An eloquently personal artistic testament, In Praise of Love has received the best notices of any Godard film since 1980's Every Man For Himself. Structured in two parts, the film opens in Paris, where the young artist Edgar is developing a project on the nature of love. In the second part, set two years earlier, Edgar journeys to Brittany to interview two Resistance veterans, only to find that their memories are being bought up for a Steven Spielberg blockbuster. Linking the two parts is Edgar's abortive relationship with a woman he met in Brittany and reencounters in Paris. The first part, shot in black-and-white celluloid, is a ravishing nocturne evoking the Paris of Atget, Vigo, and Godard's own My Life To Live and Band of Outsiders. The second part shifts to supersaturated color video, rendering seascapes with the painterly palette of Turner and Monet. The film's bipartite structure forms the template for a rich web of interwoven dualities: video/cinema, cinema/photography, photography/painting, art/commodity, America/Europe, past/present, youth/age. Reflecting back on his New Wave origins, the 70-year-old Godard speculates that artists - like lovers, like heroes - rarely gain the slippery slope of adulthood between youth and old age. His film is about "things beginning, things coming to an end" - a combative but tender work that stubbornly asserts the importance of love, art, and memory in a world dominated by state power, commercialism, and amnesia.
France and Switzerland, 2001
98 min., Unrated
In French with English subtitles
B & W
Dir. of Photography