And Dick Tracy? Is he dead?

“[Jean-Luc] Godard once described 2 ou 3 chores as “a continuation of the movement begun by [Alain) Resnais’s Muriel.”‘ As if in token of this, he places a poster advertising that film on the wall of the Jansons’ living room… As directors, Godard and Resnais do not much resemble each other. Resnais works from elaborate, and often very literary, scripts. He is attracted to experimentation, especially in the matter of chronology, and has collaborated with writers associated with the New Novel (notably Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet); yet he shows no inclination, at least in his feature films, to challenge the controlling place of narrative. Stylistically, he creates textures of great smoothness and highly worked rhythmic subtlety. His work has the seriousness and consistency of tone that one associates with French high art. Godard, by contrast, never collaborates with writers and never writes a script in the usual sense at all. He dislikes Robbe-Grillet, is impatient with narrative, and derives his scenarios from murder mysteries, newspaper stories, and other movies. His characteristic textures are rough ones, marked by angular, improvisatory rhythms and abrupt changes of tone. […] Godard follows Resnais not only in these details but in the general interest in comic strips that they both share with other French directors. Last Year at Marienbad, for instance, makes allusion to Mandrake the Magician, and after Je Paime, je Paime, Resnais tried (though without success) to produce a film on a scenario by Stan Lee. Chris Marker’s La jetie, on which Resnais collaborated, is a filmed version of a photo roman and Roger Vadim’s Barbarella of a comic strip. In Alphaville Lemmy Caution asks, as if of a colleague: “And Dick Tracy? Is he dead?”

Alfred Guzzetti, Two or Three Things I Know About Her: Analysis of a Film by Godard. Cambridge Mass/London, England: Harvard University Press, 1981. pp 43-45.


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