JLG Forever

A fragmented, funny homage to film noir … It is Godard’s best film since Every Man for Himself … You can’t afford to miss it.”

Vincent Canby, The New York Times

A mainstream genre picture sacrificed on the altar of late Godard, Détective is a cunning, comic deconstruction of the film noir, calculatedly timed to intersect with our summer cycle of American screen pulp. Its convoluted yarn, a noir forte, crams a handful of gangster-movie archetypes—sleuths, dames, mafia debtors, and debt collectors—into a Parisian hotel and lets their unspooling plotlines entangle one another. The film was a commission job: producer Alain Sarde had a script and star attached (Nathalie Baye); Godard was short of cash to finish Hail Mary. The puckish fun of Détective comes from how the director and his collaborator Anne-Marie Miéville inside-out the assignment, making window dressing out of the story while reflexively calling back to Godard’s crime pictures of the 60s (Band of Outsiderss Claude Brasseur here plays another doom-fated heel). Jean-Pierre Léaud is memorable as a manic gumshoe stumped by a prince’s murder. A teenage Julie Delpy appears in a minor role.

In French with English subtitles

A mini-masterpiece … Built on the charisma of its stars and on memories of the great thrillers of the 40s [and] held together by Godard’s romantic pessimism, curiosity, and sense of humour.”

Tony Rayns, Time Out

The closest that any of his post-1967 work ever came to replicating the style and methods of his early films.”

Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

Format note: Détective screens from Kino Lober’s 2019 Blu-ray edition.

Upcoming in this Series

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  • Hélas pour moi
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  • France/Switzerland1993
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • 83 BluRay
  • NR
  • JLG Forever
  • Pierrot Le Fou 1
  • Pierrot le fou
  • France1965
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • 110 DCP
  • 18A
  • JLG Forever
  • Alphaville 2
  • Alphaville
  • Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution
  • France/Italy1965
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • 99 DCP
  • NR
  • JLG Forever
  • Detective 7
  • Détective
  • France/Switzerland1985
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • 98 BluRay
  • NR
  • JLG Forever