‘The Image Book’ Film Review: Once Again, Jean-Luc Godard Messes With Viewers’ Heads

Fifty years ago, Jean-Luc Godard was a cinematic revolutionary. Now, the reclusive 87-year-old legend is on another plane entirely, with his magisterially opaque and maddeningly elusive films as much criticisms and dismantlings of cinema as they are examples of it.

Then again, words like opaque and elusive sell Godard short, because they imply that he’s interested in things like plot and character.

He’s not, except in the vaguest and most poetic sense. “The Image Book,” which premiered in competition in Cannes on Friday, is an essay in sound and image, a poem that uses some of the tools of cinema, maybe even an assault on the idea of a movie (and, at times, on the viewer).

It’s a trip to Planet Godard, which at this point in time is a planet capable of sustaining and even inspiring human life, but only if they’re the right kind of humans.

Also Read: Cannes Report, Day 3: Women Rule, ‘Cold War’ Hailed as ‘Best Film’ Yet

You want an idea of what the maddening maestro – who, of course, didn’t show up for his Cannes premiere on Friday afternoon – is up to with this one? Well, you could look at the poem he submitted in lieu of a director’s statement: ” … Like a bad dream written on a stormy night / Under western skies / The lost paradises / War is here.”

Or the note by Bernard Eisenschitz in the press notes: “In the constant interruptions, being split between what is represented and the machine of the cinematograph, with its unspooling, its perforations, its decomposition. Rediscovering continuity by digital means … Waves, flames, bombardments, armies, history and the world as a thundering spectacle a la Dovzhenko, or Vidor.”

Or better yet, you could just experience the damn thing, which should be possible for industrious American viewers at some point, because it is after all Godard.

Also Read: ‘Cold War’ Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

But beware: Even though it clocks in at less than 90 minutes, “The Image Book” requires stamina, or more accurately surrender. (A section of the Grand Theatre Lumiere balcony devoted to press had at least a dozen walkouts during the film.)

Godard uses a barrage of images from movies as disparate as “King Lear,” “Johnny Guitar,” “Dr. Mabuse,” “Anna Karenina,” “Orphee” and “Jaws,” along with news footage and still photos, along with an equally assaultive sound collage, to immerse the viewer in a violent jumble of Western art and Western inhumanity.

Make no mistake: This is an angry movie, both in form and in content.

The footage is all fragmentary and the cuts are all abrupt; music and dialogue often as not cut out before the clip is finished, and what we see often has the colors so saturated or the contrast so cranked that it’s almost unrecognizable. Sometimes the words spoken onscreen are translated in English subtitles, other times they’re not, and at certain points the subtitles serve as commentary rather than translation.

Travel, particularly train travel, is a running motif for the first half of “The Image Book,” but this is travel on the road to chaos and brutality. (Among the final shots of trains are Nazi and Japanese trains from World War II.)

Also Read: Bleecker Street Acquires Mads Mikkelsen Survival Drama ‘Arctic’

And when Godard uncharacteristically begins to unspool an actual narrative in the final stretch of the film, it is a completely fictional one, with news footage masquerading as the story of Sheikh Ben Kadem of the gulf state of Dofu. That section does, though, have a catchy moral: “Do you think men in power today in the world are anything other than bloody morons?”

Godard’s last film, 2014’s “Goodbye to Language,” was nearly as bold and fragmentary, but it also showcased Godard’s daring use of 3D in a new way. “The Image Book” is a tougher sit than that film, which won the jury prize at that year’s festival, but it is an unforgettably strange test for hardy cinephiles.

At the jury press conference before Cannes began on Tuesday, jury president Cate Blanchett was asked if her jury would be able to judge the competition directors’ new films independently of their past work, and if the legendary status of Godard’s career would make it possible to judge him against other directors.

Blanchett gave a noncommittal declaration of nonpartisanship, but there’s another reason it might be impossible to weigh Godard against the others: At this point in his career, he’s playing a different game from the rest of them.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Report, Day 3: Women Rule, ‘Cold War’ Hailed as ‘Best Film’ Yet

‘Lu Over the Wall’ Film Review: Wild Mermaid Anime Defies Categorization

‘Birds of Passage’ Film Review: You’ve Never Seen a Gangster Movie Like This Before

‘Cold War’ Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

Fifty years ago, Jean-Luc Godard was a cinematic revolutionary. Now, the reclusive 87-year-old legend is on another plane entirely, with his magisterially opaque and maddeningly elusive films as much criticisms and dismantlings of cinema as they are examples of it.

Then again, words like opaque and elusive sell Godard short, because they imply that he’s interested in things like plot and character.

