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Michel Hazanavicius won an Oscar™ for his anachronistic hit, the silent, and eminently charming homage to silent film, THE ARTIST. Well, not entirely silent. As in Mel Brooks’ foray into making a modern silent with the aptly named, SILENT MOVIE, there is one word spoken.
Hazanavivius’ latest film. GODARD MON AMOUR, words take center stage as Jean-Luc Godard undergoes a political awakening in 1968, though ideological radicalization may be a more accurate way of describing it. He’s also embarking on a relationship with Anna Wiezemsky, the star of his first overtly political film, LA CHINOISE, a paean to Mao’s China that managed annoy everyone, including Mao. Based on Wiezemsky’s memoir about her affair with and eventual marriage to Godard, the film uses several of Godard’s signature cinematic devices to tell a darkly comic story of an artist trapped by his fan base that refuses to let him grow creatively, and seduced by the glib certainty that extremism can offer. Full of puns, several of which work in both French and English, as well as sharp commentary about art and politics in theory and practice, GODARD MON AMOUR is a nimble intellectual comedy manner, or lack thereof, that takes its subject, if not itself, very seriously.
When I spoke with Hazanavicius, a man of deep thought and dry wit, on April 14, 2018, we talked about the challenge of making puns work in more than one language, using actual events to make a metaphorical point, the purpose of cinema, and why the present has so much in common with 1968.
The film stars Louis Garrel as Godard, Stacy Martin as Wiazemsky, as well as Bérénice Bejo, Micha Lescot, Grégory Gadebois, Félix Kysyl, and Arthur Orcier. Hazanavicius directed from a script he wrote based on Anne Wiazemsky’s novel “Un an après”.