“John Brennan on Thursday recalled being asked a standard question for a top security clearance at his early CIA lie detector test: Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?”
The CDC declared war on the psyches of Americans when it started counting probable cases of coronavirus and probable deaths resulting from COVID as ACTUAL cases and ACTUAL deaths attributable to COVID-19.
CNN declared war on Donald Trump and waged this war for four-straight years by way of merciless propaganda.
In 1980, an anonymous group erected a mysterious stone structure in the United States which prioritized their stated desires starting thusly: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.”
[the world’s population at the time was 4.43 billion (meaning that this anonymous group thought there were about 4 billion excess humans on the planet)]
In 1910, seven men met in utmost secrecy just off the coast of the United States on Jekyll Island to plan what would become the Federal Reserve System.
Jayne Mansfield was, in all likelihood, a Satanist.
She died when the car in which she was traveling crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer just east of New Orleans.
Did Hitler have tinnitus?
20 July plot.
Could we call those Nazis heroes?
They tried to assassinate Hitler with plastic explosives.
But they fucked up his ears.
Kevin Spacey embodies evil in this film (and some might say, in real life).
I avoided watching this film for a long time…strictly because Spacey was in it.
It is well known that he took a trip to Africa aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express”.
Sexual assault charges have been filed against Spacey by multiple people.
And multiple accusers have subsequently died.
If there is such a thing as the New World Order (some might just call it the Bilderberg Meetings), then Kevin Spacey might well be the most thoroughly-connected Hollywood actor.
It’s just a hunch.
But one thing is certain: Kevin Spacey possesses an amazing thespian talent.
Which brings us to another point.
Do we have to approve of the lifestyles of artists?
Not necessarily so.
I love Pablo Picasso’s work.
I don’t judge his work based on the details of his life.
So I am somewhat remiss to say: Kevin Spacey is brilliant in this film.
And if he be evil in real life, then he had no problem channeling that force for this role.
For he is, undoubtedly, the villain.
And yet, he is human.
There is shading.
Like a Dostoyevsky character.
No one is completely good.
And no one is completely bad.
Which brings us back to war.
We must respect our enemies.
If they indeed demand our respect.
If the Central Intelligence Agency was to have a primary asset in Hollywood, that asset might very well be Kevin Spacey.
Again, just a hunch.
And so we can appreciate brilliance.
Brilliance in conception.
Brilliance in execution.
There are many battlefields.
Many geometric planes on which to do battle.
Kevin Spacey is an infinitely-talented actor.
It is almost scary how deft he truly is.
This movie may have saved my romantic relationship.
On again after four hellish days of arguments.
Because music saves us.
And we make music.
There is a connection which no one can get at.
Our DNA is musical.
Thinking back to Jayne’s measurements.
And songs I’ve written.
A timely shock of hair.
Thank you for your service.
Few industries are as sick and corrupt as the acting and music industries.
I know the latter firsthand.
There’s no such thing as a former KGB man.
When life was carefree in Austin, Texas.
Before Antifa ruined it.
Anything was possible.
Potential bursting from every moment.
A sensual heaviness to the air.
The 2020 election was stolen.
And Georgia was centerstage.
Ruby Freeman got caught.
And (apparently) paid no price.
But this travesty gave us at least one American hero: Lin Wood.
And now L. Lin Wood stands as one of the few remaining beacons in the darkness which has settled over America.
But there were other heroes.
Like Jesse Morgan.
What happened to his truck-full of ballots that he transported from Bethpage, New York to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?
His truck disappeared.
The 2020 election was a heist of the most grand proportions.
Analog, digital…you name it.
Ask Phill Kline what happened to that truck.
Ask Anthony Shaffer.
The Amistad Project tried to preserve “one person, one vote” in America.
So far, not a single court in the land (post-election) has had the guts to look at the evidence.
And the evidence is embarrassingly-copious.
Jamie Foxx is excellent in this film.
Don’t underestimate the thug.
Street smarts and book smarts differ.
The latter can earn you a living.
The former can keep you alive.
Staying alive in the world of crime and secrecy (a deadly combination) is no small feat.
Especially when the stakes are high.
For criminals, cops are bad.
Unless the cops are corrupt.
In which case, the cops may very well be working to supply the criminals (among other things).
Which makes me think of the highly-questionable Eric Holder.
And the genre this movie emerges from.
A franchise and a genre.
