A session was dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard at Théâtre Claude Debussy, his favorite room in the Palais des Festivals de Cannes. Many people attended on Sunday, May 21, including directors Wang Bing, Pedro Costa, Jim Jarmusch, Gaspar Noé and Albert Serra, to name a few. They were there to discover, as part of the Official Selection of the Cannes Classics section, Film announcement of the film that will never exist: Phoney wars (“Film trailer for the film that will never exist: Funny Wars”), his last work, a short 20-minute film. Godard, a French-Swiss filmmaker, decided to organize his “assisted suicide” – allowed by Swiss legislation – and die, on September 13, 2022, at the age of 91.
Florence Platarets’ documentary, Godard by Godarda self-portrait made exclusively from archives, written by Frédéric Bonnaud, director of La Cinémathèque française, in Paris, was also screened.
“The second life, or the thousandth life, of Jean-Luc Godard begins now,” said Cannes director Thierry Frémaux on stage. He then made the audience meditate on one of Godard’s “formidable sentences” found in a biography: “It is better to whisper your happiness than to cry out your misery.”
The director of Breathless (Breathless, 1960), for whom the work of a filmmaker was more like that of a painter, was still trying, in his ultimate gesture, to update his grammar. In a text accompanying the work on this last film, he wrote: “No longer trust the billions of dictates of the alphabet to give back their freedom to the incessant metamorphoses and metaphors of a true language by returning to the places of past shootings, while taking into account the present stories.”
Fabrice Aragno, director of photography, editor and loyal Godard collaborator, explained the process of making movie ad…, in an interview available on the Festival website. after The Image Book (2018), Godard wanted to adapt Fake Passports (“False Passports”) by Charles Plisnier (1896-1952). It was published in 1937 and won the Goncourt Prize the same year. In it, the Belgian author Plisnier relates, through several characters, the communist experience and its disillusionment, between the October Revolution of 1917 and the 1930s.
Godard had imagined a scenario in six chapters and started to compose a book of collages, while Aragno did the technical tests. This was in 2020 and the Covid-19 crisis slowed down the project’s progress. Godard continued to work on paper, with glue and Tipp-Ex, creating a montage of images and paintings. He finished by creating a booklet of about 50 pages, where each constitutes a plan. He then sent the document to Aragno, with instructions on the rhythm, the insertion of music and audio extracts from films or archives.
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