The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that the 51st New York Film Festival will launch a comprehensive three-week retrospective of the work of Jean-Luc Godard entitled “The Spirit of the Forms,” co-curated by NYFF Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. The series begins during the second week of the festival—which runs from September 27th to October 13th—and extends through the end of October.
The following titles will screen during the festival:
ALPHAVILLE (1965) 99 min.
“Humble secret agent” Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) arrives from the Outlands in Alphaville, the becalmed territory ruled by the computer Alpha 60 where “No one has ever lived in the past, no one will ever live in the future, the present is the form of all life.” When Caution meets Natacha Von Braun (Anna Karina), the forbidden, illogical power of love opens the path to liberation. All of science fiction is a commentary on the present by way of an imagined future; Godard visually abstracted the Paris of 1964 by way of 1940s Hollywood in order to foreground its smoothly engineered consumer-driven impersonality. Alphaville is presented in a new print from Rialto Pictures.
FOR EVER MOZART (1996) 85 min.
An acting troupe journeys to Bosnia to mount a production of Musset’s “On ne badine pas avec l’amour.” When the actors arrive, they are taken captive, tortured, and executed. Godard returned to the war in Sarajevo in his films and his short videos many times. This 1996 feature was the most sweeping of those projects. “It may be a depressing film made in honor of those who have shed blood,” wrote Olivier Séguret in Libération, “but it depends also on a mad physical exultation.” For Ever Mozart is presented as a new DCP from Cohen Media.
HAIL MARY (Je vous salue Marie) (1985) 72 min.
Hail Mary was condemned long before it was ever seen by the public, from Vatican City to Manhattan – anyone who attended a screening at the 1985 New York Film Festival will remember running a gauntlet of pamphleteers, prayer circles and newscasters outside Alice Tully Hall. The irony, of course, is that the film itself is far from blasphemous, but rather a glorious cinematic hymn, an attempt to reconcile spirit and flesh, science and nature. “Somehow I think we need faith, or I need faith, or I’m lacking in faith,” Godard told Katherine Dieckmann. “Therefore maybe I needed a story which is bigger than myself.”
THE BOOK OF MARY (Le Livre de Marie) (1985) 25 min.
Director: Anne-Marie Miéville
Countries: France/Switzerland, 1985; 25 min.
Preceded by Anne-Marie Miéville’s exquisite Book of Mary, about the broken affections between a husband and wife through the eyes of their young daughter.
Notes on Hail Mary (Petites Notes à propos du film Je vous salue Marie)
Jean-Luc Godard, France/Switzerland, 1983: 20min.
Godard’s video notebook for Hail Mary.
WEEKEND (1967) 105 min.
Godard’s farewell to commercial cinema begins as a savage critique of French bourgeois/consumer culture and ends in a state of pastoral calm, along the way incorporating Georges Bataille, Frantz Fanon, Emily Brontë, cannibalism, Mozart’s 18th piano sonata played in the middle of a farmyard and Lautréamont’s “Chants de Maldoror” reinvented as a revolutionary anthem with a beat. With this unforgiving, incendiary and wildly inventive film, Godard not only caught the mood of the moment but anticipated the events of May 1968 by almost a year. Weekend will be shown in a new 35mm print, courtesy of Janus Films.
Caméra-oeil (1967) 11 min.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard,
Godard’s contribution to the S.L.O.N. omnibus film Far from Vietnam, a montage of images from North Vietnamese films, La Chinoise and a 35mm camera with the filmmaker himself behind it and Godard’s voiceover in search of a concrete answer to the question: how is it possible, as a French filmmaker, to help the North Vietnamese in their struggle?
Godard is no stranger to the NYFF with over two-dozen films that have screened in year’s past, going all the way back to the very first NYFF with his installment of the omnibus film Ro.Go.Pa.G in 1963 and his last being Film Socialisme which screened at the 48th NYFF.
A further schedule and specific titles that will screen in the subsequent weeks of the series will be announced next week, but expect the following titles to be included: Le Petit Soldat (1960), A Woman is a Woman (1961), Les Carabiniers(1962), Band of Outsiders (1964), Pierrot Le Fou (1965), Made in U.S.A. (1966), Masculin Féminin (1966), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1966), Le Gai Savoir(1968), Wind From the East (1969), Tout Va Bien (1972), Every Man For Himself (1979), Nouvelle Vague (1990), In Praise of Love (2001), Notre Musique (2004) and Film Socialisme (2010). Godard’s three massively influential and controversial TV mini-series, Six Fois Deux (1976), France/Tour/Détour/Deux enfants (1979) and Histoire(s) du cinema (1988), will screen during the retrospective as well.
Also announced today is a special 20th anniversary screening of Dazed and Confused on October 10th that will include director Richard Linklater and various cast members in person to talk about the semi-autobiographical film which chronicles the last day of school in 1976. Linklater—who will screen his very own print of the film for the occasion—has been included in the festival twice before, once for his film subUrbia which played in 1996 and his animated film Waking Life that screened in 2001.