Much celebrated and documented, Jean-Luc Godard inspires Hazanavicius’ latest offering Redoubtable. Instead of a straight biopic, he instead focuses on a specific time in Godard’s life where he falls in love with and marries young actress Anne Wiazemsky, and tries to embrace the revolution happening around him. With Wiazemsky in her late-teens when they marry, and the majority of people taking part in the revolutionary movement mostly young students, Godard has suddenly started to feel old.
The crux of Godard’s struggle with the revolution lies in his previous work and iconic status within the film industry at the time. Redoubtable does tackle this, but with an incredibly dry sense of humour and a hilarious self-awareness. It is almost absurdly funny in parts, tearing down the snobbery that clings on to the French New Wave movement. Godard is openly mocked by both Hazanavicius and the characters as he attempts to assimilate into the young revolutionary movement he so admires.
Louis Garrel as Godard is superb and immensely watchable, treading the fine line between acerbic wit and overwhelming dislikeability. While the jokes do always land, it’s unfortunate that there’s not much else on offer here. Anne Wiazemsky (played by Stacy Martin) is sadly quite two-dimensional, and bearing in mind the film is based upon her autobiography, she lacks a strong presence on screen. You get the feeling that Redoubtable is really just skimming the surface of the matters in hand. Partly fictional and mostly good fun, it’s an enjoyable watch but there’s a real lack of depth in understanding Godard’s early thoughts that led him to wanting to join the revolution.
An enjoyably different biopic that offers a lot of laughs and an interesting take on Godard, this is worth watching for Garrel’s performance alone.
CAST: Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Bérénice Bejo
DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius
WRITERS: Anne Wiazemsky (autobiography “Un an après”), Michel Hazanavicius (screenplay)
SYNOPSIS: During the making of one of his films, French film director Jean-Luc Godard falls in love with 17-year old actress Anne Wiazemsky.