May 31, 2008

Godard respects the boycott

According to Agence-France Press, May 31:

French-Swiss director pulls out of Israeli film festival

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Celebrated French-Swiss moviemaker Jean-Luc Godard has dropped out of an annual student film festival in Tel Aviv, an event official said on Saturday.

The cult film director had been due to arrive on Sunday but said he would not be attending for "reasons beyond his control," Morane Tal said.

"We are very disappointed because he seems to have succumbed to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups who launched a campaign for people to boycott Israel," she added, without elaborating.

Godard, noted auteur of Weekend, and Breathless, had been scheduled to attend a student film festival in Tel Aviv. Godard, known for his left-wing views, also made the film Ici e Ailleures which apparently started out as a film sympathetic to, and funded by Palestinian revolutionaries, but apparently turned into something different:

Description: Initially begun as a documentary about Palestinian revolutionaries, Ici et Ailleurs (in English, Here and Elsewhere) was ultimately transformed into an hour-long filmed essay addressing the relationship between politics and image, the problems of documentary filmmaking, and the danger of media saturation. Collaborators Jean-Pierre Gorin and Anne-Marie Melville began the film with funding from Palestinian forces, under the title Victory, intending to create a sympathetic portrait of the revolutionaries as a true people's movement. Not long after the filmmakers' return to France, however, most of their subjects were killed in warfare, and the issues behind the film no longer seemed so simple. At this point Jean-Luc Godard joined the production, helping create a series of scenes focusing on the life of a middle-class French family; this is the "Here" portion of the film, with Palestine as "Elsewhere." By editing together documentary and fictional footage, and commenting on these images through photo collages, title screens, and other reflexive techniques, the film questions the association between political thought and the structures of fiction. Ultimately, Ici et Ailleurs seems suspicious of all images, even its own; the suggestion is that all films, especially documentaries, present a false, constructed vision of reality.

That description, and bit torrent of the film is here. I'm curious to know what the politics of the finished film turned out to be.

PACBI had appealed to Godard to cancel his appearance: Open Letter to Jean-Luc Godard from occupied Palestine:Le petit soldat dancing on Palestinian graves? Coincidentally, see this recent piece in WaPo: Godard: A Revolutionary In More Ways Than One The article concludes:

Did Godard fancy himself a revolutionary? Sure, but his weapon of choice was a camera. Cinema, he once said, was not a gun, but "a light which helps you check your gun."


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