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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:11 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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They are dense and only intermittently entertaining films-- I mean, one segment of British Sounds is just Godard responding to a challenge to make nudity boring, so there's still a sense of playfulness, but they all stink of "No fanatic like a convert" in terms of Godard's hard right to hard left shift (often in intriguing ways). Despite Godard's name, this box is just about the least commercial thing Arrow's ever released. The label def deserves kudos for putting out something much of its blind-buying fan base will utterly despise upon viewing


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:38 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
this box is just about the least commercial thing Arrow's ever released. The label def deserves kudos for putting out something much of its blind-buying fan base will utterly despise upon viewing

I agree that this is one hell of a bold strike and I wonder if the extras might include some contextualisation by Adrian Martin which would at least reach guaranteed sales in 3 figures if the Martinis kicked in.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:46 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Martin is one of our most gifted home media commentators with regard to Godard, I second the notion. Has Arrow commissioned him for anything before? I know they licensed his Fassbinder commentary from Madman for that box, but I can't recall anything else. One hopes Arrow will license his superb Madman commentary for Le gai savoir (as that film's release seems inevitable), which is the most audacious and thankless commentary track imaginable given the impenetrable source material


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:33 pm 
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I hope it is inevitable. It is easily top five '60s Godard for me.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
Should I blind buy this if I only watched Breathless and Va Savior? Not regarding their similarity but more how obtuse these films are


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:17 pm 
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Va savoir is not a Godard film? This is the deep end, probably best to go through his '60s features chronologically first.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am
domino harvey wrote:
Martin is one of our most gifted home media commentators with regard to Godard, I second the notion. Has Arrow commissioned him for anything before?


There's a video essay by himself and Cristina Alvarez Lopez on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
My mistake meant vivre sa vie (Va Savior is Rivette). So go through Weekend, Pierrot Le Fou and if I enjoy them but this set? I don't mind obscure films (bought the Yoshida set blind), but more that Godard might be extremely obtuse and hard to get into. I know his work after Weekend is pretty hard to like


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:56 pm 
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Enjoying the earlier films doesn't guarantee anything about what your response will be to this set, but if they help you appreciate his importance as a filmmaker, then you are likely to also appreciate these as an important part of a transitional phase in his career.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:57 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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These are predominately non-(or quasi-)narrative, free associative political essays with no real intended audience outside the filmmaker(s)-- these are difficult films because they remove many conventional pleasures offered elsewhere by Godard or cinema in general. How interesting you find this quintet of films will vary from person to person, but it's absolutely not something I would recommend to those just dipping their toes in Godard. I think they're worth seeing, but know what you're signing up for if you leapfrog more accessible (and, frankly, superior) films in Godard's oeuvre for these!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:00 pm 
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The fact they're obscure aren't what makes them "difficult." Their difficulty makes them difficult. These films don't share much more than being contemporaneous with it, but I'd say if you found Out 1 just too inpenetrable to get through this might not be the right set for you.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:30 pm 
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The way these films were quasi-unavailable before now ended up dovetailing pretty well with someone's level of Godard engagement; that is to say, if you were going to go to the trouble to source VHS rips of these films a few years ago through internet backchannels, it was probably because you had already seen at least a good part of his 60s films as well as his work in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, and wanted to get your hands on everything. It was a self-selecting audience of diehards, which in my view is kind of a pre-condition for getting much out of the films themselves. I think they're a very hard sell to someone who is not already interested in analyzing Godard's evolution cinematically and politically, or at least someone who has a deep interest in leftist thought from this period. Now that they are being issued in deluxe new editions (which I think is great, and I will certainly be buying) there's a bit of a confusion that might happen around people seeing them without a real framework for approaching them, as if they were interchangeable with his other films. I'm sure the new booklet will do a great job of setting some of this context up, but even so, if you're relatively new to Godard, I think you'd want to steer clear of these until later on, unless you're an extremely adventurous viewer.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:20 pm 
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To add to the caveats expressed here by other board members, I'd add that these are extremely dogmatic, ideologically-bound and therefore monological, claustrophobic works that are completely at odds with the intellectual openness of the Godard films preceding or following this period. That's not to say that you can't still find them interesting, especially as historical artifacts or as a facet of Godard's artistic career, but it's akin to digging Dylan enough to still find pleasure in his born-again fundamentalist Christian period.

For those still willing to explore these films and this period, especially the connection to Maoism, a possibly helpful book - that titles itself after one of the films here, and does address Godard among many other cultural-political figures - is Richard Wolin's The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution, and the Legacy of the 1960s (2010).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
Why would you compare these to Out 1? I did enjoy the first chapter of Historie(s) du cinema but I was trying to inquire more about how difficult these films are. I don't mind them being politically opposite from my own ideas, but how do these work as proper films might be my questions. I'm also getting Caboose book on Godard so I'm definitely interested in this era, but am interested if these are just propaganda proper or does it actually have more interesting value (i.e Soy Cuba, which is naive politically but wonderful cinematically)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:29 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
One hopes Arrow will license his superb Madman commentary for Le gai savoir (as that film's release seems inevitable), which is the most audacious and thankless commentary track imaginable given the impenetrable source material


Le gai savoir would have to be a UK exclusive, since Kino Lorber has the U.S. rights (and is planning a theatrical release later this year, alongside La chinoise). If Arrow can't wrangle the U.S. rights for Pravda, maybe they could release both films as a UK-only double feature, since Pravda alone is less than an hour long.

On the subject of the box, I'm holding out a perverse hope that Arrow includes the infamous English dub for Une film comme les autres. (Some of the other films also had English dubs, but of a more conventional and comprehensible nature, and therefore less interesting as historical artifacts.) And it's a very unlikely inclusion, but there's also the odd Grove Press re-edit of Vladimir et Rosa that deletes everything except the courtroom scenes and interpolates new B&W video footage (shot by Haskell Wexler) of Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman watching the film and making their own mostly critical remarks.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:57 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Speaking of dubs, they could include that old circulating copy of Vent d'est that had multiple overlaying tracks of audio translation-- if you think it's already hard to watch in the version Arrow will present, try it that way! And speaking of, thanks for the book rec Rayon Vert, that sounds right up my alley!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:44 pm 
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dda1996a wrote:
Why would you compare these to Out 1? I did enjoy the first chapter of Historie(s) du cinema but I was trying to inquire more about how difficult these films are. I don't mind them being politically opposite from my own ideas, but how do these work as proper films might be my questions. I'm also getting Caboose book on Godard so I'm definitely interested in this era, but am interested if these are just propaganda proper or does it actually have more interesting value (i.e Soy Cuba, which is naive politically but wonderful cinematically)


It's also a fairly impenetrable, until now reasonably inaccessible, post-New Wave barely-narrative work by one of the Cahiers cohort that Arrow released? It's not necessarily that content is ultimately all that similar, but it's certainly within shooting range of one another on a purely literal level of being similar works from the same period. You very well could like these films and continue to not like Out 1, but out of all the Academy sets Arrow's released that's surely the closest comparison point, so if you're not willing to be burned on a blind-buy as you felt with the other set, I'd be more wary. If you just want to learn and understand more about Godard or the period or, I guess, film, and don't particularly care about actively enjoying something or having a good time, then feel free, but even their staunchest defenders probably wouldn't classify these films as particularly entertaining (a factor that Out 1 does at least have, in my estimation, anyway).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:20 am 
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I'd also add that if anyone is curious but wary about this set, it would probably be best to try out Tout va bien (and Letter To Jane) when Arrow releases that very soon. It took me a while to warm up to Tout va bien, but like it a lot now. At least you'll get a bit of Jane Fonda with your polemic! The timing of that release suddenly makes perfect sense now.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:42 am 
Dot Com Dom
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Tout va bien! is infinitely more accessible than any of these films. Watching Letter to Jane will bring you closer, given that it's 40+ Minutes of the two filmmakers berating Fonda while a single photo is shown on-screen


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:15 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Tout va bien! is infinitely more accessible than any of these films. Watching Letter to Jane will bring you closer, given that it's 40+ Minutes of the two filmmakers berating Fonda while a single photo is shown on-screen

I quite enjoyed Tout va bien (unlike LtJ).


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Any updates on Pravda?


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