Made in U.S.A.

“You can fool the movie audience, but not me,” says Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 political noir Made in U.S.A. The film is self-reflexive as well as self-conscious: When characters—more than a few named for Godard’s pet movie personalities—speak, it’s often to speculate on the nature of language or note the time passing. The movie’s also a portrait of the Godard’s soon-to-be ex-wife—here cast as a private investigator, wrapped in a trench coat and packing a gat. Forget plot. Key sequences are regularly pulverized just at the point of resolution, and crucial passages of dialogue are purposefully obscured by street noise as, alternately seductive and indifferent, Karina’s detective goes in search of a lover who is apparently lost, perhaps to assassination, in a labyrinthine, never-fully-explained, international political intrigue. Made in U.S.A. is anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist, decrying miniskirts and rock ‘n’ roll as mind control, but it’s also more devoted to the vulgar modernism of mid-20th-century pop culture than any movie Godard made before or would make after. (NR) J. HOBERMAN

July 3-9, 7 & 9 p.m., 2009

 
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