Adieu au langage France, Switzerland 2014 – 70min.
Adieu au langage
The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog finds itself between them. The other is in one, the one is in the other and they are three. The former husband shatters everything. A second film begins: the same as the first, and yet not. From the human race we pass to metaphor. This ends in barking and a baby's cries.
This synopsis is from Jean-Luc Godard himself, published in April 2014, before his movie was released at the Cannes Film Festival, leaving journalists with great expectations. A different, less cryptic one would have been more helpful. Mathematics and gas chambers meet the history of film and certain great literary figures; the woman is often naked, but the portrait of the filmmaker’s dog is the most intriguing. JLG, through the voice of his assistant, invites spectators to “take” the film rather than “understand” it. Despite the sibylline aspect of the material, festival audiences flocked to see it and the critics raved. In Locarno, additional screenings were necessary to meet the demand. Admittedly, the old lion of the Nouvelle Vague allows himself a freedom that is relatively rare. The effect of his use of 3D, done with simple cameras, approaches the feature-length film of a living painter. This successful form of experimentation is the movie’s true great idea. The rest is reminiscent of his recent work: desynchronized sound, pontificating narration, moving images, a subjective point of view. It is best to see it and make up your own mind.