Hundreds of Classical Sculptures from the Uffizi Gallery Now Digitized & Put Online: Explore a Collection of 3D Interactive Scans

As the mighty House of Medici amassed works of art between the 15th and 18th centuries, could its members have imagined that we would still be enjoying their collection in the 21st? Perhaps they did, given the tendency — sometimes fatal — of business and political dynasties to imagine themselves as eternal. But the Medicis could scarcely have imagined how people all around the world have just gained access to the sculpture they collected, now displayed at Florence's Uffizi Gallery and elsewhere, through the Uffizi Digitization Project.

A collaboration between Indiana University's Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, the Politecnico di Milano, and the University of Florence, the five-year project, which began in 2016, has as its goal the complete digitization of Greek and Roman sculpture in the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Boboli Gardens. Though not yet finished, it has already managed to digitize more works of classical sculpture than any other effort by a single museum, and at its site you can take a look at every complete piece and fragment already digitized — and not just a look, as you'd get while passing by on a walk through a museum, but a closer and more detailed look than you may ever have thought possible.

"The genuinely easy-to-navigate website proves more interactive than many computerized museum archives," writes Hyperallergic's Jasmine Weber. "Users are given the opportunity to travel inside tombs and inside every nook of the figures’ construction. The interface allows users to travel around and within the sculptures, getting closer than visitors often can in the museum space itself thanks to three-dimensional rendering from every imaginable angle." The collection, notes the Uffizzi Digitization Project's about page, contains "works of exceptional interest to students of Greek and Roman art, notably the Medici Venus, the Medici Faun, the Niobids, and the Ariadne."

The Uffizi Digitization Project has so far made more than 300 works available to view as 3D models, and you can find them by either searching the collection or scrolling down to browse by category, a list that includes everything from altars and busts to statuettes and vases. And though no more technologically impressive collection of virtual classical sculpture may exist on the internet, after experiencing it you might nevertheless feel the need to see these pieces in an environment other than the black digital void. If so, have a look at the virtual tour of the Uffizi Gallery we featured earlier this year here on Open Culture. But be prepared: from there you may want to book a ticket to Florence and see the sculpture collected by the House of Medici in the very city where it rose to such vast economic and cultural power.

via Hyperallergic

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Aretha Franklin’s Pitch-Perfect Performance in The Blues Brothers, the Film That Reinvigorated Her Career (1980)

There are many films of the 70s and 80s that could never get made today. This is not your grumpy uncle’s rant about political correctness gone wild. In many cases, it’s very much for the best. (And did we ever need “movies” like Porky’s or Hardbodies in the first place? I’m going to say no.) Styles and social mores change. Actors and directors who alone could have pulled off what they did, when they did, pass away. And so too do musicians whose equal we will never see again. When these inimitable forces come together, it’s once-in-a-lifetime celluloid magic. Remakes and ill-advised sequels seem like sacrilege.

I am speaking on this occasion of The Blues Brothers, the 1980 musical comedy that brought together a pantheon of legends now mostly departed for that hall of fame in the sky. John Belushi, of course, but also John Candy and Carrie Fisher. James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker… and Aretha Franklin, whom the whole world now mourns. Charges of cultural appropriation might get lobbed at The Blues Brothers, but they would be misplaced. For all its absurdist slapstick, the film was nothing if not a celebration of black American music, a reverent, loving tribute to the blues, R&B, and classic soul that went directly to the source, and in so doing, reinvigorated Aretha’s flagging career.

The music scene of the late seventies had “turned away from soul and toward disco,” writes Laura Bradley at Vanity Fair. “Franklin was struggling to make the transition, especially after Atlantic allowed her contract to expire.” Her attempt to keep up in the 1979 disco album La Diva had flopped. She was the Queen of Soul, not sweaty dancefloors, and so she would remain, thanks in part to the antics of Jake and Elwood and writer/director John Landis, who cast her as Mrs. Murphy, a diner waitress who gets to call the brothers “two honkys dressed like Hasidic diamond merchants” who “look like they’re from the CIA.”

