The Depiction of Late 1960’s Counter Culture in Jean-Luc Godard’s

One Plus One/Sympathy for the Devil


Copyright 1998

Gary Elshaw


In a 1994 interview with American film critic Andrew Sarris, Jean-Luc Godard is questioned directly about his politics. Rightly or wrongly Sarris' question is phrased in such a way that the reader is given a suggestion of Godard's historically changeable political affiliations. When Sarris pursues the line of questioning further, asking if Godard was ever a Marxist, Godard's reply is that he never read Marx, and his only reason for talking about Marx was a desire to be provocative "...mixing Mao and Coca-Cola and so forth."[1] This typifies Godard in many respects: a man who has spent the majority of his adult life quoting directly and indirectly from the writings of Marx and Mao in both interviews, critical writings and his films, and yet he will not even confirm his own reading of the material. Sarris' line of questioning early in the interview refers indirectly to the events of May 1968 and questions in what context Godard places himself in film history as a participant and an observer.


Sarris: "....are you still out on the barricades? "

Godard: "One can be a good critic and a moral observer, but one remains professionally detached as a writer and a film-maker. I didn't have to pick up a rifle to make Les Carabiniers."


This paper will examine the depiction and documenting of late 1960's western counter-culture; and what may be termed a politicised nexus for Godard in his desire to express a new form of cinema in One Plus One/Sympathy for the Devil   (1968).


Godard maintains a unique position within modern cinematic history. Beginning his career as a film critic, Godard's writings for Gazette du Cinema in 1950 are poignant as they illustrate an early formative concept of Godard's politicisation. In his 1950 article entitled 'Towards a Political Cinema'[2] Godard commands the attention of the "..unhappy film-makers of France who lack scenarios.." and questions why they aren't examining modern French political concepts from the "tax system" to political individuals in French society. Godard highlights the Russian cinema for his article perceiving the "major currents" of soviet cinema as "..the cinema of exhortation and the cinema of revolution, the static and the dynamic." Godard's purpose is didactic, although his commentary provides a critical examination of Russian cinema, his purpose is to highlight exactly what is missing within contemporary French film, something he and his fellow Cahiers critics were to redress constantly.


Both Godard, and Jacques Rivette joined Cahiers Du Cinema in 1952. Having previously written for Gazette du Cinema they "...were more inclined, relatively speaking, to 'modernism' than most of their colleagues.." [3] After Francois Truffaut's article 'Une certaine Tendance du Cinema Francais' appeared in the January 1954 issue of Cahiers there was a definitive departure for the magazine. Even though the doctrine of 'politique des auteurs' lacked flexibility and was fragmented by the cahiers critics personal tastes "..there were usually broad areas of agreement and shared assumptions."[4] In Truffaut's article he outlined that the true auteur of a film should be the director, but for that to be possible the director has to be actively involved in the scripting of the film.  Although not the first proponent of such a doctrine of cinematic authorship, Truffaut's article was the first to contextualise and re-examine contemporary cinema and the determinants of what it was that comprised an auteur. It was also one of the most controversial. 


There is little critical doubt that the majority of writing for Cahiers du Cinema was polemical, its focus shifting between and including French and American cinema. It forced a revaluation of the popular cinema that was being screened within France, and the critics as filmmakers forced a new modernity into French film with their polemical wrath for what they perceived as the moribund and archaic output of the French cinema of the 1950's. Rejected for what was perceived as a period of cultural conservatism, and a removal of cinema from social and political concerns, the Cahiers critics turned toward the American cinema. Much of the dissatisfaction with French cinema in the 1950's reflects not merely on the chosen subject, thematic material, or certain directors within the French film industry, but a dissatisfaction with the economics of production and distribution. More generally this dissatisfaction extended to the social, political and cultural conditions of production. Something which Godard would address himself within the Dziga-Vertov group post 1968.


Later writers, such as John Hess, began examining the implications and terms under which the Cahiers critics had observed and written about cinema. Preferring a more metaphysical approach Hess argues "...that the films favoured by cahiers tended to tell very much the same kinds of story: 'the most important determinant of an auteur  was not so much the director's ability to express his personality, as usually has been claimed, but rather his desire and ability to express a certain world view. An auteur was a film director who expressed an optimistic image of human potentialities within an utterly corrupt society. By reaching out emotionally and spiritually to other human beings and/or to God, one could transcend the isolation imposed on one by a corrupt world."[5] The image of "human potentialities" within a "corrupt system" are principally what led to the potential of exploring a politicised cinema for Godard.


