"This film is an affront. It is incoherent, maddening, deliberately opaque and heedless of the ways in which people watch movies. All of that is part of the Godardian method, I am aware, but I feel a bargain of some sort must be struck. We enter the cinema with open minds and goodwill, expecting Godard to engage us in at least a vaguely penetrable way. But in "Film Socialisme," he expects us to do all the heavy lifting."I don't personally have a problem with doing all the "heavy lifting". Some of my favourite filmic experiences have been with enigmatic works that confront us with a set of events and challenge us to make the relevant connections.
Last night I finally caught up with Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy for which Juliette Binoche received the Best Actress Award at Cannes 2010. She is extraordinary as she is in most things (single handedly saving Bee Season etc). But equally extraordinary is the trust the director puts in the audience.
Although notionally about a date between a writer and an antiques shop owner played out in near real time like Before Sunrise, Kiarostami blurs the character and narrative lines so that we're not entirely sure what we're being shown, asking us to decide upon our own interpretation of events.
It's near impossible to talk too much about it without giving too much away, especially since I want you to go away to your nearest available source and find a copy. It's one of the best films I've seen this year simply because it tasks the viewer in ways few contemporary films dare to.
But unlike Film Socialisme and most of Godard's late material (Éloge de l'amour included), one leaves the experience entirely satisfied that the director himself knows what everything means and hasn't simply thrown a bunch of pleasant and unpleasant images on the screen hoping the audience will make some connections. That's just rude.