The story of her casting is bittersweet. “You have to remember that in 1979,” says Landis, “rhythm and blues was basically over, and the number one music in the world was Abba, the Bee Gees… when people ask, how did you get the likes of Aretha Franklin and James Brown, it was easy. We just called them and said, ‘Wanna job?’” Studio executives balked, wanting hipper acts like Rose Royce, who had sung the theme from Car Wash. It would have been a tragedy.

Thankfully, Landis persisted—he had written the part for her. “Everyone in the movie,” he says in a recent interview, “the parts were written specifically for them.” (Except James Brown, who took over as the preacher when Little Richard “found Jesus, again,” and went to back to his church in Tennessee.) Landis also insisted on Aretha singing “Think,” a song from her 1968 album Aretha Now, instead of her biggest hit. (“Really?” he recalls her saying, “Don’t you want me to sing ‘Respect’?”) The song came directly out of the dialogue between her and blues guitarist Matt Murphy, playing her husband.

Landis remembers Aretha’s re-recording of the extended film version of the song:

So, we laid down the tracks for “Think.” She came in, a couple days before she was to be shot. She listened to the track once and said, “OK, but I would like to replace the piano.” We said, great, what do you want to do? She said, “I’ll play.”

So we got a piano, she sat in a recording studio, and it was Universal Studios’ recording studios in Chicago, a very old, funky studio we were delighted to be in because it was where Chess Records did all their recordings. We had a piano for her. She sat with her back to us, at the keys, and the piano and her voice was mic’d. She did it once, listened to the playback. She said, “I’d like to do it again.” She played piano as she sang, and the second take is the one in the movie. She was just wonderful. She didn’t like doing so many takes and she had issues with lip-syncing.

Franklin also thought of the experience fondly, writing in her autobiography that it was “something I enjoyed making tremendously.” She did finally get the chance to sing “Respect” in a Blues Brothers film, almost twenty years later, when she reprised her role in Blues Brothers 2000. It’s arguable whether that movie ever should have been made. But there’s never any arguing with Aretha Franklin’s commanding voice. See her tell off Murphy and Elwood Blues, again, in a clip from the belated sequel below. Queen Aretha may have left us, but her legacy will live forever.

via Vanity Fair

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

David Bowie’s “Heroes” Delightfully Performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Cover tunes are not tribute bands. The best covers don't aim to be carbon copies. They expand our concept of the original with an unexpected element or fresh lens.

Would you believe me if I told you that the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s take on David Bowie’s "Heroes"—the second most covered tune in the late rocker’s canon—is even sexier than the original?

No?

Good.

Nothing ever will be.

It is, however, a compelling case for the power of multiple ukuleles.

A single uke could only be dwarfed by the memory of "Heroes"’ driving, famously layered sound, a group effort that included producer Tony Visconti and guitarist Robert Fripp.

Bowie may have referred to the tempo and rhythm as “plodding,” but co-writer Brian Eno’s description of the sound as something “grand and heroic” comes much closer to the mark.

Are eight ukes grand and heroic? Well, no. Not really.

And there is something undeniably humorous about a row of formally attired, seated, middle-aged men and women, wailing away in unison with their right hands, but it’s telling that the audience at New York’s multimedia art cabaret (le) Poisson Rouge isn’t laughing.

Admittedly, there were a few isolated chuckles in the beginning, a few notes in.

Philistines.

Probably been dragged there on blind dates with ukulele-enthusiasts.

To be charitable, there will always be those in need of convincing that the ukulele is a legitimate instrument.

Who better to convince them than the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, whose very name suggests that its members are in on the joke, and capable of turning it on its head?

The lyrics, as most Bowie fans can tell you, were inspired by real life, but not exactly Bowie's. The tune was on solid footing, but the words were still slow to come, when Bowie glanced out the window of his Berlin recording studio to catch a back up singer and Visconti, married at the time, enjoying what they believed was a stolen kiss.

The rest, as they say is history, kept somewhat shrouded in mystery until relatively recently.

The Ukulele Orchestra singers wisely steer clear of Bowie's howling, emotional delivery, which Visconti got on tape almost before the ink on those lyrics had time to dry.

Instead, they honor him, and the place this song has in so many people’s hearts, with their sincerity.

Watch an in-depth interview with Tony Visconti on "Heroes" here.

