THE IMAGE BOOK
LE LIVRE D'IMAGE
2018, Kino Lorber, 84 min, Switzerland/France, Dir: Jean-Luc Godard

The legendary Jean-Luc Godard adds to his influential, iconoclastic legacy with this provocative collage film essay, a vast ontological inquiry into the history of the moving image and a commentary on the contemporary world. Displaying an encyclopedic grasp of cinema and its history, Godard pieces together fragments from some of the greatest films of the past, then digitally alters, bleaches and washes them, all in the service of reflecting on what he sees in front of him and what he makes of the dissonance that surrounds him. He uses his own voice, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan in the twilight of their careers, to guide us through the fascinating labyrinth of his mind. As always with Godard, the key issues he raises have to do with the legacy of the last century and its horrors: the incomprehension of Hiroshima and Auschwitz, events that coincided with cinema but have somehow eluded its gaze. And, movingly, he also reflects on orientalism and the Arab world, grounding the new film very much in the present. Winner of the first Special Palme d'Or to be awarded in the history of the Cannes Film Festival, THE IMAGE BOOK is another extraordinary addition to the French master's vast filmography. - Piers Handling, Toronto International Film Festival.


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