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From Jean-Luc Godard, possibly the most influential European film director of all time comes IN PRAISE OF LOVE, a mesmerizing and lyrical meditation on love, and the role history and memory play in shaping human consciousness, past and present.
Structured in two parts, the film opens in Paris, where the young artist Edgar is developing a project on the four stages of a love affair- meeting, sexual passion, separation. and rediscovery. During the casting process, Edgar discovers a beautiful young woman who he is convinced he has met before. In the second part, set two years earlier, Edgar interviews an elderly couple- former Resistance fighters during the war- only to find that their memories are being bought up for a Steven Spielberg blockbuster. Linking the two parts is Edgar's relationship with the enigmatic woman he met and re-encounters.
IN PRAISE OF LOVE is a combative but tender work that stubbornly asserts the importance of love, art and memory. A film of great intellectual freedom, elusive meanings and overwhelming visual beauty, Godard has never seemed more young, fresh and original.
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Forty-three years since the release of À Bout de Souffle (Out of Breath), Jean-Luc Godard has still got it. And like his first film, the English title (in that case, Breathless) incorrectly represents the essence of this intricate work. "In Praise of Love" suggests a joyous celebration, but in actuality, Éloge de l'Amour (Eulogy for Love) is a meditation on life, love, and particularly loss. The 2001 film is highly reminiscent of Godard's films from the '60s in structure and attitude. On the surface we may be watching the making of a film (similar to Le Mépris), but in actuality, we are deep in the exploration of love's melancholic elements. In the typical Godard style, In Praise of Love's essence is told through its characters' conversational criticisms towards art, literature, philosophy, politics, capitalism, and cinema, all displayed through the unstructured use of digital video that has the director's distinct, rebellious look and feel. It is amazing that at 73 Godard still has the capability to successfully redefine how we look at film. In Praise of Love definitely requires repeat viewings and may not be for everyone, but for those interested it is well worth it. --Rob Bracco
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