There is, I believe, a case to be made that the Cahiers critics although not openly aligning themselves with any specific political ideology, or writing in a specifically anti-Gaullist political way, do however through their rejection of French cinema of the time, reject the status quo of French culture. The knowledge that the creation of cinema is itself political became apparent to Godard and the Cahiers critics when they defended the Hollywood 10.[6] The influence of the Cahiers critics upon each other artistically and politically created a ferment of both political and artistic ideas that would be subsequently used within the work of the directors of the new wave.

In July of 1959 the cahiers critics recorded a discussion they had concerning Alain Resnais' film Hiroshima Mon amour. Jacques Rivette made a lengthy statement concerning the use of a new dialectic in cinema, a dialectic founded on "Rediscovering unity within a basis of fragmentation...[achieved by]...emphasising the autonomy of the shot and simultaneously seeking within that shot a strength that will enable it to enter into a relationship with another or several shots....but don't forget, this unity is no longer that of classic continuity. It is a unity of contrasts, a dialectical unity as Hegel and Domarchi would say. (Laughter)"[7]


Although the concept at the time obviously had a humourous edge, the idea itself was ultimately taken seriously and implemented by Godard as his role of critic became one of filmmaker within the same year. In much of Godard's work, shots and their unity, or apparent disassociation, are revealed in their meaning to the spectator only when that meaning is according to their relevance in the narrative. In other words, a semiotically contrived image or collection of images. It is precisely this kind of film-making that has often led Godard to be critically accused of being cryptic or obscurantist. Godard's use of this technique and his own personal experimentation with it can be traced throughout the 1960's as his films became more directly and openly political in their intent, contrasted with their diminishing use of conventional narrative techniques.


An interview conducted in 1962 investigating the politics in his film Le Petit Soldat reveal and clarify this period of cinematic history for Godard. It also elucidates Godard's evolving political philosophy. "I have moral and psychological intentions which are defined through situations born of political events. That's all. These events are confused because that's how it is. My characters don't like it either."[8] The political point of view that Godard discusses here contributes to how he has envisaged his period as a critic at Cahiers, and his self-perception as a filmmaker. Although his medium had changed, his message had remained the same. "I write essays in the form of novels, or novels in the form of essays. I'm still as much of a critic as I ever was during the time of Cahiers Du Cinema. The only difference is that instead of writing criticism, I now film it."[9]


David Bordwell writing in Narration In Fiction Film describes Godard's films as "..elusive on a simple denotative level..[that they]..invite interpretations but discourage, even defy analysis."[10] Much of this interpretation stems from what Bordwell believes is the psychological use of the 'cocktail effect' in Godard's films. The multiplicitous use of image and sound leads to "perceptual and cognitive overload" in the viewer.  Much of Godard's filmmaking uses fragmented images, but as Godard points out this is literally what the mechanics of cinema are. The meanings we derive from a film are nothing more than the composition of an ensemble of fragmented images. "For me to make a film is to seize in one gesture a whole through fragments. Each shot is not organised with respect to the dramatic function. A film is not a series of shots but an ensemble of shots."[11] Bordwell's perception of Godard is negatively critical, and his position it seems is based upon his desire for Godard to adopt a more 'consistent' form in his work.


"It is as if Godard has extended the principle "replete" parametric cinema to so many parameters that we grasp each stylistic event only as a discrete burst of technique, immediately arresting our attention and disrupting the construction of a unified fabula. The narration shifts violently and without warning between principles of organisation."[12]


Godard has always been a revolutionary filmmaker. His work has purposely been directed at disturbing the 'fabula' of conventional film narrative. His first feature film About de Souffle shot in 1959 was revolutionary in its use of jump-cuts and didn't follow conventional cinematic narrative forms. Godard with each of his films throughout the 1960's exercised changing styles of film-making for both the cinema and television. His second feature film Le Petit Soldat  was initially banned from screening in France due to its overt references to the Algerian war in 1960, subsequently the film was not screened until 1963, and even then it had been censored.[13]


