The Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard)
The film — if it can be called that — is touted as an examination of the modern Arab world, but the first hour or so is an eyeball-frying collage of visuals and sound. Laurence Olivier appears as Hamlet, a cock crows on the soundtrack — and a few seconds later, a mushroom cloud erupts in heaven-knows-where. The aspect ratio keeps changing. Godard’s raspy narration comes at us from different speakers. (At times, each word of a sentence comes from a different corner of the theatre.) Godard is free-associating to a tune that only he can hear — but his thesis is the manipulation of sound and image in the post-truth world, and it’s hypnotic. Writing about it is difficult, and risks banalising the work. It demands to be experienced, to be felt.