Wednesday 5 April 2023

Passion [1982]

 Godard’s remarkable and underrated gem Passion was laced with a delightful dichotomy. While it wasn’t an easy film – heavily political, essayistic in its form, opaque, digressive, thematically intricate and dense, woven with complex metaphors, and possessing an intellect that was unnerving in its brilliance – it was also droll, playful, deadpan, irreverent, self-effacing, and comprised of visually stunning and meticulously composed tableaux vivants that strikingly contrasted with the grainy realism of the rest of the film. Raoul Coutard, who Godard collaborated with here for the first time since his trailblazing masterpiece Week-end 15 years back, can be thanked for its splendid visual design. To paraphrase a reviewer’s witty summation, it’s a movie without a story about the making of a movie without a story, and like his previous film Every Man for Himself, here too the protagonist was a filmmaker in a state of intellectual stasis and artistic crisis. Jerzy (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) is a Polish director making a non-narrative film for television comprising of spellbinding recreations of renowned paintings by European masters – Rembrandt, Goya, Delacroix, Ingres, El Greco, Caravaggio – while his producer László (László Szabó) is highly agitated as Jerry repeatedly cancels the shoots, for the lack of conventional storyline, and because it’s overbudget which has made the financiers furious. During the course of its filming Jerry initially has an affair with Hanna (Hanna Schygulla), the weary owner of a hotel where the crew has put up, and thereafter gets besotted with Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert), a stuttering, sincere and alluring shopfloor worker who’s striking with her comrades as she’s been fired for her Marxist views by the factory’s farcical owner Michel (Michel Piccoli), who, in turn, is married to Hanna.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Political Satire

Language: French

Country: France

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