As a warning to people who read this blog, I didn’t watch all of this film due to some technical difficulties. I can only review what I saw and it was only about half of the film. In other words this film will be very short.
Jacques Tati cornered the market for comedians who harken back to silent comedies for inspiration. M. Hulot’s Holiday and Playtime are two amazingly great films about the changing times and this buffoon’s relationship with them. However when I think of Tati, I do not think of Godard. For one thing, Godard is not a comedian. For another thing when he does attempt comedy, it is usually best when he sprinkles it on a serious film instead of making the film itself comedic. However in this film Godard tries his very best to be Tati in a way that makes you want to stroke him and say “maybe next time, kiddo.”
Tati’s world is small and thus his narratives are too. Mon Oncle is about taking his nephew out to the beach. Where the comedy comes from is his riffing on this journey to the beach. However in Godard’s film, the plot line involves way too many characters and too many breaks in order to completely understand what is going on. The result is watching Godard falling over at the airport, in a car garage, in the entrance to the airport and on the airplane while someone searches for her husband, people recite operatic lines to each other, and people get mad at him for no real reason.
One of the major problems with the film was something I championed in First Name: Carmen. That is the break in narrative in order to watch a musician play around with music. However this time it involves someone I am not familiar with screwing around with electronics as opposed to actual instruments and singing really badly. What she was singing about, and coming up with musically was just awful eighties pop that had nothing to do with the story. At least when he broke in First Name Carmen to watch the musicians play, there was a correlation to the narrative. It just seemed like Godard didn’t have enough footage to make an hour and half long film and spliced some other footage that he was working on. It is slightly annoying when Godard stumbles across a technique that is really interesting and beats it to death in the ensuing films.
As I said before due to some technical difficulties I only got to experience half of the film. Maybe the second half is pure genius. Maybe this film will go down in my personal history as the one that got away. I doubt it.