Fast and furious.
We are the scum that keep it alive.
We are the 7 billion people who will not make the cut alluded to in the Georgia Guidestones.
But romance continues in war.
As love is more desperate.
And each moment savored more so.
A morsel here.
We get bold.
Nerds of the world.
Yes, we have no bananas.
Just writing songs.
A potential deserter.
Every man has his breaking point.
Ansel Elgort is also brilliant in this film.
Edgar Wright may be the most important film director working in the world today.
This film is a masterpiece.
The problem is (and it’s hardly a problem), all his films are masterpieces.
I watch them repeatedly.
Wright is truly an auteur.
He is truly an indispensable filmmaker.
I didn’t GET that at first.
Just like I didn’t GET the first Grinderman record when it came out.
Some things take time.
Each artist has their own language.
You must first learn the language.
Maybe you can only run so long.
Which is why an army is not one man or one woman.
That day will come when you are not so lucky.
If you only have one memory.
It is priceless.
Can bad people do a good turn?
And we pray that they see the light.
Can quiet nerds be bad motherfuckers?
You better believe it.
But they never stop being (simultaneously) fragile.
Does Mr. Schmidt fear something in the United States?
Perhaps the former CEO of Google knows something we do not?
Might it concern impending public corruption trials?
And, just maybe, a reelection of Donald Trump?
Lapland Odyssey premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010.
That was the same year that Toronto-based company Dominion Voting Systems acquired not only Premier Election Solutions (an American company [Ohio]) from ES&S (Election Systems & Software [Omaha, Nebraska]), but also Sequoia Voting Systems [California] from Smartmatic [U.K.].
PES had only been acquired by ES&S the previous year (2009). Before that, PES was owned by Diebold.
Premier Election Systems was formerly known as Diebold Election Systems.
Before Diebold bought it, it was known as General Election Systems.
Before General Election Systems bought it, it was known as I-Mark Systems.
You get the picture.
Dominion Voting Systems is now owned by American private equity firm Staple Street Capital (which has extremely strong ties to the Carlyle Group [George H.W. Bush’s former benefactor]).
Let’s use Google (please, no laughing yet…) to determine how “top” news organizations are covering a mass criminal conspiracy (if proven) which involved installing a losing candidate (Joe Biden) in the place of the candidate who actually won (Donald Trump).
That would be a big story, if true, right?
Let’s do a quick survey.
Because it’s the job of the news media to parse the one-hour-and-thirty-minute event and give American citizens an overview of its salient points.
Google search result for “giuliani press conference” videos page 1 (let’s presume a person might want to watch the whole thing for themselves):
–Result 1. Located on YouTube (owned, like Google, by Alphabet Inc. [how convenient]). Nine minutes. Key term: “hair dye”. Content: Jimmy Fallon
–Result 2. CNN. Two minutes and 42 seconds. Key term: “baseless claims”. Hey, CNN: do you treat all affidavits with such blanket dismissal?
–Result 3: Located on YouTube (part of Google conglomerate Alphabet Inc). Thirteen minutes and 51 seconds. Key term: “insane”. Content: Seth Meyers.
Let’s pause a moment.
Are we to assume that Google is impartially allowing the “most popular” results to rise to the top of their search here? We are presented with 2-out-of-3 results which directly benefit the search engine’s holding company (Alphabet) by way of a subsidiary (YouTube).
Sure, people like a good laugh.
But are comedy monologues usually the most popular when something as serious as a national criminal conspiracy comes to light?
To make fun of Rudy’s running hair dye is an ad hominem attack. Sure, it’s in good fun, right? But did Jimmy Fallon make fun of the room full of press who followed Rudy’s impassioned feat of logic with inane non sequiturs? I doubt it.
To characterize Rudy’s press conference as “insane” is to characterize Rudy himself as “insane”. This is, again, an ad hom attack which conveniently avoids addressing the event on any intellectual merit whatsoever.
Then, strangely, we have “news” wedged in between these two self-dealing redirects by Google. News in the form of CNN. What we appear to find is that, either A: CNN is the most popular news network in the USA (not true based on television ratings, financial solvency, etc.), or B: Google is pushing the views of a not-widely-popular network as being WILDLY-POPULAR.
Well, at least we can hope the title of said news coverage retains the appearance of impartiality.
CNN’s video is titled, “Rudy Giuliani spouts baseless claims at news conference.”
