Goodbye to cinema? Jean-Luc Godard’s Adieu au langage (2014) as 3D images at the edge of history

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© 2016, © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article will analyse Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D feature film, Adieu au langage (2014), as a reflexive meditation on the changing technologies and aesthetics of cinema, in which the history and memory of an entire medium are evoked (or invoked) and reimagined via the apparatus of contemporary 3D imaging. The result is a film that says ‘goodbye’ (per the ‘adieu’ of the film's title) to cinema itself, or at least to a particular conception of cinema and cinematic language (per the ‘langage’ of the film's title), at an end-of-history or end-of-cinema moment at which many, including Godard, have long since proclaimed the medium’s existential demise. Engaging a recurring concern within the director’s oeuvre, Adieu au langage visually and sonically articulates a densely inscribed self-historiography, wherein the now-3D cinematic image maps its own history (or histories, plural), including its evolving technologies, and a broader existential trajectory that spans but also exceeds ‘birth’ and ‘death’ (or ‘deaths’, plural). Positioned between 3D and 2D, present and past, the ‘death’ of cinema and its potential ‘resurrection’, Adieu au langage exists as a revealing historiographic intervention whose 3D images at the edge of history bid ‘adieu’ to cinema to in turn reframe and rearticulate its future.

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Studies in French Cinema

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