Jean-Luc Godard has never been one to play by the rules. Even at the august age of 83, his unflinching desire to bury down into the very fabric of cinema and philosophy never stutters. He’s never been a director to rest on his laurels and revels in taking liberties with the medium of film. Off the back of a 3D short as part of 3x3D, in Goodbye to Language Godard continues his exploration. However, his uses it mainly in overlaying and as a confrontational tool instead of an enhancement.
In his summary at Cannes, Godard’s description of Goodbye to Language merely stated: “A married woman and a single man meet”. The man and woman in question are largely abstracted from the actual film itself, although they play a large part in cementing the themes he wishes to address. There’s many elaborations on Hitler’s fascism and Darwin in invoked through the guise of a dog called Roxy.
As with many of his film, there are plenty of ideas and themes in every shot. There’s a deliberate attempt to subvert cinema and audience expectations; it’s impossible to cut through the density of it all to discover his true intentions. There is “literal” toilet humour and passages where nothing is said yet everything happens. Maybe the only way to judge Goodbye to Language is on its ability to raise questions. To instigate debate without the need for a solid structure or clear rationale. Or maybe it’s the vacuousness and fleeting nature of language itself in modern society. Connections come from below the surface, the rest is decoration.
Goodbye to Language is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D and is released by Studio Canal on December 8.