Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Paris In Pictures: New Wave Visions of the Modern City pt. 6

A Modern City

The formal differences between Godard’s approach to modernization in Two or Three Things and Tati’s Mon Oncle are clear: one takes on a lingual, documentary style while the other focuses on visual cues and spatial relations. However, both films feature similarly negative views on modern construction and seem to be of the viewpoint that ‘newer’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’. While Godard is preoccupied with the cinema and modernizations effects on language, his assertions that commoditized culture has negatively impacted individualism mirror Tati’s sentiments. Likewise, Tati’s affinity for old time housing and ways of life can be seen in Godard’s demonizing of urban organization and physical growth.

However, neither film is without hope. While Tati’s message may seem bleak, his humor-based approach stands as a silver lining. Likewise, Godard’s playful attempts to render verbal and written language through the cinema act as a call for greater attention to language as a cultural entity. The results are a vision of Paris, a modern city, which is both culturally expanding and aware of its own deficiencies.


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Makeieff, Macha. Playtime. Notes on Lecture, 4/10/2007.

Ramierz, Francis and Christian Rolot. Mon Oncle: Jacques Tati. Collection Synopsis, no. 16. Paris: Nathan, 1993.

Mon Oncle. Jacques Tati. DVD. Criterion, 2001.

Stam, Robert. French New Wave II. Notes on Lecture, 2/8/2007.

Thiher, Allen. “Postmodern Dilemmas: Godard's Alphaville and Two or Three Things That I Know about Her”. Boundary 2, Vol. 4, No. 3. (Spring, 1976), pp. 947-964.

Two or Three Things I Know About Her. Jean-Luc Godard. VHS. New Yorker Films, 1988.

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