November 05, 2002
In Praise of Love

Jean Luc Godard's 'In Praise of Love' was a good time. I stood by the door afterward and listened to people leave. "Of course he hates America-- he's French," "I'm sorry, but that movie was soooo boring." "You can't even die from tuberculosis-- it was just a mistake in the writing." "Maybe Mark will be able to explain it to us-- Mark, can you tell us what that movie was about?"

"You mean you don't know?" [big laughs]

"No, we have no idea-- what was it about-- tell us?"

"It was about love." [some inaudible crack-- another burst of laughter].

I like Godard-- though I had a hard time understanding him as he descended into the late 70s. I think you can actually pin-point the moment in his career when audience comprehension levels stopped being a concern. Why would anyone fault him for this though, really? He proved he could make people laugh and cry, construct a taut narrative, dazzle the critics, and now he wants to show us what he can do when we're not even in the theatre. Personally I had a lot of fun not understanding a single thing about his movie. What mattered was that there were a few sublime moments sprinkled throughout, and for me, the quips about Spielberg alone made it worth the price of admission.

I mention those theatre goers who were miffed at the Frenchman's gall because I think I saw them all again, two nights later, when I dreamed I was in a bookstore in the upper west side. It was a bookstore where I had finally found a copy of Nicholas Mosely's Hopeful Monsters, a book that has been oddly unavailable in Canada, which will make a fine Christmas present for someone somewhere/God knows who. Anyway, in the dream I was back in the bookstore and everyone was watching Friends. I have never watched Friends, as I have always been afraid that if I did I might like it, and then I would have to deal with what that meant about my character. In this particular episode, Jennifer Aniston was upset about Brad Pitt and she was sobbing in the kitchen and before I knew it my eyes started getting misty too. I had to check myself: I was not about to let an episode of Friends make me cry. "Isn't this supposed to be a bookstore for Christ's sake what's wrong with everybody here!?," I said, in a near suicidal tone that affronted the roomful of Friends-loving New Yorkers. I braced myself for the worst, but as they looked up from the tv screens with traces of scorn in their eyes I realized none of them knew how to be as indignant as I was, and this somehow enabled me to wake up in a good mood.

Sorry-- this is really too self indulgent. From now on I promise to keep all my crappy dreams about Jennifer Aniston (and otherwise) to myself.

Posted by at November 05, 2002 10:29 PM

too self indulgent

Shaddup, you. Nothing like a film review that segways into a dream review.

Posted by: D on November 6, 2002 05:02 PM .


Posted by: soma on April 23, 2005 09:59 PM .
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