Pop quiz: How many of you Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman fans out there have seen even one Jean-Luc Godard film? Frankly, friends, thats plain embarrassing. You cant go around touting the brilliance of your heroes fragmented narratives, surrealist alienation, emotional dead ends, and left-field comedy without some awareness of cinemas long-reigning radical prodigy. A fine place to start is Made in U.S.A., the directors long-unavailable 1966 Rubiks cube of a romp starring his muse and soon-to-be ex-wife Anna Karina as a gumshoe (inspired by Bogart in The Big Sleep) getting to the bottom of her lovers murder. Godard filters his admiration for no-nonsense American genre pictures the movie is dedicated to famed directors Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller through his usual lacerating contempt for American consumerism, advertising, and covert government intervention. Made in U.S.A. combines that perverse tension with a bold, bright color scheme (stunningly rendered in this new print), then plugs in the vibrant, up-for-anything Karina, and lets er rip. See it once for its beauty and audacity; see it again to make sense of it all.
April 1-7, 2009