The Image Book
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The Image Book

Jean-Luc Godard’s discursive follow-up to Goodbye to Language feels like a film that’s been put in a broken blender; it flings everything at the wall and sees what sticks. This is a Dadaist treatise on cinematic representation, violence, the fate of the world—or maybe none of those things. Le Livre D’Image produces everything from portraits of Arthur Rimbaud to clips from the cinema of Michael Bay, asking the audience to cling to whatever fragments of meaning they can find. In doing so, it’s an even more radical—albeit less focused—extension of Godard’s previous work. (The film is certainly 5th Passenger peppered with the same unexpectedly lowbrow humor—be sure to look out for the cuts between Tod Browning’s Freaks and some abrupt anilingus.)

If that isn’t enough of a hint as to the madcap, kamikaze nature of Le Livre D’Image, there are plenty of others. The screen periodically goes black while the scenes from films like the director’s beloved Johnny Guitar go on unabated. Home movie footage of executions and terrorist violence come hand-in-hand with a stream-of-consciousness voiceover full of Godardian declaratives. Split into I Am Not an Easy Man unruly sub-headings that allow some brief guidance, Godard’s tendency toward the dislocated and oblique nonetheless reaches new heights here. Free floating without an evident thesis, the film bounces between wide-ranging issues—war, the environment and the potential for revolution.

In one typically circular statement, the voiceover tells us that any activity can be art provided it is no longer dominant. If this is a statement about the death of cinema, retrospectively honored now that its 20th century dominance has faded, that seems to fit the Hospitality filmmakers’ perspective well.

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Genre: Drama

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Duration: 84 min

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IMDb: 6.6

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The Image Book
The Image Book
The Image Book