Listen to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s take on Bowie’s Life on Mars here.

via Laughing Squid

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, September 24 for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

See the First Ever Video of Elvis Costello Performing, Summer 1974

The setting: London. In particular, Stepney, London E1. The year, a warm summer in 1974, July 21 to be exact. And a very early video camera, only able to shoot in black and white, records the events of the E1 Festival, a free day out for families, restless teens, and bell bottomed, long-haired youth enjoying the sun. There’s Indian musicians, face painting, carnival games, jazz bands, folk dancing, and a “Wellie Boot Chucking Competition”. You know, “the lot,” as the English would say. But then, around 40 minutes in, the videographer decides to shoot the pub rock band playing on the main stage.

If the bespectacled 19 year old looks and sounds a bit familiar, well luvvies, you’re not seeing things. This is the first filmed appearance of a young Elvis Costello, beclad in very fetching dungarees and fronting his first band Flip City. This was their third ever gig, according to the Elvis Costello fan site.

A full three years before Declan MacManus would change his name and burst upon the scene with My Aim Is True, here he is paying his dues.

Flip City was Costello’s second group, the first being a folk rock duo called Rusty that played John Prine, Jesse Winchester, and Van Morrison covers in between their own songs. After Costello split from Liverpool and left for London, he jumped on the pub rock bandwagon that was already formed around Nick Lowe, Dr. Feelgood, and Brinsley Schwarz, mixing up Americana and R’n’B covers with very British originals. They even recorded demos a few years after this gig, which were widely bootlegged until most of them appeared on bonus tracks on various CD reissues. (You can listen to them here.)

But back to 1974. We have no record of their full set, but the two songs on the video are from the Coasters’ “I’m a Hog for You” (the B-side of “Charlie Brown” but covered by Screaming Lord Sutch in 1963) and from the Isley Brothers, “This Old Heart of Mine,” a Motown staple. Despite Costello’s encyclopediac knowledge of music, he never again played these two songs live again.

It might be 20/20 hindsight, but one can already hear the talent and the confidence (or at least mock confidence) that would soon propel the young man into the charts. The rest, as they say, is much better than winning the wellie chucking contest.

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW's Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

Bauhaus Ballet: A Dance of Geometry

During the past month, the Great Big Story has released a series of videos that revisit the design aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement. Their first video explored the radical buildings designed by Bauhaus architects. A second focused on the legacy of minimalist Bauhaus furniture. And now a third takes as its subject Oskar Schlemmer's 1922 “Triadic Ballet”--a ballet famous for putting geometry and structure into dance. The video above shows the "Bayerisches Junior Ballet München as they prepare to bring Bauhaus center stage again." You can watch a full recreation of the ballet and learn much more about Schlemmer's experimental production by reading this post from our archive.

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How Aleister Crowley, the Infamous Occultist, Led the First Attempt to Reach the Summit of K2 (1902)

It sounds like the plot of a Werner Herzog film: Aleister Crowley, heir to a brewing fortune and “flamboyant, bisexual drug fiend with a fascination for the occult,” meets “son of a well-known Jewish Socialist” Oscar Eckenstein, “a chemist turned railway engineer.” The two strike up a friendship over their mutual passion for mountaineering, and, in four years time, co-lead an expedition to reach the summit of K2, the second highest mountain in the world.

The descriptions of these characters come from Mick Conefrey’s The Ghosts of K2: The Race for the Summit of the World’s Most Deadly Mountain, a book detailing the many grueling attempts, many deaths, and few successes, in over a century of climbs to the mountain’s peak. Crowley and Eckenstein’s expedition, undertaken in 1902, was the first. Though unsuccessful, their effort remains a legendary feat of historical bravery, or hubris, or insanity—an ascent up the face of what climber George Bell called “a savage mountain that tries to kill you.”

In an interview with National Geographic, Conefrey sums up the doomed expedition:

 In those days, nobody had a clue about what it was going to be like. They thought they would go to the Himalayas and knock off K2 in a couple of days. But as the expedition proceeded, it started falling apart. Eckenstein, the leader, had a bad respiratory infection. Crowley had malaria and spent most of the time in his tent with a high fever. At one point he got so delirious, he started waving his revolver at other members of the team. 

