Essential Images: FILM SOCIALISME

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.


Charlotte et son jules film socialisme

film socialisme on bed

Melancholy repose: Charlotte et son Jules (1960) and Film Socialisme (2010)

contempt film socialisme villa

film socialisme ship deck

Spacial expanses by the sea: Contempt (1963) and Film Socialisme

2 or 3 things film socialisme silhouette

film socialisme woman silhouette

Introspective silhouette: 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967) and Film Socialisme

band of outsiders film socialisme dance

film socialisme kids dancing

The spontaneous lightness of dancing: Band of Outsiders (1964) and Film Socialisme

prenom carmen film socialisme

film socialisme hand

Pushing against the screen: Prénom Carmen (1983) and Film Socialisme

nouvelle vague film socialisme reading

film socialisme reading gideThe ubiquitous act of reading: Nouvelle Vague (1990) and Film Socialisme

macsuline feminine film socialisme bathroom

film socialisme bathroom

Intimate conversations in intimate spaces: Masculine Feminine (1966) and Film Socialisme

in praise of love film socialisme walking

film socialisme boy painting

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:

in praise of love film socialisme painting


Jesse Ataide is a graduate student at San Francisco State University. He shares his thoughts on film on his blog Memories of the Future.

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