Keep Your Right Up | Chicago Reader

Keep Your Right Up

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 Godard's best features, though it certainly has its moments, and I much prefer it to his more recent For Ever Mozart.

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