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I think people should be wary of buying this DVD at the price listed here, when the other Godard to be released on the same date, Two or Three Things I Know About Her (also a single-disc release), is offered at 23.50$ (it's now gone up to 24.50$) and lists for the same MSRP on Criterion's site.
At least Amazon.ca has now inserted the correct description of the film, whereas they had the one for Kurosawa's Ran for quite some time.
This whole situation is in part Criterion's fault since after cancelling the Blu-Ray edition of Ran, they reused the same product code number, which managed to confuse some retailers like Amazon.ca, but they should really have caught on by now. The price they are asking for is probably what it would have cost for that Blu-Ray, had it been released as planned. Considering this is an entirely different title on standard DVD, they should make sure and correct their listing before the release date, which is coming soon.
My low rating is motivated only by this pricing error, which may lead customers to pay more than twice as much as they should. It has been too long since I saw the film to give an opinion on it, although I am looking forward to getting this DVD, at the correct price.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
If ever there were a film that needs an audio commentary track...June 12 2011
Just a consumer
- Published on Amazon.com
I knowingly took a chance when I bought this DVD based only on a couple of New York Times reviews and a basic familiarity with several of Godard's other films. I was intrigued by the fact that even to this day "Made in USA" has rarely been shown theatrically in the United States. Criterion characterizes the film as a "piece of pop art [that is] like a Looney Tunes rendition of "The Big Sleep" gone New Wave", and that description intrigued me. But I didn't realize just how essential it was for the film to have a scholarly commentary track. If ever there were a film that requires an audio commentary track, this is it.
There _is_ a DVD extra -- the "visual essay"/concordance -- that helps explain a lot, but since it is a separate from the film, the details are covered out of the context and flow of the film. Unless you are fluent in French and familiar in detail with much of the politics, current events, pop culture, and high culture of the decades leading up to the mid-60s, you'll find "Made in USA" a barrage of references that keep you from seeing the forest for the trees.
All the details from the concordance, and more, belong in a commentary track, so that the viewer can take them in as he or she is watching the film. To really do it right, Criterion should have included both an audio commentary and concordance-based captioning with customized screen placement so that the viewer has half a chance of keeping up with the mixture of foreground and background details that are scattered throughout the film.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Pseudo-Psychedelics From The Master Of French New Wave.Feb. 18 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
This isn`t one of Goddard`s most appreciated or understood films (ditto with '2 Or 3 Things I Know About Her' from the same time period), yet it`s fascinating to watch him deconstruct an Art form he almost single-handedly created. It`s an absurdist, surreal, darkly comic, brightly colored film noir-come-pseudo-spy story that`s chaotic and complex, and will leave you repeatedly shaking your head as you attempt to keep up with its inspired lunacy. It`s awash in bold, vibrant colors, most of the time red, white and blue to underscore the skewering of rampant American consumerism, and most characters have famous American names to further confound comprehension. But watching it the second time (in truth, I didn`t get it the first go-around), I found it to be acidicly funny Pop Art. The Bar scene with almost nonsensical chatter among its inhabitants while Marianne Faithful sits in a corner singing 'As Tears Go By' was hysterical to me. This was the last time Anna Karina worked w/ Goddard (their marriage broke up quite a bit before this film), and it appears at times throughout the film that he was putting her through paces just to screw with her and see how she`d react. This is not a casual film to watch, you need to give it your undivided attention, like most of his films, maybe more so. It`s not a movie that comes to you, you must go to it, if you get my drift. It`s also not the first film to watch if you`re not familiar w/ his work, you`ll hate it if this is so. You may not like it anyway, but it`s worth a go if you like Goddard, 60`s New Wave, and Pop Art Surrealism. And Criterion gives us many additional features to help us navigate our way within the delerious barrage of Goddard`s assorted visions.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Definitely not the first film that one should watch if they want to watch and experience a Jean-Luc Godard film.March 10 2010
[KNDY] Dennis A. Amith
- Published on Amazon.com
In 1966, Jean-Luc Godard was asked by producer Georges de Beureagard if he can create a film quickly. The answer was yes and that the can film two at the same time: "Made in U.S.A." starring Anna Karina and Laszlo Szabo and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" starring Marina Vlady. It's important to note that "Made in U.S.A." is the final full-length film he created with his ex-wife and muse Anna Karina and the first film of singer Marianne Faithfull (a popular singer in the '60s and also the steady girlfriend of Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger at the time). While "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" stars the woman that rejected him for marriage. So, needless to say, these two films are rather significant.