He’s not, except in the vaguest and most poetic sense. “The Image Book,” which premiered in competition in Cannes on Friday, is an essay in sound and image, a poem that uses some of the tools of cinema, maybe even an assault on the idea of a movie (and, at times, on the viewer).

It’s a trip to Planet Godard, which at this point in time is a planet capable of sustaining and even inspiring human life, but only if they’re the right kind of humans.

You want an idea of what the maddening maestro – who, of course, didn’t show up for his Cannes premiere on Friday afternoon – is up to with this one? Well, you could look at the poem he submitted in lieu of a director’s statement: ” … Like a bad dream written on a stormy night / Under western skies / The lost paradises / War is here.”

Or the note by Bernard Eisenschitz in the press notes: “In the constant interruptions, being split between what is represented and the machine of the cinematograph, with its unspooling, its perforations, its decomposition. Rediscovering continuity by digital means … Waves, flames, bombardments, armies, history and the world as a thundering spectacle a la Dovzhenko, or Vidor.”

Or better yet, you could just experience the damn thing, which should be possible for industrious American viewers at some point, because it is after all Godard.

But beware: Even though it clocks in at less than 90 minutes, “The Image Book” requires stamina, or more accurately surrender. (A section of the Grand Theatre Lumiere balcony devoted to press had at least a dozen walkouts during the film.)

Godard uses a barrage of images from movies as disparate as “King Lear,” “Johnny Guitar,” “Dr. Mabuse,” “Anna Karenina,” “Orphee” and “Jaws,” along with news footage and still photos, along with an equally assaultive sound collage, to immerse the viewer in a violent jumble of Western art and Western inhumanity.

Make no mistake: This is an angry movie, both in form and in content.

The footage is all fragmentary and the cuts are all abrupt; music and dialogue often as not cut out before the clip is finished, and what we see often has the colors so saturated or the contrast so cranked that it’s almost unrecognizable. Sometimes the words spoken onscreen are translated in English subtitles, other times they’re not, and at certain points the subtitles serve as commentary rather than translation.

Travel, particularly train travel, is a running motif for the first half of “The Image Book,” but this is travel on the road to chaos and brutality. (Among the final shots of trains are Nazi and Japanese trains from World War II.)

And when Godard uncharacteristically begins to unspool an actual narrative in the final stretch of the film, it is a completely fictional one, with news footage masquerading as the story of Sheikh Ben Kadem of the gulf state of Dofu. That section does, though, have a catchy moral: “Do you think men in power today in the world are anything other than bloody morons?”

Godard’s last film, 2014’s “Goodbye to Language,” was nearly as bold and fragmentary, but it also showcased Godard’s daring use of 3D in a new way. “The Image Book” is a tougher sit than that film, which won the jury prize at that year’s festival, but it is an unforgettably strange test for hardy cinephiles.

At the jury press conference before Cannes began on Tuesday, jury president Cate Blanchett was asked if her jury would be able to judge the competition directors’ new films independently of their past work, and if the legendary status of Godard’s career would make it possible to judge him against other directors.

Blanchett gave a noncommittal declaration of nonpartisanship, but there’s another reason it might be impossible to weigh Godard against the others: At this point in his career, he’s playing a different game from the rest of them.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Report, Day 3: Women Rule, 'Cold War' Hailed as 'Best Film' Yet

'Lu Over the Wall' Film Review: Wild Mermaid Anime Defies Categorization

'Birds of Passage' Film Review: You've Never Seen a Gangster Movie Like This Before

'Cold War' Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

SAG Awards Sets Date & Deadlines For Next Year’s 25th Anniversary Show

Just when you thought you wouldn’t read the words “awards season” for a while, the SAG Awards has a date for its 25th anniverary ceremony next year. The trophy show’s executive producer Kathy Connell said today that the actors’ hardware will be doled out Sunday, January 27. TBS and TNT will air it live on both coasts starting at 5 PM PT.
Here are the key dates and deadline for the silver anniversary Screen Actors Guild Awards:
Monday, April 16
Deadline for Selected…

Just when you thought you wouldn’t read the words “awards season” for a while, the SAG Awards has a date for its 25th anniverary ceremony next year. The trophy show’s executive producer Kathy Connell said today that the actors’ hardware will be doled out Sunday, January 27. TBS and TNT will air it live on both coasts starting at 5 PM PT. Here are the key dates and deadline for the silver anniversary Screen Actors Guild Awards: Monday, April 16 Deadline for Selected…

Sterling K. Brown Hulked Out After ‘This Is Us’ SAG Win: ‘My Jacket Split Right Down the Back’ (Video)

Sterling K. Brown was so excited after “This is Us” won at the SAG Awards he hulked out of his suit — literally.

