Monday, November 1, 2010

Vivre sa vie: Omission and Documentary Tendency

It is interesting to see his radical period of filmmaking in [the past] few weeks such as Week-end and Tout va bien, but as much as I enjoy stimulation from those films, I also miss his early films especially a beautiful one, Vivre sa vie like Morrey said “Vivre sa vie is probably the most austere of all Godard’s films”

The film has plentiful sources to be interpreted but what strikes me is the omission of film itself. The film consists of twelve episodes, and they are separate in terms of narrative. Of course, the central figure, Nana, ties all together, but still we cannot know what happens between each episode in detail. In the book “Speaking about Godard”, both authors [make] this point: “(unexplained omissions) they confer upon what we are shown the status of found fragments, rather than produced elements.” Often this omission also occurs in dialogues like the conversation between Nana and Paul. Namely, we become a witness to Nana’s life and her death in the end. We cannot know exactly what happen to Nana but can imagine it based on what is shown to us. Also, as Morrey and Farocki addressed, the film maintains a distance between the viewer and the film, and the distance places the viewer in a position of witness too.

This omission or being witness create documentary tendency. Moreover, some images of street, wall, or people enhance realistic aesthetics of film- sometimes the camera moves without the motivation related with characters or narrative to show something else around the place. In his book, Morrey analyzes the image of some graffiti on wall as a tool for allowing us to see it in a full of strangeness. Usually when a certain image is shown up on the screen, there would be a meaning of it created by juxtaposition of shots or itself. But we cannot read the graffiti on wall in this film, and this example shows why we can feel this film differently comparing with other films.

To me, this film is almost like magic. Watching this film I felt a distance too but at the same time, I also felt sympathy with Nana. When Nana is shot in the end of film, I watched the ending several times again. Each episode is separate and it has equal value, but the explosion in my mind about the ending is aroused by all episodes. Although the distance always exists in the film, I think there are moments when we can see Nana’s inside or her soul. And we as a witness see the dissolution of soul/body by conflicting each other in a whirlpool of internal and external factors.


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