"Made in U.S.A." is the final goodbye between Karina and Godard and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" is a film that shows him angered by the rejection. And also two films that mark the end of the cycle of Jean-Luc Godard who has become more of a political person and wanted to use his films to deal with internal conflict that he felt about cinema and politics.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Made in U.S.A." is known for it's vibrant colors. As a detective, Anna Karina's character is known for wearing vibrant colored dresses and the film definitely does a great job showcasing those colors, especially closeups of Anna Karina's blue eyes. This remastered version of the film looks absolutely beautiful and I can only imagine how this would look on Blu-ray (if it ever receives a BD release). It's vibrant and colorful film!
"Made in U.S.A." is presented in its original aspect ration of 2:35:1 and the HD digital transfer was created on a 2K Spirit Datacine from the original 35mm camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitt and flicker were removed manually using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean System while Digital Vision's DVNR was used for small dirt, grain and noise reduction.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the audio, "Made in U.S.A." is featured in monaural French with English subtitles. "Made in U.S.A." was mastered at 24-bit from a 35mm optical print. Clicks, tumps, hiss and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated audio workstation. The film is primarily center channel driven but I chose to have my receiver play the audio with stereo on all channels.
"Made in U.S.A. - THE CRITERION COLLECTION #481" comes with the following special features:
* On the Cusp - (26:28) Jean-Luc Godard biographers Colin MacCabe and Richard Brody dissect the personal the political in "Made in U.S.A." and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her". * Anna Karina - (10:08) A 2002 interview with Anna Karina looking back at her life and working with director Jean-Luc Godard. * Laszlo Szabo - (5:46) A 2009 interview with Laszlo Szabo who appeared in several of Jean-Luc Godard's films and talks about making "Made in U.S.A.". * Made in U.S.A.: A Concordance - (17:26) A video essay tracing the source of many of the references that make up the script of "Made in U.S.A.". * Trailers - Featuring the original release trailer and the Rialto Pictures re-release trailer. * 16-Page Booklet - Featuring "The Long Goodbye" essay by J. Hoberman.
"Made in U.S.A." is definitely not a film for those not familiar with Jean-Luc Godard's work. Although there is a main story about the character of Paula investigating her lover's murder, the film is not only heavy with references but there are a good number of political dialogue which was more or less Godard's platform for him to get out on what was on his mind.
Although many Jean-Luc Godard films show signs of politics being used in the storyline, "Made in U.S.A." tries to balance the film utilizing Anna Karina as this sexy, stylish detective but then using the film as a platform for politics but most importantly, for Godard to use two characters that define how he was back then as a filmmaker and then having Anna Karina taking care of the men in order to show that Jean-Luc Godard as we knew him in the past in his Anna Karina films is now no more.
"Made in U.S.A." is the final swan song between both Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. Despite being divorced at this time, she would no longer be his muse and the director would no longer be the director that many people have respected him and loved him for. His next films "La Chinoise" and "Week End" would truly mark the end of Godard's narrative and cinematic period of his filmmaking career and from then on, Godard would be a different director focusing on revolutions and his interest in Maoist ideology and would only return to mainstream films in 1980.
This is not a film for those who are not familiar with Godard's work or Anna Karina. I've met many who have watched this film solely for the purpose of the beautiful shots of Anna Karina and didn't like the film at all. For me, my appreciation was because it was a fitting goodbye to his ex-wife. After watching this collaboration between Karina and Godard, you knew it had to end someway and "Made in U.S.A." was the way to do it.
As incoherent this film may be to many people, I enjoyed the film in fragments. As a "noir" film, it's not my favorite. As a Godard film, I was impressed. The cinematography by Raoul Coutard was absolutely beautiful, the awkward randomness of certain scenes was an interesting way to see a perspective of Godard as a filmmaker and as a person who faced conflict and needed an outlet to let his emotions out. Both "Made in U.S.A." and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" are two different types of films made at the same time but are enjoyable in their own way.
Do I recommend "Made in U.S.A.", yes...that is only if you have seen a good number of Jean-Luc Godard films. This by no means is a film you should start out with if you want to learn about Godard's filmmaking style. Overall, a fantastic Criterion release and a film that I definitely enjoyed!
