Godard Mon Amour
by co-writer/director Michel Hazanavicius
“My first theory is that the worthiest individual is ridiculous at least twice a day.” – Ernst Lubitsch
Godard is a great artist. Worthy. As an iconic figure of Cinema History, the critics have worshiped him so incessantly that he has become untouchable. So be it.
Despite this fact or maybe because of it, I have much enjoyed showing him sulk, lie, be dishonest, childish, immature, and unbearable. I have enjoyed showing him naked, sitting at the breakfast table, lying in bed, being ridiculed by students, being jealous, arrogant, manipulative, petty, irritating, foolish and comical.
But I must also say that I have equally enjoyed showing him in love, funny, charming, touching, miserable, brilliant, happy, political, revolutionary, pertinent, impertinent, fascinating, heroic, lovable, misunderstood, human and tragic.
The film takes places in 1968.
I have loved filming those few days in May during which France dreamt that she was starting a Revolution. And I was fascinated to see how much Godard believed in it, and how actually he made it. How, in the name of revolution, he destroyed everything around him. His films, his friendships, and his relationship with a woman he loved. He destroyed even his own name, and eventually himself. He was a giant enterprise of auto-destruction, in pursuit of this marvelous idea that is just as much heroic as it is trivial: that revolution must start in one’s self.
I have loved telling the story of how this great artist became Maoist, decided to disown his own films and started to despise even Breathless, Pierrot the Madman, Contempt and My Life to Live. I have loved showing moviegoers turn on him because they loved the Godard that he himself hated. Film critics scream at him to defend the Godard that he was himself attacking. It was a crazy, lively and revolutionary time.
I have loved turning a tragedy into a comedy and filming this couple, longing for them to love each other more. This young woman who liberated herself out of necessity while witnessing, powerless, the man she loves drift away. While trying to change his view on the world, he keeps breaking his glasses because he is wearing slippery shoes. And maybe in the end that’s what the lesson of the film is: starting a revolution is hard for the short-sighted, and it is better to wear shoes that do not slip.