Godard has always included documentary images into his films. They are often used as a technique for revealing his characters, or as a mode of situating the narrative within a certain period of time. His characters are as much at the mercy of their nation and its politics as the real lives of those who sit in the cinema watching his films. "What is alive is not what's on the screen but what is between you and the screen."[14]


Reluctant to make a film that is set in the past, his films are very much placed within the context of the modern, technological world. By creating this 'present' context to the film's narrative, Godard is capable of providing a more transparent focus of political and social intent to his work. The spectator is also more readily capable of examining the social and political commentary in the content Godard provides. Godard's interest in the past is only reflected in what can be used from the past that can be related to the documentation of the present. This is due to Godard's own perception that very little of the past can be recreated truthfully.


"The cloche hat is less interesting today than it was in 1925, and it is quite right that Quai des Brumes should appear dated. I would be incapable of making a film about the Resistance. People then had a way of talking and feeling which bears no relation to the way we behave today."[15]


This reflects Godard's concept of his films as 'essays' or 'documents' which are organised around a particular society or particular cultural perspective. His work during the 60's reflects a changing society that becomes increasingly chaotic as mass communications are developed, and economic and political forces have an increased influence over the individuals within his films. Regis Debray writes of the increased prevalence and role of television and the mass media in directly changing French politics in the 1960's. When de Gaulle came to power "..there were a million television sets in France: people still had TV at home. When he left it there were ten million, and people were at home on TV."[16]  Godard's films reflect this changing world in a number of ways. Television itself becomes a focus of attention in Le Gai Saviour  (1967), but his characters become increasingly isolated from the social environment as technology increases.


Alphaville  (1965) is possibly the most extreme example, but the pursuit of luxury goods and the commodification of the individuals within Godard's films can be tracked from Une Femme est une femme. (1961), which was written in 1959. This is often highlighted by Godard using the Marxist concept of the 'cash nexus'. In simplified terms the cash nexus is a term used to describe the problem of the individual within society either choosing, or not being given a choice but to commit to a place of work that the individual doesn't like in pursuit of monetary gain. This concept is related to prostitution both literally and figuratively, and is pervasive in many of Godard's films. In particular Godard uses the concept extensively to deal with the subject of work and the role of women in society.


In Une Femme Mariee  (1964) the viewer is confronted by an enormous number of images that urge the viewer to buy various commodities, simultaneously these images are usually composed of women, or images of their bodies, which are trying to sell the particular commodity. The most direct exploration of this theme takes place in Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle  (1967). " order to live in society in Paris today, on no matter what social level, one is forced to prostitute oneself in one way or another- or to put it another way, to live under conditions resembling those of prostitution. A worker in a factory prostitutes himself in a way three-quarters of the time, being paid for doing a job he has no desire to do. The same is true of a banker, a post office employee, a film director. In modern industrial society, prostitution is the norm.."[17]


In Vivre sa vie  (1962), Le Mepris  (1963) and Deux ou trois choses  (1967) the conception of the 'cash nexus' and Godard's ideas about prostitution within society are extended, and reflect what Richard Roud believes is "...a growing realisation on Godard's part that the personal and the social are inextricably intertwined."[18] This was also contributed to by what Roud believed to be three major reasons for Godard's change in fusing political and cinematic aims. One was a changing personal and political focus. The second was a more "total abandonment" of fictional forms and romanticism of his previous works[19] and lastly his marriage to Wiazemsky.


This is certainly related to political changes within France in the mid to late 1960's. In Maureen Turim's article about emerging political aesthetics in Cahiers du Cinema she notes the changes French society had made "Following two wars of decolonisation, a student and young worker movement emerged. This meant that organised opposition to Gaullism was no longer the exclusive domain of the Communist Party, an anathema to the young for its pro-Soviet line and to the filmmakers for its cultural deadness."[20]


Approached by novice English producer Mrs Eleni Collard early in 1968, Godard began preparation for his first film to be shot in England. The initial premise for the film was to be about abortion. However the abortion laws in England changed before the project could begin production. Godard told Collard he would come to England and 'make a film' if she could get either the Beatles or the Rolling Stones to participate. Working in conjunction with Michael Pearson[21] and actor Iain Quarrier[22], Collard was able to get The Rolling Stones and a budget of £180,000. Arriving in London, Godard chose, then unknown, cinematographer Anthony Richmond[23] and began shooting in June of 1968.


