In Praise of Love | Chicago Reader

In Praise of Love

Jean-Luc Godard's 2001 feature, his best since Nouvelle Vague (1990), is in some respects as difficult as that film, though visually it's stunning and unique even among Godard's work. The first part, set in contemporary Paris, was shot in black-and-white 35-millimeter, while the second, set in Brittany two years earlier, is in floridly oversaturated color. A young man (Bruno Putzulu) interviews men and women for an undefined project called “Eloge de l'Amour,” which will involve three couples (young, adult, and old) experiencing four stages of love (meeting, physical passion, separation, and reconciliation). One young woman he spends time with is the granddaughter of a couple he's met earlier, former members of the French resistance negotiating to sell their story to a Hollywood studio. As in his magnum opus, Histoire(s) du Cinema, Godard is centrally concerned with the ethics of true and false representation and with the lost promise of cinema, which leads to some anti-American reflections ranging from reasonable to over-the-top. This is a twilight film, dark and full of sorrow, yet lyrical and beautiful as well. In French with subtitles.

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