Friday, February 27, 2009

Made in U.S.A. @ the Charles Theatre this week

Jean-Luc Godard’s MADE IN USA has rarely been seen in this country and never released in a 35mm print. A just-released new 35mm ‘scope print plays three times this week at the Charles.

Saturday, Febrauray 28 at Noon
Monday, March 2 at 7 PM
Thursday, Marhc 5 at 9 PM

1966 Jean-Luc Godard. Anna Karina, Jean-Pierre Léaud, László Szabó, Marianne Faithfull, Yves Afonso. In French with English subtitles. 90m. Color. 'Scope. New Print.

Jean-Luc Godard's Made in U.S.A. is not the celluloid holy grail, but it's close enough. Four decades after its...premiere at the 1967 New York Film Festival, the least-seen, most quintessential movie of Godard's great period gets an American distributor and even a limited run. (J. Hoberman)
read full review

“In 1966, Jean-Luc Godard threw together, in mere weeks, this hectic, self-flagellating political fantasy, based loosely on a novel by Donald Westlake as well as on the widely reported kidnapping of the Moroccan left-wing activist Mehdi Ben Barka. The slapdash spontaneity of the production helped Godard unleash a host of frenzies—political, cinematic, and personal. He cast his ex-wife, Anna Karina, as a journalist in search of her former lover, a political activist who, like Ben Barka, disappeared (and whose tape-recorded voice is Godard’s own). The patchy plot of cartoonish Cold War skulduggery involves a couple of secret agents with the Hollywood monickers of Siegel and Widmark (played by the French New Wave icons Jean-Pierre Léaud and László Szabó), a novelist named after the noir writer David Goodis (Yves Afonso, a Jean-Paul Belmondo look-alike), and two young Cahiers du Cinéma critics playing Richard Nixon and Robert McNamara. With a color scheme of agitprop Mondrian, a background of blankly suffocating spaces, a barroom lesson in semiology featuring the young Marianne Faithfull’s a-cappella rendition of “As Tears Go By,” and a deluge of political rhetoric, Godard evokes a chaotic new world of deadly abstractions, artistic impasses, and insoluble conflicts. His luminous, longing closeups of Karina show who really was desperately seeking whom. In French.” (Richard Brody The New Yorker)

“Whether or not it completely works isn't that important. The movie begins with Paula waking up and ends with her falling asleep; in between is a bizarre dream world, one French artist's love/hate response to the cultural hegemony America exported via its wars, pop culture, and entertainments in the 1960s.” (Bret McCabe, Citypaper)

“Beautiful, goofy, and explosive! Anna Karina was never lovelier in dazzling color and scope and Godard’s ultimate statement about his love/hate for the aesthetics/ politics of American movies/ life is an event to be savored and celebrated...has all the electric thrill of a Rauschenberg painting in motion.!”
(Jonathan Rosenbaum)

watch trailer