Every Man for Himself Screen 10 articles

Every Man for Himself

1980

Every Man for Himself Poster
  • The idea was to create a free-form method to explore the footage after the fact, creating a narrative of frame-long details and blurred views of the drizzly Swiss landscape. Unsurprisingly, these are Every Man For Himself’s most compelling and beautiful moments, breaking down persistent motion into something that feels like a new way of looking at the world through cinema—something of a Godard specialty.

  • Every Man for Himself, with its Brechtian detachment, feels like a ’60s Godard film. But it also feels more attuned to what is being shown onscreen. Besides a voice-over from Marguerite Duras, the usual range of philosophers and filmmakers are kept to a minimum. In this way, it’s more inward than outward.

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    The Chicago Reader: Dave Kehr
    August 28, 1981 | When Movies Mattered (pp. 149-153)

    Every Man is a highly autobiographical, intensely (and sometimes excruciatingly) personal film, yet it is not a self-centered confessional in the manner of Woody Allen or Bob Fosse. Godard establishes his extreme subjectivity in order to be more objective; there is a push-pull of inside and outside views that is very characteristic of Godard's long-established dialectical method.

  • Even gone mainstream, Godard keeps the technical innovations in place (using slow motion, for example, to make violence look erotic and vice versa), and his dialectical thinking is apparent in his signature themes of prostitution and commerce, more appropriate here than ever.

  • Establishing the template which would make the '80s Godard's second great decade, Every Man for Himself stitches together a dense fabric of spoken and visual references, employing oblique quotes and strange cameos to create a work of twitchy brilliance.

  • That quest [for light and composition] begins here, with Godard’s “return”—at least, his return to the French film industry and his confrontation with its new generation of stars (Isabelle Huppert, Nathalie Baye, and Jacques Dutronc)—and his self-conscious struggle, aided by new equipment (fast film, fast lenses), toward a new cinematic grammar.

  • Every Man for Himself opens with a fast-moving aerial shot of a blue sky streaked with white clouds, not a bit of land in sight. I remember seeing the film at the 1980 New York Film Festival and the exhilaration I felt at the sheer size and visual intensity of the image, pleasures that had been absent from Godard’s work in the seventies.

  • Every Man for Himself isn't about Godard in the way that 8 ½ is so clearly about the world of Fellini, mainly because Godard is too invested in navigating the emergent possibilities of video technologies and new forms of sound and image to be wholly preoccupied with the self—and, by extension, his oeuvre. Reflexivity isn't a feature of the film itself, but encoded within it, so that when Paul leaps in slow motion to tackle Denise near the film's end, Godard is asking: What is meaningful here?

  • Godard used two great cinematographers for this film, Berta and William Lubtchansky, and they provided images that linger long in the mind. However, the great aesthetic emphasis of Godard’s revolutionary period had been sound. If Godard had now rediscovered the joys of the image, partly through the techniques of slow motion that are so crucial to Every Man for Himself, he also wove together a soundtrack of great complexity.

  • By some measure Godard’s most severe dissection of sexual politics and social expectations, as well as one of his most self-effacing works, this nominal return to commercialism is a radical statement all its own.

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