Cinema in the Age of Television. Or Maybe Vice Versa
Grandeur et décadence d'un petit commerce de cinéma - Fuori concorso
The death of Truffaut, the nouvelle vague (in other words the feeling of a rebirth), the golden age of the great producers, La Grande Illusion (the film): all reverberate in the background of this film, one of Godard’s least seen and most successful. The result of a television commission and the desire to launch a “noir” series, Grandeur et décadence d’un petit commerce de cinéma is a film that by telling the story of a struggling old producer created an intimate and self-sufficient production system, designed to guarantee the greatest freedom of action and expression. As often happens, Godard has put aside the requirements of a detective story, using instead the plot of the film to be made and the conversations between the director (Léaud) and the producer (Mocky) as a canvas on which to explore reflections, ideas, digressions, inspirations and aphorisms.
JLG is the director most skilled at working with the fragment, restoring the original discontinuity of the cinema. His films contrast the continuity of our experience with a language in which the fragment (a line, a framing, a quotation, a shot) resonates in all of its autonomy. It is precisely the 1980s, made-for-TV films and the video aesthetic that exalt this component. In this film, then, the personal (memory, quotation or reference) blends into the political (see the choice to employ striking workers and have them come on with their national healthcare number). And the video – given an at-times dazzling beauty, anticipating certain solutions used in Histoire(s) du Cinéma – proves the ideal medium for a structure with overlapping levels, which as it declaims the end of cinema relaunches it under a new guise. From this perspective, the restoration and cinema release of the film are coming at just the right moment.