chapter  3
30 Pages

Made in USA: Godard’s Pop Tableaux

ByLiam Considine

This chapter argues that Jean-Luc Godard’s juxtaposition of painting, cinema and the photographic image in early New Wave films A bout de souffle and Vivre sa vie anticipates his use of Pop themes and motifs to synthesize painting and the cinematic image in Le Mepris, the film which initiated the Pop phase of the director’s oeuvre. It suggests that Godard’s references to Pop art mirrored the intermedia play of his postmodern cinema while validating his critiques of Americanization and consumer culture that became increasingly politically charged throughout. Godard’s hypnotic 1962 film Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux extends his dialogue with painting to the format of the film, generating “moments of representational layering in which painting is brought into the picture.” The chapter also argues that Godard’s engagement with Pop art emerged out of his juxtaposition of painting and cinema on the one hand, and his reflexive critiques of celebrity culture and the Hollywood film industry on the other.