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May 2002                                                       SITE MAP   SEARCH
Eloge de L'Amour
cast: Bruno Putzulu, Cecile Camp

director: Jean-Luc Godard

94 minutes (PG) 2001
Optimum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Ellen Cheshire
Maybe I should have done this review under a pseudonym, because I am about to seriously damage my reputation as a serious film critic... I don't get it.
   So, I read the blurb on the back of the DVD, that all made sense "[Eloge de L'Amour (aka: In Praise of Love)] concerns the story of an author and a beautiful young woman he is considering for a part in a project he is writing which deals with four key moments of love. Convinced that he may have met the woman before, we travel back two years in time to a series of interviews with an elderly couple that fought in the Resistance. Could this be where the enigmatic pair first met?" Sounds good doesn't it? Well, I still couldn't make head or tale of the film so I read reviews, features and the quotes on the video sleeve.
   "Smart, subtle and deeply moving. See this film." - The Guardian
   "Without a doubt the best film you'll see this year." - Uncut
   "Visually stunning and ceaselessly provocative, this is cinema at its most challenging and essential." - Empire
   Still no joy... Admittedly, it is beautiful to look at. The first half of the film, set in present day Paris, follows Edgar's (Bruno Putzulu) project concerning four aspects of love and his search for his leading lady - who, ultimately, is Bertha (Cecile Camp) - is shot in highly defined black and white 35mm film. The composition of shots is stunning and conjures up the timeless feel of Paris from Godard's 1960s heyday. The second half of the film, where we go back in time, is shot into highly saturated digital video - the colours are bright and harsh conjuring up an ethereal unreality. If you are watching the film on DVD you may fear at first that your machine causes the freeze frames, but they are deliberate and a device the director has used to good effect in previous films.
   However, I'm always drawn to films that have a strong narrative drive and characters with depth and a range of emotions, both of which are lacking here. Perhaps on further viewing the elliptical nature of the narrative would become clearer - but I know many people who wouldn't give it a second look. Despite this, there is much to engage with on a visual level and it certainly challenges the viewer and certain notions of what 'moving pictures' can do.
   Watch out for the many swipes at the Hollywood movie industry and in particular a certain Steven Spielberg! Not one for all tastes, then.
   Extras include an interview with Godard, and the theatrical trailer.
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