Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jean-Luc Godard: Passion (1982)

In addition to sheer wackiness -- even moments of slapstick -- what jumps out from Jean-Luc Godard's Passion (1982) is the repeated appearance of tableaux vivants, staged recreations of master paintings by, among others, Francisco Goya (1746-1828). These are stunning, especially amid the tumult of other activities swirling around them.  
Passion's cast includes heavy hitters like Isabelle Huppert, Hanna Schygulla and Michel Piccoli. Their characters have noticeable features or tics ranging from stuttering to sucking on what looks like a cross between a flower and a lollipop, to deaf-muteness and harmonica playing, not to mention short hair.  One can see this kind of strangeness in all sorts of movies and series, anywhere from a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western to David Lynch's Twin Peaks.  
Tableaux vivants convey an ancient tradition. In more recent times, they have been used to circumvent censorship, starting with photographic images. In daguerreotypes in the 19th century, they were often painted to add yet another effect while (seemingly) bringing them back in line with the original paintings. 
Contemporary photographer Cindy Sherman has done a lot with the tableau vivant, carrying its uses even further by "recreating" sometimes fictional images that nonetheless feel as familiar as a moment of Déjà vu.   
Add excellent music and some semblance of traditional plot and what've you got? Another pensive, interesting and somewhat esoteric Godard film. Colorful dreams follow.  

Today's Rune: Protection. 


Charles Gramlich said...

I'm such a nerd; I thought you'd posted about Jean Luc Picard.

WhyNot said...

Wow. What a great article. Congrats! If I'm not mistaken, you're one of the guys who used to hang around at "Bonde Sense" blog - which, sadly, went extinct.

The reason I'm here right now is simply cuz a good friend of mine (Heidi - blog: has yur blog on her "favorites" listing.

In any case, my sincere compliments. And take it from me, since I'm both Australian and French, it means I'm the most obnoxious asshole on earth - in other words, the greatest dude ever to roam this planet.

I'm particularly impressed with your "multiculturalism", especially meaning your open mind and interest regarding cultures other than USA's.

Having myself lived in Florida (Tampa) for 2 years in the past (many years ago), and therefore having had a first-hand taste of the average American mentality (pretty crappy, I'm afraid to say), you shine out of that pile of dung like a radiant beacon, lol. No kidding.

All the best! A bientôt, j'espère!

Erik Donald France said...

Cheers, thanks for the comments -- much appreciated ~!

WhyNot, welcome ~ I do hope to advocate multiculturally, with an open mind. Its good to breathe variety.