First Name: Carmen

Something like a remake of Pierrot le Fou in its cosmic despair, doom-laden romanticism, and stinging, insolent wit. Replacing Bizet with Beethoven and recasting the operatic cigarette girl as a cheapo terrorist, this is really an intimate journal musing about three movies in one. As in Passion, there is a bleak acknowledgement of the difficulty of making films (with the string quartet's Beethoven rehearsals indicating how the film-maker is going astray in the tone and tempo of his attempts to communicate). Then there is the story of Carmen and Don José, which obstinately refuses to get off the ground, grinding into a grim stasis where l'amour fou dies miserably as the naked lovers take sexual stock. And finally there is Godard himself, drawing all the threads together in a confessional performance as a burnt-out film-maker languishing in a lunatic asylum, out of which he is tempted only to suffer both professional and personal betrayal by Carmen (last name Karina?). Not for nothing does the film carry a nostalgic dedication 'in memoriam small movies'. This, throwaway jokes and all, is Godard back at his most nouvelle vague in years.

Release details

Duration: 84 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Screenwriter: Anne-Marie Miéville
Cast: Maruschka Detmers
Jacques Bonnaffé
Myriem Roussel
Jean-Luc Godard
Hyppolite Girardot
Christophe Odent

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Technoguy

Prenom Carmen This film works. It’s the process of making a film. It’s the story of Carmen using Beethoven rather than Bizet.It’s a documentary which is a fiction. A washed up director,Godard, is visited by his niece in a mental hospital.She wants to make a film and wants to loan his video cameras and apartment by the sea.She turns bank robber with the terrorist group to fund their activities .They aim to kidnap an industrialist or his daughter Everything is done in comic book style She falls in love and out with the guard at the bank.Their love affair is shot in the apartment and in a hotel.We have comic book betrayal,jealousy and passion.Her uncle leaves hospital and helps in the making of the film: his every corrosive quote is documented by his amenuensis. The film uses several framing devices:the sight and sound of rolling waves, a string quartet rehearsing Beethoven whose mistakes show the difficulty of film making,the mad director,the crazy bank robbery.all in all it somehow worksThe coming together of several elements makes individual progress difficult. And not surprisingly capitalism gets slated.The violinist is the remote figure loved by the guard but who is not his girlfriend:it is suggested she is day-dreaming the whole thing up.There are multiple frames of reference in a multi-tiered story.The narrative of Carmen a mere peg to be ignored. Picture making is akin to crime: stealing life, since film as a medium is an end in itself ,a Brechtian tool for deconstruction .Godard does the whole thing with such wit and panache,interweaving music and image and sends himself up in the process.The waves even recall New Wave.

Technoguy

Prenom Carmen This film works. It’s the process of making a film. It’s the story of Carmen using Beethoven rather than Bizet.It’s a documentary which is a fiction. A washed up director,Godard, is visited by his niece in a mental hospital.She wants to make a film and wants to loan his video cameras and apartment by the sea.She turns bank robber with the terrorist group to fund their activities .They aim to kidnap an industrialist or his daughter Everything is done in comic book style She falls in love and out with the guard at the bank.Their love affair is shot in the apartment and in a hotel.We have comic book betrayal,jealousy and passion.Her uncle leaves hospital and helps in the making of the film: his every corrosive quote is documented by his amenuensis. The film uses several framing devices:the sight and sound of rolling waves, a string quartet rehearsing Beethoven whose mistakes show the difficulty of film making,the mad director,the crazy bank robbery.all in all it somehow worksThe coming together of several elements makes individual progress difficult. And not surprisingly capitalism gets slated.The violinist is the remote figure loved by the guard but who is not his girlfriend:it is suggested she is day-dreaming the whole thing up.There are multiple frames of reference in a multi-tiered story.The narrative of Carmen a mere peg to be ignored. Picture making is akin to crime: stealing life, since film as a medium is an end in itself ,a Brechtian tool for deconstruction .Godard does the whole thing with such wit and panache,interweaving music and image and sends himself up in the process.The waves even recall New Wave.