Customer Reviews

7
3.9 out of 5 stars
Notre Musique
Format: DVDChange
Price:$64.95
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 6, 2005
Format: DVD
I am and was impressed by this film. The emphasis on the filmic image itself, the film of film, is particularly cogent and asks the viewer to come to terms with not just this or that war or this or that character but in fact the entire business of film-making and film-watching. In the first part, the splicing together of both documentary and movie images of war, combined with the minimalist music that appears arbitrarily to end before the image allows for the end--these events produce the possibility for complex reflection and dissonance in the reader (perhaps in that order). By the time the second part comes, the viewer has been educated not only about violence but about how learning to view a film is like learning to read a hard text in philosophy--each new author, each new film, each new part of the current film, demands to be read anew, in its own way, according to its own terms. What this film asks is for the viewer to become equal to the film, to the overlay of sound and sight that is never quite coincidence. It demands a lot of us. Hence, I suppose, all the negative views. This film says a lot, too much perhaps, and we don't tend to like that very much. We want film to be easy, we want an anti-war film, an avant garde film. We want easy to categorize Disneyland plots, even when we want to be 'progressive.' This is not a progressive film; it is not easy. Those who belittle it seem to forget that they need to do some real work sometimes to see the forest for the trees. Overall, though, I like it. I really like it. It changed me. Not one Disney film ever did that--except perhaps for Snow White and only because Bill Evans made 'Someday My Prince Will Come' like one of the loveliest songs in the world.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 16, 2005
Format: DVD
Jean-Luc Godard's quasi-update of Dante's Divine Comedy set to the modern world. The first segment of the film is hell and it only runs at about 10 minutes. In it, Godard has cobbled together a devastating montage of scenes of human destruction from the holocaust, Vietnam, the American Civil War, and other scenes of warfare and destruction, all compiled from documentary and movie footage. It's an impressive sequence as he overlaps the scenes of horror over the sounds of a melodic piano score. Then the film moves into limbo, the section usually regarded as the least interesting of Dante's cantos. Godard spends the bulk of his time on this section. In it, a French Jewish journalist attends a literary conference and meets Godard as himself and meets the Palestinian poet Mohmoud Darwish and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She travels to Sarejevo and witnesses the aftermath of Serbian destruction (a topic which Godard is clearly haunted with), and includes some direct views on cinema from Godard himself. The final section is in paradise. It features perplexing images with the protagonist in a beautiful forest guarded by American soldiers. Notre Musique is about the state of the world at the beginning of the 21st century. It is a powerful and esoteric rumination of the art and history of the past, and a foreboding insight into what the future may look like. The film includes a wonderful piano score from Sibelius and Tchaikovsky and beautiful color photography from Julien Hirsh. The film was shot in 1:33 aspect ratio so don't expect the DVD to appear in scope.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 28, 2005
Format: DVD
If you loved the 1960's Godard for his ultra-hip irreverence, you might find Godard's current work a bit dull. The 1960's Godard used cinema to show how we moderns use culture (novels, films, pop music) to define ourselves--in Godard's world you might say we are what cultural objects we identify with, or, more aptly, "we are what we consume". The 1960's Godard used the idioms of the Italian realist cinema (as well as American noir)in an ironic way to explore the nature of the modern. Godard's narratives tended to mimic (albeit in an ironic, detached way: the essence of hip and cool) those narrative forms that have become so ingrained in our culture as to become cliches (the gangster picture, the heist picture). Godard's characters, however, consume this stuff without the ironic detachment that wpould allow them some kind of self-awareness, and as uncritical consumers they often begin to resemble the B-literatures and B-movies that they spend so much time consuming. The result is that their lives became reproductions of the very B-literature and B-movies that they spend so much time amusing themselves with. If there is a sense of tragedy in the 1960's Godard films (Breathless, Band of Outsiders, My Life to Live...to name a few) it is due to the fact that characters in Godard films are unable to see that even the form their rebellion takes is borrowed from B-movie heroes... Though there are moments of beautiful spontaneity in some of Godard's 1960's films, these moments stand out precisely because they are so rare. Nonetheless these are the moments that make these films memorable.