That’s all we need to know, right?
Might as well not even watch it.
…the hour-and-a-half version, much less the 2′(!)42″ version.
CNN is really providing a service here.
They are thinking FOR US.
The video is just complementary.
The title says all you need to know.
There is no subtle shading.
It is black and white.
To CNN (at least), it is clear that Rudy Giuliani’s sworn affidavits are “baseless claims”.
How, I wonder, did CNN come to this conclusion?
Are they able to, point by point, refute each affidavit in a mere two minutes and 42 seconds?
Perhaps an auctioneer delivers the story using logic of which Bertrand Russell would even be proud?
But I doubt it.
And I won’t waste my time being burned again by CNN.
CNN is worse that the village idiot.
Because CNN is not unaware of what it is doing.
–Result 4: Ohhh…The Guardian. U.K. The king’s English. They talk in that proper, fastidious accent. Surely they will be measured and retrospect in their approach. Forty-three seconds. Key terms: “sweaty”, “hair malfunction”, “bizarre”. Right. As has been said recently, your opinion stopped mattering to us in 1776.
–Result 5: People magazine. One hour, 48 minutes, and 39 seconds (no less). Sounds promising. Key terms: “hair dye” and “sweat”. The title is already telling me what to think. It’s already telling me what to focus on. I don’t like that.
–Result 6: Newsweek. A whole whopping 26 SECONDS! Video title: “Tucker Carlson defends Rudy Giuliani”. God forbid…
–Result 7: Located on YouTube [where’s Teddy Roosevelt when you need him?]. The Young Turks. Eight minutes and 45 seconds. Key term: “literally melting down”. Again, ad hominem attack to cast aspersion on the facts presented.
Hey. Rudy is old. Lights can be hot. Lawyers have dropped off his team because THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN THREATENED. Oh, and there’s this little thing called WORK. Work generates HEAT. A heated human body naturally SWEATS to cool itself down. When’s the last time you saw a “journalist” sweat?
Result 8: Sky News Australia. Surely the Aussies will offer a different take in their one minute 46 second video. Key term: “hair dye sweat”. Ok, maybe not.
Result 9: CNN. Again!!! Wow…they must really be popular. Let me guess: they give Rudy a fair shake here and, therefore, the video is lower rated by Google (and, you know, “we the people” who utilize this fair and balanced search engine)? Again, with CNN, the title says it all (no need even watching [apparently]): “CNN reporter debunks Giuliani’s dangerous and falseclaims.” Wow. So Pamela Brown (whoever the fuck that is) takes just four minutes (!) to refute an hour-and-a-half press conference from extremely literate speakers (not limited to Giuliani, but including lucid delineation by Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis).
So, let me get this straight: is the whole world (and particularly the United States [whose election has just been stolen by criminal conspiracy]) just a bunch of fart-joke-laughing middle schoolers who gleaned nothing from this masterpiece of oratory other than from the 10 minutes (out of NINETY MINUTES) where Rudy’s hair dye ran down the sides of his face?
I get it. Funny. Ha ha. That’s right. Let’s just discount the whole thing. Let’s discount “America’s Mayor” who saw us through the dark days of 9/11/01. Let’s just take a big dump on him. Let’s kick this prostate cancer survivor in the nuts because, God forbid, he uses hair dye. And, GOD FORBID, he sweats when he works.
For this audience:
a Rudy Giuliani fart is more literate–more articulate than a Joe Biden State of the Union address could ever be (God forbid the later actually happens).
Result 10: Located on YouTube [$]. Bloomberg. One hour, 48 minutes, and 39 seconds. Hmmm…same exact feed as People? Wow. That said, it’s the only result on page one which seems to even attempt taking Rudy as seriously as CNN takes the Green New Deal.
If you’re not much on videos, then read. This seems to be a fairly accurate transcript (though I have just browsed the top portion [after having watched the entire press conference]).
I believe the three people who spoke (Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis) will go down in American history as heroes for what they did today. And so will those working in the shadows (like Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing).
This is the most epic break in the matrix (or Debord’s “spectacle”, whichever you prefer) in modern American history. It will be remembered that it all started here.
But this time I had a reason to be more emotionally invested.
That’s right, mops.
Mops play a big role in this movie.
Spatulas also make a sort of cameo.
But mops predominate.
In particular, there is a special mop which is almost like a character in this film.
It doesn’t talk.
