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Film Socialisme [Blu-ray]

3.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless) returns to the screen with Film Socialisme, a magisterial essay on the decline of European Civilization. As a garish cruise ship travels the Mediterranean (with rock legend Patti Smith among its guests), Godard embarks on a state of the EU address in a vibrant collage of philosophical quotes, historical revelations and pure cinematographic beauty.

SPECIAL FEATURES: An essay about Film Socialisme by Richard Brody (author of ''Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard''), trailers, stills gallery.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Patti Smith
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: January 10, 2012
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0063E00D4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,981 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
His 60s classic output had a vibrancy,colour,storylines,graphics,playful punning with language,irreverence,jumpcut techniques,love of Hollywood.They swept you along with them in the New Wave of French film and auteur theory. Pierrot Le Fou,Breathless,Le Mepris.After 1968, Godard took off with socialist perspectives,becoming more obscure, didactic projects,less accessible.Film Socialisme is in the run of excellent later films starting with Slow Motion, In Praise of Love and now Film Socialisme.Often written off by critics who oppose the anti-narrative school,they write Godard off as being cranky, perverse,curmudgeonly,unable to communicate or not wishing to.The ideals that led to him making films are still strong,hence the intellectual currency of socialism. Film Socialisme is a film in three parts: "Des choses comme ça" ("Things like that"), "Quo Vadis Europa" and "Nos humanités" ("Our humanities"). This is a variation of his Dziga Vertov phase.Inspired in part by De Olievera's A Talking Picture.

In the first part of this symphony in 3 movements, on a Mediterranean cruise liner travelling to different ports, tourism as Empire,in a shrinking Europe of moral failure and cultural decline.He satirises the bourgeoisie,driven in flocks of asinine passivity,demented frenzy. The cruise ship's interior is sometimes captured with high-quality DV, sometimes with lower-grade stock, at other times in pixilated,splotchy,bright fashion probably filmed with cell phone cameras.Alain Badiou,philosopher, lectures about Husserl in an empty theatre,Patti Smith wanders with guitar, a Russian student and detective debate about lost Spanish gold of the Spanish Civil War, gorgeous images of the sea are juxtaposed with the banalities of shipboard life,the quotations of philosophers.
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Format: DVD
Intriguing cinematography throughout makes this a massive visual success, but this film is inscrutable as text. It is "scrutable" (?) only to a small clique of Godardophiles. Unfortunately, when Godard gets political he also gets extremely abstract. The political history that he so often references both verbally and visually is obvious enough, but what we are to do with that history is not so clear.

There are many different Godard's though. Sometimes you get the playful cineaste and sometimes you get the political historian. In the recently released Histories we get the playful cineaste and the political historian considering the complicated and uncertain relationship between image & reality. I recommend the Histories without hesitation.

Film Socialisme, however, is not really a film you can review as anything but an aesthetic object/a piece of abstract underground cinema. In many ways it covers the same ground as the Histories but its much more abstract and much less resonant as a discourse on image, reality, history, politics.

As fond as Godard is of texts, he resists stable readings/meanings of any texts including his own. Thus his fondness for word play in many of his works including both the Histories & Film Socialisme. But in the Histories word play is not the only form of discourse. In Film Socialism it is.

In Film Socialisme, the word play is sometimes amusing, but an hour and forty minutes of word play as the only text will leave any viewer (even the most loyal Godardophiles) hungry for something solid to respond to. In Film Socialisme there are plenty of breathtaking images but since the meaning of each image remains elusive there is no accumulation of meaning and when the film is over one is left only with a handful of fleeting impressions.
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"Film Socialisme" is really a triptych that starts with a riveting modern-day "Ship of Fools" Mediterranean cruise in which some passengers lament various socialist conundrums that have high value to revolutionaries but, alas, no one else. Maybe I should call the film a modern-day "Ship of Fool's Gold" as one of Godard's characters questions the disturbing fate of Spanish Republic gold on a floating casino bound for Spanish ports. As we watch tourist liquidity squandered in gaming rooms, it is impossible not to see this ship as a symbol of triumphant but self-destructive corporate capitalism: the world as one vast and aimless Club Med. Since Godard is a Brechtian film maker, expect no conventional characterization or narrative. Ideas are what matter here and they are very compelling ones--given power by ironic juxtapositions with the film's setting. To wonder about the failure of revolution on a pleasure cruise is absurdly heroic. Nevertheless, the first third of this film is one of the best Godard has made.

I confess to having become restless during the second third, a "family drama" where a French garage owner confronts his children for their alienation from what seems to them (and Godard) sentimental fealty to and respect for elders. Both generations seems like comic caricatures and I am not sure what Godard wants me to feel, except, perhaps, utter, unbridgeable disconnect.

In the third part, the film regains structural power and has a visceral excitement reminiscent of Stan Brakhage. We are plunged into a 20th century fin-de-siecle collage of images that remind me of William S. Burroughs most Bruegel-like cut-and-paste invocations of societal collapse and disorder. This last part is like a symphonic scherzo. The film left me admiringly breathless. Godard continues to be Godard--making major films that only he can make.
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