Letter to Jane

Letter to Jane

Dopis Janě

  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • France
  • 1972, 52 min
Color: Colour

Letter to Jane, which Godard and Gorin made in September 1972, was shot within a single day. Over the next two days it was developed and edited. The film is an analysis of a photograph of the American actress Jane Fonda, capturing her during her visit in Vietnam, as published in the French weekly L´Express.

The monologue of the cine-Marxist duo, accompanied by a number of other photographs, poses the questions of what role intellectuals should play in open warfare, consistently analyzing the role of the actress and the way it is exploited by media politics. (We are not posing questions about the actress, but the photograph… we are not aiming at Jane, but at Jane´s function).

Rows of dead bodies in the photograph, rows of actors´ faces in photographs, next to each other in the film. All that is true of the key photograph and what is said about it in the film must also be applied to the film itself, an imaginative transformation of the photograph.

One has to play a similar game with the film that its authors played with the photographs (playing at signs among signs, at signs producing signs). The moment the film takes on new meanings one has to start contemplating it in context, contemplating its meaning and function, examine the moment that had preceded it.

The actress´ face has become part of all the aspects of the narrative industry, the broad range of film and media, but the reading of a photograph through cinema, which in essence is a determination, calls for a similar reevaluation, for a further degree of doubt between the surface and the hidden.

The film´s continuation in its interpretation may then in its ultimate result (which is of course but another transitory stage) lead to doubts on the very process of Godard and Gorin superimposing the photograph with the text of the film, which may suddenly appear as an ornament, an intellectual fetish, since – as we know – when trading in images there is no such thing as the zero stage of meaning.

Photo Gallery

Gaumont S. A. / France / www.gaumont.com
Festival edition: 2005
Sections: Translucent Being Jean-Luc Godard
Exhibition format: 16 mm


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