TIFF 2014: Goodbye to Language 3D
Like the film’s 70 minute runtime, I’ll be brief. Jean-Luc Godard tackles three dimensions in his latest film, a complete sensory assault that, like his other recent works, can only be attributed to the legendary filmmaker. Narrative and characters don’t truly matter here; something one character explicitly states at one point. There are two couples and a dog (Roxy Mieville, Godard’s own pet), that much is clear.
The real reason why anyone should see Goodbye to Language 3D is for the 3D effect itself. Love him or hate him, the screen has never looked deeper the way Godard films it. Using canted angles and placing objects close to the camera, the level of depth in some of Godard’s compositions almost hurt to watch because of how much they push the illusion. He also uses the fact that 3D shoots through two side-by-side cameras to mess with audiences’ eyes, usually moving one camera and leaving the other in its place. The result is an image best seen not told, like watching two shots laid on top of one another. One shot in the left eye, one shot in the right. Godard repeatedly goes back to this technique, sometimes setting up shots so one camera is slightly off compared to the other. It might drive people mad. It’s also the first time 3D feels exciting and not a gimmick for theatres and expensive TVs.
I’m not a particularly big fan of Godard’s work, but Goodbye to Language might be my favorite out of what I’ve seen from him. It’s not the kind of attack on the senses I’m fond of (see Leviathan for that), but I had fun with all the nonsense hurled at me from the screen. It’s a really funny film as well, with plenty of cheeky jokes thrown around (my favorite: as a young man starts defining philosophy, Godard abruptly cuts him off right after he says “Philosophy is…”). Enjoy it if you can, or flee in the other direction if you can’t. Chacun son cinéma.