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After leaving his filmmaking base and home in France in 1978 for Switzerland, Jean-Luc Godard's films became more overtly introspective but less revolutionary in his middle age. The 1983 First Name: Carmen is a perfect example of the director's reconnection with his roots in the French New Wave while musing about his own role, life, and legacy in the movement. Essentially three films bundled into one (or, more accurately, three levels of the film's self-awareness), Carmen stars Godard himself as a languishing filmmaker hired by his niece to make a movie; what he doesn't know is that she wants the project to be a front for terrorism. That submerged sense of betrayal and final futility permeates Carmen as we see a string quartet struggle through a Beethoven soundtrack (rather than Bizet), a love story of Carmen and Don José that crumbles, and Godard himself as the creator tempted to end up the sum of all that has undone his greatest efforts. An amazing, confessional film, First Name: Carmen finds Godard, as he did in the early days, making an endless loop of his life in cinema and the cinema in his life. --Tom Keogh
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