Godard in a dim room with a videocamera on him and a monitor, so he appears twice from different angles, talking an awful lot, but the main thing I remember is how he thinks puns are useful and wishes people took them more seriously.

Female narrator suggests what this film might be about while we see three TV screens and a dark figure in front DJing with tape reels.

TV monitor split-screens with bird sounds mixed with the dialogue.

Kinda turns into a family story and a sex-ed movie. “I sometimes look at my cock. That isn’t cinema, though.”

Amy Taubin calls it “a vitriolic indictment of the sexual politics of the nuclear family” and says it’s the first Godard feature in which Miéville’s influence is evident. In Everything is Cinema, Richard Brody says Godard had accepted a commission to make a Breathless follow-up, hence the title, and says the finished film “has the unpleasant aspect of a medical document.”

It’s not shocking that I, a habitual enjoyer of Yorgos movies, greatly enjoyed the one where Emma Stone plays a grown woman with a baby brain raised by a chopped-and-sutured Willem Dafoe then taken into the world by a ham-comic Mark Ruffalo. Doesn’t quite track as an On The Count of Three reunion – Jerrod Carmichael is an intellectual friend of Hanna Schygulla – in different scenes/country from Chris Abbott: Emma’s former husband, “The General,” who they lobotomize so everyone can live together happily.

The critics are mostly angry over the fisheye lens. Also: “the movie’s provocations are all at the level of its ghastly aesthetic, which feels like a prank on the viewer” per Brendanowicz, it’s “infantilizing and visually one-note” per Josephine, and I dunno what Ali and Jon‘s issues are. Movie funny, movie good. Some people get it.

The first ten minutes are in extreme closeup, making up for the wide shots in Social Hygiene. Côté’s longest movie is a quiet character piece about a summer camp for sex addicts (it surely would’ve sold more tickets with the title Sex Addict Summer Camp). Between therapy sessions the three girls and their three counselors maintain a delicate balance of trust and spend some solo time dealing with their own issues. Come for the bondage and the girl having sex with an entire soccer team, stay for the CG tarantula, the Diabolique reference, a lovely owl, and the climactic dance party to “Across 110th Street”. Counselor Octavia is from Undine, Sami from A Christmas Tale, and two others were in Ghost Town Anthology.

My fourth by Côté and I’m not seeing much that connects this to the people yelling in fields or the kinda-thriller or the zoo doc, but fortunately we have Katherine Connell in Cinema Scope:

Across Côté’s varied career is a recurrent fascination with isolated characters who act in perplexing, unexplained ways and resist being known … These cryptic if subtly rebellious protagonists form the connective tissue of a filmography that probes the dynamics that erupt from the refusal of normative social structures like marriage, domesticity, wellness, and community.

One of Strickland’s insular alternate-reality weirdo movies, about an artistic residency by a group of “sonic caterers,” is secretly a comedy about bandmate relationships. “I’d say misunderstanding between us is probably the key to our sound.” Of course it looks excellent.

Fatma X2:

On the residency side of things, Gwendoline Christie (returning from In Fabric) is famed Director Jan. Beardy journalist Stones, documenting the musicians, is a Greek guy from Chevalier whose digestive issues are more fascinating to the group than to hilariously snipey Dr. Glock. After music performances, the invited audience “pays tribute” (sexually), which Stones also documents. And another music group was rejected from the institute, is now threatening violence. In a tie-in to Crimes of the Future, everyone in this movie wants to be in a culinary art collective.

Stones vs. the Doctor:

The band is led by Strickland muse Fatma Mohamed, who says within earshot of the others that they’re not a collective – she’s the leader and the others are replaceable. Ariane Labed and Asa Butterfield (Hugo himself) make up the rest of the trio. Asa is especially cute in this – his emo haircut sticking out through the eyeholes of his crime-catsuit is a nice touch.

On Letterboxd: “Some Might Say” by Oasis

Toxic Roxy is young and blonde, frees buried criminal Kate Bush, who murders all Roxy’s friends then escapes, leaving the whole community angry at Roxy and her hairdresser mom. This all takes place on another planet, populated entirely by women who shun electronics and chemistry, after the earth became uninhabitable… well, only shunning these things to a point, since they have guns and androids (both named after fashion brands). While waiting for Kate, Roxy and her mom (Elina Löwensohn of course) bond with Kate’s fancy rich neighbor Sternberg, with her male android Olgar 2 and weirdo bounty-hunter bots Keifer and Climax.

Extremely horny sci-fi, Roxy masturbating at every opportunity, with dreamy visuals. We got zombie horses, geode-faced creatures, energy weapons, a pubic third eye, hats and fur coats everywhere, and everything is slimy or dripping and cross-faded onto everything else. I felt bad about not liking The Northman last night, then today I double-featured this with Mad God at the Plaza, and now I am feeling much better.