There are many other Herzogian touches. In his book Fallen Giants, Maurice Isserman describes the team—also consisting of a novice Englishman, a Swiss doctor, and two experienced Austrian climbers—as “unreasonably burdened by three tons of luggage.” Some of that unnecessary burden came from a “several-volume library” Crowley “intended to haul onto the glacier.” The others “objected to the superfluous weight, but Crowley had read enough Joseph Conrad to know what happened to those who let go of their hold on civilization in the wild.” The library stayed, and a train of 200 porters hauled the team’s luggage to Baltoro Glacier. (See Crowley in a photo from the expedition above, presumably stricken with malaria.)

Prior to setting off for K2 Eckenstein and Crowley had climbed volcanoes in Mexico, then the latter had traveled to San Francisco, Hawaii, Japan, Sri Lanka, and India—along the way having affairs, learning meditation, and developing a “lifelong devotion to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction." While it takes a certain rare personality to subject themselves to the rigors of scaling a mountain almost five miles high, Crowley—notorious for his “magick," sexual adventures, drug use, lewd poetry, and founding of a religious order—is arguably the most out-there personality in the history of a very extreme sport.

But mountaineering "is not a normal pursuit,” writes Scottish climber Robin Campbell, “and we should not be too surprised to find its adepts showing odd behavior in other spheres of life.” Like all devotees of strenuous, death-defying pursuits, Crowley “wanted extreme experiences,” says Conefrey, “where he pushed himself to the limit.” It just so happened that he wanted to push far beyond the natural and human worlds. After the failed K2 attempt, he would only make one more daring expedition with Eckenstein, in 1905, a climb up the Himalayan mountain of Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.

On the trip, Crowley, the leader, reportedly treated the local porters with brutal arrogance, and when three of them were killed along with one of the expedition members, he refused to help, writing to a Darjeeling newspaper, “a mountain ‘accident’ of this sort is one of the things for which I have no sympathy whatever.” He left the following day and gave up mountaineering, devoting the rest of his life to his occult interests and the exploits that earned him the tabloid reputation as “the wickedest man in the world.”

K2 was finally conquered by two Italian climbers in 1954, who reached the summit, frostbitten and half-mad, as Joanna Kavenna puts it in a review of Conefrey's spellbinding book, "in a moment of sublime anticlimax."

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How David Lynch Got Creative Inspiration? By Drinking a Milkshake at Bob’s Big Boy, Every Single Day, for Seven Straight Years

"It is no secret that David Lynch, the writer-director-composer-painter, has an unusual relationship with Bob's Big Boy," begins a 1999 Los Angeles Times article on the auteur of films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet. "For seven years in the 1980s he ate lunch there every day, ordering cup after cup of over-sweetened coffee and a single chocolate milkshake while scribbling notes on Bob's little square napkins." He took pains, notes reporter Amy Wallace, "to arrive at Bob's at precisely 2:30 p.m. each day. The reason: It increased the odds that he would encounter perfection."

"If you go earlier, at lunchtime, they're making a lot of chocolate milkshakes. The mixture has to cool in a machine, but if it doesn't sit in there long enough — when they're serving a lot of them — it's runny," Wallace quotes Lynch as saying. "At 2:30, the milkshake mixture hasn't been sitting there too long, but you've got a chance for it to be just great."

For his pains, he received "only three perfect milkshakes out of more than 2,500. But that wasn't the point. For Lynch, it was enough to know he had set the stage for excellence to occur," believing that "whether with milkshakes or movies," one "must make room for inspiration to strike — to lay the proper groundwork for greatness to take hold."

When the 1980s British television series The Incredibly Strange Film Show devoted an episode to Lynch, it naturally went to Los Angeles not just to interview him but to shoot some footage at Bob's, the sacred space itself. In the clip at the top of the post, you can see host Jonathan Ross, seated in one of the retro diner's booths and Lynchianly dressed in a white shirt buttoned all the way up, describe how, after an "all-American lunch," the director would embark on "marathon coffee-drinking sessions. Fueled by the caffeine and his excessive sugar intake, he'd then spend the afternoon writing down ideas for movies on the napkins helpfully provided by Bob."

