(Adieu au langage 3D) Roxy Miéville: superstar. With querulous, dark, liquid eyes, and a torso that extends from the back of the screen and a long, aquiline nose that juts out over the audience and nearly to your fingertips to be petted, the sleek, sniffulous mutt owned by Jean-Luc Godard is the most lustrous of special effects in his hectic, cryptic 3D provocation, “Farewell to Language.” Working with cinematographer Fabrice D’Aragno over the course of four years, the now-eighty-four-year-old Godard wreaks multidimensional effects other filmmakers wouldn’t dare, often created with only a couple of small consumer cameras strapped together and wielded by the filmmaker himself. “Jean-Luc takes images like a cook that goes to the market to buy produce such as apples, legumes, tomatoes, or plums,” D’Aragno told The Creators Project. “The cook or filmmaker stores all of these images in his fridge. And then he adds them together to create cinema.” The collage of information, glimpses of Hollywood movies, of Nazi Germany, of blunt sexual transactions, of a man at stool speaking of “caca,” of the bluest of blue skies and the reddest of red paint as blood, of citations from literature and philosophy and ironic depictions of how they’re transmitted and mediated in the modern moment will be familiar, perhaps even soothing, to anyone who’s ever immersed their sensibility in his long, winding river of impressionistic essayism. Old dogs, similar tricks, but hardly tired. 70m. (Ray Pride)
“Goodbye To Language” plays at Siskel Friday, January 16-Thursday, February 5. The trailer below gives an excellent taste of the sounds and sensations of Godard’s film, minus the 3D, of course.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.