Tuesday, January 10, 2023

For Ever Mozart


Written, directed, and edited by Jean-Luc Godard, For Ever Mozart is the story of a French theatre troupe who travel to Sarajevo during the Bosnian War as they get captured as they try to reach their family and friends for help. The film is an episodic film that play into a group of people wanting to bring something good during a chaotic period in the 1990s in Europe. Starring Vicky Messica, Madeleine Assas, Ghalia Lacroix, and Frederic Pierrot. For Ever Mozart is a whimsical and offbeat film from Jean-Luc Godard.

The film is based on four different segments involving a French theatre troupe who decide to make a film in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War of the mid-1990s in the hope it would bring peace only for a few of the actors to be captured. It is a film that doesn’t have much of a plot as it often features dialogue relating to the ideas of cinema and art during wartime and how they hope it can help people. The narrative is broken down to four chapters as the first revolves around this theatre troupe coming together about taking part of a project by this aging filmmaker as the second chapter have the group and filmmaker arriving in Bosnia yet the latter chooses to abandon them where they get a closer look at the chaos of war. The third segment revolves around the filmmaker on a beachside area making his film while it would play into the reality of what modern audiences want instead of the film they’re presenting with its fourth and final segment being a concert in which a young man dresses up like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Jean-Luc Godard’s direction is largely straightforward in terms of his compositions as it is shot largely on locations in Switzerland and France with the latter for scenes on the beach as it plays into Europe emerging into the 21st Century with war still ongoing in Bosnia. While it is presented in a 1:66:1 aspect ratio to get a look into some of the locations in some of its wide and medium shots, Godard does maintain a simplicity in his presentation while adding elements of absurdity as it relates to the story. Even as it also play into discussions of literature as well as these scenes of these young actors walking through Bosnia as they get captured where they see the action of Serbian military officials. Also serving as editor, Godard keeps much of the editing straightforward with a few dissolves and fade-to-black for stylistic reasons as it play into the drama but also this air of discussion into the role art has in the world as well as how it would respond during wartime. Even as the film’s final segment is about the futility of art and its place in the world despite changing times and chaotic events in the world. Overall, Godard crafts an unconventional yet engaging film about a filmmaker and actors trying to stage a project in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

Cinematographers Katell Dijan, Jean-Pierre Fedrizzi, and Christophe Pollock do amazing work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of vibrant colors in many of the film’s exteriors as well as some natural lighting for some of the daytime interior/exterior settings including its final segment. Production designer Ivan Niclass does excellent work with the look of home office of the filmmaker as well as some of the hotel suites that the filmmaker’s entourage live in. Costume designers Marina Zuliani and Nadine Butin do fantastic work with the costumes ranging from some of the stylish clothing the actors were for the third segment as well as the clothes of the man playing Mozart. The sound work of Francois Musy, Jacques Descomps, and Olivier Burgaud is brilliant for the way mortar bombs, gunfire, and tanks sound from afar or up close as well as the way many of the natural sounds are presented on location. The film’s music soundtrack largely features stock music by Ketil Bjornstad, Jon Christensen, David Darling, Ben Harper, and Gyorgy Kurtag that play into some of the drama as much of its soundtrack features music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The film’s wonderful cast feature some notable small roles from Michele Francini as the man funding the film, Sabine Bail as the financier’s girlfriend, Berangere Allaux as an actress appearing in the film, and Euryale Winter as a musician who dresses up like Mozart for a concerto. Ghalia Lacroix is fantastic as Jamilla as a maid for the filmmaker who joins the gang to act only to deal with the chaos of war as well as being an object of desire for the Serbian soldiers. Frederic Pierrot is excellent as Jerome as the director’s nephew who is also an actor as he also has some feelings for his cousin and co-star. Madeleine Assas is brilliant as the actress Camille who is also the filmmaker’s daughter as she deals with the chaos of war as she is an idealist hoping that this project would help stop the war. Finally, there’s Vicky Messica as the aging filmmaker as a man who wants to create a project as he deals with being in Bosnia as he later copes with the chaos around him as well as the troubling aspects of making a film that doesn’t have any commercial prospects.

For Ever Mozart is a remarkable film from Jean-Luc Godard. While it is a film that doesn’t have a strong plot in favor of being an experimental film with an unconventional narrative that is nonsensical at times. It is still a fascinating film that play into the idea of art trying to bring some escapism during a time of war. In the end, For Ever Mozart is a marvelous film from Jean-Luc Godard.

Jean-Luc Godard Films: All the Boys Are Called Patrick - Charlotte et son Jules - A Bout de Souffle - The Little Soldier - A Woman is a Woman - Vivre sa Vie - Les Carabiniers - Contempt - Bande a Parte - A Married Woman - Alphaville - Pierrot le fou - Masculin Feminin - Made in U.S.A. - Two or Three Things I Know About Her - La ChinoiseWeekend (1967 film) - Sympathy for the Devil (One Plus One) - (Joy of Learning) – (British Sounds) – Tout va Bien - (Letter to Jane) - (One A.M.) - (Number Two) - (Here and Elsewhere) - (Every Man for Himself) - (Passion) - (First Name: Carmen) - Hail, Mary - (Soft and Hard) - (Detective) - (King Lear (1987 film)) - (Keep Your Right Up) - (Nouvelle Vague) - (Allemagne 90 neuf zero) - (JLG/JLG - Self-Portrait in December) - (Historie(s) de Cinema) - (In Praise of Love) - (Notre musique) - (Film Socialisme) - (Adieu au Language) – (The Image Book)

© thevoid99 2023


Brittani Burnham said...

The premise of a traveling theater troupe reminds me a little of Station Eleven. I wonder if the author drew a bit of inspiration from this?

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-Actually, I think Godard got the idea for the film from something that Susan Sontag did in the 1990s.

ruth said...

This sounds like a movie I'd enjoy! I have a big blindspot when it comes to Godard so I'll see where I can watch this.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-It's currently on MUBI as they have a few films by Godard but mainly the ones that are underseen.