In the interview that follows, Lynch himself confirms all this. "I was into Bob's halfway through Eraserhead," he says, establishing the chronology. "The end of Dune" — his traumatic, failed experience with big-budget studio production — "was pretty much the end of Bob's." Even Lynch's daughter Jennifer, for a time her father's Bob's-going companion, reminisces about "the drawing on napkins" and the "tons of coffee with lots of sugar." In this late-80s interview, Lynch describes himself as "heavily into sugar. I call it 'granulated happiness.' It's just a great help, a friend."

Lynch's reputation for drinking Bob's milkshakes long outlasted his actual habit. Charlie Rose makes a point of asking about it in the clip in the middle of the post, prompting Lynch to explain the reasoning behind his daily trips — both literally and metaphorically, since when Rose asks if all the sugar got him high, Lynch admits that "it is like a drug, I suppose, because it revs you up." Though by all accounts still a prodigious drinker of coffee and smoker of cigarettes, Lynch has grown more health-conscious in recent years, a shift that may well have begun when, for reasons of his own, he went behind his beloved Bob's and climbed into its dumpster. "I found one of these cartons that milkshakes came from," says Lynch in the more recent interview clip above. "Every ingredient ended in -zene or -ate. There was nothing natural anywhere near that carton."

Even though that discovery put an end to Lynch's 2:30 appearances, all his coffee-soaked, sugar-saturated afternoons spent at Bob's had already filled him with ideas. One day, for example, "I saw a man come in. He came to the counter, and that's all I remember of this man, but from seeing him came a feeling, and that's where Frank Booth came from." Blue Velvet's psychotic, gas-huffing, Dennis Hopper-portrayed villain aside, Lynch fans who make their own pilgrimage to Bob's Big Boy even today will understand how well its sensibility may have resonated with the filmmaker's obvious attraction to midcentury Americana. But as we've learned from his life as well as his work, it's best not to go around back.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

What English Would Sound Like If It Was Pronounced Phonetically

The English language presents itself to students and non-native speakers as an almost cruelly capricious entity, its irregularities of spelling and conjugation impossible to explain without an advanced degree. It wasn’t until graduate school that I came to understand how spellings like “rough” and “knight” survived several hundreds of years of linguistic change, and preserved vestiges of phonetic pronunciations that had long since disappeared in historic upheavals like the Great Vowel Shift and subsequent spelling wars.

The importation of huge numbers of loan words from other languages, and exportation of English to the world, has made it a polyglot tongue that contains a multitude of spellings and pronunciations, to the consternation of everyone. Unlike French, which has a centralized body that adjudicates language change, English grows and evolves wildly. Dictionaries and linguistics departments struggle to keep up.

One almost wants to apologize to non-native speakers for the following sentence: “Though I coughed roughly and hiccoughed throughout the lecture, I still thought I could plough through the rest of it.” As Aaron Alon, narrator of the video above, points out, the “incredible inconsistency” of words with “ough” in them “can make English incredibly hard to master.” What if a governing body of English language scholars, like the Académie française, came together to prescribe a phonetically consistent pronunciation?

For one thing, they would have to deal with the diversity of vowel sounds—like the “a” in “father,” “ape,” and “apple.” As the video proceeds, we hear these regularized in the narrator’s speech. Students of the language's history might immediately recognize something like the sound of Shakespeare's Early Modern English, which did have a more phonetically consistent pronunciation. Soon the sounds of Romance languages—French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian—and the accents speakers of those languages bring to English, start to emerge.

By the time Alon has regularized the vowel sounds, and launched into a recitation of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, his pronunciation begins to sound like Chaucer’s Middle English, which you can hear pronounced above in a reading of The Canterbury Tales. If we hear the accent this way, the exercise shows that English once made far more phonetic sense (and had a more pleasing musical lilt) than it does today. Alternately, we may hear, as Jason Kottke does, an accent that “sounds a little like Werner Herzog doing an impression of someone from Wales doing an impression of an Italian who doesn’t speak English that well.” Which, he writes, “makes sense because that’s pretty much how the language came together in the first place!” More or less….

via Kottke

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

NASA Creates a Visualization That Sets Breathtaking Footage of the Moon to Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (Moonlight)

