I’ve not watched a Godard film is many, many years. What’s changed? I’m not sure. Maybe me. But that’s surely only part of it. I suspect only the French version is intelligible. There is no translated dialogue. There are those signature Godard intertitles that used to be radically, grandly polemic. The intertitles in this film are in a kind of shorthand: the thought may be an entire sentence, but the screen shows only a few important words. We’re supposed to get the drift from this. Most of the time, I did not.
The unifying object is a cruise ship that stops at various Mediterranean ports. Your guess is as good as mine – but better, as to what it all means. My theory is that this was not made for English-only speaking countries. The attempt to communicate with the viewer is desultory and half-hearted. Jean-Luc, do I deserve this? I was so intent on paying attention to the intertitles that I didn’t even note that Patti Smith was in the film (as a singer).
Godard could seemingly care less if we (the English-speaking audience) gets it or not. It’s not his concern. imagine your favorite musician in concert, performing the entire gig with his back to the audience. That’s what this felt like to me and I didn’t appreciate it one little bit. Ugh!