The Image Book

The Image Book

“When a century
slowly dissolves into the next century,
some people
transform means of survival
into new means
It’s the latter that we call art”
― JLG

If the ‘image’ be considered the “means of survival”―survival of information, survival of culture, survival of the very memory of the human race―then according to his own quote above, Godard’s The Image Book should find its place amongst the purest of the purest expressions of art. Like his mentor André Bazin did with his seminal essay The Ontology of the Photographic Image, more than 50 years ago, Godard too examines the very nature of moving images and their potential for conveying information and emotion, stripped of the support typically provided by narratives, characters, a synchronized background score et cetera.

But with The Image Book, Godard goes a step further. He deliberately interjects a seemingly-coherent stream of images with an abrupt cut, interrupts his own voiceover with music and silence, plays around with a meticulously selected montage of clips from older films ― violating any and every sacred classical rule of filmmaking developed over 120 years of cinema’s existence. His subtitles cover every alternate spoken sentence (with a few exceptions), meaning that about half of the spoken voiceover is lost to people who don’t speak French, in his continued attempts to reject the confines of language itself (“But the words will never be language”) and shift entirely to the domain of visual communication.

READ THE REST AT THE PROJECTION ROOM