EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|OH, WOE IS ME (HELAS POUR MOI) (director/writer: Jean-Luc Godard; cinematographer: Caroline Champetier; editor: Jean-Luc Godard; cast: Gérard Depardieu (Simon Donnadieu), Bernard Verley (Abraham Klimt), Laurence Masliah (Rachel Donnadieu); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Benoît Rossel/Christine Gozlan/Christine Hutin; Caesar Film; 1993-France/Switzerland-in French with English subtitles)|
|"It's an art-house film
for those who enjoy puzzling challenges and don't
mind a film that's not meant to be enjoyed."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
French born director Jean-Luc Godard ("Breathless"/"Pierrot le Fou"/"Weekend"), currently living in Switzerland, bases his spiritual drama on the Greek myth of Alcmene, in which Zeus assumes the shape of Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, in order to get physical pleasure from a beautiful woman. It uses that myth to examine modern man's relationship with God and his faith in the unknown.
(Gérard Depardieu) and his beautiful wife
Rachel (Laurence Masliah) are an average couple who
reside in a serene Swiss village. They must accept
that God takes
over the body of Simon to make love to Rachel. This is
not the omnipotent God of the Old Testament, but a
frail and irrelevant one because of neglect in the
Godard uses that setup to
fully reflect on mankind's faith in regards to eternal
love, devotion and other spiritual matters. Publisher Abraham Klimt
(Bernard Verley) hears about this odd occurrence, and
travels to the couple's Swiss town to check it out.
The perplexing fragmented
Godardian narrative is meant to be obtuse and is
filled with continuous declarations that range from
ponderous insights into greater truths to tongue-in-cheek whimsical
responses. It's an art-house film for those who enjoy
puzzling challenges and don't mind an elusive film
that's not meant to be enjoyed. I wish I could say I
got something more out of it other than being
spellbound by Godard's unique magical way of
storytelling and his unrelenting stand for pure
cinema. But on second thought, maybe that's enough.
Especially when the meaning doesn't matter here, what
matters is the act of watching something pleasingly
obscure take place that could lead to an understanding
beyond words or visuals.
REVIEWED ON 6/17/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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