481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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vertovfan
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:46 pm

Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#126 Post by vertovfan » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:05 pm

The coffee cup shot in 2 or 3 Things has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in college twenty-some years ago. I wonder if it was intended as an homage - if so, too bad it hasn't been recognized as such.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#127 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:56 pm

Not a huge surprise, but none of the reviews/articles from science publications seem to be aware of it.

So far, only NPR has been on the mark, calling it a direct quote of Godard's film.

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Shrew
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#128 Post by Shrew » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:48 pm

There's also a similar coffee/cream shot in one of the first episodes of Hannibal, which I thought was a pretty clear homage. I wonder if anyone's gone so far to decry Theory of Everything for ripping off Hannibal.

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colinr0380
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#129 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:08 am

There's also that shot of the bubbling glass in Taxi Driver too, which I'd bet was the shot most influenced by Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, and which itself is probably the film influencing everything else.

(And the Story of Film clip traces it all the way back to Odd Man Out!)

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hearthesilence
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#130 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:31 am

I remember plenty of scholars commenting on the inspiration on Taxi Driver, but like everything else that inspired him then, Scorsese does something unique. It's not a copy, it's to a different purpose and in form, it's even significantly different (a lot more activity, less microscopic, and incorporating some editing and moving camera work that makes it feel organic to the film's overall style). With something like The Theory of Everything the only difference is pretty insubstantial (the addition of cream). It feels nothing more than a direct quote, with a lot less poetics - Hawking is visually comparing it to celestial activity that's he thinking about in literal terms while Godard is expanding on modern, terrestrial concerns.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#131 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:28 pm

Watched Made in USA again. If it's a great film (and I think it may very well be), it's because of the context - its place within Godard's life and career. It kind of feels like Godard is trying to make a delirious film noir, just like he used to except in bright colors, but the whole thing is brought down emotionally by his failed marriage and an internal political struggle/awakening that transforms not only the film (over the course of its second half, politics consumes it more and more) and his career, but as Atkinson astutely noted, becomes an escape from heartbreak.

It's difficult and some of it will never make much sense, but it's fascinating to reflect back on the messy whole.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About He

#132 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:21 am

colinr0380 wrote:There's also that shot of the bubbling glass in Taxi Driver too, which I'd bet was the shot most influenced by Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, and which itself is probably the film influencing everything else.

(And the Story of Film clip traces it all the way back to Odd Man Out!)
...something that Jonathan Rosenbaum took strong exception to in his review of Cousins' series. He doesn't prove that Godard wasn't inspired by Odd Man Out, which would be hard to do absent a statement from JLG himself, but at the very least he makes a pretty good case that Godard wasn't the fan of Reed that Cousins makes him out to be. Incidentally I don't have Godard's collected criticism in French and don't read French well enough to manage it in any case, but it appears his "contemptuous" reference to Reed is also included in Godard on Godard: "...multiply the ugliness of Death of a Cyclist by the unfunniness of Passport to Pimlico, raise to the power of the worst of bad taste from Carol Reed or David Lean, and you will get Woman in a Dressing-gown."

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

#133 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun May 23, 2021 10:45 pm

I revisited both of these films today. I still struggle with Made in U.S.A. a bit- mainly that it's such a broken film that's filled in with (intentionally) lazy conventions, from references to Godard's love for cinema (i.e. naming characters and street names after members of the film world) to the intrusive political tape recordings, planted without wit to their edited placement. I like hearthesilence's defense a couple posts up, but I'm not sure that rationale for the consequences of fatigue makes it a great film, even if it makes it an interesting one.

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is a longtime favorite that I probably love more than most. The film works as the 'next stage' following Made in U.S.A.'s apathy to hold onto narrative, where there is technically a narrative but it's constantly interrupted by helpless, yet determined, musings on culture, philosophy, psychology, and, well, everything up to and through devastating yearnings for powers we don't possess. The film reflects a far more motivated Godard on his search for Truth, but also a wiser, sober state of surrender. Godard is beginning to comprehend the reason for the brokenness he experienced in his last film, and the excavation/construction site (two very different actions, that Godard is aiming for simultaneously in his work), that he continuously returns to with his mise en scene, casts an opportunity to both disrupt the narrative and return to it with tools to deepen the exhumed vulnerabilities of his own and his subjects' thoughts and feelings.

As the film continues on, Godard and his characters unearth disorienting and tiring disclosures, and assist one another through the medium to acknowledge and validate these confessions. They're constantly collaborating, coming together, and then through the use of sound, image, and narrative interference, Godard demonstrates the elusive nature of these connections by destroying the artificiality of their sustainability with artificial obstructions. However, often he doesn't need to- for Marina Vlady's adrift revelations do the job for him, admitting impediments without being able to make them tangible, thus spreading the disease of alienation while we paradoxically feel intimate with her in reciprocally affirming and being affirmed of our relatable alienation. Though this impermanent union in essence functions as Godard's own tools of evasiveness, yet it's subjectively incredibly authentic even if part of its evasion occurs as a result of medium-barriers. Still, the question I come away asking bypasses the authenticity/artificiality argument that ultimately becomes synchronized in our subjective experience.. mainly, is this disturbance of our link with Vlady a problem, or a relief- even a favor- for Vlady and for us? Do we want to be alone, ultimately, with our own issues because conversing about what we cannot comprehend or integrate on is too painful, exhausting, depressing? Is this the social contradiction in a nutshell, that Godard fearlessly (or fearfully but courageously) returns to time and time again? Is this the best method to get to the futile Truth he/we seek?

Even in the familiar Godardian exploration of words' limitations as related to an absence of knowledge, he makes one of his more passionate investigations about emotions and thought patterns, and solutions to the barriers from social integration, seeking intimacy with others and harmony within ourselves. As Marina Vlady says, everything is connected. Too bad she can hardly identify 2 or 3 things about herself that can be shared, let alone confidently declared based on her own self-knowledge. As others in this thread have mentioned, the coffee cup moment may be the most insightful verbal confession in Godard's entire body of work. Or maybe it's the scene at the car wash when he ruminates on wanting to be happy and holding onto memories before proposing a utopian political-poetic fusion of mankind's harmony. I don't know, but this film is full of them. There don't exist many works of art with this much immediacy, pathos, and hope- if only in the formalist rebound and ceaseless commitment to engage with the topics at hand with inexhaustible versatility. I love this movie.

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domino harvey
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Re: 481-482 Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

#134 Post by domino harvey » Tue Nov 28, 2023 7:42 pm

therainsong wrote:
Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:53 pm
Made in U.S.A.

- A visual essay cataloguing the multiple references in the film
This is, of course, an excellent resource, but Claude de Givray's L'amour à la chaîne resurfaced a few months ago after decades MIA and it turns out there's one more reference in Made in USA that to my knowledge no one has ever identified because they hadn't been able to see de Givray's film: Ernest Menzer's seemingly non-sequitur repeated doffing of his hat early in the film is an exaggerated quotation of the behavior of Menzer’s john in de Givray's film. Godard was a big fan of de Givray's film, putting L'amour à la chaîne on his 1965 Top 10 (it also placed at number 11 on the overall Cahiers list, presumably partly in a show of solidarity with their colleague after the film was mauled by the censors). De Givray also directed Anna Karina in another film that same year, Un mari à prix fixe

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