“There are things in this movie we have never seen nor imagined.” Craig Keller‘s declaration follows an intriguing string of notes “On Seeing the Premiere of the New Godard [Part of the Otherwise Unfortunate 3X3D] at Cannes, 18.05.13,” a list of highly intriguing observations originally tweeted that same day. For now, that list stands as the most convincing case that Jean-Luc Godard‘s The Three Disasters is “re-entry hot.”
As for the project as a whole, it’s “the second omnibus project produced by the European Capital of Culture (following last year’s Centro Historico),” notes Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn, “but it stands alone as a uniquely strange experience. The concise feature, the closing night selection of Cannes’ Critics Week section, gathers together disparate experimental works that explore historical memory, technology and the evolving state of current cinema…. Among the three installments, [Edgar] Pêra’s concluding short is undoubtedly the weakest and probably belonged at the start. Cinesapiens delivers a collage of treatises on the value of spectatorship, presenting the persistent image of movie audiences wearing 3D glasses while deranged movie characters overtake the room…. In a nod to film theorist Tom Gunning, Pêra’s narration wonders, ‘What precisely is the cinema of attractions?’ It’s a question that the short fails to answer with anything other than pure visual chaos.”
“Open to sampling the new technology,” writes Variety‘s Peter Debruge, “[Peter] Greenaway has the most fun with the format, playing with split-screen, transitions, floating text and visual effects as he does circles around Guimaraes’ sprawling Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. Actors dressed as key figures associated with the city appear around various corners, accompanied by floating (yet barely legible) blocks of text, as the image shifts back and forth between practical photography and CGI. Instead of having Greenaway deliver what looks like a low-end educational filmstrip, it would have been entertaining to see the director re-create a small historical scene of mini-narrative. The result, called Just in Time, barely improves upon stock museum slideshows.”
without hesitation: Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D 17min short THE THREE DISASTERS is by a country mile the best thing I’ve seen at #Cannes2013.
— Neil Young (UK) (@JigsawLounge) May 23, 2013
Updates, 5/27: “It’s no surprise that in undertaking his first 3D project,” writes Adam Cook in the Notebook, “Jean-Luc Godard would do so much that everything else yet shot in the format looks meager and infantile by comparison (even the few notable filmmakers to have explored 3D’s potential fall short of Godard’s ambitions: Scorsese, Herzog, W.S. Anderson). Also, it should not have been a surprise that 3D would make perfect sense for Godard’s layering of texts and superimpositions, which command an even greater effect with the extra dimension.”
“‘The digital medium is a dictatorship,’ intones Jean-Luc Godard as images flash over text, which flashes over more images, ultimately demonstrating how, ironically, 3D is actually perfectly-suited to Godard’s recent information-overload collage-style filmmaking,” writes Brian Clark at Twitch. “The short is warm-up of sorts for his in-progress 3D feature, Farewell to Language, a title which I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t used for a film already.”
Update, 5/28: Daniel Kasman at Lumière: “Again we know as we must that 3D cinema is not a cinema of volume but of planes. Of layers. And Godard has always worked in layers. But as a montage-ist, unlike most of the 3D cited in Les trois désastres (Herzog, Final Destination 5, Paul W.S. Anderson, Fright Night), the real volume Godard is working in is cubist, it is in building volume through cuts, of the mise en scène of planes—of thoughts, of images—assembled in mental space, speculative space. 3D cinema as thought…. No other work gave so much and left me so panting, overwhelmed by things but unsatiated, desiring—needing—another pass, one more reading, just a bit more time, a conversation after (alas, no Godard in sight), something, anything to both retain and expand the experience. It was a tease, but one I can reflect on. And doing so will give me time to prepare for the next goodbye, the one in 3D.”
Update, 6/9: We can’t embed it, but here‘s the trailer.
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