Happiness is Not Fun: Godard, the 20th Century, and Badiou


  • Michael Walsh University of Hartford




"Godard is the most contemporary of directors, one who has never set a film in the past. Yet since the 1990s he has produced a whole cycle of works whose tones are retrospective, memorial, elegaic. These include JLG/JLG:Auto-portrait du Décembre (1995), the much-discussed Histoire(s) du Cinèma (begun in 1988, completed in 1998) 2 x 50 Years of French Cinema (commissioned by the BFI for the centennial of cinema in 1995), The Old Place (commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in 1999), On the Origin of the Twenty-First Century (commissioned by the Cannes Film Festival for the year 2000), Dans Le Noir du Temps (a contribution to the 2002 compilation film Ten Minutes Older), and the 2006 Centre Pompidou exhibition “Travels in Utopia.” This last was a retrospective in the conventional sense (screenings of four decades worth of film and video by Godard, Godard/Gorin, Godard/Mièville, etc), but was also retrospective as an installation, divided into three spaces identified as hier, l’avant-hier, and aujourd’hui (yesterday, the day before yesterday, and today), with tomorrow notable for its absence..."