The aesthetics of living historically

Godard’s Tout va Bien (1972)

Authors

  • Jeremy Spencer Camberwell College of Arts, UAL, London

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.59391/inscriptions.v7i1.167

Keywords:

Jean-Luc Godard, Walter Benjamin, Brechtian aesthetic, political cinema, Marxism

Abstract

This essay considers what film-makers Godard and Gorin meant when they say that the protagonists of their 1972 film, Tout va Bien have begun to live their lives “historically.” I suggest that this relatively cryptic formulation, in a similar way to the visual form and technique of Tout va Bien, is largely Brechtian in nature. My intention is to provide an exposition of aspects of Tout va Bien, uncritical of Godard’s and Gorin’s practice of making films politically, but I anticipate that the essay supplements an understanding of this film. I consider the idea or expectation of living historically to be theoretically and philosophically fertile, evoking discussions of history and historical experience in different traditions of thought. Writers such as Marx, Nietzsche, and Benjamin are relevant interlocutors, able to elaborate Godard and Gorin’s resolution to live historically.

References

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Published

2024-01-15

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Academic articles