“We all won,” Brown said of the “This is Us” cast’s win for best ensemble at the SAG Awards. “They had been so great at supporting me through all the awards I had won but we got a chance to celebrate together, like it was waterworks, I couldn’t even contain myself,” he told Jimmy Fallon on Thursday night’s broadcast.

“And my jacket, I hugged somebody, split right down the back, like just completely,” he said. “These things are meant to look good in, they’re not functional, actually. I tried to get my full bear on and it just split, right down the back.”

Also Read: ‘Love’: Paul Rust Explains Gillian Jacobs’ Ad-Libbed Scene in Season 3’s ‘Pivotal Argument’

See for yourself:

NBC

Brown won an Emmy, Golden Globe and a SAG Award in the same year.Brown pointed out that the only other actor to accomplish that feat is Dennis Franz for his role in “NYPD Blue.”

“Like Det. Sipowicz was my joint!” Brown said. “So the fact I get a chance to stand in company with that dude, like I was blown away.”

Watch the full clip above.

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Charles Barkley and Sterling K Brown to Host ‘SNL’ Episodes Next Month

Sterling K. Brown was so excited after “This is Us” won at the SAG Awards he hulked out of his suit — literally.

“We all won,” Brown said of the “This is Us” cast’s win for best ensemble at the SAG Awards. “They had been so great at supporting me through all the awards I had won but we got a chance to celebrate together, like it was waterworks, I couldn’t even contain myself,” he told Jimmy Fallon on Thursday night’s broadcast.

“And my jacket, I hugged somebody, split right down the back, like just completely,” he said. “These things are meant to look good in, they’re not functional, actually. I tried to get my full bear on and it just split, right down the back.”

See for yourself:

NBC

Brown won an Emmy, Golden Globe and a SAG Award in the same year.Brown pointed out that the only other actor to accomplish that feat is Dennis Franz for his role in “NYPD Blue.”

“Like Det. Sipowicz was my joint!” Brown said. “So the fact I get a chance to stand in company with that dude, like I was blown away.”

Watch the full clip above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sterling K Brown Recreates 'SNL' Opening Credits With Action Figures and Cardboard (Video)

Martin Sheen Endorses Sterling K Brown For 'West Wing' Reboot President

Sterling K Brown on Which Secret Was Harder to Keep: 'Black Panther' Role or Jack's Death on 'This Is Us'

Charles Barkley and Sterling K Brown to Host 'SNL' Episodes Next Month

SAG Awards Sets Sunday Date for 2019, but Won’t Compete With NFL Championship Game

Next year you can enjoy your Screen Actors Guild Awards without the distraction of a pro football championship game cluttering up your Twitter feed.

That’s because next year’s gala is happening on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 — the week off between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl. (Earlier this year the show was held during the NFC title game on Sunday, Jan. 21).

Next year’s Super Bowl will be on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, and the conference championships are always two weeks ahead of that date — showing no conflict with the 2019 SAG Awards. However, the Pro Bowl (all-star game) does happen on Jan. 27, 2019, the same day as the actors’ awards gala — but the game starts at noon, so there won’t be any overlap with the evening event in Hollywood.

Also Read: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Embraces #MeToo Era

SAG will celebrate the previous year’s outstanding film and television performances for its 25th (silver) anniversary show, simulcast live on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT) on the big night.

SAG Awards are chosen entirely by performers’ peers in SAG-AFTRA, which this year numbered 121,544 eligible voters. The Inaugural Screen Actors Guild Awards® debuted on Feb. 25, 1995. Angela Lansbury opened the ceremony, ending with the first “I Am an Actor” declaration, which has become the ceremony’s signature opening. The first-ever Actor® statuette was presented to Martin Landau for his supporting role in the film “Ed Wood.” Other first-ever SAG Award winners include Jason Alexander, Kathy Baker, Jodie Foster, Dennis Franz, Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Raul Julia (presented posthumously), Dianne Wiest, Joanne Woodward and the “NYPD Blue” and “Seinfeld” ensembles.

The show will be produced by Avalon Harbor Entertainment. Inc.

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Did You Spot Matt Lauer in These 2 Oscar Movies?

Next year you can enjoy your Screen Actors Guild Awards without the distraction of a pro football championship game cluttering up your Twitter feed.

That’s because next year’s gala is happening on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 — the week off between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl. (Earlier this year the show was held during the NFC title game on Sunday, Jan. 21).

