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Sauve qui Peut (la Vie)

Our final film in this selective retrospective is an examination of sexual relationships in which the lives of a man, a woman and a prostitute intersect. Godard dubbed this his “Second First Film”. Coincidentally, it was released exactly 20 years after that of his first film, ‘Breathless’.

In Detail

After spending the 1970s experimenting with video, Godard returned to commercial film production with this movie about three people whose lives are all at a turning point: a country girl turned city prostitute (Isabelle Huppert), a city woman who moves to the country (Nathalie Baye), and a washed-up television director falling into despair (Jacques Dutronc).

The film exhibits familiar Godard traits such as attentiveness to the rhythm and textures of city life and the innovative approach to sound, while also introducing a radical new slow-motion technique and a concern with landscape not witnessed in any of his previous works. ‘Slow Motion’ is an amazingly dense and complex film - almost every scene is full of visual & audio innovation, most obviously in the use of slow motion and stop-motion to create striking images of everyday actions and acts of violence (to very different effect from Peckinpah, Tarantino et al).

This retrospective has concentrated on the first 20 years, partly because of licensing issues and partly for being because it was Godard’s most comprehensible period.