Friday, January 09, 2009

Made in USA in USA

Silly subject line, isn't it?

Jean-Luc Godard's movie Made in USA (or, rather, U.S.A.) is finally available and screening in USA. What's interesting about this is that this was made, without permission, from one of Donald Westlake's Richard Stark books. Anna Karina, Godard's beautiful wife, plays Parker (I forget what her name is in the film, she's not Parker). I think Jean-Pierre Leaud plays a character called "David Goodis" and there's a scene in the film in which someone reads a novel by Horace McCoy.

I'm not a huge fan of Godard's films (I think he was a bit of a fraud), and this is no exception. It's one of Godard's most deconstructionist films, which means it makes no sense. You can recognize Westlake's story in all this, if you know what you're looking for, otherwise you're utterly lost. However, as the first film made from the Parkers it's worth a look.

(Hat tip to Fred Blosser who mentioned this in a comment on Bill Crider's blog.)

PS. Here's also a clip from the movie. It's Marianne Faithfull singing "As Tears Go By". You can spot Anna "Parker" Karina sipping her drink in a totally hardboiled manner.


Todd Mason said...

Well, she certainly has two-fisted eye makeup. But it's not a typical Parker move to bite one's own finger seductively, I suspect.

You might know that Faithfull had the hit version, in the UK, of "As Tears Go By." Bad pop orchestration behind her. I like this slightly hesitant a capella reading better. (Also better than the Stones version.)

Todd Mason said...

Oh, and a big agreement with you on Godard as filmmaker. Most of his works I've experienced are wastes of time, which in retrospect made me think that what I took to be self-mockery in the rather good BREATHLESS (his lecturing gassily to a gullible Jean Seberg character among others) was meant to be taken seriously.

Juri said...

Someone once said that Godard was a fool who started to believe in his own tricks (which would probably mean he's insane). He was a neo-Marxist and Maoist icon in the late sixties and early seventies, but I think in many of his films he mocks the ultra-Left of his time, especially LE CHINOISE (which otherwise contains many excellent moments) and also the ending of WEEK-END (in which the opening tracking shot amongst the wrecked cars is simply great). His late phase is consisted mainly of utter bores.

Juri said...

And Todd, I'm not big on UK music of the sixties, so I'm not sure I ever heard the Stones version or the recorded version by Faithfull.

I do like The Pretty Things and The Troggs, though, and think that the "Train Kept-A-Rollin'" in BLOW-UP with The Yardbirds is the best part in that film.