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rating

1.5 out of 4 stars
  • Godard Mon Amour
  • Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Starring Louis Garrel and Bérénice Bejo
  • Classification 14A
  • 107 minutes

A year ago this week, Jean-Luc Godard stormed the beaches of the Cannes Film Festival. Well, not the legend-in-his-own-time filmmaker himself, but a new film based on his relationship with his second wife, actress Anne Wiazemsky.

For writer-director Michel Hazanavicius to make a film examining the life of one of cinema’s most renowned figures was a cocky act in and of itself; to premiere the work at the world’s most prestigious film festival was another. But to have it also come from the mind of Hazanavicius, one of France’s most polarizing directors – a man equally loathed and loved for his work on the Oscar-winning silent film The Artist, and the almost universally derided war drama The Search (which I admit retaining a peculiar soft spot for) – was perhaps a bridge-burning too far.

As it happens, the warning signs add up nicely: Godard Mon Amour (previously titled Redoubtable) is a too-slick-by-half work that feels more like a collection of IMDb trivia notes or a YouTube Godard-for-Dummies tutorial mashed into a half-hearted act of homage. As Hazanavicius tries to peel back the layers of Godard, he only proves how little of the man’s work he understands.

There are good intentions lurking here, especially in star Louis Garrel’s performance, but the film consistently fails to engage on an even basic level. Asked what he thought of the concept before its Croisette premiere last year, Godard was blunt: “It’s a stupid idea.” C’est vrai.

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