It doesn’t have a name.
But it is more than a MacGuffin.
Stanley Spadowski (the true star of this movie) received the mop in question for his 8th birthday.
And, apparently, he used that mop well into adulthood.
He decorated it with various bits of colored electrical tape.
And it was with this mop that he dutifully fulfilled his role as janitor at a major local TV news station: Channel 8.
But one day, Spadowski (played brilliantly by Michael Richards) found himself to be, in the tradition of Hitchcock, “the wrong man”.
Spadowski did nothing wrong.
He was not careless.
Even though he didn’t possess a notable intellect per se, he gave his all to his janitorial profession.
…and he actually enjoyed it.
Stanley Spadowski took pride in his work at Channel 8.
But, as “the wrong man”, he suddenly found himself blamed and scapegoated.
Though his unscrupulous employer made no effort to prove Spadowski’s guilt, Spadowski could not PROVE his innocence.
It was a quick exchange…
Q: Did you do this?
Q: I don’t believe you. You’re fired.
Something like that.
And, thus, Spadowski was crushed.
But the most crushing blow for Stanley was when the station owner’s son (also an employee [l’il bit ‘o nepotism]) confiscated Stanley’s mop as “station property”.
It was not.
But Stanley was helpless.
Stanley had no one to stand up for him.
Yet, though he didn’t get what the wanted (to retain his job at Channel 8), he got what he needed: a new job as janitor of the UHF station 62.
And all of this because one man observed the pitiable scene of Stanley being deprived of his tool of the trade (which he had used since childhood).
That man was “Weird Al” Yankovic.
As in the movie (where “Weird Al” is the station manager of “U62”), Yankovic was also the brains behind this movie itself.
He wrote it.
With someone named Jay Levey.
Mr. Levey directed this “cult classic”.
If it tells you anything, Levey still does not have a Wikipedia page in English…41 years after this movie came out.
So I am going to assume that Levey did not go on to bigger and brighter things in the film industry.
That being said, it appears this film actually realized a 20% profit (box office – budget = x [x/budget = profit as a %]).
But let’s get back into Stanley Spadowski (a character “Weird Al” or Levey must have invented).
I’d bet money that Yankovic came up with this character.
But this character could not have come to life without the talents of Michael Richards.
No one, and I mean NO ONE, could have pulled it off.
Michael Richards is a very underrated actor.
If you look on iTunes, you are apt to see a mere two films in which Richards plays anything approximating a significant role.
One is this: UHF.
The other is another sort of “diamond in the rough”: Transylvania 6-5000.
The latter would be a mostly-unwatchable, tedious comedy were it not for Richards’ breakout performance.
Richards distinguished himself as Fejos in that film four years prior to UHF.
Indeed, just a fortnight before UHF was released in 1989, Seinfeld premiered as The Seinfeld Chronicles.
Richards played the role of Kessler.
As The Seinfeld Chronicles became Seinfeld, Kessler became Kramer.
The world, in general, knows Michael Richards as [Cosmo] Kramer.
The show ran for nine years.
But let’s adjust our tack a bit here.
Who is Stanley Spadowski?
I would argue that he is the “cousin” (so to speak) of Carl Spackler: the groundskeeper in 1980’s Caddyshack.
Where Spackler is laconic, Spadowski is prone to frenzy.
And yet, these two characters are cut from a similar cloth.
Spackler (Bill Murray) always has his impermeable camouflage bucket hat.
And usually a dirt-and-sweat-stained T-shirt.
Baggy cargo shorts.
And combat boots.
Appearing in 1980, Carl Spackler would have probably been seen as a nutty Vietnam vet.
Indeed, Spackler is tasked by his boss (the HEAD groundskeeper) to take care of the golf course’s gopher problem.
In hilarious fashion, Spackler goes after the gophers…even employing plastic explosives.
Spadowski is also a T-shirt guy.
And whether they are real or fake (I think fake), Spadowski has noticeable (and endearing) bucked teeth.
He can hardly keep them in his mouth.
He is awkward.
He usually speaks slowly.
But when he gets excited, he is like a fire hydrant that’s just been opened.
What’s important about Spadowski and Spackler is that they are everymen.
They are most certainly underdogs.
And UHF, at its heart, is an underdog story.
U62, the channel, is an underdog.
It is not a network affiliate.
UHF (as opposed to VHF) was the television equivalent of AM radio (as opposed to FM).
