Where’s the key?: Godard locks audiences out of too personal ‘Musique’

“Notre Musique”

Wellspring Media

Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Starring Sarah Adler, Nada Dieu, Rony Kramer, Simon Eine and Jean-Christophe Bouvet

Opened Feb. 18

Unrated/80 min

Two out of four stars

Forty years ago, a “Band of Outsiders” ran like mad through the Louvre in Paris, while a pair of criminal lovebirds left audiences “Breathless.” Such is the youthful exuberance of films by Jean-Luc Godard…unfortunately, youth doesn’t last forever. The renowned nouveau-vague French film auteur is, sadly, getting old.

As such, “Notre Musique” (Our Music) is undeniably the work of an older, more life-experienced Godard. It’s a meandering meditation on life, death and war, split up into three sections: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Fun stuff, no?

An existential cast of professors, filmmakers, Jews and American Indians ruminate in the film over life’s big issues, most notably the nasty human tendency to ceaselessly kill one another.

The plot in “Notre Musique” plays second fiddle to the development and focus on the film’s characters, most of whom are really nothing more than scattered projections of ideas. “Notre Musique” is geared toward intellectual stimulation, but so many talking heads translates into a butt-numbing experience at times.

“Notre Musique” has a poet’s eye for hyper-real compositions, but ultimately, it’s too unfocused and too personal to connect with its general audiences. Godard, as always, deserves the praise his early career has earned him, but here he’s withdrawn his vision and craft to the point of alienating moviegoers.

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