There are no moments of spontaneity in the late phase of Godard's career. Films like In Praise of Love and Notre Musique are less films than essays on topics that obsess a Godard who no longer believes in irreverence as a form of rebellion. The early Godard had his characters rush through the Louvre in a moment of liberatory irreverence ; the late Godard has his characters meditate on world culture as though their lives depended on it (and perhaps they do). The obsession of Godard's late phase is how humanity has failed to liberate itself from its chronic failings. This new obsession is perhaps just the continuation nof an old one. In one of his most interesting 1960's films, Pierrot Le Fou, Godard showed how obsessively man tries to liberate himself from himself by reading everything. But only in death does man achieve the ability to stand outside of himself. In Notre Musique, however, not even death offers any sort of liberation for even Heaven is a kind of a militarized zone. What Godard seems to be saying is that we cannot imagine an outside (like Heaven) from which to examine our cultural formations(those things that form us), and that even our imagination has been thoroughly colonized by culture. What the young Godard offered was a glimpse of the trap we are in and he directed us toward the few options we have left--spontaneous disruption, the beautiful gesture toward, if not the ultimate realization of, liberation. Godard's aesthetic (like the Italian neo-realists and American noirs he so loved) was always bleak but in the 1960's films there was an integer, an occasional flash, of hope. The older Godard simply shows us the trap.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2005
Format: DVD
Godard has offered us perhaps his best work since "Le-Week-End"
(not cialis folks)in 1967. The arche post-modernist film-maker has given has a subjective charcter, Olga, the French-Jewish journalist/martyr is his first totally compelling female character since his ex-wife Anna Karina, who lit up his work from 1961-65.

JLG, himself, seems to have mellowed a bit, and like many septaganarians, his musings may be turning to the "invisible world" beyond the veil.

Loosely based on Dante's "Divine Comedy," "Notre Musique" gives us visions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. This redemptive movement gives us hope in the face of the wars that have virtually detroyed 20th century Europre, and of the tremendous horror modern man has inflicted on minorities he considers a nuisance (American Indians, victims of war, Palestinians, Women, Muslims,Jews, Bosnians, Blacks...). This isn't new for Godard, but the outrage is replaced by sorrow in the face of the eternal repetition of atrocities. inequalities. and injustice.

Godard mourns the "masculinization" of women with his film bit about film shot/reverse shot. And Sarjevo has become the new Auchiwitz- or Hiroshima. We see how much war, masculine child-like war, has traumatized our civilization, and how we still are helpless in the face of this primal instinct.

Some may see "French anti-semitism" in his his treatment of the fascinating interview with the very western looking Palestinian, who says, in effect, the only reason the plight of his people are known is because of their relationship with "The Jews", both victims of European Nationalism.

In Olga's ascension, in the short final section, to Paradise after her martyrdom in Israel (perhaps indicative of Godard seeing signs of impending fascism in the "Neo-Con" contrived "roadmap" of today's Israel- not original but dramitcally poignant.) we see a retun to nature, as in "The-Week-End." and our return to our origin
in "the garden" A hopeful sign that we all may begin, not necessarily be born, again.