You could find ANYTHING on UHF television or AM radio.
Anything was possible.
There was less control.
Today, in my town, my favorite radio station is run by a Methodist church.
Their format (vaguely) is “oldies”.
But their programming swings a bit wildly…and usually I love them for it.
They play songs I’ve never heard.
Occasionally a similar station will pop up in the same range of the dial using this “none of the hits–all of the time” approach (only to disappear back into the ocean of static which separates one clear-signal island from another).
U61 is this sort of beast.
Which makes sense.
Because it is run by a dreamer: George Newman (“Weird Al”).
George starts off this film flipping burgers.
This may be a reference to the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
“Weird Al” gets fired.
The tone of the scene is very similar to Fast Times…
Which brings up an important point.
UHF is a pastiche.
It is stream-of-consciousness.
The narrative shifts wildly with non sequitur episodes interpolated here and there.
UHF makes continuous reference to the pop culture of its day: the 1980s.
And this makes sense because the creator of this film was “Weird Al”: best known as a musician specializing in parodies (usually of contemporary hits).
I hate to get all artsy-fartsy here, but I would dare say there is a modicum of post-modernism in “Weird Al”‘s filmic approach.
And, perhaps more importantly, a noticeable measure of Thelonious Monk (autism?) in Stanley Spadowski.
And so UHF is a work of art which captures awkwardness in some of the same ways that Napoleon Dynamite and Poto and Cabengo do (respectively).
The message is: be yourself.
You have value.
There is a person out there for you.
There is a job that is right for you.
There are no guarantees.
But you won’t be happy anyway if you’re not being yourself.
This much-féted masterwork was not only released on television (which is to say, it was not a “theatrical” film per se), but it was accompanied by a soundtrack on the very erudite German record label ECM and further augmented by a book (text and screenshots) published by the most famous French publishing house Gallimard.
The soundtrack is very difficult to find on CD, but it is becoming less-difficult to find in the digital realm (unlike the film itself).
You can at least “listen to the movie” on Spotify.
And so for this film review, we will only be considering (to start with) the first section (which runs 51 minutes).
It is the section with which I am most familiar.
It is my personal favorite.
But it is important to note that the entire 266 minute film is essential to the “weight” of this creation (even if this first part is the most finely-crafted).
But we will reconsider as we go along.
The first section of the film (that which is under consideration) dates from 1988.
The book was not released till 1998 (when the film was completed).
So we have a sort of serial composition here (in the sense of Finnegans Wake).
It came out in parts.
It dribbled out.
And its influence spread.
We remember William S. Burroughs and his concept of the “word virus”.
That is certainly germane here.
But I return, again, to Finnegans Wake.
No film creation in the history of cinema is more like James Joyce’s aforementioned masterpiece than Histoire(s) du cinéma.
Indeed, the only other creation I know of which enters into this same sui generis realm is Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk (translated in English as Arcades Project).
These are DENSE works…these three masterpieces.
One (Joyce) a “novel”.
One (Godard) a “movie”.
And one (Benjamin) a philosophical book.
Two books and a movie.
And the movie eventually became a book (Godard’s Gallimard creation).
The reverse of the usual.
Here, book doesn’t become film.
And there is not “more” in the book than there is in the film in Godard’s case.
If anything, there is certainly less.
Which doesn’t make it any less poignant.
So, what Godard has created for us with the book is a perfect guide to REMEMBERING WHAT WE SAW.
Which is a big theme of Histoire(s) du cinéma.
Film preserves the holiness of real life (to paraphrase).
Film (and video…of which this movie makes extensive use) preserves a moment.
Film can be (and is, always) a document.
Godard outlines a very French dichotomy here.
Film can be either predominantly of the Lumière brothers’ tradition (what we might call “documentary”).
Or of the Méliès tradition (a doctored reality…a “staged” document…what we might call “drama” [and its various subgenres such as “comedy”]).
But this dichotomy is not strictly “mutually exclusive”.
And here Godard brings us the example of Robert Flaherty.
Known as a director of documentaries, Godard points out that Flaherty “staged” his documentaries (which blurs the lines between the Lumière/Méliès dichotomy).
And what of Histoire(s) du cinéma?
Is it a documentary?
In many ways, yes.
It is a history of film.
But it is also a history of the filmmaker who is MAKING that very same history of film (namely, Godard himself).
