Helas Pour Moi | Chicago Reader

Helas Pour Moi

84 minutes

Jean-Luc Godard's most spiritual film is also his most opaque (1991). But the beauty of his work is often breathtaking, and I'd rather hear Godard talking to himself than Spielberg speaking to half the planet. Two principal points of reference are Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) and the Greek myth about Zeus impersonating and cuckolding Amphitryon, as treated by Jean Giraudoux and others—both having to do with cosmic injustice and the relationship between love and war. Gerard Depardieu is the Amphitryon figure, and Zeus is a croaking voice on the sound track, dimly related to the voice of the computer in Alphaville. I also spotted references to Kierkegaard, Hitchcock's I Confess (known as La Loi de Silence in French), and Straub-Huillet's From the Cloud to the Resistance and Antigone. For all the hermetic poetry and esoteric mysticism, this film also has concrete things to say about the bombing of Baghdad and the slaughter in Bosnia. In French with subtitles.

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