Godard claims this is his last film. If so, it’s a fitting exit for European cinema’s genius grouch: angry, politicised, inquiring, brimming with ideas, disdainful of the audience and impossible to categorise. The film falls loosely into three sections. The first, and longest, falls between documentary and drama as we join a ferry making its way across the Mediterranean. Various passengers, including Smith, discuss history, politics and globalisation, with one African actor speaking for an entire continent on the ship’s deck – ‘Poor Europe,’ she says, ‘humiliated by suffering.’ The English subtitles offer only keywords (‘Navajo English,’ Godard calls it) and further stress his campaign against the tyranny of our language. The second segment is an abstract play set in an Italian petrol station and featuring a llama (a comment on fuel dependency and South America?). The third is a rapid-fire collage of archive footage under various titles of place names including Odessa, Egypt and Palestine. The visual style is aggressive: crisp HD images give way to mobile-phone footage; sounds cuts in and out and wind bashes against the microphone. Dense and difficult, 'Film Socialisme' refuses to reveal itself in one viewing, and Godard is no help: ‘No Comment,’ scoffs the final frame.
Cast and crew