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Histoire(s) Du Cinema

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Jean-Luc Godard transformed the face of cinema with his prolific, influential and revolutionary body of work which includes such classics as "Breathless", "Weekend" and "Contempt" just to name a few. His video series Historie(s) Du Cinema, consisting of eight episodes made over a period of ten years is an extraordinary look at the medium through the eyes of this unique filmmaker. Hugely ambitious in scope, the series covers a wide range of topics from the birth of cinema to Italian neo-realism to Hollywood and beyond. A dazzling montage of sight and sound, Historie(s) Du Cinema features a diverse array of film extracts, the voices of - among others - Juliette Binoche and Alfred Hitchcock, and an eclectic music soundtrack ranging from Beethoven to Leonard Cohen.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Writers: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 266 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005MXQD74
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,279 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on December 10, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There is no way to really summarize this "history." Most of these mini-narratives or essays are attempts to come to terms with the images relation to life (film images primarily but considerable attention is also given to painting and photography) and most of these mini-narratives or essays are more suggestive of possible and often contradictory meanings than of literal ones. Although sex and death are by far the most iterated themes of this history just as they are the most iterated themes of most histories, it's Godard's artful way of representing these themes (using other people's images) that make them so interesting.

Visually, Godard provides us with a collage of clips from Chaplin, Hitchcock, Rossellini, Vigo, Renoir, Cocteau, and countless other films intermixed with art history stills & all is accompanied by both a musical soundtrack and a poetic "narrative" (sometimes in Godard's voice, sometimes in a kind of Alphaville distorted voice & sometimes the narrative is read by select actresses who perform the narrative as if it were a script they are learning). This multi-media collage is ripe with suggestive juxtapositions but any stable or solid meanings dissolve as quick as each image. In telling these histories, Godard allows himself more than a margin of indefiniteness.

Certain phrases nonetheless resonate:

"We are one another."

"The myths by which we live are contradictory."

"Cinema has always yearned to be more real than life."

At one point Godard is interviewing a film historian who claims that the New Wave filmmakers were perfectly situated to tell the history of cinema because they arrived at a moment when film had a history that was rich but short enough to be absorbed by a single generation.
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Required viewing for all Godardophiles. Will require multiple viewings to understand and appreciate the depth and detail of his vision. This is essentially an American release of the film that Gaumont released in Europe a few years ago. There are English subtitles, but the nature of the film's structure make a complete subtitling of all the dialogue and the intertitles virtually impossible. Highly recommended for any lover of the cinema...
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There is something haunting about this series, but also enigmatic to the core. The images remain with you, which you would expect from one of the great image makers in cinematic history. But what does it all mean? I'm not sure, but I just like to sit and take it all in. Maybe some day the meaning will dawn on me, but after all isn't the point of cinema to 'experience' something, and this series delivers on that promise. I recommend it mainly for cineastes. Other viewers might only 'experience' a WTF.
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If you are a fan of avant-garde film, a Jean-Luc Godard fan, a film history buff, or all of the above, this collection will blow your mind. The swirling stream of images, upon examination, embraces practically the entire history of film, in a poetic subjectivity that invites participation. I offer that this set of film essays can be viewed as a fruitful counterpoint against Mark Cousins' amazing "The Story of Film" documentary. While Cousins reveals the extent of global cinema, Godard delves into the texture of the medium, its ethical conundrums, and then leaves the viewer with the satisfaction of something truly original. This is a French language production: the subtitles are adequate, though I would expand them if I could.
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Format: DVD
Not knowing much about cinema through the ages, I just watched it cold and found it to be a bizarre, yet transcendent film experiment, sounds everywhere, different talking, music, flipping images. I would just consider it a filmic work of art commenting on, referring to, responding to, and re-purposing all kinds of artifacts and repercussions related to film. I would like to have a full transcription, but I suppose I'd read that separately. The film is just an experience of all senses.
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Format: DVD
If you are looking for a BBC-type "objective" documentary on the history of cinema, look elsewhere. But if you love some of Godard's work and are well-acquainted with early cinema, you will treasure Histoire(s) du Cinema. Be aware that it is a very dense work, especially for non French speakers who have the additional task of reading subtitles amidst the torrent of sound and image. It takes time to absorb and to appreciate. Don't expect to sit down and knock out 3-4 episodes in one sitting like it's a season of your favorite television show. Allow yourself time to think about what Godard is saying, also to repeat episodes even while in the process of going through the set for the first time.
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