Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

Godard's mind.

Sauve qui peut(la vie) (Godard, 1979)

Watching Godard's 1979 return to the cinema is a telling look into the mind of an artist at a breaking point. Full of a type of overwhelming cynicism that would steadily grow in his work, and lacking even in his revolutionary fire, it is about malaise and masochism. But Godard seems to come to it naturally, without asking you for pity. He is at times accusatory, at times regretful and frequently just melancholy. Godard sees the death of the cinema, which he had predicted since Weekend as well as his own coming irrelevance.

What irony then that this work would restore his place in world cinema, and would rank with and above all but the best of his sixties work. Just as his attitude to cinema radically altered film in the sixties, his look at modern life in 1979 would challenge the coming 80s materialism. Gone is the fun of the New Wave films, but also gone are the dry polemics of the 70s videos. His characters are brutal archetypes of the modern world, prostitutes all. But even here he manages to keep a slim glimmer of hope, for the whore and the writer have a chance for redemption. He has little sympathy for his surrogate, Paul Godard, and it is that self loathing that closes the film. But as we watch Godard change through the 80s, finally coming to the glory of New Wave, we see him regaining the spirit that his rejection in the 1970s stripped away. Sauve qui peut(la vie) should never be translated as a title. In English, la vie invariably gets lost and that is tragic. Even as an after thought life is always on Godard's mind.

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