To add further layers of surreality, Godard must address his own contribution to the history of cinema (which is considerable by even the most unbiased estimation).
Which is to say…
Godard is important to the history of film.
Whether you like him and his films or not, he cannot be ignored.
And so we have here a very curious and “loaded” document indeed.
It is a matter of historiography.
Godard cannot (and indeed, does not even try) to remove his own opinion from this exercise of surveying the history of cinema.
That may be, ultimately, because Jean-Luc Godard never stopped being a film critic.
It was as a lowly film critic that he started…and it is as a film critic with his caméra-stylo (“camera pen”) that he continues to create today.
All of his films are, in and of themselves, film criticism.
From Breathless to The Image Book, he is always making a statement.
Pointing out how vapid Hollywood can be.
Pointing out what doesn’t exist in the marketplace.
Perhaps he is creating that which he would most like to watch…as a film lover.
His favorite film didn’t exist (except in his head–except as a vague concept).
No one had made it.
So, in order to watch it, he had to create it himself.
Then he could (theoretically) “enjoy” it.
I imagine he does this with each new film he makes.
It is always an attempt (“essay”…from French etymology…”to try”) to materialize what he would like to watch.
No director has his cutting wit.
No director’s mind pivots so nimbly.
So he must become his own favorite director…over and over and over and over again.
But this film is indeed a special case.
Ten years of creation.
Joyce spent 17 years on Finnegans Wake.
Benjamin spent 13 years on his Arcades Project.
And all of this which I have written is merely a preface.
That is how IMMENSE and pithy(!) Histoire(s) du cinéma truly is.
To be a creator is tiresome.
It makes one weary.
To always dream.
And to sweat in pursuance of crystalizing ones inspiration.
Jean-Luc Godard has always been a bitter sort of chap.
Bitter about Hollywood.
A love/hate relationship (LOVE/HATE…Robert Mitchum…knuckle tats).
And it is true.
Godard delves very early on into the parallel birth and adolescence of cinema and the Holocaust.
Cinema and the Holocaust.
Cinema was still young.
Cinema had a responsibility to document.
The Germans were very technologically advanced (particularly in sound and video recording).
They kept records of everything.
Even when they went astray during the Third Reich.
Germany had already produced great directors by the time of the Holocaust.
At the top of the list would be F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang.
But they were not alone.
There were others.
UFA (which still exists till this day) was a giant.
So where is the documentation of the Holocaust?
[you can see what a “dangerous” question Godard is asking]
Is he “denying” the Holocaust happened?
I don’t think so.
But he’s asking a relatively simple and (I think) sincere question.
Where is the video record?
All that has been passed down to us of the concentration camps (and “death” camps) is the record made by American directors like George Stevens AFTER the camps had been liberated.
So what really went on there?
Are we to really believe the Germans shot no footage whatsoever in these camps?
And if so, why can’t we see it?
Wouldn’t it truly help us to “never forget” and “never again” and stuff etc. etc.???
It is a very inconvenient fact that, as far as the general public has been made aware, there are NO (and I repeat NO) films (NO FOOTAGE) shot by the Nazis in the concentration camps during WWII.
Surely it exists, right?
But where is it?
Who has it?
What does it show?
Godard is the ultimate enfant terrible here (and elsewhere).
He wants to know.
Because he’s a film lover.
And he ultimately blames Hollywood (which had, by WWII, become the global center of the film industry) for not truly DOCUMENTING what happened in the concentration camps (neither while the camps were active nor anytime afterwards).
But here Godard branches off into an aesthetic direction.
Godard flatly rejects the talentless Spielberg evocation of Schindler’s List.
For Godard, a directer as mediocre as Steven Spielberg has no business trying to tackle humanity’s darkest hour.
This is the conundrum at the heart of Histoire(s) du cinéma.
What Godard (I think) is saying is this: there is no way to “write” a history of cinema…because a large portion of contemporaneous history (1939-1945) was not addressed in any true way by the BUSINESS (ironically represented heavily by Jews) of Hollywood.
Godard seems to be saying that Hollywood’s Jews (which is to say, Hollywood) let down world jewry during the years 1939-1945…all for a buck (as it were).
It is a persuasive argument in many ways.
But let’s back up a step.
To reiterate, a history of cinema cannot be told…because there is a portion of that history which is MISSING.
This is a very important word here (and a very important term).
There are films which SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE, but weren’t (by Hollywood).