Washed up porn star Mikey returns home defeated to his estranged wife Lexi and hangs at her mom Lil’s house in Texas while going on “job interviews.” He ends up selling weed for family friend Judy Hill (World’s on Fire), befriending next door neighbor Lonnie for his car and hanging at a donut shop to sell drugs to customers. Then he hits on the idea of getting the donut shop girl into the porn business – “she’s my way back in.”

The whole thing sounds dour and desperate, but as noted in the reviews, Mikey (Simon Rex of Bodied) is a real treat to watch, a gloriously charismatic car wreck who eventually helps cause an actual car wreck – Lonnie going to jail for fleeing a 22-car pileup was an unexpected twist. Mikey’s plan almost works, but in the end he’s robbed and kicked out of town, for the greater good.

Baker drops a key to Mikey’s character in an InsideHook interview, having spoken with suitcase pimps with “a toxic effect on other people that they cross paths with … We’d heard a lot of stories from these guys, and they always felt like they were being sabotaged.”

Lonnie:

Baker in Filmmaker:

Right now in the US, we’re leaning towards virtue-signaling way too much. There’s a place for that in mainstream cinema. Like, if you’re making an Avengers film, hitting all the checkmarks and making it as diverse and inclusionary as possible, that’s important because that’s mainstream popcorn-cinema meant for children. That’s different. This is made for adults.

I was reading “At the Existentialist Café” on the train…

Sartre put this principle into a three-word slogan, which for him defined existentialism: ‘Existence precedes essence’. What this formula gains in brevity it loses in comprehensibility. But roughly it means that, having found myself thrown into the world, I go on to create my own definition (or nature, or essence), in a way that never happens with other objects or life forms. You might think you have defined me by some label, but you are wrong, for I am always a work in progress. I create myself constantly through action, and this is so fundamental to my human condition that, for Sartre, it is the human condition, from the moment of first consciousness to the moment when death wipes it out. I am my own freedom: no more, no less.

So I thought from the title and poster that this would be a grand existentialist movie, and anyway it’s always a good time watching something with Franz Rogowski, but wrong on both counts. In 1945 Franz goes straight from the concentration camp into jail for being gay, bunks with Haneke regular Georg Friedrich. In 1957 Franz’s boyfriend Thomas Prenn dies, and the other prisoners can almost find it in their hearts to feel bad about it. In the late 60’s Franz keeps breaking rules in order to get thrown outside with young gay teacher Anton von Lucke (Frantz). Finally the law is overturned, Franz visits a jazz club and its subterranean Irreversible sex club, goes straight outside and smashes a jewelry store window to get thrown back into prison.

Franz with the teacher:

AKA Let The Devil Take Us Away

Young stranger Suzy meets blonde Camille who lives with Clara, not home yet, while the first two have a frank sex conversation one minute after meeting. This is Brisseau’s familiar apartment from Girl From Nowhere, his media collection on full display near a nice tube TV with a DVD player. Clara comes home and after their inevitable threesome, they open the door for a guy who is threatening them with a gun. This is Suzy’s ex Olivier, and Clara decides to rescue him from the cops and have sex with him until he completes his novel, living in another apartment with Tonton, an uncle who “causes hallucinations.”

Everyone opens up about their pasts and their feelings – it gets philosophical about family and relationships and sex and acting. Camille demonstrates her greenscreen photoshop art, winking within Brisseau’s homebound prosumer-grade cinema which uses the same effects for Tonton’s astral projections.

One of those everyone-is-connected dramas, but with birds. Most of the birds are either fake/decorative, or an offscreen plot device (smuggled hyacinth macaw eggs) but it’s still appreciated.

Egg-smuggler Don McKellar runs a pet shop that is being audited by tormented beardo Bruce Greenwood (Meek, of the Cutoff) who is obsessed with stripper Mia Kirshner who works at the titular nightclub with her ex Elias Koteas and boss Arsinée Khanjian. Victor Garber is in here, in a wheelchair, with daughter Sarah Polley, and they both spend uncomfortable time with the beardo, knowing that he’s erratic and messed up ever since his daughter’s murder. Koteas and Kirshner had just met when they discovered her body years earlier. And the pet shop boy is seduced by an egg-thieving customs agent and blackmailed by his auditor into spying on the strip club.

Elias one-way-mirroring Bruce:

Don is intimidated by Mia:

What is wrong with Egoyan that he makes such sad movies? The revenge trip turning into a sad reconciliation was a motherfucker – it’s hard to write good people who get fucked up by misfortune and still hold onto some goodness – but for me the knife in the heart is the final two seconds, after a movie full of birds a cat walks into frame.

Victor and real bird:

Arsinée and fake bird: