Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Tout Ne Va Pas Bien

Why is it these days I can't seem to get through a single film class without having to be subjected to the works of Jean-Luc Godard? The guy's so influential but he's not a good director and doesn't have very many good movies. I've discussed Alphaville before, but here is another example of Godard at his worst: Tout Va Bien (which roughly translates as "All is Well").

Out of all the Godard movies I've had to watch, this is probably the closest any of his works have come to actually winning me over. As we started it almost managed to earn my respect. The style was kinda interesting at first, with the idea that Godard was trying to emphasize the political situation in France at the time by trapping us in factory while the workers were on strike. All the while we had characters talking to the camera as though being interviewed, the claustrophobic feelings of our hero who never meant to get caught up in this, and even an interesting shot where we see all the rooms in the factory at once. Perhaps if the whole movie had just focused on that factory and the strike we might have had something worthwhile. 

As it happens, the movie ditches that plot early on and then jumps all over the place without ever really going anywhere. Once we get past that there isn't really a plot of any sort and we just get a bunch of stuff happening. I was completely lost by the time we got to the end. 

The only thing I can really recall being a benefit of any sort was Jane Fonda, who to be fair seems to deliver a reasonable performance with what she has to work with. She and some of the other actors do a reasonable job, but since the script is so disjointed and jumps all over the place it's not really enough to save it.

I also remember that, like Alphaville, the plot made less and less sense as the movie went on, becoming increasingly disjointed and scenes started to go on far longer than they needed to, to the point where I would have been willing to forgive the disjointed plot provided the scene just cut to something else. 

One especially noteworthy example was a scene near the end. Jane Fonda goes into a grocery store and for whatever reason everybody is rushing to buy up as many things as they can. The camera slowly moves along an aisle of cash registers. When it reaches the end, it then begins to retrace its steps until it reaches the other end of the line, and then goes back and forth repeatedly as for whatever reason things get more and more chaotic and people start pushing and shoving to get to the check-out. 

Jane Fonda, our main character, is eventually reduced to a background element, and so we keep moving back and forth along this check-out line watching people we don't know beating each other up for some reason and the camera just keeps tracking back and forth at a frustratingly slow rate.

PLEASE! Just cut to something else! I don't care if Jane Fonda suddenly decides to do a film adaptation of The Three Musketeers with flying ships just as long as it gets me out of this scene!

I don't know, maybe Godard had a reason for doing what he did, but I still say that Tout Va Bien is a poorly executed mess of a film. If you want radical films dealing with political situations there's probably a ton of better options you can look at which actually make sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment