Sympathy for the Devil (One Plus One) Reviews
It may have to do with the lack of reading going on today.
Oh, yes, and The Rolling Stones, iin better days, and less DIVA personification, rehearsing the song which caused the biggest stir in decades.
'Sympathy' is brilliant occasionally, but pretty frustrating. To begin with, Godard consistently denies viewers the benefit of linearity, and he rarely cites his sources. Godard does NOT present the audience with a set of lucid/candid monologues organized in standard teleological fashion. No: he prefers for example to toss the audience into a London junkyard where black revolutionaries are executing silent, fair-skinned white women and reciting from Eldridge Cleaver's "Allegory of the Black Eunuchs" (from Cleaver's uncited and [in]famous 'Soul on Ice' -- a text key to unlocking 'Sympathy' that I coincidentally had the pleasure of reading recently), then cut back to impassionate footage of dead time in the studio with Mick and Keith -- STILL rehearsing (in Godard's preferred cut the complete and final recording of "Sympathy for the Devil" isn't even heard!). Godard, cosmopolitan maverick that he is, also mixes in bizarre commentary on the burgeoning student movement, Maoism (still as ambivalent as in 'La Chinoise'), the ethos of the counterculture (Anne Wiazemsky's chin-scratching "Eve Democracy" cameo being a stand-in sequence for this film's heady mixture of platitudes and prophesies), and Marxism as the twentieth century until that moment had interpreted it (of course there's Marxism!). Godard's approach to all this material is interesting; he seems to see as many devils as angels at work in the process of revolution (this is one of the movie's strong points, and it's something that Jagger's lyrics highlight beautifully).
I honestly need to spend more time with 'Sympathy' to determine whether or not it's really productive intellectually, or whether the film's "rehearsal" conceit limits it to simply mapping out (or winnowing down) what's happened in 60's history up to that point, making most of the "criticism" voiced by the actors limp and the diagnostic qualities sham. Godard's moral/political position with reference to all of these 60's films is MADDENINGLY complex, and that complexity is nowhere more evident than with later 60's works like 'Made in U.S.A.', 'La Chinoise', and this film. If nothing else, you've got to credit the man for truly having his FINGER ON THE PULSE of 1968 -- and not just in France (many have commented on how Godard catches and subtly notes the sad contrast between Mick's lyrics pre- and post- RFK's assassination [then extremely current], with the "who killed Kennedy" lyric changing to "who killed the Kennedys?").
'Sympathy for the Devil' will be difficult viewing for anyone who can't channel the interest necessary to understand its innerworkings, but it's definitely a challenge to be risen to, even if one ultimately dismisses it as a failure of this or that sort (not enough Stones, not enough coherence, and not enough [insert a variety of attributes of more conventional filmmaking] would all be decent enough criticisms).
that was amazing
skip through the other parts