definitely a them that becomes very apparent as we continue on our journey of Godard, and so the Situationist theory of the derive and psychogeography play an important role in this filmic derive that ruptures the differences between art and everyday life. 

The artist, theorist, and philosopher Guy Debod, the founder of the Situationist International had explored these ideas before Godard in various anti-capitalist techniques, such as the idea of detournement. Very similar to the Duchamp's idea of the readymade, Detournement was the explicit idea and intention of taking pre-existing works of art and altering it in order to create a new meaning. As detournement takes all of popular culture and turns it on its head, it intentionally diverts the original meaning in order to critique the dominant system of society, as Debord thought. Through his writings, Debord would return to many philosophers and theorists, just as Godard does in his films. 

Godard as a Situationist filmmaker is a nice idea, but in the economics of it all, I think it would make Debord cringe in his grave. For situationist film we can see Debord's own examples.

Semiotics... Ideology... Marx... Duchamp... Debord... Godard...


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