Conflict between theory and practice, one’s social conditions and thoughts, awareness and involvement, and ultimately image and sound, formed the key strands in Struggle in Italy, the second of five formal collaboration between Godard and Gorin (Wind from the East was begun first). Shot partially in Italy and in the flat in Paris that Godard shared with Anne Wiazemsky, this rather stark, analytic, discursive and deliberately incoherent work foregrounded on Althusser’s texts – a relatively lesser Groupe Dziga Vertov output, despite its undeniable political clarity – was centered on Paola (Cristiana Tulio-Altan), a young Italian university student, who’s striving to juxtapose her bourgeois upbringing with her Marxist convictions, and therefore realizing that active transformative action would ultimately define her revolutionary political consciousness and therefore shape her journey as a militant. The cyclical narrative was broken into two halves wherein the first half portrayed “theory” – i.e. her realization of the disparity between her convictions and the conservative social construct she belongs to – while the latter chronicled her active opposition to the various tenets of a capitalist sociopolitical structure – the university, family and state apparatuses – and therefore “practice”. The achronologically sequenced and repetitive vignettes featuring the girl were, in turn, interjected with grainy outdoor shots, footage of workers in shopfloor, B/W political images, and blank screens In an interesting stylistic choice and a touch of Brechtian distancing technique, the film’s spoken language was Italian, which was dubbed in parallel into French, albeit oftentimes out of sync. Further, as an aside, automobile giants continued to serve as a rhetorical metonym for capitalism on wheels, with Fiat here taking the place of British Motor Car Company in British Sounds and Skoda in Pravda.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Essay Film/Agitprop