Welcome back JLG, perhaps, like Luis Bunuel in his 70's, your bestwork may be yet to come. Sadly, this isn't for everyone,
but wouldn't it be wondeful if it could be.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 16, 2005
Format: DVD
It is difficult to see what makes this film great in the philosophic,it is great Godard nonetheless far more a technical master now interested in how events unfold seemlessly and at work in gradations of meanings (primarily,nouveau riche-middle class) but far from his early escapist anarchic days; the film utilizes Dante's :Divine Comedy: as a loose structural frame,movements; beginning with the "White noise"("Inferno" borrowed again) of gratuitous violence of the human spirit,the intellectual afraid of violence and all the instruments that mae it possible;bombers, F14 laying beautiful trails of red phosphorus gases,after-shocks is great visuals, although hundreds are killed in the process; we know violence is necessary,but actors here say it will remain corrosive,irreparable once begun, a permanent state of unhealing dimension no matter what place on the globe it is practiced, and it continues through today, what a legacy? simple violence from takes from Eisenstein's "Ivan the Terrible" to Vietnam, Chile circa 1973, WW2,lynchings,bodies flayed, and burnt,East Timor, Central America, you can choke on this list of places and images;but this is what preserves the neo-capitalist order,protection surveillance,information;the administered world; however the photography and textures are incredible and there is an irony there of presenting the grossest atrocities in beautiful/ugly visual takes,in short clipped bursts;moments of colorful richness, Godard might be saying "is this all that remains?", the aesthetic, well the academic Left have found the aesthetic a safe harbor to escape. But the philosophic backwardness of the globe is central to Godard's concerns for the human condition,people murdered with and without impunity,what has been torn and ruptured,the fragment, the breakable timbres of the West;and he gives an American Indian and a Spanish poet the space to further reveal what is wrong with the globe as he did 40 years ago, Nothing has changed. Here with the cab visits by a young Israeli journalist to war torn what was Yugoslavia, perhaps Tito the diplomat had something in bringing together these ethnic animosities in peace, at least to a point where one is not murdering the other in genocidic proportions.No writer in the Western press will ever admit that, and the West cannot even come near to resolving these post-Soviet problems,Gorbachev was depending upon the West for help while "perestroika" developed and only levels of opportunism resulted a rush by venture capital toward dispossessing the Eastern European masses; in fact it is better to keep divisions as they are,Neo-Cons will tell you as in the Israeli Palestinian conflict which is broached here in 'Purgatory'a transitional state to what? no one knows;more dispossessions and another dimension of backwardness one of the last Western vestiges of colonialism,where a Palestinian poet laments that the world is interested in the Jew, how they have survived, it is an enemy we cannot win against he claimed, as Israeli leaders still believe in the War of Independence, an unresolvable legacy left by the British. Too bad Israel remains simply an appendage to Washington's military establishment not concerned with its human rights abuses.Again something that interests Godard, the "wound" of the current state of the globe; yet he situates the Middle East in a distance as a metaphor in fragments for other places,and seems to want to expose what is wrong with the landscape of the West, and cannot see a way out of this impasse/ paradigm, except the final 'Paradise'a green field and forest, again the classical aesthetic at work with Washington as protectorate from evil.Here we see young teenagers throwing a ball around in bathing suits, an American soldier with a rifle sharing an apple, while the water slowly laps against the shore, beautifully,in peace in Paradise.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2005
Format: DVD
Notre Musique is the newest work by the legendary French director Jean-Luc Godard. The film is shot in a documentary style, but it is not entirely non-fictional; it is neither a documentary nor a feature film, but rather, a sort of cinematic treatise. Godard's chosen subject is war, and he breaks it down according to a rigid, three-part structure. The parts are entitled "Hell," "Purgatory" and "Paradise," in reference to Dante; presumably, Godard's objective here is to show how humanity might escape "Hell," or the horrors of war, by cleansing itself in "Purgatory," and thereby finally attain "Paradise."

The first section consists of a montage of war imagery, from all countries and time periods: Holocaust victims, cowboys and Indians, French grenadiers, the American North and South, and so on. The camera flies between these disparate scenes for a few minutes without staying on any one image for long. Finally, as the screen fades to black, a voice informs us, "Death can be viewed in two ways: the possible of the impossible, and the impossible of the possible."

Is Godard trying to say that death is impossible, or that we wrongly perceive death as impossible, or that death marks the moment when the impossible becomes possible, or what? And, supposing any of those were true, so what? What conclusions should we draw? What is the significance of this cryptic observation? Godard leaves it unexplained, providing us with the first of many examples of the way in which this film uses horrific human catastrophes as a backdrop for empty, vague, often arrogant moralizing.

The second section takes place in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, which was besieged by the Bosnian Serb Army during the nineties. Godard now introduces a plot: a literary conference is taking place in this city, and famous artists are going there to discuss how war might be averted through art. Among them is a young Israeli woman named Olga (a fictional character), who travels to Sarajevo to gain insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Godard wishes to present this conference as a blueprint for the moral and intellectual "Purgatory" that mankind has to go through in order to end all war.

