The latest essay film from Jean-Luc Godard, still going strong, is a dense yet intellectually dexterous vision board on cinema, image-making and the state of the world.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
“Taking the form of an essay film collage akin to his opus Histoire(s) du cinéma, [The Image Book] is a salvo of anger and soul-searching inquiry from [a] director too often venerated only for his 1960s films… and dismissed for his later ones that, with far greater rigor, ask some of the hardest questions about ourselves as people living in the same era as he.
Made of five chapters, opening with ‘Remakes’, on the mutable repetitions of modern human wars, moving to a chapter on revolutions, trains… the ‘spirit of law’… and concluding with ‘la région centrale’ – a movement to the Middle East – The Image Book absorbs clips from cinema and reportage, equating both, trusting both, to search for the reason why violence between human beings continues. Why, the film asks, if we have the capability of filming, of recording, acts of horror, do we keep repeating the cruelty, continuing the oppression?
Flattening the distinction between the fiction films Godard is citing (including many of his own) and newsreels and Internet clips… The Image Book sees the moving image culture of the cinema era as both inquisitor and evidence for our capacity for horror, as well as for compassion and grace.” — Daniel Kasman, Mubi.com