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The Image Book [2018] by Jean-Luc Godard

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Less of a film, more of an anti-film, with a total commitment to not being entertaining and to disassembling our naïve and uncritical absorption of cinematic images. The pleasure of watching beautiful sequences of film is interrupted with over-exposure, sudden cuts and images being separated from their soundtracks. Coherency is interrupted with inexplicable juxtapositions, little continuity in even the commentary and even the English subtitles failing to translate all the spoken and textual French.

The first sound we receive from the filmmaker, before any image appears, is a loud and obnoxious high-pitched noise, somewhat of a “fuck you” to the audience. Was it just me, of did the commentary become more coherent a significant way through the film, when everyone who was going to walk out had already walked out in boredom or confusion? Romantic and chivalrous films and images of war are equally violated in the filmmaker's attempt to destroy both our sentimental attachment to the films and our ability to unconsciously suspend disbelief and allow the film to entertainingly indoctrinate us with its implicit ideology, either pernicious or superficial.

Jean-Luc Godard, whose moody black and white films from the 1960s are remember with such affection, is disgusted with what he sees in the world. I found, when I moved through my boredom and irritation and engaged with the language of the film, a satirical humour present only when the dissolution of the grammar and glamour of film is complete, exemplified by over-exposed old footage of can-can dancing that is the final and most sustained excerpt in the film.

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