Saturday, July 4, 2009

Everything Dies

(Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1966, 90 mins.)

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown." -- Walsh (Joe Mantell), Chinatown (1974)

"Everything dies, baby, that's a fact." -- Bruce Springsteen, "Atlantic City" (1982)

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In Polish-American transplant Roman Polanski's Chinatown, the title signifies a place and an idea of a place. In Louis Malle's Atlantic City, the title signifies a place and an idea of a place, but the French-American transplant actually shot his film in the US city of the same name, while LA's Chinatown only cameos in the Polanski classic.

France's Jean-Luc Godard beat both of his contemporaries to the punch with Made in U.S.A., which takes place entirely in a fictional "Atlantic-Cité." The great thing about the concept is that JLG makes no attempt to disguise the fact that he shot his film
in Paris with a Gallic cast speaking en français (further, according to Rialto's press notes, the word "cité," in his native country, "usually refers to a housing project").

Though UK songbird Marianne Faithfull drops by to sing 1964's "As Tears Go By"—acappella, no less—this is still a French filmmaker's comment on American pop cul-
ture and the future of the left, circa '66 (two years later, JLG made Sympathy for the Devil with the song's authors, Jagger and Richards, and the rest of the 'Stones).

Click here for part two

Not to be confused with the Lori Singer/Adrian Pasdar picture, Made in U.S.A., in a new 35mm print, plays the Northwest Film Forum through 7/9 at 7 and 9pm (no 9pm screening on 7/4). Never on TV, video, or DVD. The NWFF is located at 1515 12th Ave. between Pike and Pine. For more information, please click here or call 206-829-7863. Image from Tout le Cine and The French American Chamber of Commerce.

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