The Image Book is nonsense that gives experimental cinema a bad name. If a comedy had to spoof an “artsy” movie that’s “a little bit out there”, the filmmakers would try and emulate the ludicrous decisions Jean-Luc Godard makes in his latest “movie”. They might as well play portions of The Image Book instead of writing anything.
You read that correctly. The Image Book was written and directed by legendary film auteur Jean-Luc Godard. Unfortunately, and it’s embarrassing to admit, this is my first Godard film – boy, what a way for a writer/director to introduce himself. He appears to be a filmmaker who wants to bring cinematic aesthetics back to its roots as an artistic medium. But for me, the big problem with The Image Book is it’s without purpose or a distinct voice. It’s been assembled by a randomizer, and edited by someone who is making sure they explore every nook and cranny of their software free trial. The footage, comprised completely of clips from past movies and contemporary news stories, is often incomprehensible; only offering the occasional side-by-side comparison which, I believe, is showing viewers how life can reflect art or vice versa. The narration talks in circles, and sharply cut audio cues suggest that segments of the movie are going on strike for more context.
Other viewers who are more well-versed with Godard’s work may take something away from The Image Book but, if you’re an outsider like me wishing to broaden your viewing variety, it was an inaccessible and irritating film that thought too highly of itself. Bad films tend to push the viewer away. The Image Book give me a full body heave.
The Image Book is now playing at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie