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Godard Then And Now At The Film Center

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 28, 2014 7:00PM

"Goodbye to Language 3D" (Photo: © Wild Bunch 2014)

Daring, enthralling, maddening, alienating...just a few of the words that can be applied to the work of Jean-Luc Godard, who remains a formally curious and adventurous director at age 84. Incredibly prolific (IMDB lists 117 film and television credits), the man who helped forge the French New Wave has delivered his latest feature and, of all things, it's a 3-D movie.

By all accounts, however, Goodbye to Language 3D is another uncompromising art/essay film from a director who has never seemed very concerned with audience approval. To complement this highly anticipated film, the Gene Siskel Film Center is also presenting "Godard: The First Wave," a retrospective of 17 features and 3 shorts from the first 30 years of the director's career.

The series includes Godard's famous early breakthroughs (also possibly his most accessible films), such as Breathless (1959), Contempt (1963), Band of Outsiders (1964), Pierrot le Fou (1965), and Alphaville (1965). More overtly political early features like Masculine Feminine (1966) and Weekend (1967) are also on the schedule. The retrospective winds up with a couple of notable films from the '80s: Every Man for Himself (1980) and Hail Mary (1985).

Whether one loves or loathes JLG, it's hard to think of more than a handful of filmmakers who have conducted a career with such uncompromising vigor for as long as this important yet divisive artist.

Goodbye to Language 3D opens for a three-week run (unusually long for a single film at the Film Center) beginning Jan. 16, with daily screenings. "Godard: The First Wave" runs Jan. 3 - March 4. Complete schedules and showtimes are available at the Film Center's website. 3-D buffs should also take note of the upcoming "Dial 3 for 3-D" series. Chicagoist will have some notes on that eclectic array of eye-popping entertainment in the coming weeks.