“The animal is not naked because it is naked”
Godard does with 3D in Goodbye to Language what he did to cinema’s conventions with Breathless. Pushing dimension into low-grade cell phone footage, or exaggerating the depth to the extreme of a street scene, at times rendering different images in each eye. But the surprising star of the show was the play of sound, volume in particular. The event’s host told us that the projectionist wanted the disclaimer made that all extreme leaps in volume are deliberate and not a technical error.
In fact, what Godard does here is extraordinary; continuity, score, diegetic sound are all abruptly interrupted, distorted or played back on the wrong stereo channel, keeping us ever aware of the construct while also imparting powerful emotional shifts. From the burst of ear piercing shouts in a street level riot to the hilariously deliberate squeak of Mary Shelley’s fountain pen across a journal page as she scrawls Frankenstein while Lord Byron’s dialogue crackles as it blows the mic capsule, Godard plunges us viscerally into the hunt for a palpable sensation, something rip us out of the reverie, the smokescreen of language. He imparts to cinema sound what My Bloody Valentine did for recording music, always pressing against the seams, exposing its mold lines, making us not only hyper-aware, but wary of its inherent limits.
“I have always detested characters. From birth we are forced into them”
In this vein, Goodbye to Language is an ontological exploration actually well-served by the exploitation of the media’s limits: Immediately in the title sequence, Godard delineates the 2D from 3D planes and then effectively makes the 2D the more reliable, as 3D low-grade images smear across in the background, searching, searching, just the like the dog upon which he spends most of the film – pointing out that through the gaze of an animal are we able to access the real world.
Friday, January 23 – Thursday, January 29, 2015
Exclusive Los Angeles Engagement – 3D
Aero Theatre Santa Monica
1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, 90403
More information at American Cinemateque
Tags: experimental 3d, film review, Goodbye to Language, jean-Luc Godard