matt's Reviews > Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard

Everything Is Cinema by Richard Brody
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's review
Jun 22, 09

bookshelves: biography, literary-crit
Read in June, 2009

I was really excited to pick this up since I've gone through a Godard obsession lately. I poured over it and read it diligently for a few weeks.

The thing is...I had a lukewarm experience.

Brody does an amazing job of scholarship. Godard has made a huge amount of work and Brody really has seen ALL of it. No mean feat- particularly when the work is as dense and elliptical and challenging as Godard's.

While reading I thought that as I got frustratingly little on some the films I was most curious about and way too much on ones I'll probably never need to see, that too much of a good thing spoiled the broth, so to speak.

I can't fault Brody for the kind of book he ended up writing, since being comprehensive must have been a goal from the start. But I think the result was sort of a forest for the trees dilemma where everything- biographical detail, analysis, philosophical reflections, personal and creative evolution- just sort of piled up over and over again until it became kind of a deluge of information which lost its interest after awhile.

It also didn't help that Godard came off like a complete dickwad towards the latter half of his career. I am always very tolerant and forgiving of the asshole-as-artist, by rule and inclination, but eventually he just kind of disgusted me. Again, not Brody's fault but still, either not enough was given for context or too much context gave me a certain nausea.

I appreciate Brody's massive and well-documented work of scholarship but I was looking for more in-depth film analysis and a more prosaic biographical approach and I think many readers will be drawn to the book for similar reasons.

Worthwhile, certainly, but make sure you know what you're getting into-


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04/27/2009 page 85
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