Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Made In U.S.A. (1966)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Criterion DVD

Admittedly, this is a challenging film to watch, Particularly if you have any preconceived notions from the fact that it is based on "The Jugger" by Richard Stark. It's hard to understand why Godard would have chosen to base it on any novel as by this point in his career he had moved past using typical narrative let alone the trappings that would go along with making a genre film like a thriller. While it does use some very basic plot points, like finding out who the murderer is, tricking the murderer into confessing, this would qualify as a deconstruction of a thriller with most of it's running time devoted to the actors talking about politics or making pop-culture references. For me, it was a rewarding viewing experience. I caught a lot of the references and always enjoy time capsules where political opinions are expressed. Visually it pops with color. Anna Karina's super-cool sixties clothing looks like it was designed by Mondrian and certain shots and moments evoke a Lichtenstein vibe. It's also very interesting to note that this was Godard's last collaboration with Anna Karina and they had already been divorced for two years when it was made.

Criterion's disc looks incredible and is loaded with extras. So even if it's not your favorite Godard, it is a must have for the interviews with Ms. Karina and actor László Szabó and the short documentary.


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