Viennale 08 Trailer
In order to visualize how history functions and why mankind, talented to beauty, so willingly works on its own (not at all beautiful) abolition, we just briefly have to change perspectives. And that is Jean-Luc Godard´s trick: he cannot separate politics from art, as he sees the one reflected in the other. He demonstrates how Howard Hawks is connected with Marx, and the Shoah with Bach. In this sense, Une catastrophe, Godard´s trailer for the VIENNALE 2008, is extremely complex and at the same time completely serene, as if it had all the time in the world: Following in the tradition of Godard´s opus magnum, Histoire(s) du cinéma, the art and film-historical mini assemblage takes us from a dramatic moment in Eisenstein´s Battleship Potemkin (1925) and garish-colored video war images to an extended kissing scene, played in super slow motion, from the famous Berlin romance Menschen am Sonntag (1929). On the same note: the groaning of female tennis players serving or returning balls, a Low German love poem ("Dat du min Leevsten büst") and the beginning of Robert Schumann´s piano cycle "Scenes from Childhood". Une catastrophe has an air of resignation but is not entirely without hope: From a perspective of war, love can be reached via a detour of art in 63 seconds.
TIFF 09: WAVELENGTHS PREVIEW by Michael Sicinski (Critique)
Une Catastrophe (Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland / Austria)
Godards trailer for the 2008 Viennale is, like so many of that festival's commission's, much more than a trailer. Even while clocking in at a mere one minute, Une Catastrophe is indubitably a contribution to the late Godardian corpus, and although it is a 35mm film, it is fundamentally steeped in the mans hybrid film-video aesthetics. Not nearly as intricate or convulsive as Origin of the 21st Century, nor as magnificently dialectical in its articulation of abstraction and materialism as the "Hell" sequence of Notre Musique, there is nonetheless a stern poetic density here that moves in multiple directions, from the tragicomic power in the opening seconds, when Eisenstein's Odessa steps massacre is sonically equated to a tennis match, through the grim neon procession of tanks and ordnance. All these images are leading to a slow motion rendering of the gestures of cinematic heterosexual affection (joined to a love poem in low German), a kind of achievement of eternal cinema-stasis. The micro-montage delivers Godards crucial but offhand life lesson -- "A catastrophe is the first strophe of a love poem in much the way that someone looks back at you before disappearing down the jetway.
Une catastrophe (Viennale Trailer 2008)