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Film

FILM CLUB: Bande à part@Boa 8/28

Posted by Omar / August 26, 2006

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Pretentiousness. We are all deadly afraid of it. Why? Because we fear being judged by others. We fear irrelevance. We fear our vanities will be exposed and made a mockery of. But this fear of pretentiousness has got to be dealt with if we are to fight the ‘dumming down of culture’ and bring some nobility back to our artistic forms.

So with this in mind, we present Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part (Monday, 8:30pm, Boa Taverne Moderne). A great French New Wave classic from the guys who brought you the Cahiers du cinéma, the Cinematheque and the stereotype of the Jerry-Lewis-loving French guy.

The story is simple: two pseudo gangsters, who constantly reference old American “B” movies, take up with a strange girl to help them pull of a robbery. While the plot may be simple, the structure and technique of the film is anything but. Godard was very interested in self-reflexive cinema. Cinema that breaks the fourth wall. We are constantly reminded that this is a constructed film. In spirit it is more of a love-letter to cinema, an essay incognito as a story.

Godard, especially in his early “fun” period is a wild-spirited mix of Brecht, Pirandello, Camus and the Marx Brothers (with a bit of Karl in there as well). And he’s influenced everyone from Scorsese, Brian De Palma and Cassevettes to Tarantino, Vincent Gallo and Wes Anderson.

Bande a Part influenced a whole bunch of great cinematic moments: Christina Ricci dancing in the bowling alley in Buffalo 66, the Jack Slims dance sequence of Pulp Fiction (pretty much most of Pulp Fiction is Godard-rip offs), the inter-titles in Wes Anderson films.

But still you may find the film too avant-garde, too strangely unpredictable, meandering. This, too, is intentional. Godard frustrates viewers who expect a traditional plot. He is famous for saying “I like stories with a beginning, middle and end – but not necessarily in that order.” The trick with watching Godard is to not try and “get it”, but to just lay back and let it wash over you. Once you stop feeling intellectually intimidated, it is easier to see the absurdist romp in it – the slapdash irreverence – the kooky politique of the nouvelle vague.

So come out to Boa on Monday night and check out some old-school Godard. Free movie. Comfy chairs. Popcorn and drinks (not free – but yummy). Plus we’ll have our sheet of talking points and suggestion forms in case you have a film you’d like to screen and present.

And if you are a film distributor or studio head…Please do not assume that we are screening this film, oh no…we are simply performing an interpretive mime of the film as a commentary on Marx’s notion of the advanced stages of commodity fetishism as means of fostering a new global colonialism. Yeah, that’s it…

Discussion

7 Comments

mike / August 29, 2006 at 11:59 am
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what a great flick that was...and what an awesome way to spend a monday evening. i'm glad i finally made it out. was it because omar wasn't there??? hmm...

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