Goodbye To Language 3D

GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE 3D (2014, Jean-Luc Godard)

No grade for this, both because it’s more of a video essay/technological demo reel/philosophical musing than it is a movie, and because I’m not sure what to make of it anyway. Still, there are some things to talk about, and even though those things have been discussed to death for months (just look up the best writing from critics around the world; this movie has been dissected quite often — yet I’ve tried to avoid them before writing my own take; I will read them myself after I publish this), I’ll just jot down a couple of thoughts.

First of all, this isn’t what it is unless it’s in 3D — without the 3D, it doesn’t even exist. And like all things Godard, it’s complicated and ultimately despairing. Thom Anderson introduced the movie by saying Godard has proved that 3D is an invention without a future, and he’s probably right — it can be an annoying intrusion, and it seems Godard has intentionally hurt our eyeballs with this thing. But it also allows for some cool tricks, and the best one is done on two occasions: the left eye stays put on one actor while the right eye follows another one to another location — allowing the viewer to edit the film themselves, by just closing whichever eye they want whenever they want, thus creating the scene.

But for every cool visual (and there are more than just that split trick), there are the windbag voiceovers where Godard sounds like either a stoned college kid or a Jaden Smith tweet: “What’s the difference between an idea and a metaphor?” “The two greatest inventions are infinity and zero.” He also has gender on his mind quite a bit, mostly in a crazy-old-man way, though. Women are described as harmless (except that they can kill), and men are described as knowing other people but not themselves. What does this all mean? Hard to say, especially when it’s piled on top of musings about Hitler, art, nature, and the way dogs run through fields. (“Animals cannot be naked, because they are naked.”). It’s all frustrating, but you can’t say you’ve ever seen anything like it. And it also has cinema’s greatest portrayal of how hilariously annoying it is to put a duvet cover on.

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