The initial concept of the film was to create a "parabole based around the parallel themes of creation and destruction. A tragic triangle in London-a French girl, who has at first been seduced by a reactionary Texan, falls in love with an extreme-left Black militant. The girl (Anne Wiazemsky) is named Democracy. The Nazi Texan opposes the Black, who obviously represents Black Power..."[24] The theme of 'Construction' was to be illustrated by using the Rolling Stones recording in the studio. The other theme of 'Destruction' was to be Wiazemsky's character committing suicide after her abandonment.  Partially to do with Godard's involvement in the events of the May 1968 student revolt, the original concept was abandoned. However the production also had problems with cast being arrested, fire and inclement weather[25], causing Godard to return to France to participate in the events of the May student revolt, and to aid Henri Langlois.[26] One of the student leaders, and later Godard collaborator, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, wrote that the events of May were merely an intensification "of what went before, albeit on so vast a scale that they opened up an undreamt-of possibility: the prospect of a revolution."[27] It was precisely this possibility that lured Godard back to France.


Upon completion of the film, and unbeknown to Godard, the producers changed Godard's ending of the film to include a completed version of the Rolling Stones song 'Sympathy for the Devil'. Premiering at the London Film Festival in November of 1968 Godard was said to have risen from his seat and stormed from the cinema, but not before striking the producer. The film was marketed as a 'Stones Film' and renamed to include reference to the song. Consequently both audiences and Godard were disappointed.

"'One Plus One' does not mean 'one plus one equals two'. It just means what it says, 'one plus one'"[28]

Both versions of the film were distributed, often to the same theatre, creating added confusion as to which version the audience was watching.


Godard structures the film around three major episodes. The first depicts black militant revolutionary figures in an urban Battersea junkyard reading both political and literary texts. The second major scene is a media interview of Eve Democracy. Shot in a woodland area the scene reflects Godard's thoughts on revolution, and the role of culture and the revolutionary. The third scene illustrates the role of fascism and the relationship between art and exploitation. Taking place in a pornographic bookshop the proprietor reads aloud from Mein Kampf and the patrons pay for their magazines by way of giving the Nazi salute. Godard intercuts these scenes with images of the Rolling Stones recording in the studio; and Wiazemsky/Eve Democracy using graffiti as a political tool to sloganise objects. Using the premise of a Bolivian revolutionary hiding in a London lavatory who kills time by reading a pornographic novel, Godard's narrator waits "before waiting on the beach for uncle Mao's yellow submarine to come and get me."


In an interview before the shooting of One Plus One Godard revealed that he wanted " make the film simply as possible, almost like an amateur film. What I want above all is to destroy the idea of culture. Culture is an alibi of imperialism. There is a Ministry of War. There is a Ministry of Culture. Therefore, culture is war."[29] Richard Roud in response to the above quote has said "...faulty logic can be artistically productive; in this case, I don't think it has been."[30]


 Critically One Plus One/Sympathy for the Devil is often interpreted as one of Godard's most 'difficult' films. Godard uses a myriad of techniques which represent a culmination of his  exhaustive use of experimentation in his previous films. Notably there are experimental sound techniques which are used extensively in Godard's post 1968 work[31] These techniques seem to have an effect of confusing the viewer as to what the purpose of the diametrically opposed image is related to. This reflects Bordwell's criticism of Godard's 'cocktail effect,' which encourages the viewer to often follow two opposing ideas from the sound and its disassociated image. Godard's 'complication' for the viewer is often simply a destruction of expectation. One Plus One  often mixes metaphor with recreation; onscreen characters may represent unacknowledged literary characters; authors or organisations often mix with others from a different time or ideology within the same frame. Godard also creates a cinematic world where not only is everything possible,[32] but a cinema and language that contests the viewer's knowledge.


Godard achieves this by organising and drawing a film's own distinctive Time, Place and Action. This is often confusing to the viewer due to what MacCabe localises as the mixing or blurring of conventional forms, and the prioritising of sound and image.


