Le Redoutable, based on autobiography by Anne Wiazemsky, written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Le Redoutable has been nominated for the Palme D’Or and this means it is one of the best films of 2017
Furthermore, the writer of the screenplay and director of the motion picture is Michel Hazanavicius, the winner of the Oscar for The Artist, a phenomenon that not only won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but also caused a thunderstorm with the other Academy and multiple prizes it won.
The hero and at the same time antihero of this provocative, thoughtful, worthwhile, difficult film is Jean-Luc Godard.
Recognized as a Deity of the New Cinema, a genius with quintessential art works like Contempt, based on the consummate novel by Alberto Moravia, Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Godard refutes all this at one stage.
This is the archetypal case of the genius who descends into a big depression, if an authoritative artist, he is also an obnoxious, rude, impossible, loathsome and despicable human being.
If one only considers his political views, his “revolutionary stand” and that would be enough to reject the personage completely, even if he would find so much to argue in favor of tyrants, mass murderers like Stalin and Mao, the latter is so present in the conversation, quotes and on the walls of the apartment of Godard.
On the set of La Chinoise, the director becomes infatuated with the actress Anne Wiazemsky, who would later write the autobiography on which this excellent motion picture is based.
La Chinoise was not well received by a good number of critics and the communist Chinese that the filmmaker so cherished, who refuses his request to visit China, even going as far as to state that, were it up to them, they would make Godard change the title of his bourgeois, putrid feature that they hate.
The media is excited by the marriage and they insist on finding the details and keep asking about the ceremony, when the subject of the press conference is actually La Chinoise and one representative of the film festival is so upset that he starts referring to the film as “La Tonkinoise” and this results in further jokes, the spiritual Jean-Luc Godard rectifies the mistake, then corrects the official, even when he has the correct title and then changes the name of the man…
However, if the director can be affable, he is very often rude, insults people in a restaurant, talks dismissively about Truffaut and his romantic movies, he even rejects…Godard, saying I am not this Godard, he is dead.
This “new”, unlikeable Godard is not interested in making “middle class features”, not anymore, for he wants to depict, film fares about the revolution and keeps quoting the heinous –in this cinephile’s view- Mao and Che Guevara.
Che said that we have to create an “interior Vietnam” and that stupid quote is repeated at least twice and Jean-Luc Godard is repellent when, during one of the few marches he attends, one couple approaches him and the woman talks about the need to see felicitous films, since life is so “moche”.
The hero almost kicks these people, as he does with some others, including one working for Publicis, who has attacked the idol, deity of the stupid-in this matter- Godard.
Paradoxically or not, this ultimate revolutionary, adept of Che and every other damn killer in the name of communism, is rejected by some fired up student as in the same category of consumerism symbols as- anathema- Coca Cola…
He even understands them and he has a clash with his young wife, who is flabbergasted by his lack of response when so viciously insulted, and the director says that he hates “vieux cons „and as he becomes one, he despises himself.
Jean-Luc Godard, as described by his wife is unbearable, with his obsessive fight against the bourgeoisie and anything destined for its consumption, insistence on revolutionary attitudes- he even rejects Anne’s suntan and he gets a funny response: Lenin did not have a suntan, but Che Guevara surely did.
In terms of films, the man turned antihero rejects all his works and everything the others did, with some strange exceptions like…Jerry Lewis, The Marx Brothers…he attacks viciously Renoir and his “bourgeois films”, provoking an intense fight in the car, as they travel 800 kilometers to reach Paris.
When Anne is invited to act in a modern film, the husband is appalled by the script which has the protagonist naked throughout and rejects the project, only to accept it when the screenplay is changed, but he still insults and abuses his spouse when he arrives at the filming location, where he is jealous of the partner…by the way, he once calls all actors stupid, they only know to do what you tell them…
Jean-Luc Godard has another fight, he is a dedicated, serious combatant in this later part of his life, with Bernardo, whose work he destroys, as he does with everything except some aforementioned productions.
“Pezzo di merda, vaffanculo…c’est tout de la merde” these words are shouted with incredible frequency and they indeed might point out to mental failure and a serious depression which could explain some of the behavior and the extreme acts committed by this troubled artist, who just wants to be a “Maoist, communist and revolutionary” in his sad, loathsome part of his life.
The question posed in the later works is if Godard should make films or revolution, for films with the revolutionary message are hard to make, as he tries to have collective decisions on the making of features, with people voting on what should be and could not be in, the atrocities committed against Native Americans…but do we have the money to include that? You pay for it Godard, if you want them…the crew appearing to vote the director out of his ideas …if it a revolutionary film, it still needs to be a film…n’est pas…