Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hibbleton Gallery's Jean-Luc Godard Retrospective

Throughout December and January, Hibbleton Gallery will host a retrospective of the films of Jean-Luc Godard, curated by award-winning documentary filmmaker Steve Elkins (screenings start at 7:30pm after a talk by Steve and they're all FREE). 

Most people know Godard for a handful of revolutionary films made in the early '60s associated with the French New Wave which changed cinema forever; however, his most important work has arguably been done since then. For the last seven decades, Godard has effectively embarked on an anthropology of the entirety of Western civilization: few filmmakers have probed deeper into who we are, and why. These films are as important to sociology as they are to avant-garde art, to pop culture as they are to philosophy, and few people are aware of these monumental works, even less are discussing them. We invite you to join us for these rare community screenings of films from each of the seven decades Godard has been working, many of which have never been screened publicly in the US.  Here's a great trailer overview of Godard's works: 

Our January program will be announced soon; in the meantime, here's what we're watching in December. 

Monday, December 9th: NOTRE MUSIQUE (2004)

A triptych that sets Dante's three Kingdoms of the afterlife in the modern world, in which Heaven is a beach guarded by US Marines and Purgatory is a (real) congregation of the world's great poets in the ruins of the Sarajevo library, where two million books (and people) had just been destroyed in a bombing. As they begin one of cinema's most moving discussions about the complexities of forgiveness, we follow the parallel stories of two Israeli women propelled by these reflections in opposite directions: one toward martyrdom and the other toward perceiving the face of her "enemies" as the outline of the Absolute, the geography of the Infinite which traces "where God passes." Inspired by the thought of Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, José Lezama Lima, and Emmanuel Lévinas, "Notre Musique" is a profound work of theology that considers whether heaven and hell are in fact the same place: both "protected" by a divide across which we cannot embrace "the Other," who is our mirror. Here is a moving scene with Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish: 

Monday, December 16th: 2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (1967)

In the mid-1960s, Charles de Gaulle began restructuring French society to become modeled on American consumer culture. One of the costs of this development was that middle class housewives in Paris had to become prostitutes to afford the newfound "necessities" of living (hairdressers, washing machines, groceries, etc). In outraged reaction, Jean-Luc Godard made "2 Or Three Things I Know About Her," an anthropology of the Americanization of Paris, which considers the transition to "modern living" as a gradual and imperceptible prostitution of the mind. In this remarkably beautiful and dense film, Godard places a microscope on the structure of our daily lives, colliding the veiled inner meanings of words and objects with dazzling speed, resulting in mind-bending insights into the invisible borders that define us, from the macro (“Where does the individual end and society begin?”) to the micro (“Where does the material end and the spirit begin?”). Here is the classic scene where a swirling cup of espresso becomes the formation of consciousness and the universe:

Monday, December 23rd: HéLAS POUR MOI" (1993):

Jean-Luc Godard's 1993 rumination on the meaning of all creation, from God to Bruce Willis movies, set to the music of Arvo Pärt and Keith Jarrett. Navigating labyrinths of Christian theology and Jewish mysticism, the film explores the transmission of the sacred across time, through a surrealistic, modern take on the Greek myth of Amphitryon, where Zeus (played here by Gerard Depardieu!) descends to earth to seduce a woman by disguising himself as her husband. Please join us for this rare screening of Godard's gorgeous meditation on the idea of Incarnation, the penetration of the divine in love, art, language, and history, described by Godard as his attempt to "see the invisible...the other half of the universe beyond images and beyond stories." 

Monday, December 30th: A WOMAN IS A WOMAN (1961)

After changing movies forever with his debut "Breathless," then receiving threats of expulsion and death from the French government for making a film that exposed their official policy of torture in Algeria ("Le Petit Soldat"), Jean-Luc Godard made this radical musical comedy, that even today feels ahead of its time. It was "a reaction against anything that wasn't done," Godard said, "It went along with my desire to show that nothing was off-limits. An Inquisition-like regime ruled over French cinema. There were taboos and laws and I wanted to show that it all meant nothing. French cinema is dying under the weight of false myths. The myths had to be destroyed for French cinema to be reborn." Trailer:

Hibbleton Gallery is located inside The Magoski Arts Colony at 223 W. Santa Fe Ave in Fullerton.  Visit the event page HERE.  Hope to see you there!

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