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Keep Your Right Up


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Basically an episodic comedy, Jean-Luc Godard's Soigne ta droite (1986, 82 min.), a French-Swiss coproduction, features Godard himself as the comic lead, rehearsals of the rock group Rita Mitsouko, a good many gags (some involving golf and travel), and a lot of cameos from well-known French actors, including Jane Birkin, Bernadette Lafont, and Jacques Villeret. The biggest surprise here, though, is Godard's modification of his own persona: in contrast to the grumpy, would-be sages of First Name: Carmen and King Lear, his benign and ethereal character is positively Keatonian, with echoes of Tati's Monsieur Hulot as well. (Early in the film, he executes a surprisingly deft Keaton-like gag of diving through a car window.) The main comic inspiration, by Godard's own admission, is Jerry Lewis--specifically the airplane sequence in Cracking Up, though what Godard does with it seems even more quizzically eccentric than the model. Godard is also seen grasping a copy of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, which may provide some clues about what he's up to. This isn't one of his best features, though it certainly has its moments, and I much prefer it to Godard's more recent For Ever Mozart. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, February 9, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, February 10 and 11, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; Monday through Thursday, February 12 through 15, 7:00 and 9:00; 773-281-4114.

--Jonathan Rosenbaum

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