And there are films which may have be made (by the Nazis), but as far as we know (factually) were not made. They do not exist (officially).
Two kinds of films missing.
Hollywood was responsible for the Méliès portion.
Hollywood should have used its immense power (and magic) to save the Jews of Europe.
EVERY FUCKING FILM should have been about the plight of the Jews in Europe who had been rounded up.
But we know very well that that’s not what Hollywood did.
The Nazis were responsible for the Lumière portion.
As twisted as the Nazis were, there is no way in hell those sick fucks did not film (with their Agfa technology, etc.) what was going on in the camps.
No fucking way.
Of course they filmed.
Like a goddamned serial killer.
And it was of pristine quality.
So where the fuck are those films?
But, sadly, Godard is called an “anti-Semite” for asking about these films.
He is coming from a “pure film” stance.
He wants to see the films.
He wants the world to see them.
And so the history of cinema is incomplete.
There is a gap.
Irving Thalberg. Howard Hughes. CIA. RKO. Starlets.
Film directors have been projecting their fantasies onto the screen since the beginning.
Their perfect women.
Their dream lovers.
But you can’t approach film history without approaching Hitler.
Film was at such an important point in its development.
And along came Adolph.
Chaplin and Hitler overlap.
They have the same mustache.
The Great Dictator was a comedy…more or less.
But it was also an attempt (“essay”) to address Hitler’s presence on the world stage.
An attempt to repudiate Hitler.
And yet, Chaplin could not quite hit the right tones.
It is maudlin.
As a comedy, The Great Dictator is pretty superb.
But it hasn’t aged that well as a piece of poetic philosophy.
In that moment, the great Chaplin was powerless.
But at least he tried.
But something was missing.
Direct reference to the camps.
Addressing the problem with no beating around the bush.
We need to see the bodies rotting.
We have seen that.
But we need to see the gas chambers.
We need to see the German efficiency and precision.
We need to see their documents.
Their film documents.
No Hollywood recreation can convey what those mythical reels contain.
No backlot will suffice.
We have the propaganda films.
I think what Godard is saying is this…
Hollywood has, since WWII, had to live with the guilt of NOT DOING ENOUGH during the Holocaust.
At the time (while it was happening), it was not kosher (no pun intended) to address the camps.
The public needed uplifting fare.
And Hollywood provided.
Hollywood provided a service.
But Hollywood (as an entity) was permanently cheapened by not addressing the deep philosophical issue of mass death…mass murder.
Hollywood could have yelled, “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
And, indeed, the theater WAS on fire.
But Hollywood said nothing.
Hollywood told jokes.
No medium is perfect.
Hollywood is people.
But as an institution, Hollywood was exposed as being essentially artless and vacuous.
There were exceptions.
Hitchcock (British…but part of Hollywood). Chaplin (British…but part of Hollywood).
Nicholas Ray. Erich von Stroheim (Germanic…but part of Hollywood). D.W. Griffith. Howard Hawks. Orson Welles.
But WWII was also the death of European cinema.
This is a very important concept that Godard conveys.
Not only were European Jews liquidated by the Nazis, but European cinema was effectively liquidated by Hollywood.
Europe would never be the same.
Fritz Lang. Jean Renoir. Abel Gance. Jean Vigo. Jean Cocteau. Roberto Rossellini. Max Ophüls.
America won the war.
The Soviet Union also won the war.
France was “liberated”.
And as Europe was subsequently split in half (the capitalist West and the communist East), the hegemony of American film [Hollywood] spread.
At the end of the Cold War, that hegemony became complete.
And so Godard is lamenting the death of his national film industry.
Godard is Swiss.
But he is, in many ways, also French.
He is a French speaker.
His years of highest-visibility were spent in Paris.
And there is not really a Swiss film industry of which to speak.
French film died (“liberated”/occupied).
Italian film died (lost war…occupied).
German film died (lost war…occupied).
Scandinavian film died.
Everything was pushed out by Hollywood.
Europe was relegated to the the realm of “art film”.
European cinema was put in a corner.
The wrecked economies of Europe could not compete with the war-machine-rich studios of America.
America had the magic–the fantasy–the special effects–the Technicolor.
Weary Europeans wanted happiness.
And they bought into the American idea of happiness.
To the detriment of their own unique cultures and philosophies.
Europe became Americanized (at least in the realm of the cinema).