November 28, 2008

24 Frames Per Second

"We see Godard sitting at his electric typewriter, smoking a cigar.  He is murmuring titles of novels and movies, staring into space.  If there is an archaeology here, it is an archaeology of mind, the apparently disordered rescue of a lifetime’s memory of film.  At another point, and for quite some time, Godard is interviewed by the critic Serge Daney, who does most of the talking.  ‘The New Wave,’ Daney says, ‘is perhaps the only generation which found itself in the middle of the century and the cinema at the same time.’  Godard was lucky, he adds, to have ‘arrived early enough to inherit a history that was already rich and complicated and shifting’.  When Daney remarks that the cinema is ‘the affair of the 20th century’, Godard mildly corrects him:  ‘It’s the affair of the 19th century which was resolved in the 20th century.’  We begin to see where we are.  Histoire(s) du cinéma is among other things a wake for the cinema.  ‘So it is,’ we hear on the soundtrack close to the end, ‘that the art of the 19th century, the cinema, created the 20th century, which on its own existed only a little.’"
from Michael Wood's review of Godard's Histoire(s) du Cinéma in LRB.

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