Thursday, July 16, 2009

4th Time Around

Fourth time seeing 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her in four years. Second time on 35mm. The print's scratched, and I wonder if it's the one I saw at the Music Box way back when. To my left, a man falls alseep in the first reel and snores loudly; the explosions on the soundtrack wake him up. To my right, a man falls asleep in the middle of the film -- his snoring is quieter, more like hibernation. A full house, but it's a small theater. Before the movie, a young man in a Woody Allen t-shirt tells his girlfriend they should go see Made in USA at 8 instead so they can get seats together. Before the movie, Dan Gorman and I talk Milius' Dillinger. Before the movie, they show a Volkswagen ad, touting "clean diesel" technology, and I think, "This is the right thing to show. Advertising, ideas. That's what we should be thinking about. They've gotta remind us that the world hasn't changed in 40 years."

So what do I notice in the film? The coffee cup's more galaxy-like than ever before, and more embryonic, too. I rediscover Marina Vlady's freckles and how the red lipstick brings them out. I step out towards the end and find myself helping a blind man in the bathroom (he's here for a documentary on Beethoven), missing the image of the cigarette glowing in the dark. I'm surprised that the film feels so complete without it.

The copy of Lafcadio's Adventures on Bouvard and Pecuchet's table is the same edition I have. And I've read Bouvard et Pécuchet now, and understand that while Flaubert had them leave Paris for the country, Godard has them move to the suburbs, where they can continue their urban impracticalities. Godard's gentler, too (Flaubert, describing his plan for the novel in a letter: "I shall vomit over my contemporaries the disgust they inspire in me."). As Flaubert began his unfinished novel from the notes gathered in the Dictionary of Received Ideas, so Godard, I imagine, used as the script for his (unfinished as always) film a list of ideas (idées, idées, idées, we're reminded again and again, as if he's flipping back to the cover of that blue spiral-bound notebook).

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