At 88 years old, Jean-Luc Godard is still pushing the boundaries of experimentation and playfulness, both when it comes to his films (like last year’s The Image Book) and his appearances. While many viewers agreed that his latest feature would make for a fitting swan song, the prolific, legendary director has already embarked on his next feature.
Speaking to Les Inrockuptibles (with a helpful translation from Richard Brody), when asked if he’s shooting next film, the director answered, “Yes. It will tell the story of a Yellow Vest woman who breaks up with her boyfriend. The theme is inspired by Racine’s Bérénice. The character brings to mind Bérénice when Titus comes back to the State.”
He continues, “It won’t be made just of what you call archival images. There will also be a shoot. I don’t know whether I’ll find what one calls actors. I’d like to film the people one sees on news channels but plunging them into a situation where documentary and fiction blend. I don’t know whether they’ll agree to be filmed in relation to themselves, both in their professional situation and in invented situations. In any case, I have a list. For instance, there’s Natacha Polony. She’s good. But I’d only be interested in filming her if she’d agree to be seen in a moment of fiction.”
While The Image Book included some original footage, it was mostly made of archival materials, even having some Michael Bay thrown in amongst Johnny Guitar for good measure. For those not familiar with Polony, she’s a French journalist, and with the mention of the Yellow Vests moment (which is a recent grassroots campaign for economic justice in France), it sounds like Godard is going for something immediate and timely here.
As we await more details, watch a recent, rare in-person appearance by the director, accepting the 2019 FIAF Award at the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne on April 11. And for those that speak French, here’s the full version.