25 July 2011

Jean-Luc Godard at Comic-Con: ‘Le Cinéma Est Mort’

SAN DIEGO -- “Cinema is dead,” pioneering auteur filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard told a standing-room-only crowd on the final night of this year’s Comic-Con. “Now is the time for a new republic of images,” the Paris-born director said, “in which the individual, anywhere in the world, gathers and assembles the material of his own choosing and — hey, isn’t that Kristen Stewart over there?”

Comic-Con International, originally known as the San Diego Comic Book Convention, was founded in 1970. In recent years it has become an important showcase for many forms of popular entertainment, including video games, television shows, graphic fiction, emerging technologies, and, of course, movies; it’s widely believed that positive word-of-mouth here can make or break a new film. This year’s convention, the first that Godard has attended, began on July 21.

“We are all auteurs now,” Godard told a sold-out audience at San Diego’s Convention Center yesterday. “And frankly, any one of us would have done a better job directing Green Lantern! Am I right?”

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner:
“Not since Anna Karina,” Godard has said.

As one of the founding lights of the Nouvelle Vague in French cinema, Godard, 80, remains highly influential yet elusive. Although his Film Socialisme screened at the Cannes Festival this year, the director refused to attend, telling reporters that he felt slighted after Sony Pictures passed him over to direct the new Smurfs movie. Godard’s latest work, Film Socialisme II: The Wrath of Gargamel’s Vengeance, received a special advance screening at Comic-Con on Saturday night.

“It’s in 3-D,” one Comic-Con audience member, Jason Nesmith, Jr., 22, said of Film Socialisme II, “and while the hostile alien takeover plot seemed to come from out of nowhere, it did provide a lot of good explosions.”

“Ultimately, I have to agree that a large box of laundry detergent was the only correct choice to portray Gargamel,” said Gwen DeMarco, 24, another audience member, “especially since Jim Carrey was not available.” The movie is scheduled for November release.

Godard told reporters that, “because copyright is now meaningless,” his next project is an unauthorized “meditation on the Twilight movies as cultural signifiers,” and will star Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner as Maoist revolutionaries in the American Northwest; “but R-Pattz is too bourgeois and I do not plan to ask him to participate.”

The late Ricardo Montalban, in Godard’s seldom-seen
Le Mépris de Khan (1992).

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