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Title:Films Lost in the Cosmos: Radicalism and the Reception of Jean-Luc Godard's Movies
Author(s):Fischer, Craig Joseph
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Carringer, Robert
Department / Program:English
Discipline:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Cinema
Abstract:According to many critics, Jean-Luc Godard's films of the 1960s and early 1970s have the capacity to challenge audiences lulled into aesthetic and ideological complacency by American movies. Scholars as diverse as Richard Roud, Stephen Heath, Laura Mulvey, and David Bordwell have argued that the formal innovations of Godard's films jolt spectators out of the reactionary thrall of Hollywood form, resulting in a politically progressive shift in the relationship between spectators and filmic texts. In my dissertation, however, I question this critical conflation of radical form and radical effect. My research and analysis reveal that many of Godard's films (my specific examples are La Chinoise (1967), Weekend (1967) and Tout va bien (1972)) can be read as politically tentative and ambiguous texts rather than unequivocal propaganda for social or aesthetic change, and that these films were depoliticized by the conservative distributive and interpretive mechanisms of the international art cinema of the 1960s. In fact, the radical effects attributed to Godard's work may be beyond the ability of any historian or scholar to reconstruct, since these effects depend heavily on the subjectivities of each individual spectator, who--due to race, class, gender, intellectual training, social class, notions of pleasure and a thousand other personal factors--may or may not be predisposed to consider a film "transgressive" or "Brechtian." I suggest that an autobiographical critical mode could avoid totalizing assumptions about a film's radicalism, build bridges between real experience and theory, and enrich the humanism-masquerading-as science of much of film theory with a sense of play and performance. I conclude with an example of this confessional analysis, as I use my experience watching Godard's British Sounds (1969) to speak about excess and desire in Godard's films.
Issue Date:1998
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:295 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/81486
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9904455
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998


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