But why does this conference have such far-reaching importance? For instance, why is it relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Well, someone in the film asks that very question. The answer given by the organizer of the conference is, "I wanted to see a place where reconciliation was possible."

The presumptuousness of this statement is offensive. Godard is a European from a country that was itself partial in the conflict. Here he represents a side that exerted heavy influence, of a violent and destructive nature, on the outcome of that conflict. Without discussing or even acknowledging this fact, he is announcing, in part to the same people that his side helped bomb, that reconciliation is now possible for them. But why should they accept what he says? Is he, perhaps, merely saying that the violence has died down, and that now it is possible to begin rebuilding? But that isn't true: recall the clashes in Kosovo during March of 2004, when thousands of Serbs were driven from their homes, while Western forces were helpless to do anything.

Later, when the camera pans over a dilapidated marketplace, Godard opines (again through Olga), "The defeated are the truly lucky ones." So was Carthage "lucky" to be defeated by Rome? Please tell me this is a joke.

Then there's a scene in which Godard himself gives a talk for some film students in Sarajevo. He shows photographs of Israelis and Palestinians; then, for no reason whatsoever, he shows two stills from some black-and-white American film or other, and says that their similarity proves that the director of the film "did not comprehend the difference between men and women." In between these different trains of thought, he utters bizarre aphorisms, such as, "We say to let the facts speak for themselves. But Celine once said, 'They will not for much longer.' That was in 1936," or, "It's the accountants who do all the books. Balzac spoke of a Great Ledger." What has this to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? And what has that to do with film class?

But that's just the norm for this film, which is full of risible non sequiturs. Consider one scene, where some guy speaks to Olga in Russian, but she cuts him off, for this reason: "I distrust the Russian language. In fact, I only regret that the powerful notion the Russians have of evil alienates them from conscience." Actually, Russian art, far from being "alienated" from conscience, often features it as a central theme; just recall the novels Crime And Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, or the play Boris Godunov. So how does Godard have Olga justify her inane assertion? She goes on to say, "It is due to the syntax [of the Russian language]." That is, Godard claims that the mechanics of a language serve to "alienate" the speakers of that language from moral reasoning. I hope you aren't going to ask for examples, because Godard doesn't give any.

It goes on. Olga states that "suicide is the most important philosophical problem." Then why all the talk about war? Elsewhere, an American Indian walks into the ruins of a library and demands to know when the mistreatment of his people will end. A legitimate grievance, possibly, but what is the dude doing in Sarajevo? Some other guy says, "I only believe stories whose witnesses would have their throats cut." Is he saying that he only believes first-hand accounts of war, or that he believes that people who tell stories should be willing to die for them? Either way, what's his point?

The third section shows Olga sitting with a soldier in a quiet glade, in a symbol of humanity achieving peace. But, by this point, after sitting through so many lifeless, artificial pronouncements, it's hard to believe that Godard is all that concerned with humanity.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Didn't the theater of the absurd project dissolve years ago? Jean-Luc Godard's Notre Musique is a reminder why Old Europe is in decline. The existential gobbledegook will most assuredly put any normal person to sleep. Was this film suppose to be about war? Wow, that is sure surprising. Ayn Rand would have had a field day criticizing this indulgence in anti-rationality. Why was Dante dragged into this mess? What did he ever do to Godard and his fellow radical leftists? This cinema journey does indeed start in hell and travels through Purgatory---but it never arrives in Heaven. We are obviously meant to suffer eternal damnation. The photography and the accompanying music are the only mildly redeeming aspects of this so-called cinema experience. Sarajevo is a gorgeous city. Alas, why did the actors have to open their mouths and spoil everything?
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Histoire(s) Du Cinema
Histoire(s) Du Cinema by Jean-Luc Godard (DVD - 2011)
$30.19

Tout Va Bien (The Criterion Collection)
Tout Va Bien (The Criterion Collection) by Yves Montand (DVD - 2005)
$19.96

For Ever Mozart
For Ever Mozart by Madeleine Assas (DVD - 2005)
$8.49
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.