Jean-Luc Godard Shoots Marianne Faithfull Singing “As Tears Go By” (1966)

When you want to learn a thing or two about Jean-Luc Godard, you turn to New York­er film crit­ic Richard Brody. I do, any­way, since the man wrote the book on Godard: name­ly, Every­thing is Cin­e­ma: The Work­ing Life of Jean-Luc Godard. He fol­lowed up our post on Godard­’s film of Jef­fer­son Air­plane’s 1968 rooftop con­cert with a tweet link­ing us to a clip from Godard­’s fea­ture Made in U.S.A

That film came out in 1966, two years before the immor­tal Air­plane show but well into Godard­’s first major burst of dar­ing cre­ativ­i­ty, which began with 1959’s Breath­less and last­ed at least until Sym­pa­thy for the Dev­il, his 1968 doc­u­men­tary on — or, any­way, includ­ing — the Rolling Stones. Brody point­ed specif­i­cal­ly to the clip above, a brief scene where Mar­i­anne Faith­full sings “As Tears Go By,” a hit, in sep­a­rate record­ings, for both Faith­full and the Stones.

Brody notes how these two min­utes of a cap­pel­la per­for­mance from the 19-year-old Faith­full depict the “styles of the day.” For a long time since that day, alas, we Amer­i­can film­go­ers had­n’t had a chance to ful­ly expe­ri­ence Made in U.S.A. Godard based its script on Don­ald E. West­lake’s nov­el The Jug­ger but nev­er both­ered to secure adap­ta­tion rights, and the film drift­ed in legal lim­bo until 2009. But today, with that red tape cut, crisp new prints cir­cu­late freely around the Unit­ed States. Keep an eye on your local revival house­’s list­ings so you won’t miss your chance to wit­ness Faith­ful­l’s café per­for­mance, and oth­er such Godar­d­ian moments, in their the­atri­cal glo­ry. The cinephili­cal­ly intre­pid Brody, of course, found a way to see it, after a fash­ion, near­ly thir­ty years before its legit­i­mate Amer­i­can release: “The Mudd Club (the White Street night spot and music venue) got hold of a 16-mm. print and showed it — with the pro­jec­tor in the room — to a crowd of heavy smok­ers. It was like watch­ing a movie out­doors in Lon­don by night, or as if through the shroud­ing mists of time.”

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jean-Luc Godard Films The Rolling Stones Record­ing “Sym­pa­thy for the Dev­il” (1968)

Jean-Luc Godard’s After-Shave Com­mer­cial

Jean-Luc Godard Meets Woody Allen

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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