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Godard’s ‘Goodbye to Language’ Screens in Iowa City


Goodbye to Language is Jean Luc Godard's 43rd feature film.
Goodbye to Language is Jean Luc Godard’s 43rd feature film.

FilmScene has been playing three-dimensional movies since they opened, but all of it has been children’s fare, including Frozen, Polar Express and Hugo, as part of The Picture Show — a low-priced children’s and family series sponsored by MidWestOne Bank. Now, FilmScene has become one of the only theaters in the country to screen Goodbye to Language. The film won’t be in Chicago until January and premiered in North America this September.

This is the second 3-D film for Jean Luc Godard, who turned 84 on Dec. 3. His first was a short, entitled The Three Disasters (2013), and it’s the first 3-D film for his cinematographer, Fabrice D’Aragno, who also lensed Godard’s last feature, Film Socialisme (2010).

D’Aragno used a digital Canon 5D for the first few years of filming, which began in 2010, before switching to a Canon 1DC — also a digital video camera. Neither camera is cheap, but each costs far less than Hollywood film cameras, which can run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Throughout the film, many scenes are heavily saturated and painterly. Godard even shot some of the footage himself, in fact, including the scenes of his dog, Roxy.

The team started from scratch on thinking about 3-D filming, and the result is an experimental tour de force that critics are calling groundbreaking and a master work of the legendary filmmaker.

For Goodbye, D’Aragno built his own 3-D rig, abandoned traditional rules of 3-D standards on cameras by experimenting on their setup and changing the distance between two cameras to create special depth effects.

FilmScene programming director Andy Brodie said he wants to bring more 3-D films and has a special program of experimental and documentary works in mind.

The downtown Iowa City art house theater uses a 200-pound NEC NC1200C projector that has up to eight projector configurations including 3-D, all in digital formats. FilmScene receives almost all their films on special hard drives and loads them onto a computer server for playback.

Goodbye to Language plays on Monday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m.


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