First Name: Carmen | Chicago Reader

First Name: Carmen

85 minutes

Jean-Luc Godard continues the autobiographical fantasy of Every Man for Himself and Passion with a blackly comic tale of a broken-down director (played with great satiric flair by Godard himself) enlisted by his sexpot niece (Maruschka Detmers) as a cover for a bizarre kidnapping scheme. Godard, as usual, proceeds by contradictions: just as he aligns Beethoven's late quartets with the noise of Parisian traffic, so the film becomes more abstract as it becomes more personal, more tragic as it becomes more farcical. Godard uses the plot of Merimee's Carmen as a link between a classical tradition and his own modernist work of the 60s; he is searching for a point of equilibrium between the made and the found, the ordered and the chaotic—a point from which to define an aesthetic for the 80s. With Jacques Bonnaffe and Myriem Roussel (1983). In French with subtitles.

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