Hardly presumptuous to claim cinema is in a post-Godard era; perhaps only inaccurate to suggest we’ll ever be post-Godard. Case in point the rumors that Godard’s long-developing Funny Wars had at least been partially shot, if not outright completed, and today Indiewire informs us (for no discernible reason in some thinkpiece about The Weeknd) that the work––20 minutes––will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, running May 16 to May 27.
Word is scant, of course: Indiewire (before opining why The Weeknd should rethink his film career or whatever) have heard Funny Wars is “a collage-like approach that blended fragments of images and text.” To what extent or means is our guess, now and probably after it’s seen. More substantial was a conversation Fabrice Aragno, Godard’s cinematographer and by all means right-hand man, had with Variety in 2021. During which he revealed recorded on 35mm, 16mm, and Super 8––the first black-and-white, the other two color. About which Aragno said:
Jean-Luc told to me he wanted to come back to his origin. He said you know this Chris Marker film La Jetée? Maybe we can do something like that. If you do it in 35mm it will be accelerated, a fast forward, but if you work on computer and still play one image per second, you can enter the material of the film, of the grain, of the dust, of the truth, of the real. You won’t always have this glass of the digital where there is no origin, it’s only a copy. In 35 there is one negative, that’s it. When you work with film you have to trust people, you have to trust the laboratory, you have to be in a relationship with the others. You do some tests, you have an idea of how it will be, but you have to project yourself to what you will do with the film. In digital, you just have a button and you see the result. It’s not to say before was better, but I feel I miss this projection, this movement. I think for Jean-Luc it’s the same.
Despite Indiewire’s report it featured no actors (not even The Weeknd), Aragno made mention in 2021 of camera tests with an actress. (This, however, was more than a year before Godard passed.) He and collaborator Jean-Paul Battagia are also seeking to complete Scenario, a short we’d heard would screen “more in a classic video style with some Super-8 images, not with 35mm.”
But that’s potentially some time off, and the prospect of a final(ish) work from cinema’s great innovator means more than, frankly, almost anything that could happen this year, particularly at Cannes. (I absolutely can’t wait for Killers of the Flower Moon and Scorsese would agree with this assessment.) The king is dead, long live the king.