From NASA's Ernie Wright comes "Moonlight (Clair de Lune)," a visualization that takes beautiful images of the lunar terrain and sets them to Claude Debussy's 1905 composition, Clair de Lune (1905). Here's how Wright describes the project:

This visualization attempts to capture the mood of Claude Debussy's best-known composition, Clair de Lune (moonlight in French). The piece was published in 1905 as the third of four movements in the composer's Suite Bergamasque, and unlike the other parts of this work, Clair is quiet, contemplative, and slightly melancholy, evoking the feeling of a solitary walk through a moonlit garden. The visuals were composed like a nature documentary, with clean cuts and a mostly stationary virtual camera. The viewer follows the Sun throughout a lunar day, seeing sunrises and then sunsets over prominent features on the Moon. The sprawling ray system surrounding Copernicus crater, for example, is revealed beneath receding shadows at sunrise and later slips back into darkness as night encroaches. The visualization was created to accompany a performance of Clair de Lune by the National Symphony Orchestra Pops, led by conductor Emil de Cou, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, on June 1 and 2, 2018, as part of a celebration of NASA's 60th anniversary. The visualization uses a digital 3D model of the Moon built from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global elevation maps and image mosaics. The lighting is derived from actual Sun angles during lunar days in 2018.

Enjoy...

via Aeon

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How Jean-Luc Godard Liberated Cinema: A Video Essay on How the Greatest Rule-Breaker in Film Made His Name

Few can think of the very concept of the auteur without thinking of Jean-Luc Godard. That goes for those of us exhilarated by his movies, those of us amused by them, those of us frustrated by them, and those of us who experience any combination of those emotions and more. Godard's early audiences, at the dawn of the French New Wave in the late 1950s and the decade or so thereafter, reacted in all those ways, and somehow time hasn't drained his work in that period of its power.

"How Jean-Luc Godard Liberated Cinema," the video essay from The Discarded Image above, shows us how a young filmmaker in mid-century France, working under severely limited environments and in a whole new postwar reality — cultural as well as economic — imbued them with that power. Starting with a bang, his 1959 feature debut Breathless, Godard took cinema, says Discarded Image creator Julian Palmer, and "tore through its foundations, reinventing the form and reinventing himself, picture by picture." This entailed "a haphazard ethos toward editing" as well as oscillation between "genre and the everyday, actors and non-professionals, black and white and color."

Godard "found the modern world, engulfed with commercialism, both appealing in its pop-art aesthetic, but also repellent," and his early films vividly express both halves of that worldview. All the while he "toys with the conventions of cinema," for example by severing the "umbilical cord" of the musical score, "making you aware of how you're being manipulated by his medium," and littering the frame with text, "often with abstract phrases, possibly just to provoke a reaction" — or, as some Godard enthusiasts might put it, definitely just to provoke a reaction.

The Godard films on which this video essay focuses — the formidable stretch from Breathless to 1967's Week-end, with pictures like Vivre sa vieContempt, and Alphaville in-between —  also draw deeply from cinema itself. "Movies surround these characters' lives, providing a contrast to their existence," says Palmer. "This fantasy can allow them to momentarily escape their reality." But as the 1960s became the 1970s, "like a film coming off its projector, Godard himself was coming off track. He was increasingly disgusted by consumer culture, which was only becoming more dominant."

Thereafter, as some critics see it, the delicate balance between Godard's politics and his aesthetics was overturned by the former, but his initial "manic period of fertile creation is still unmatched to this day, and Godard's influence is immeasurable." We should not only be thankful that Godard still makes films (his latest, The Image Book, won the very first "Special Palme d'Or" at this year's Cannes Film Festival), but also hope that the next generation of filmmakers continues to look to his example. Godard may have liberated cinema, but it always and everywhere threatens to put itself back in chains.

Related Content:

An Introduction to Jean-Luc Godard’s Innovative Filmmaking Through Five Video Essays

How the French New Wave Changed Cinema: A Video Introduction to the Films of Godard, Truffaut & Their Fellow Rule-Breakers

Jean-Luc Godard Takes Cannes’ Rejection of Breathless in Stride in 1960 Interview

The Entirety of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless Artfully Compressed Into a 3 Minute Film

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.





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