Next year’s Super Bowl will be on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, and the conference championships are always two weeks ahead of that date — showing no conflict with the 2019 SAG Awards. However, the Pro Bowl (all-star game) does happen on Jan. 27, 2019, the same day as the actors’ awards gala — but the game starts at noon, so there won’t be any overlap with the evening event in Hollywood.

SAG will celebrate the previous year’s outstanding film and television performances for its 25th (silver) anniversary show, simulcast live on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT) on the big night.

SAG Awards are chosen entirely by performers’ peers in SAG-AFTRA, which this year numbered 121,544 eligible voters. The Inaugural Screen Actors Guild Awards® debuted on Feb. 25, 1995. Angela Lansbury opened the ceremony, ending with the first “I Am an Actor” declaration, which has become the ceremony’s signature opening. The first-ever Actor® statuette was presented to Martin Landau for his supporting role in the film “Ed Wood.” Other first-ever SAG Award winners include Jason Alexander, Kathy Baker, Jodie Foster, Dennis Franz, Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Raul Julia (presented posthumously), Dianne Wiest, Joanne Woodward and the “NYPD Blue” and “Seinfeld” ensembles.

The show will be produced by Avalon Harbor Entertainment. Inc.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Guillermo del Toro Wins Directors Guild Award for 'The Shape of Water'

Awards Box Office: 'Shape of Water' Gets Big Bump From 13 Oscar Nominations

'Dear Basketball' Oscar Nominee Glen Keane to Direct Netflix's Animated Movie 'Over the Moon'

Kobe Bryant, Diversity Talk Dominate Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Did You Spot Matt Lauer in These 2 Oscar Movies?

SAG Awards Sets Date For 2019 Show

The SAG Awards has carved out a date for next year’s awards, with the 25th annual ceremony set for Sunday, January 27, 2019. Once again, the awards for outstanding film and TV performances will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS.
This year’s 24th annual SAG Awards ceremony held January 21 drew 2.7 million viewers for its live simulcast on the networks. The two-hour show, which aired in primetime in the East but 5-7 PM in the West, also posted a 0.8 demo rating, per…

The SAG Awards has carved out a date for next year’s awards, with the 25th annual ceremony set for Sunday, January 27, 2019. Once again, the awards for outstanding film and TV performances will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS. This year’s 24th annual SAG Awards ceremony held January 21 drew 2.7 million viewers for its live simulcast on the networks. The two-hour show, which aired in primetime in the East but 5-7 PM in the West, also posted a 0.8 demo rating, per…

Why Tom Brady, Niecy Nash and Claire Novak Are TV’s Social Media MVPs of the Week

Check out who were the week’s most emotionally reacted-to TV personalities and characters.

The Patriots quarterback, an actress/comedian and a monster-hunter had viewers talking passionately on social media over the past seven days.

The Wrap has partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement company, for a weekly look at some of the characters and personalities that have TV viewers the most worked up on social media. The data below covers Jan. 17-23 and is drawn from the most emotionally reacted-to television programs, including broadcast, cable, streaming and PPV.

Also Read: Super Bowl LII: Twitter Map Shows Nearly Every State Is Rooting for Eagles Over the Patriots

The NFL AFC Championship game on CBS between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars was the most emotionally reacted-to program during the period measured, with a whopping 638,077 Emotional Reactions (ERs). Predictably, Patriots quarterback and fan-favorite Tom Brady was the most-mentioned player during the game, inspiring conversation early on about his hand injury and then later prompting an avalanche of love with some last-minute touchdown passes that secured a win for New England.

Also Read: 9 Things You Didn’t See on TV From the New England Patriots v Oakland Raiders in Mexico City

With Brady’s hand messed up, is this his flu game?

— Austin Knox (@A_dot_Knox) January 21, 2018

Tom Brady is Incredible #Goat

— Loso (@LaceupFRENCH) January 21, 2018

So I think Brady’s hand is fine ????

— Izzy G (@isabellawin21) January 21, 2018

TOM BRADY IS THE ???? ????????#Brady

— Brady Handwerk (@BradyHandwerk) January 21, 2018

Niecy Nash was the most-discussed celebrity during the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (66,444 ERs), which was broadcast on TNT and TBS. The comedian and actress drew laughter from the audience as she, along with Olivia Munn, presented the award for outstanding male actor in a drama series.

Also Read: SAG Awards 2018: The Complete Winners List

As Munn prepared to open the envelope, Nash said that she wanted to say the name if it was Sterling K. Brown (the only African-American nominee). It was him, and she excitedly screamed out his name. In addition to the LOLs around that moment, in general people complimented Nash’s appearance.

