Every Man for Himself (1980)

Every Man for Himself

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Movie Info

Sauve Qui Peut (la Vie), a pessimistic but visually stunning film, marks Jean-Luc Godard's return to cinema after having spent the 70s working in video. The film presents a few days in the lives of three people: Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc ), a television producer; Denise Rimbaud (Nathalie Baye), his co-worker and ex-girlfriend; and Isabelle Riviera (Isabelle Huppert), a prostitute whom Paul has used. Denise wants to break up with Paul and move to the country. Isabelle wants to work for herself … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 2, 2015
Box Office: $45.2k
Runtime:
New Yorker Films

Cast


as Isabelle Riviera

as Paul Godard

as Denise Rimbaud

as Second Costumer

as Isabelle's Sister

as Opera Singer

as Elevator Attendant

as Second Guy

as Paul's Ex-Wife

as First client
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Critic Reviews for Every Man for Himself

All Critics (3)

Is Godard the prostitute or the pimp?

Full Review… | November 11, 2010
Slant Magazine

has a pungent melancholy to it

Full Review… | November 11, 2010
Filmcritic.com

Even in the same year as Raging Bull, Melvin and Howard, Dressed to Kill and The Long Riders it was still the freshest, most thrilling movie to behold.

Full Review… | November 10, 2010
New York Press

Audience Reviews for Every Man for Himself

Jean-Luc Godard's "Every Man for Himself" is intriguing, but not as essential as the director's early films. Lack of cultural context may be the key. His '60s work was stuffed with topical commentary on Paris street life and restless youth, but "Every Man for Himself" is just an insular tale of a few random urbanites. It was released in 1980 but, really, the script could have been written during any year.

Regardless, the film's appeal mostly hangs upon a beautiful, blank-faced prostitute (Isabelle Huppert, whose character shares her name). Be patient: She doesn't enter until a half hour has passed. Isabelle is neither energized nor depressed by her unsavory job, and meets her appointments with all the passion of a housewife drying dishes. She's even game to let her younger sister into the racket -- well, as long as the sister has nice enough breasts and is willing to cut Isabelle a share of her profits. Isabelle is equally nonchalant about almost any perversion, whether it's incestuous role-playing, spanking or the strangest foursome choreography you've ever seen.

The other storyline involves a couple who mostly function apart from Isabelle. Their tale is not so interesting, even though the male is provocatively named "Godard." This Godard (pop singer Jacques Dutronc) is emotionally aloof, works in television and has a child via an estranged wife. He's also on the brink of losing a relationship with a film editor (Nathalie Baye) who likes to bicycle rather than drive. She has an earthy sensuality but Godard, hidden behind a shaggy haircut and oversized glasses, is an unlikable cipher. Eventually, the two intersect with Isabelle.

Director Godard's usual tricks abound, jabbing the audience to notice the artifice of cinema. Title cards appear, dividing the film into four vague sections. Characters notice the non-diegetic music, and one shot where a string section appears onscreen almost recalls the absurd Count Basie cameo in "Blazing Saddles." Jerky, slow-motion moments keep intruding for little discernible reason (a late example does save the need for a stunt man). And dialogue repeatedly overlaps across scenes -- in other words, a conversation lingers on the soundtrack after the visual setting jumps elsewhere. There's even a quick in-joke pointing out how movie vehicles typically lack a rearview mirror.

"Every Man for Himself" was Godard's return to narrative film after several years of thorny experimentation. His peculiar genius remains evident, but seems a bit diffused.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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