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The Image Book – Festival de Cannes In Competition Prospectus

Le livre d’images / The Image Book

Jean-Luc Godard – France, Switzerland

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In this latest film (probably best described as avant-garde pose poem) from Nouvelle Vague auteur Jean-Luc Godard, the director mixes old film clips, and documentary footage in order to address how we process memories. Goddard plays around with footage, changing the speed, lightening, colour and sound, in order to challenge our perception of receiving images and how we process them. Goddard even mixes together footage of fictional and real killings, the former including some of his own work, the latter numerous ISIS executions, in order to emphasize moments that otherwise would quickly pass and our humanely obsession with death. (by Bianca Garner)


“As modern equipment now makes endlessly possible, Godard tweaks and re-tweaks images here, changing their speed, lightening and darkening images, colorizing them, removing sound, and on and on. Some of it just seems like larkish fun, while at other times it serves to emphasize moments that otherwise would quickly pass. One imagines Godard spending whole days playing with dials, switches and buttons to discover the very moments he wishes to emphasize in his clips.” – – – – – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

The Image Book is the signature Godard irony-mosaic of clips and fragments, with sloganised, gnomic texts, puns in brackets, sudden fades-to-black, unpredictable, unsynchronised sound cues which appear to have been edited quite without the usual concern for aural seamlesness, and vast, declamatory orchestral chords.” – – – – – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Like recent Godard works, The Image Book is divided into several chapters, and like Histoire(s) du Cinéma, of which it resembles a hyper-charged, more aggressively fractured sequel, it mobilises a sometimes barely readable flash storm of spoken and on-screen texts, film and TV clips, artworks, etc to create the impression of a suggestive discourse about the contemporary condition – although the meaning of that discourse is to be read strictly between the lines and the images.” – – – – – Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily


What is there left to say about Jean-Luc Godard? Now 87 and still a big name at the Cannes Film Festival. Though this year he is not present at the actual event, he answered reporters’ questions via video phone link. Of all methods. And he answers these inquisitive critics with the enthusiasm of an innovative young filmmaker. Just like Jean-Luc Godard was 50 years ago when he famously first appeared at the festival.

The Image Book has got people talking in a positive light. About a filmmaker with such creative ways of assembling and presenting images and notions. A feat in itself, but with the legendary status of Godard, who shared the Jury Prize in 2014 for a similar project, a victory this year, whether sentimental or not, will be extremely well received. Imagine winning Best Director 49 years after your buddy Truffaut did.


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