Rarely screened in its entirety, Jean-Luc Godard’s magisterial Histoire(s) du cinéma is essential viewing for anyone who loves the movies and visual and verbal punning—indeed, for anyone who loves getting caught up in a dense and wondrous thicket of text, sound, and image. Godard’s film is presented twice, in dialogue with our weeklong theatrical run of Mitra Farahani’s See You Friday, Robinson, as an eloge both to the filmmaker himself and to the cinema he reveled in, warred over, and created. After a lifetime of thinking, watching, listening, and reading, Godard spent 10 years editing this series on video—never have the medium’s hauntingly oneiric properties been more powerfully summoned—before it was broadcast over a period of time on French television. His personal journey through Hollywood’s dream factory and the Soviet factory of facts, interwoven with French poetic realism, Italian Neorealism, and Japanese jidaigeki (period dramas); fragments of classical music and literary quotation; images of medieval and Renaissance painting (as well as the Byzantine to the modern); and color footage of the Nazi death camps and other forms of 20th-century torment and resistance, Histoire(s) du cinéma is Godard’s most ardent questioning of whether art can ever be truly revolutionary.
Organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film. Thanks to Fabrice Aragno, Olivia Colbeau-Justin, and Mitra Farahani.