      "..whether priority is given to the image, as in fiction films (we see the truth and   

      the soundtrack must come into line with it) or to the soundtrack, as in

      documentary (we are told the truth and the image merely confirms it)."[33]


By the time Godard had shot Masculin/Feminin  (1965) he believed had reached a point where he no longer knew what cinema was, and wished to create a new form of cinema, what he later called 'getting back to zero.'


'Getting back to zero' represented an idea Godard  raised in Le Gai Savoir  where Juliet Berto's character says "I want to learn, to teach myself, everyone, to turn back against the enemy that weapon with which it attacks us: Language." Language as a weapon is above all the main subject within Le Gai Savoir  and is represented in numerous ways in One Plus One. To Godard, film language and the visual image had lost its educational or instructive purpose, especially in the commercial cinema. One Plus One  then represents an attempt to redefine the visual image into an instructive force, which is created from the destruction of film language. If Le Gai Savoir  diagnoses the problem of language, the culture that produces it, and its inherent fallibility, One Plus One  is the antecedent about its destruction.


There is little within One Plus One that represents the "dehumanised world"[34] that is targeted against Godard by his critics. The characters are not created for a conventional cinematic narrative, they are human props or tools to convey ideological ideas and reveal their susceptibility to the ideological environment around them. In reply to an individual in the U.S. who asked if the actors in La Chinoise  were revolutionaries or actors pretending to be revolutionaries, Godard replied "You had a preconceived idea of what a political movie should be, and your difficulties stem from the false idea you have that people on the screen are made of flesh and blood. Whereas what you see are shadows and you reproach these shadows for not being alive."[35]


Exploring political ideology, the use of political text, and a growing technological world, Godard examines a world in the midst of revolution on markedly different levels. The militancy of the left and the right is examined in a shifting political focus. Characters function as chaotic binaries presenting a vision which is mildly apocalyptic in its use of each 'voice' both figuratively and literally shouting to be heard over the other.


This reflects what Bordwell characterises as Godard's use of the "superscriptual. "To Bordwell the superscriptual represents the "..presence of a narrator running a conventionally finished film through the moviola, skipping over some passages and recomposing others at will, in caprice, or by chance."[36] The majority of Godard's critics agree that 1968 represents a demarcation point for Godard's work becoming overtly political, partially to do with the response of French intellectuals such as Henri Lefebvre and Althusser. It is from this point Bordwell believes the superscriptual takes over with Godard creating "a dry calligraphy that etches every stray advertisement, news photo, or pin-up with the graffiti of the cineaste, refusing to allow us to take any vision as unmediated."[37] For critic Nicholas Garnham it is Godard's efforts to be directly political that have obscured his film-making. "As Godard has tried to make his films more relevant in a direct political sense, they have, paradoxically, become increasingly indecipherable."[38] Garnham blames this upon the "European tradition" of the "art-movie" and the "personal statement." Garnham believes the result of this is the making of films that are the equivalent of "highly convoluted, cryptic, almost encoded articles in fringe left-wing magazines."[39]



One Plus One



In 'Blown Away' A.E. Hotchner writes that popular culture and the generation of the 60's were the first "that refused to inherit the earth." Central to the antiestablishment of this time, Hotchner writes, were the Rolling Stones. "The very nature of the group–its irreverent appearance and mocking behaviour– was appealingly antiestablishment, and the music it played underscored the mood of the times....That's what united this rebellious generation­–rock and roll."[40] The Rolling Stones came to epitomise not only rock and roll and antiestablishmentarianism, but also a challenge to the social mores and taboos of the preceding generation in an open and antagonistic way. "The Stones increasingly became the symbol of the nonconformity, vulgarity, creativity, waywardness, antiestablishment bravado, rampant sexuality and drug experimentation of that contumacious generation."[41]


Hotchner is very quick to place the Stones within the mythologised revisionism of the 60's and rock and roll, but he is also aware of the power of the myth. "Whether the Stones' lives actually encompassed all these elements is not relevant. That was their perceived image, fostered by the media." "Displacing the movie star, the matinee idol, the titled aristocrat, were scruffy boys from Merseyside and Tottenham and Liverpool who, without warning, were rocketed to tempestuous fame for which they were totally unprepared."[42] Incorporating traditional black American blues into their music, the Rolling Stones, like Presley before them, offered an introduction or accessibility to 'black music' for predominantly white audiences. Godard's interest in the Rolling Stones is in investigating the group's image propagated by media, and their relationship with a growing, rebelling international youth culture. He had previously worked with figures from popular culture, and was fully aware that part of any revolution, and particularly in England, the lower-class pop star was a participatory force in the class war.[43] Godard's exploration of youth and politics in Masculin/Feminin  using Chantal Goya's pop star image represents a precursor to much of One Plus One.


