Jean-Luc GodardFrance / Germany 91 minutes1969ColourFrench
Made for French television in the wake of the events of May '68, this poetic essay on the problems of education marked Godard's turn towards the highly politicized cinema he would pursue in the early 1970s. Nouvelle vague icons Jean Pierre Léaud and Juliet Berto play "Émile Rousseau" and "Patricia Lumumba," who meet in a darkened television studio for seven nights to analyze the relationships between politics and language, television and cinema, sound and image. Their discourse, influenced by such philosophers as Walter Benjamin and Guy Debord, is funny, incisive, provocative, thrilling — and as reflective of our time as of its own. "If Godard has filmed a 'summa,' then this is it; the title of the film expresses the essential spirit of Godard's work as well as any phrase I can think of" (James Monaco).