Alas for Me (Helas pour moi) (2003)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Alas for Me (Helas pour moi) Photos

Movie Info

Hélas pour moi is the story of journalist Abraham Klimt (Bernard Verley)'s investigation of a case of divine possession. In 1989 God enters the body of filmmaker Simon Donnadieu (Gérard Depardieu). When Simon returns home, his wife Rachel (Laurence Masliah) realizes something is amiss but sticks by her newly divine husband. As in much of his later work Jean-Luc Godard uses a team of cinematographers to create breathtaking images. The theology-filled dialogue makes frequent references to light and illumination, which are in turn reflected in the sun-suffused images. Light comes bouncing off Lake Geneva or streams in from widows behind the characters who stand in shadowy interiors. Multiple narrators provide differing views of the same events, and an intricate web of flashbacks creates an almost impenetrably knotty chronology. Meanwhile, title screens periodically interrupt the action, and the characters introduce lengthy digressions on philosophical, literary and spiritual questions. The result is a beautiful but extremely difficult film, even for those familiar with Godard. This film drew strong protests from the Catholic Church. ~ Louis Schwartz, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Gérard Depardieu
as Simon Donnadieu
Laurence Masliah
as Rachel Donnadieu
Marc Betton
as The Doctor
Bernard Verley
as Abraham Klimt
Jean-Pierre Miquel
as The Other Pastor
Anny Romand
as The Pastor's Wife
Roland Blanche (II)
as The Teacher
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Alas for Me (Helas pour moi)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

It will be a surprise to anyone who thinks of Jean-Luc Godard as a cold and cerebral film maker. Here he is warm and cerebral, and more quietly provocative than he has been in years.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

No one else makes films so alive with ideas or executed with as much daring, beauty or humor.

Full Review… | July 31, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Jean-Luc Godard's most spiritual film is also his most opaque.

Full Review… | July 31, 2003
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

... this film starts to veer dangerously close to being almost too experimental (dare I use the dreaded word "pretentious") for its own good.

Full Review… | February 14, 2008

One of the director's most challenging ventures to date.

Full Review… | July 31, 2003
TV Guide

Rather abstract and self-limiting.

Full Review… | July 31, 2003
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Alas for Me (Helas pour moi)

“Oh, Woe is me” by Jean-Luc Godard The Return of Ancient Pagan Gods into Today’s World and into Godard’s Cinema “Woe…” is the third film of Godard’s mytho-religious trilogy: “Contempt” (1964), “Hail Mary” (1985), and “Oh, Woe is me” (1993). And it is the second film of the trilogy that deals with pagan imagery – the middle film: “Hail Mary”, is analyzing the Christian belief. In “Contempt” Godard uses Homer’s “Odysseus” as a precious springboard in an attempt to imagine Odysseus/Ulysses’ destiny in the West of the 60s. Godard stylizes the movie-camera and projection-camera as mythological monsters, and personifies the god Poseidon/Neptune as an American film-producer vis-à-vis the main character as modern Odyssey/Ulysses overburdened by the necessity to keep Gods by psychology (including his own wife) on his shoulders. In “Woe…” we have a deal with Zeus/Jupiter as the image of unconscious megalomaniacal identification on part of a small businessman. Godard takes us to the heart of people’s psychology that they blindly project outside them by forming today’s cultural trends. We are overwhelmed with Godard’s endless witty and funny examples of the growing taste for association with and being close to - super-human powers masked as human, and of superstitious worship of technology among today’s population. We observe on the screen people’s irradiating irrationality and how it triggers our prejudices and makes us in 20th – 21st centuries psychologically very close to the ancient creators of Olympus. Godard shows that we react on technological power as ancient Greeks perceived Dragons, Cyclops, Hydras or Centaurs, and that like them, but much less metaphorically and for this reason much more violently we want and are trying to be as powerful as Gods. Read the article about “Oh, Woe is me” – “A New Paganism of the Worship of Technology Intensifies Human Superstitions” (with analysis of shots from the film) at: by Victor Enyutin

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