Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Bruno Putzulu, Cecile Camp, Jean Davy and Francoise Verny.
The most recent work by veteran filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard takes as its starting point the director's categorisation of the four stages of a love affair: the meeting, the physical passion, the separation and the reconciliation. A series of musings on the various stages of lovers' experiences is articulated through the intertwining tales of three couples.
The non-chronological narrative resolutely refuses to explain itself, putting the viewer in a constant state of disorientation. Godard foregoes the shot/reverse shot technique as well as many establishing shots in favour of entering conversations that have already begun and focussing on the faces of listeners rather than protagonists.
A key theme of the movie is the notion of resistance, which manifests itself in multiple guises. On the most literal level, an elderly couple who fought in the French Resistance, investigate the possibility of Hollywood buying the rights to their love story. This plotline calls into question the notion of French culture's resistance to American values. Formally speaking, the film itself arguably provides some resistance to interpretation.
This is a piece of work concerned with the reciprocal relationship between life and art, most succinctly illustrated through the use of freeze framing which momentarily creates the illusion of viewing a painting. At the outset, a narrator introduces the question of choosing between art forms, discussing whether a hypothetical project should take the form of a film, a play, a novel or an opera, thus inviting the viewer to consider their relative merits.
'Eloge De L'Amour' is a reflective oeuvre with a pace to match. A sense of meandering between loosely connected episodes belies what is actually a tightly-structured, cyclical piece of work. The mood is lyrical, enhanced by an unusual use of colour to depict the past.
Essentially, this is a cerebral rather than visceral take on the subject of love with restrained images and much abstract discussion, rather than depictions of actual human contact, being favoured throughout. At some of its more obscure junctures, the film could be said to illustrate Godard's own statement, "I like to talk to discuss, but I always end up talking by myself".
Albeit littered with thought-provoking moments, this is at times a disappointingly unengaging intellectualisation of human emotion, seemingly devoid of any passion.