(Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1996)
Acerbic but laced with beauty. In the Godard films I've seen lately, what sticks out the most is how painterly his images are. Context is especially important with his movies, as they're both deeply personal and intricately political (of course, for Godard, these categories are not exclusive.) Therefore, they're especially difficult to parse on their own terms. Here the density of the image-sound texture is intimidating but not overwhelming. The film feels elegiac, embittered, frustrated, but occasionally bursts into rapturous beauty. It's striking that for all of Godard copious bile, he can't seem to suppress his love of beauty, and his faith in the power of cinema. The final passage of the film is a sudden exhalation of serenity, and possibly even hope.