Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”
"If you can understand what I'm saying, you're not paying attention," says a woman in this film, speaking directly to us dumb Americans who pretend to understand this kind of work. I don't have enough knowledge of Godard to evaluate this film in its proper context, so the only reaction I can express as an uninitiated viewer is mild befuddlement. Here Godard throws out many ideas about violence, and in the English translation they are well put – "He who kills a man for an idea is not defending an idea but killing a man" – but he does little or nothing with them after bringing them up, inviting no further reflection from his audience. Just because the bulk of his film falls in the "purgatory" chapter of his hell-purgatory-heaven model doesn't mean it has to be so dull and meandering. The best part of the film is the long montage of violent images in "hell," which dwells on for so long as to compel consideration of the futility and wastefulness of violence. A whole feature could have been made of that poetically edited collage, or should have.