Godard utilises the mediated image of the pop star not only as a recognisable entity, but as a vehicle for revealing the pop star's art. As Godard often reveals the mechanics of his own work, in One Plus One  he reveals the laboriousness of the collaborative process of the Rolling Stones art, also adding a suggestion of Godard's own process.[44]  In essence, the result dispels a major part of the mythology that surrounded the Rolling Stones. The song the Stones are recording, Sympathy for the Devil, is possibly one of the most well known songs in late 20th Century popular music. It represents the difference of the younger generation asserting itself as it thumbs its nose at the previous generation. It is also deliberately provocative of the religious values  society and their parents had attempted to indoctrinate its youth with. Importantly the lyrics of Sympathy for the Devil are written in the first person, Jagger sings "Please allow me to introduce myself," partially reflecting what has already been written or spoken about himself, and the corrupting effect of rock and roll. Jagger therefore indulges in the role the media and the public have placed upon him. The song in many respects becomes a political anthem encompassing cultural and political figures and revolutionary events throughout history.


Godard heavily explores the use of sound, semiotics, and the media in One Plus One. A large use of the long take is almost a recapitulation to his 1950's intentionally provocative dictum "Tracking shots are a question of morality." Through his use of previously used interview techniques Godard reveals the inherent problems with mediated forms of communication usually illustrating the mechanics of their recording. The effect this has on the participants and the content of what is said is also explored.



The Narrator, Intertitles and the use of Graffiti


Using recognisable figures of celebrity, and fusing them with pornography, Godard's narrator satirises cultural and political figure-heads. There is a similar use of the pornography's narrative style in Masculin/Feminin with two men reading from a magazine in a cafe. In One Plus One its purpose is two-fold.  Firstly its purpose is to work in contrast to the images and naturalised sound of conventional dialogue. By doing this it also disrupts or ruptures the narrative of the film and the viewer's attention from the on-screen political rhetoric. The theme of politics and sex is revisited frequently throughout the film by the narrator's use of the list of figures and organisations. Representative of a disintegrating society on multiple levels and surrealist in tone, the pornography debases the social standing of powerful political and cultural icons into amoral characters of sensuality. Ultimately the figures bestialised  in Godard's Lapsarian world where power/sex and Politics/Pornography are interchangeable. The pornographic novel literally is a political novel creating the equation- the personal is political.

"I was fed up...As Lenin put it, 'What now?' So I picked up a political novel, opened it at random and began to read."

Like Godard's narrator who opens the book at random, the viewer is invited to watch the film in a similar way. The movie becomes a text that can be randomly opened and begun at almost any point in the film.


There is a heavy use of graffiti throughout the film which acts as a counterpoint to the voice-over narrator's own rupturing of scenes. Godard had used graffiti in Masculin Feminin to protest the war in Vietnam. Similarly the graffiti Wiazemsky uses reflects word games, often manipulating acronyms that frequently develop into equations illustrating the relationship between corporate business and politics. MAO and ART are constructed from the same word, or conjugations such as 'Freudemocracy' or 'Cinemarx'. Amalgamating ideologies in the graffiti has a similar effect to the role of the narrator who mixes politics and pornography. The slogans can often be interpreted as a form of 'conspiracy theorising'.


After the making of Masculin/Feminin Godard talked at length about the linking of popular music and politics as a means of politicising youth, prophetically commenting on a major element of One Plus One.


