Adieu au langage (2014)
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- Goodbye to Language
- 70 min.
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How many times do I need to watch this before I can even break through the first layer of this cinematic onion? By my estimation, at least five. Once to just take it all in. The next with one eye closed, after with the other closed, then focusing entirely on the imagery, finally just on the sounds. Maybe one entirely devoted to words. Going in I was under the impression that this was an experimental film entirely devoid of dialogue that was in 3D made by a cinematic master.
I'm still trying to process what I have experienced and there is a strong possibility that will check this out again in theaters before it ends its run, but this is by far the best use of 3D I have ever seen. The imagery is crisp and clear, that every frame can be blown up and hung up on your wall. It's a heady film and the 70 minutes might feel like an eternity to some but if you are well versed in existential thought and are open for a challenge, you will be rewarded with a good palette cleanse from all the other mind-numbing 3D you may have seen in recent years.
Jean-Luc Goddard's Goodbye to Language (Adieu au langage) really shouldn't be on Netflix. Not because it's an experimental art film, but because its main innovations have to do with its approach to 3D. Which can't be seen on Netflix. Goddard apparently Jerry-rigged makeshift 3D cameras and the broke all the rules, as far as superimposing images, screwing with depths of field, etc. go, do as to disorient the audience, which the film already does with its non-plot, jarring sound design, and weird filter changes. The language Goddard says goodbye to is that of traditional cinema, and at one point, the superimposition of media, coupled with a character or two on a smartphone, made me think the film was reaching for recreating how we absorb media today, one eye on the TV, the other on a computer screen, perhaps even two - a calculated media overload. But if that's really in there, I couldn't say. What it felt like to me was a bad artsy student film, with naked characters reciting pretentious philosophical dialogue, acting in the way Brecht would have made actors act, with shaky camera work using terrible equipment and juxtaposing disparate images. I'm certainly not unpretentious - that may be gleaned from what traces I've left around here somewhere - but this to me felt like old experiments, already seen and done and since adapted to perfume commercials. It felt like pastiche at this point, and I kept wondering why I was subjecting myself to it. If I were to sample its 3D tricks, I might find something at least technically interesting about it. Absent that feature, I don't see the attraction.
The cinema lessons in 50 year will talk about this film.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #11 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000
This movie ranks #49 in BBC's The 21st Century's 100 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #64 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists
This movie ranks #75 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #1120 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema