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Jean-Luc Godard: Four Short Films

ECM Cinema 5001

ECM Cinema, a new DVD series, is launched with a release dedicated to the work of seminal filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville. It brings together four short films made between 1993 and 2002. As writer Michael Althen notes, they “encompass everything: art and freedom, presence and memory, violence and passion. Four symphonies composed of images, tones, quotes, and soundtracks. Four essays in which the cinema itself seems to speak to us, in friendly dialogue with painting, literature and music – as a brother to all the arts.”

Music from ECM has been included on Nouvelle Vague, Allemagne Neuf Zéro, Hélas pour moi, JLG/JLG – Autoportrait de décembre, For Ever Mozart, Eloge de l’amour, Notre Musique, the epic video series Histoire(s) du Cinéma, plus the films on this DVD. In the Four Short Films collection there are excerpts from ECM albums of Arvo Pärt, György Kurtág, Hans Otte, Federico Mompou, Tomasz Stanko, Dino Saluzzi, Keith Jarrett and more.

The music is but one element in Godard’s unique mix. As Manfred Eicher has observed: “What makes things so different and special is the way Godard is able to juxtapose sound, light, text and music. His sense of rhythm, inhaling and exhaling, is remarkable, as is his sense of timing.”

The DVD Four Short Films is issued in a 120-page hardbound book, incorporating complete texts of Godard’s and Miéville’s narration (in French and English translation), an essay by Michael Althen, and more than 70 stills from the films, in black and white and colour.

“Godard has long been something like an invisible but nonetheless ever-present conscience and memory of cinema. Cinema, as it is today, would be inconceivable without him – as would our perception today of cinema as it

was. He makes images speak by playing with them like a musician plays on an instrument. We almost get the impression that

he teases their very own melody out of them. And he really has good reason not to abandon himself to illusions about what we call culture. In general these late works are marked by the sobering knowledge that Europe has learned little from its century of wars and has blindly started a war in its midst. For this reason alone these films are, in every sense, works against

forgetting.” – Michael Althen