Sunday, March 8, 2015

Goodbye to Language (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Goodbye to Language

Jean Luc Goddard's "Goodbye to Language" is not for every eye, granted, but it is a stand alone piece, an adventure and a voyage that takes no concessions or offer apologies.

It is a literal abstract painting on film and from the very start it is jarring.

In a 3D perspective that is 3D and beyond, we are put right up against a man's chest as he reads Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. We can see the words on the page, his hair follicles, the dirt on his fingers.


Then the scene changes to passerby on their iPhones. Again one is an ultra intrusive watcher. Suddenly there is an acid green field of flowers in the style of Warhol that one could watch all day. Abruptly then there is murk, darkness and quiet as if the audio has malfunctioned followed by very loud shouting that will make you tense and uneasy.

At once, we are at street level with gunfire and blood on the pavement. Given the sound of the rain that hits you like a drum, my body was a tense wire from here on out.

There is a woman (Heloise Godet) talking with a man (Kamel Abdeli) about philosophy and war. The TV is in the back which takes up three quarters of the screen. In the next scene, the couple is nude with the flesh almost getting you in the eye. The man has big ungainly feet with dirt and a bad toenail that is red and blistering. Up so close, this couple feels alien and monstrous.

Throughout the film, the perspective changes from 2D to 3D, with glossy overexposures that tire and exhaust the eye. Then it hits me we are in the perspective of a dog. There is one that drifts in an out of the film as a kind of mute narrator.

At times, I was afraid to move a muscle, my face a rictus of apprehension in awaiting the next percussive blow or sight of blood, redder than red. To feel this effect is wondrous.

As uncomfortable as it may make you, "Goodbye to Language" is a sensation and a complete sensual experience. Not since "Un Chien Andalou" has there been such a daring puzzle of a film, presenting nothing short of a hostile valentine to the public.

As singular and confusing as it is, Goddard is to be applauded for pushing limits. Every 3D film should be this brave.

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