Archive for the ‘Visual Contemporaries’ Category

Visual Contemporaries: Woody Allen & Jean-Luc Godard II

March 5, 2010

In 1986, Godard interviewed Woody Allen. The editing makes the film hard to watch, as most of Godard’s films are after 1970.

In this segment, Godard smokes a cigar through the entire interview. The two great directors contrast their cinematic styles: Godard uses titles for cinematic purposes and Allen uses his titles as a literary device. Though, this is not always true, as Allen used sub-textual subtitles for a cinematic effect in Annie Hall. Either way, the fact that Allen brought up that fact shows that he is knowledgeable of Godard’s films. Godard intercuts his documentary with these titles accompanied with music before Allen’s answers. At one point, Godard pokes fun at Stanislavsky, the first teacher of method acting, “STALIN LOVES SKI”,  Allen also seems to be looking at the translator mostly rather than making eye contact with Godard.

At 2:40, Godard comically edits the footage of Woody Allen to make him look very comical. I could not help but to laugh at the frames that he chose to freeze on.

Immediately following, Godard smokes a cigar and sits on the floor, slamming video cassettes on a table. He looks angry as he opens a book with Woody Allen on the cover.

Godard always cuts off Allen through editing before Allen can make a point, to make Allen look less bright. Godard only lets Allen speak when he talks about his vulnerabilities and the desperation behind his wonderful creations.

Godard ends the session with a shot of himself gathering together pictures of Woody Allen and then closing the Woody Allen books with a slam. His editing makes it look like he does not respect Allen much. However,  not only is Godard knowledgeable of Allen’s films but also praises his choices in Hannah and Her Sisters.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this interview, but I’m glad it happened and I wonder how Woody Allen felt about his portrayal in it.


Visual Contemporaries: Woody Allen & Jean-Luc Godard

February 27, 2010


The other night I stumbled across a list of The Fifty Best Living Directors, which I apprehensively opened. However, I found myself agreeing with most of the list and was very surprised at some of the obscure directors they included (Agnes Varda and Wong Kar Wai being particular ones that they elaborated on). Woody Allen came in at #7, and Jean-Luc Godard came in at #2.

Though noticeably different, Allen and Godard share many similar tendencies. Godard is 5 years older than Allen, and Godard’s career took off almost 10 years before Allen’s, so it is safe to assume that Godard was an influence on Allen.

In this clip from 1965’s Pierrot Le Fou, Godard breaks the 4th wall, in the same way Allen does in 1977’s Annie Hall.

Godard casted his absolutely beautiful wife, the lovely Anna Karina, in his  films from 1961-1967, the years in which they were married. Her character most of the time is very flighty and lively compared to the protagonist, who usually is apprehensive, pensive and/or weighed down with a burden on the conscience. Godard recycled Karina in the same way Allen recast Diane Keaton.

In Godard’s 1962 film Une Femme est Une Femme, Karina and Jean Claude Brialy’s character use books as arguments to assault each other intellectually, not unlike Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Annie Hall.

In Godard’s 1964 film, Bande a part, he has his characters (including Karina as Odile) see how fast they can sprint through the Louvre. Allen’s characters frequently attend the museum, at a much slower pace. Though a corollary cannot be clearly drawn here, it is important that both auteurs extract conversation from a place not frequently used in films: the museum.

Also note the narrator in Bande a Part, a technique similar to Allen’s overbearing use in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Even when Allen is not  acting in his film, he emulates himself clearly in the characters, as he is most evidently “Vicky” in that movie. I enjoyed the film, nevertheless. Though it could be because Penelope Cruz is one of my favorite actors.