Jean-Luc Godard was never very good at imitating the cinema of his time. In his first decade as a film-maker, he produced nothing but failed imitations. Eventually he found his own style, and invented a cinema that could not be imitated. It was also a cinema that attracted few viewers. One showing in a major city was usually sufficient to accommodate all those wishing to see his recent movies. For “Goodbye to Language,” his fourth non-documentary feature in this 21st Century, Seattle gave him two days in the luxurious Cinerama Theater.
The movie begins with the information that Hitler was elected in the same year as television was invented, and goes on to equate nanotechnology with terrorism. After much rumination on the lack of equality between the sexes, this very short, 68-minute film, comes to the conclusion that the dog, having learned to think, must learn to communicate its thoughts through means other than language, because language has he none.
In spite of the writer-director’s many shots of the dog, accompanied by philosophical aphorisms expounding the animal’s ability to love the human being more than itself, this is what I got out of the movie: The nude woman in cinema is always pornographic. The nude French woman is the most pornographic of all, because if she were not reduced to a pornographic object, she would never allow the French male to mate with her. The nude man is always obscene; the nude French man the most obscene of all. Conclusion: There is no nudity in nature, so nude dogs are not in the least pornographic.
Godard’s cinemai is one of ideas, crazy as those ideas may be, and they are getting crazier as Godard gets older. His visual motifs here are water, an excursion boat, flowers, dogs, naked people, and an old man showing books to a young girl. Most people dislike philosophical movies, perhaps because they too closely resemble the horror film. But without the laughter to relieve the tension after the horrific event.
Epilog: (although presented as motif) “A woman can do no harm. She can annoy. She can kill. No more.” (Jean-Luc Godard)