Histoire(s) du cinéma

Histoire(s) du cinéma is a two hundred and sixty-six minute video project by Jean-Luc Godard crafted between the late ‘80s through the late ‘90s. It is a long montage mixed with jarring audio samples and littered with snippets of graphic pornography and video nasties. The majority of the project is narrated by Godard as he discusses a philosophical idea about what film is. Most of the montage work was done without the permission of copyright holders, which proved troublesome for public release.

If you do not like art house, you will not like Histoire(s) du cinéma, plain and simple. It is difficult to sit through, and I do enjoy art-house films, which makes this film very difficult to suggest, let alone justify having on this list. It can be better considered a lengthy art installation that you would watch collectively through dozens of rooms in a museum while also being surrounded by other, complementary works.

Naturally, there is an equal chance that my film knowledge is not developed enough to grasp what I just watched, but it did not feel to be over my head. It felt like Godard was stretching his legs and just postulating about including anything that was a captured moving image as the history and story of cinema, which justifies the peppered images that would turn people away, in a similar way to communities that disregard living histories that disagree with the front they are looking to project. If you let it, Histoire(s) du cinéma will get you thinking, but I cannot really recommend it to anyone that is not into hardcore art-house cinema.


Important Links

BFI Top 50: Histoire(s) du cinéma

Wikipedia: Histoire(s) du cinéma

histories1 histories2