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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godard
I'm a fan of Godard's work and really enjoyed this book. It is part biography and part history and tends to go off on tangents which make the book all the more strange and interesting. Towards the end it becomes more personal because of the experiences MacCabe had with Godard later on in his life. Although the form and construction of the book are not very tight, it...
Published on September 26, 2005 by j

versus
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars vulpecula venenata
The author of this book writes aptly about the cultural and political contexts that frame the life of its protagonist and particularly well about Godard's experiences on or around May 1968. MacCabe shows himself as almost totally sympathetic (yet not completely uncritical) to a relatively unpleasant subject. Perhaps, Godard is too private for compassionate emanations,...
Published on May 24, 2004 by Alvaro Lewis


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godard, September 26, 2005
This review is from: Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy (Paperback)
I'm a fan of Godard's work and really enjoyed this book. It is part biography and part history and tends to go off on tangents which make the book all the more strange and interesting. Towards the end it becomes more personal because of the experiences MacCabe had with Godard later on in his life. Although the form and construction of the book are not very tight, it does a nice job of weaving through the complex mosaic that is Godard's life. It has some really cool pictures too.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blow-by-blow account of 70 long years, August 29, 2004
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Kevin Killian (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Once upon a time, Godard was the leading filmmaker in the world, and if he lost some of his stature after a run of didactic, neo-Rossellini and Maoist tracts in the 1970s, he never really wanted to be famous, just influential. MacCabe, who has written interesting books on Warhol and Nicolas Roeg, explicates the progression of a great artist from enfant terrible to a man most think has died. The chapter about Anna Karina is wonderful, and we get the impression that Karina remains for MacCabe one of the icons of femininity, whereas he is cool and respectful towards Anne-Marie (Godard's frequent collaborator) you get the feeling he's not turned on by her the way he is by Karina. Also, we see him being tremendously gallant I think, towards Jane Fonda, with whom Godard made a film TOUT VA BIEN and then after it failed, he turned on her with the vicious "cinema portrait" LETTER TO JANE, castigatig her for her vanity and her foolish liberalism. MacCabe delivers a reproof to Godard and Gorin that says it all.

I do agree that Godard has made too many films for any one critic to account for. It is not MacCabe's fault exactly, but he might have written two books, one on Godard's international career as auteur in the 1960s, and the other of the virtually unknown films. He makes you want to see them on the one hand, but on the other hand one realizes with a sinking heart, well, life's too short!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Required text for class, March 26, 2013
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This review is from: Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy (Paperback)
I'm taking a class on Godard. This is the required reading. (We have weekly articles but this book supplements those readings.) It's a very nice read. MacCabe kind of goes on tangents that don't relate to Godard sometimes, but overall it's a good book. (Still currently reading it.)
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars vulpecula venenata, May 24, 2004
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The author of this book writes aptly about the cultural and political contexts that frame the life of its protagonist and particularly well about Godard's experiences on or around May 1968. MacCabe shows himself as almost totally sympathetic (yet not completely uncritical) to a relatively unpleasant subject. Perhaps, Godard is too private for compassionate emanations, perhaps the priveleged scope of this work stretched only to the opus of the film maker and not beyond, but there seems to be very little evidence of the delightful emotions that mark most lives in the life of this subject. Will the brilliance of the films outshine the unkind specter of the living artist? MacCabe writes very well on the evolution of Godard's techniques and fascinations. Godard works autonomously, vigorously and in daring fashion from the beginning. There is no doubt that Godard is an innovator and a believer in his style and visions.
It's just that the creator of the films doesn't seem to be the sort of person who endures either the scrutiny of a biographer or the acquaintance of people who are not cinematic savants well at all. That surprise though is hardly grounds for the criticism of the book or its subject by one who stands wholly uninjured by both.
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4 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The viewer over my shoulder, July 19, 2004
For anyone who is only marginally curious about the vacillating fortunes of Jean-Luc Godard, which has dimmed to virtual darkness since the 1960s, Colin MacCabe's book Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy contains very little that is useful and a great deal that is both confusing and misleading. MacCabe is blessed with intimate knowledge both personally and professionally of Godard, and doesn't hesitate to demonstrate this. What he fails to demonstrate to this non-convert to Godard is precisely anything that might sway me from the conviction, cultivated over 30 years, that - at best - Godard was politically stupid, technically puerile and artistically bankrupt from beginning to end - an end which MacCabe is anxious to prove is as much the end of European culture as Dante's Divine Comedy was its beginning (he even cavils that this "is no exaggeration.").
Such admiration as this would be charming if it were to any degree justified. A little objective discrimination, presuming Mr MacCabe still believes in such things, would've been far more welcome. This book, however, is founded on the premise that Jean-Luc Godard (a co-founder of the French New Wave) is a film artist of unprecedented importance. That this premise is sheer flapdoodle tends to deflate most of the points Mr MacCabe attempts to make about Godard, or Film, or European culture for that matter.
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Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy
Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy by Colin MacCabe (Paperback - February 3, 2005)
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