"But, you know, I think it was Baudelaire who said that it was on the toilet walls that you see the human soul: You see graffiti there– politics and sex. Well, that's what my film is."[45]

The graffiti challenges mediated images and the viewer's perception by creating links, and synthesising the corporate with the political. In 1967 the Black Panthers believed the CIA and FBI were acting in unison controlling the TWA airline, preventing distribution of their newspaper.[46] Godard illustrates this with the use of graffiti in the junkyard with the FBI+CIA=TWA slogan.


As has become familiar with earlier films of Godard's there is an extensive use of intertitles to introduce each scene, however what is particularly notable is the titles use of word play. Like the graffiti, the scene intertitles use highlighted letters, often creating acronyms. For example, one such scene 'THE HEART OF OCCIDENT' directs the viewer to the original meaning of the title and a subsequent concept from its highlighting. THE HEART OF OCCIDENT may be read as the 'Art of CID'. The highlighting of particular letters therefore introduces visual clues, possible meanings and alternate readings of the scenes.






"One toke? You poor fool! Wait till you see those goddamn bats. I could barely hear the radio...slumped over on the far side of the seat, grappling with a tape recorder turned all the way up on "Sympathy for the Devil." That was the only tape we had, so we played it constantly, over and over, as a kind of demented counterpoint to the radio. And also to maintain our rhythm on the road."


Hunter S. Thompson -Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas



The opening of the film, especially the colour used within the recording studio is recognisably Godard's extensive use of primary colour. The studio, the Rolling Stones, and the lighting for the studio scenes are a variation of this theme and are almost exclusively shot in Red, White and Blue. Godard's use of primary colour can be tracked from its initial use in Pierrot le Fou  to Deux ou trois choses  which maximised primary colours and displayed Godard's attempt to "reduce film-making to its fundamental, irreducible elements."[47] The opening scenes with the Rolling Stones are intercut with images of Wiazemsky/Eve Democracy spray painting the Hotel Hilton room window and a car with various political and ideological slogans. Upon the opening of the film the viewer immediately is drawn into an unconventional use of long takes. In the studio the camera is obviously set on a crane. It fluidly tracks from left to right and back to its original position again. The camera almost creeps around the studio as an objective observer or 'silent witness.' By the static placing of the Rolling Stones within the studio scenes, the use of the slow camera movement places the viewers attention upon the use of sound. During the studio scenes there is a uniformity of shots. Preferring to shoot in a detached long shot, there is an occasional use of a medium close-up that more often than not shows the back of an individual band member's head, rendering him faceless, as if to depict a form of anonymity or uniformity.


The use of the long take also acts as a contrast to the interruptions of the narrator and Wiazemsky who instigate the politicisation of the outside world away from the flat barren state of the recording studio. Relying on natural light for the shooting of the scenes with Wiazemsky, Godard highlights the artificiality of the studio environment. In an interview with Richard Roud during the making of the film Godard stated that the entire film was going to be comprised of "..ten eight-minute takes, unless of course he decided to do it in eight ten-minute takes instead."[48] Although this composition is evident to a certain extent with the majority of the film's episodes, Godard obviously dispensed with this idea for the limitations it would impose on the ideas he wished to illustrate. Instead of the political reality that Godard wishes to show the viewer, the film would inevitably look stale and theatrical if exclusively limited to the proposed long takes. Although a long take of such magnitude is unconventional, instead of destroying culture, it would merely uphold one of staged theatricality.


Part Two









[1] Andrew Sarris, Interview, July, 1994, p. 84

[2] Tom Milne, Godard on Godard, Secker and Warburg, 1972, p. 16-17

[3]  Jim Hillier, Cahiers Du Cinema, Vol 1, The 1950's- Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New wave. Routledge , London, 1996, p. 5

[4] pp. 5

[5] pp. 6

[6] Maureen Turim, 'The Aesthetic Becomes Political', The Velvet Light Trap, No.9, 1973, p.15

[7] 'Hiroshima notre amour' Cahiers Du Cinema, no. 97, July 1959

[8] pp. 6-7

[9] Richard Roud, Jean-Luc Godard, Thames and Hudson Limited, 1970. p. 48

[10] David Bordwell Narration in the Fiction Film, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985, p. 311

[11] pp. 317

[12] pp. 320

[13] Jean-Luc Godard Le Petit Soldat, Lorrimer Publishing Limited, 1967, Trans. Nicholas Garnham, p. 55

