The Image Book movie review & film summary () | Roger EbertAs ephemeral as a dream… framed with an injunction to keep hope alive. A kaleidoscopic bulletin on the state of our world. A conclusive statement in this far-reaching work from one of the great media artists of the last century. A Dadaist treatise on cinematic representation, violence, the fate of the world. A strange, melancholy pleasure, and an open window into the world of things that worry its creator.
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“The Image Book,” Reviewed: Jean-Luc Godard Confronts Cinema’s Depiction of the Arab World
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Or maybe you don't, if you've seen a Godard film made after about He's feuded with some of the major figures in world cinema and major film festivals, and with luminaries in the arts and politics. He conducted a press conference at the Cannes film festival via iPhone. For the press conference for "Notre Musique," he invited a representative of the French Actors and Technicians Union to appear in his place, then sat in the audience while a list of grievances against the French government was read. As I've said in previous writing on this director, Godard's montage films are best experienced as a direct tap into the restless mind of the director who wrote, directed, produced, and edited them, and also narrated, in the portentous, croaky voice of a fairy tale creature muttering prophecies from a bog. It moves in fits and starts, deliberately.
As so often in the past, Godard churns the dark waters of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Image fragments are dislodged from the deep, and come floating up to the surface: paintings, news headlines, classic Hollywood clips, often digitally distorted or bleached out or suffused with a snow-blind white glow. These are juxtaposed with brutal news footage and Isis YouTube propaganda. Here are the alienations and macroaggressions of the contemporary world. The Image Book is the signature Godard irony-mosaic of clips and fragments, with sloganised, gnomic texts, puns in brackets, sudden fades-to-black, unpredictable, unsynchronised sound cues which appear to have been edited quite without the usual concern for aural seamlesness, and vast, declamatory orchestral chords. But Godard always insists on the larger, traditional prerogative of film and the grandeur that only cinema, only the phenomenon of people gathered in the dark before the vast screen, can convey.
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Robert Downey Jr. Sign in. Watch now. The passengers on a Mediterranean cruise enjoy their luxuries as a small family struggles with overbearing media attention. Three actresses at different stages of their career. One from before the Islamic Revolution, one popular star of today known throughout the country and a young girl longing to attend a drama conservatory. An indictment of modern times divided into three "kingdoms": "Enfer" "Hell" , "Purgatoire" "Purgatory" and "Paradis" "Paradise".
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But the images are onscreen so briefly, and edited together so boldly and so surprisingly, as to suggest that the film is meant to be used, perused, and pondered, privately and slowly, bit by bit, like a book. For Godard, making movies depends on watching and knowing movies. His project is both historical and personal, a kind of wild self-cinematic-psychoanalysis, bringing his realm of references and associations to the fore to reveal what they may—both of the cinema and of himself. Starting with his selection of individual clips, he transforms them by association with effects, texts, and other images, to turn them not merely historical but historic—by way of their place in his own personal cinematic mythology and iconography. He also refers to his cohorts in the French New Wave to suggest that they share this artistic approach of self-conscious historicism. Over time, the films themselves became their own decoders—his methods became recognizable and, in recent years, his range of references crystallized to elevate certain images, certain pieces of music, certain lines of dialogue, even colors and effects, into a personal iconographic catalogue. His transformations liberate the footage from its source and make it radically his own, no mere citation or allusion but an integral element of his creation—and of his artistic identity.