Niecy Nash is a national treasure

— Viviana Rosales Olen (@VivianaHHHH) January 22, 2018

Lmfao yo Niecy Nash is wild

— JŌRDAN (@iamjordanfolkes) January 22, 2018

Niecy Nash is life ???????? #SAGAwards

— rusty (@russtifer) January 22, 2018

Niecy Nash ALWAYS looks good

— I Love Us Forreal (@iHeart_youKeish) January 22, 2018

Also Read: ‘Supernatural’: Fate of Dean and Sam’s Mom Stirs ‘Problem’ in Season 13

The recent episode of “Supernatural” on The CW (36,726 ERs) was both a return from its midseason break and a “backdoor pilot” for a proposed spinoff, “Wayward Sisters.” In a show that’s known for focusing mostly on men fighting monsters, this episode highlighted the female warriors — and one, Claire Novak (portrayed by Kathryn Newton), was the most-mentioned character of the night. Much of the conversation was positive, with people talking about her fighting skills, her look and her overall likeability.

WHAT AN ENTRANCE FOR CLAIRE OMG #WaywardSisters #Supernatural

— Mandy ???? (@queendeancas) January 19, 2018

OMFG Claire is the most beautiful badass. #WaywardSisters #Supernatural

— queer anti-capitalist with anxiety (@magicgirlsara) January 19, 2018

Good god I love Claire. #WaywardSisters #supernatural

— Catherine (@ckhill94) January 19, 2018

THATS MY GIRL!!! Get em Claire!!! #Supernatural #WaywardSisters

— Kenna Bright ???????? (@Cloverstone21) January 19, 2018

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Tom Brady Details Battle With Age in Revealing ‘Tom vs Time’ Docu-Series (Video)

Why Gotham Chopra, Tom Brady and Michael Strahan Call Their Show ‘Religion of Sports’

Check out who were the week’s most emotionally reacted-to TV personalities and characters.

The Patriots quarterback, an actress/comedian and a monster-hunter had viewers talking passionately on social media over the past seven days.

The Wrap has partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement company, for a weekly look at some of the characters and personalities that have TV viewers the most worked up on social media. The data below covers Jan. 17-23 and is drawn from the most emotionally reacted-to television programs, including broadcast, cable, streaming and PPV.

The NFL AFC Championship game on CBS between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars was the most emotionally reacted-to program during the period measured, with a whopping 638,077 Emotional Reactions (ERs). Predictably, Patriots quarterback and fan-favorite Tom Brady was the most-mentioned player during the game, inspiring conversation early on about his hand injury and then later prompting an avalanche of love with some last-minute touchdown passes that secured a win for New England.




Niecy Nash was the most-discussed celebrity during the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (66,444 ERs), which was broadcast on TNT and TBS. The comedian and actress drew laughter from the audience as she, along with Olivia Munn, presented the award for outstanding male actor in a drama series.

As Munn prepared to open the envelope, Nash said that she wanted to say the name if it was Sterling K. Brown (the only African-American nominee). It was him, and she excitedly screamed out his name. In addition to the LOLs around that moment, in general people complimented Nash’s appearance.




The recent episode of “Supernatural” on The CW (36,726 ERs) was both a return from its midseason break and a “backdoor pilot” for a proposed spinoff, “Wayward Sisters.” In a show that’s known for focusing mostly on men fighting monsters, this episode highlighted the female warriors — and one, Claire Novak (portrayed by Kathryn Newton), was the most-mentioned character of the night. Much of the conversation was positive, with people talking about her fighting skills, her look and her overall likeability.




Related stories from TheWrap:

Move Over Tom Brady, Maria Menounos Is StubHub's Super Bowl LII Quarterback (Video)

Tom Brady Details Battle With Age in Revealing 'Tom vs Time' Docu-Series (Video)

Why Gotham Chopra, Tom Brady and Michael Strahan Call Their Show 'Religion of Sports'

SAG Awards Draws 2.7M In TBS-TNT Simulcast

The 24th annual SAG Awards ceremony drew 2.7 million viewers for its live simulcast Sunday night on TBS and TNT. The two-hour actors trophy show, which aired in primetime in the East but 5-7 PM in the West, also posted a 0.8 demo rating, per Nielsen.
The ceremony, which was dominated by the cast of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, aired against the NFC Championship Game on Fox. Although it was a lopsided win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the Minnesota…

The 24th annual SAG Awards ceremony drew 2.7 million viewers for its live simulcast Sunday night on TBS and TNT. The two-hour actors trophy show, which aired in primetime in the East but 5-7 PM in the West, also posted a 0.8 demo rating, per Nielsen. The ceremony, which was dominated by the cast of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, aired against the NFC Championship Game on Fox. Although it was a lopsided win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the Minnesota…