Goodbye to Language has premiered, and, following years of fervent speculation, it seems the discussion has only just begun. As the vast majority await their opportunity to see the film — there will be further festival appearances, surely, but what in the name of God are 20th Century Fox going to do with it? — there is, today, still a new piece from Jean-Luc Godard which all can… well, let’s not say enjoy. Typical of his “late” period, it’s a montage- and association-heavy trip through the culture established by both historical events and cinema itself. Portions of his own works — King Lear, Tribute to Eric Rohmer, Germany Year 90 Nine Zero, and (possibly) Histoire(s) du cinéma are evidently present — are joined by images of Rivette, Truffaut, and excerpts from the classic Hollywood cinema that sparked him some sixty years ago, all providing a glimpse into one of cinema’s most mysterious minds.
Dense on its own, but made nearly incomprehensible without English subtitles. As for some proper context: it’s Godard‘s “letter in motion” to Cannes organizers Thierry Frémaux and Gilles Jacob, over eight minutes explaining yet another absence from his native country’s greatest cinematic occurrence. A solemn apology or the most elaborate ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ this medium has ever seen? IndieWIRE have a translation, thankfully, and it begins like so without ever explaining too much:
“My dear President, dear festival director and dear colleagues,
Once again, I thank you for inviting me to the festival, but you know I haven’t taken part in film distribution for a long time, and I’m not where you think I am. Actually, I’m following another path. I’ve been inhabiting other worlds, sometimes for years, or for a few seconds, under the protection of film enthusiasts; I’ve gone and stayed.”
Watch the video below:
What did you make of Godard’s statement?