The single most illuminating statement about the films of Jean-Luc Godard I have ever encountered was an offhand musing on an Internet movie forum by French film scholar Alison Smith. Addressing the uneven quality of Godard’s filmography, Smith wrote, “I can think of a lot of Godard’s films that I’d call genuine masterpieces, but there is an odd sense that they all connect with each other and that “Godard” (en masse) is a more real unit than any of his individual films.” This idea is beautifully demonstrated in the Godardloop video, which weaves together some of the reoccurring visual motifs that can be found throughout Godard’s films.
The “Essential Images” included below aim to apply this idea specifically to Film Socialisme, Godard’s latest and, if some rumors are to be believed, final film. After scanning through over 20 films spanning the entire career of the iconoclastic French director—and still feeling like I was only beginning to scratch the surface of possibilities—I present below some of my favorite of visual “echoes” embedded within Film Socialisme. Were they intentional? Mere coincidences? It’s impossible to know for certain, but it certainly unearths another layer of richness in Godard’s latest film.
Melancholy repose: Charlotte et son Jules (1960) and Film Socialisme (2010)
Spacial expanses by the sea: Contempt (1963) and Film Socialisme
Introspective silhouette: 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967) and Film Socialisme
The spontaneous lightness of dancing: Band of Outsiders (1964) and Film Socialisme
Pushing against the screen: Prénom Carmen (1983) and Film Socialisme
Intimate conversations in intimate spaces: Masculine Feminine (1966) and Film Socialisme
Suspended in over-saturated digital video: In Praise of Love (2001) and Film Socialisme
And as if to emphasize the link, the Impressionist painting the boy is copying in Film Socialisme is also briefly glimpsed earlier in In Praise of Love:
Jesse Ataide is a graduate student at San Francisco State University. He shares his thoughts on film on his blog Memories of the Future.