Lesser Godard, but still worthwhile for the gorgeous use of colour and the very best of 1960s fashion and designSept. 17 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
In 1966 Jean-Luc Godard was approached by producer Georges de Beauregard, who said that he had some money he needed to spend and asked if Godard could make a film on very short notice. Godard said sure, and proposed adapting a pulp crime novel (Donald E. Westlake's "The Jugger"). But when Godard made the film, which would get the title MADE IN U.S.A., he did everything possible to break out of a straightforward adaptation, using the novel as a mere skeleton over which he could explore other themes that interested him.
Paula (Anna Karina), a journalist, goes to a small town where her estranged boyfriend Richard has died in mysterious circumstances, surely murder. Determined to get to the bottom of things, she takes on the air of a hardboiled detective, wielding a pistol and wearing a Bogartian trenchcoat. She meets the doctor who did the autopsy and has a run-in with the police, but mainly we see her tangled up with two gangsters, played by László Szabó and Jean-Pierre Léaud.
Godard maintains just enough conventional dialogue and action to let the viewer know where we are in the crime novel's plot, but most of what transpires before the camera must be understood as only abstract metaphors for what would have happened in the book. The interaction between his characters mainly has other purposes. They have absurdist conversations with a great deal of wordplay. They allude to French politics in a time when Godard was worried about the compromised values of the French Left and the spectres of fascism and consumer society. The Ben Barka affair, where a Moroccan dissident was murdered in France in 1965 with the apparent involvement of the French security services, looms very large over MADE IN U.S.A., almost elbowing Westlake's original story out entirely. As if aware that he had stripped the plot down to such a degree that he now had too much time to be filled, he gives little asides like Marianne Faithfull singing "Tears Go By" a cappella in a cameo and Kyôko Kosaka strumming a guitar and singing in Japanese.
This is not one of Godard's best films. For one, Godard reused many of the elements of his masterpiece Pierrot Le Fou from the year before. PIERROT LE FOU was itself assembled as a sort of a collage of shots from Godard's prior films, which worked well as a wonderful summing up of his early career. But when he does the same with MADE IN U.S.A., it is to greatly diminished effect. But even if this is weak by Godard standards, it is nonetheless a moving experience. Shot in colour and in Cinemascope, this is a feast for the eyes. The very best of what the 1960s had to offer in terms of fashion and product design is on hand here and it just jumps off the screen. The image feels electric. (It is a pity that Criterion's edition is only on DVD, as a Blu-Ray would have yielded even greater pleasures.) Godard's longtime cameraman Raoul Coutard gives us some elaborate long takes that impress. And of course it's Godard's last major celebration of Anna Karina's beauty and poise, which really was something for the ages, still stunning half a century later.
Criterion's edition comes with some useful extras. In MADE IN U.S.A. Godard included a number of literary quotations, and plus nearly all the names in the film are allusions to other films by other filmmakers, literary figures, etc. We get a a 17-minute featurette here that explains all the allusions. In another featurette, this one 25 minutes long, film scholars Richard Brody and Colin McCabe discuss where MADE AND U.S.A. and, another film he shot at the same time, Two or Three Things I Know About Her fit in his career. There's a 2002 interview with Anna Karina, but this is just her general reminisces about working with Godard (and her telling for the umpteenth time how they met) instead of anything about MADE IN U.S.A. specifically. More interesting for longtime Godard aficionados, I think, is an interview with László Szabó.
Don't blame this on the U.S.Nov. 17 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
Ever walk into a museum to look upon a piece praised by critics and lavished as a creation worth millions...and all you're staring at is a bunch of wire coat hangers strung together? Made in U.S.A. is the film equivalent. I tried watching the film, mainly a series of conversations in rooms about a woman trying to discover if her ex died of heart failure or if he was murdered...and I was left bewildered as to how it had garnered so much praise. I then watched the supplemental interviews with actors who had starred in the film...and they claimed it was a masterwork of profundity disguised as simplicity. They cited 8 hour work days and meticulous shoots and the sheer genius of their director. I still wasn't buying it. So, I watched the supplemental essay by a film critic who cited all the references to crime noir books (whom very few readers in modern 21st century have ever heard of)...and how much intellect it took to combine so much source material into one film. Sometimes, a bunch of wire coat hangers strung together is exactly that...regardless of the fact of you discovering them in a museum. This film is analogous to that worthless (overpraised) creation.