So, I finally watched all of Jean-Luc Godard's "miniseries" (not like any miniseries you'll ever see in the US!), "Histoire(s) du cinéma." They're having a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou and I sat through all 5 hours in one day. Having watched the "morceaux choisis" (selected bits) shown in the US recently, I can say that Hitchcock comes off as a less central figure in the long version, and Italian cinema more so. What else can I say? It's a lot of layered imagery that requires a better cinematic education than I've had to really appreciate. It's beautiful (but, as Godard keeps reminding us -- it is a "fatal beauty"). It integrate film history, art history, and political history, and not in any simple way. Did you know Marcel Pagnol invented the close-up and was inspired to do so by the faces of kings on coins? I didn't.

It's impossible to convey in English the fact that the French word "Histoire" means both story and history. What you can do in English is convey the fact that all these (hi)stories -- despite some valiant retrospective efforts by Godard, who includes female narrators and interlocutors, Marguerite Duras behind the camera, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf quotes -- all, or almost all, are his-stories, stories told by men.


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