The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society will continue celebrating the late Jean-Luc Godard’s indelible contribution to world cinema in its Cine Fan programme from May to July.
Cine Fan’s For Ever Godard retrospective extends the eight-film tribute at the 47th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF47) featuring his muse and ex-wife, Anna Karina. It offers a comprehensive overview of impacting role of the French New Wave giant, who passed away last September at 91.
At the centre of the retrospective are over 50 feature and short films by Godard, a seminar, and an exhibition. Swiss producer Fabrice Aragno will hold a masterclass to share his insights and experience working with the maestro with the Hong Kong audience.
The tribute programme will present his oeuvre in four phases, each representing a different period of his artistic transformation. The French New Wave section sees Godard’s breakthrough as a director with his feature debut Breathless, stunning the world through non-linear narrative, use of jump cuts, and innovative mise-en-scene that changed the language of cinema forever. Besides his celebrated collaboration with Karina, such as My Life to Live and Pierrot le Fou, the section also features some of his most iconic New Wave masterpieces, including his acclaimed trilogy of revolution – 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, La Chinoise and Week-End. The latter two films feature Anne Wiazemsky, Godard’s second wife, who became his on-screen inspiration.
The Revolutionary Experiments phase witnesses Godard’s evolution into radical and political cinema, with the formation of the Dziga Vertov Group and his employing revolutionary rhetoric to ‘make films politically’. Highlights of this period include the banned The Joy of Knowledge; One Plus One, starring the Rolling Stones; Tout va bien, a masterpiece of radical cinema; and Here and Elsewhere, which marked the collaboration with his third wife and working partner Anne-Marie Miéville. Though criticised for solipsism, these works remain critical to our understanding of Godard’s unrelenting exploration of cinema as an art form.
His 1980 Every Man for Himself marked his triumphant return to mainstream cinema, delving into intertextual analysis that relates cinema to literature, painting and music. Included under the Dialogue Between the Arts period are some of his most notable work of the decade – the trilogy of the sublime, consisting of Passion, the Venice Golden Lion-winning First Name: Carmen, and the highly controversial Hail Mary, in addition to Germany Year 90 Nine Zero, a response to the Cold War, and New Wave, his reflection on the French New Wave.
After two decades of unending experimentation, Godard explored the relationships between the individual, cinema, and history, best represented by his personal essay JLG/JLG – Self-Portrait in December. In Historical Meditations, the final creative period of his life, the ultimate cinematic auteur found the most satisfying way of expression, exemplified in In Praise of Love, Goodbye to Language 3D and The Image Book, winner of the first-ever Special Palme d’Or at Cannes. Miéville’s penetrating drama After the Reconciliation also serves as a reference for understanding Godard in his rare but brilliant acting role.
Complementing the retrospective are Hollywood classics by three American auteurs Godard revered. Samuel Fuller, who had a cameo role in Pierrot le Fou, delivered a jarring statement on postwar American capitalism in his 1953 Cold War spy noir, Pickup on South Street. Inspiring the French New Wave, Otto Preminger’s frenzied romantic tale Fallen Angel uses moral ambiguity as a tool of human insight. Meanwhile, Nicholas Ray’s directorial debut, They Live by Night, passionately portrays youth rebellion against injustice through a story of fugitive love.
Please check out Cine Fan’s official website (https://cinefan.hkiff.org.hk/en) for the complete programme and the screening schedule for the May/June/July edition starting from 4 April. Tickets to all screenings are available from URBTIX from 6 April, and CINE FAN ONLINE passes (https:/cinefan.hkiff.org.hk/en) from 5 May.