[14] Godard and the US , Sight & Sound, B.F.I., No 1-4, Vol 37, 1968, p. 114

[15] Jean-Luc Godard Le Petit Soldat, Lorrimer Publishing Limited, 1967, Trans. Nicholas Garnham, p. 12

[16] Regis DeBray Charles De Gaulle , Verso 1994, p. 34

[17] Jean-Luc Godard One or two things, Sight & Sound, B.F.I., Vol 36, No 1-4, 1967, p. 4

[18] Richard Roud Jean-Luc Godard, Thames and Hudson Limited, 1970, p. 31

[19] In Cahiers  85, July 1958 Godard's article entitled 'Bergamanorama' depicted Bergman as an 'intuitive artist' romanticising his role as director. Bergman's reply was 'He's writing about himself' Bergman on Bergman   Secker and Warburg, 1973, p. 60

[20] Maureen Turim 'The Aesthetic Becomes Political' The Velvet Light Trap, No 9, 1973, p. 15

[21] Michael Pearson formed Cupid Productions which financed One Plus One. Pearson's only other project was the producing of 'Venom' in 1971.

[22] Ian Quarrier began his career as an actor starring in Polanski's 'Cul-de-sac' in 1966. One Plus One is his first and only film as a producer.

[23] Anthony Richmond's work includes interesting and contrasting styles/genres including 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' and 'The Eagle Has Landed' both of which were shot in 1976. One Plus One was his first feature film as cinematographer.

[24] Royal S. Brown 'Focus On Godard' Ed. Royal S. Brown, Prentice-Hall Inc, 1972, p. 8

[25] Richard Roud Jean-Luc Godard, Thames and Hudson Limited, 1970, p. 151

[26] Godard's return to France was to  defend Henri Langlois who had been dismissed from running the Cinematheque Francaise. Often these demonstrations led Godard into bloody confrontation with the police. p. 245 Henri Langlois-First Citizen of Cinema, Glen Myrent & George P. Langlois, Twayne Publishers 1995. 

[27] Daniel Cohn-Bendit & Gabriel Cohn-Bendit Obsolete Communism The Left Wing Alternative, Trans. Arnold Pomerans, Andre Deutsch, 1968, p. 13

[28] Richard Roud, Jean-Luc Godard, Thames and Hudson in assoc. with B.F.I, 1970, p. 150

[29] Richard Roud Jean-Luc Godard, Second Revised Edition, Thames and Hudson, 1970, p. 134

[30] pp. 134

[31] Jan Dawson 'Raising the Red Flag', Sight and Sound, B.F.I., Vol 39, No 3, 1970, p. 91

[32] Jean-Luc Godard 'One Or Two Things' "You can put anything and everything into a film, you must  put in everything." Sight and Sound, B.F.I., Vol 36, no. 1-4, 1967, p. 5

[33] Colin MacCabe 'Images, Sounds, Politics', The MacMillan Press, 1980, p. 18

[34] Richard Roud Jean-Luc Godard, Second Revised Edition, Thames and Hudson, 1970, p. 134

[35] Godard and the US , Sight & Sound, B.F.I., No 1-4, Vol 37, 1968, p. 114

[36] David Bordwell Narration in the Fiction Film, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985, p. 329

[37] pp. 330

[38] Nicholas Garnham Samuel Fuller, Secker and Warburg, 1971, p. 160

[39] pp. 160

[40] A.E. Hotchner, 'Blown Away' Fireside, 1990, p. 37

[41] pp. 37-8

[42] pp. 39-40

[43]  Michael Prowdlock's contribution to A.E. Hotchner, 'Blown Away' Fireside, 1990, p. 48-49

[44] Colin L. Westerbeck, Jr. 'A Terrible Duty is Born', Sight and Sound, B.F.I., Vol 40 No. 1-4, p. 82

[45]  Jean-Luc Godard Masculine Feminin, Ed. Pierre Billard, Grove Press, 1969, p. 230

[46] Bobby Seale 'Seize the Time' Arrow Books Limited, 1970, p. 212

[47] pp. 81

[48] Richard Roud One Plus One 'In The Picture' Sight and Sound, Vol 37, No. 1-4, 1968, p. 183