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Tout Va Bien (Criterion Collection)

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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An Angry Political Film About Socioeconomic Injustice... March 9 2005
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Tout Va Bien opens with a perspective on the economical politics of cinema, which depicts how they write checks for all the parties involved in the film. This is followed by how the story is generated, as the story eventually is simplified to him (Yves Montand) and her (Jane Fonda) in a society with strong political turbulence underneath the surface. Him, a has-been French New Wave director that now shoots commercials, does not want to sell himself to making dim-witted films. Her is his wife and a radio journalist who, like Him, has strong left-wing opinions. This opening presents what to expect from Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin, as it turns into a political statement in regards to failing society.

In retrospect, Tout Va Bien brings several interesting notions to the table. Initially, Godard and Gorin bring a visual representation of French society four years after the May 1968 upheaval, which fought for workers' rights and a more just society. However, through interpersonal disconnection the two filmmakers illustrate how these rights have begun to dwindle into nothingness in society. This happens as the bourgeois employs their entrepreneurship on the people of the society through maximizing their profits. Now, four years later, the bourgeois has trampled the society with rules, which has created an unfair balance between the socioeconomic classes.

Godard and Gorin further evolve their ideas on the silver screen through letting the audience visit an unlawful strike in a meat factory where the employees have captured the head of the company and locked him up in his office. The social and political dynamics of the factory are depicted through a cutaway set where the camera zooms out and the audience can see everything going on in every room of the factory. The cutaway allows the audience to see the greater picture of the situation. This later focuses on individuals who explain how they are harassed by supervisors when they need to go to bathroom.

During the illegal strike She (Jane Fonda) carries on interviewing the employees while being a hostage of the strikers. She and her husband side with the workers, as she plans on airing this material later. However, when she presents the material to her producers they stop her from airing it, which illustrates her naïve view of the bourgeois governed society.

Tout Va Bien is a very angry political film that openly depicts Gorin and Godar's contempt for society, as it neglects political equality and financial fairness. Nonetheless, they also show that they are a part of the great machine that keeps moving without consideration for the little people. These two directors show how they help turn the wheel of the great machine in the opening scene where they write checks for all involved in the film and employ big stars in the film such as Jane Fonda and Yves Montand. Nonetheless, the story goes on displaying an interesting farce of the socioeconomic injustice in society, which seems to squeeze many small people.

Despite what political affiliation a person possesses Tout Va Bien offers some insight into how power can be used and misused. People have different motivations and ambitions in life, and in the light of this, the audience should try to understand one another. The film can help build a bridge between people, as understanding and wisdom might help further the progress of the human race. In the end, Tout Va Bien offers an interesting cinematic experience that will leave a feeling of anger within regardless of political affiliation.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great 1972 Post Weekend Godard Aug. 12 2005
By Alejandro Otaola - Published on Amazon.com
This movie follows the path set by '2 or 3 things', 'La Chinoise' and 'Weekend'. You'll see Godard trademarks such as a LONG tracking shot, actors delivering monologues straight into the camera as-if-being-interviewed, non moving camera even when someone outside the frame is doing the talking or voiceover-thinking, etc...

While the movie was made during the final stages of Godard's Dziga Vertov period it actually contains a plot revolving around the relationship of a couple. He (Montand), once a New Wave movie director who now makes comercials for tv; and She (Fonda), an american correspondant in Paris. Both of them get kidnapped for 2 days inside a sausage factory during a strike and we see how their relationship changes due to them becoming aware of the historical context they exist in.

It's weird to see both movie stars being used not for acting skills but for what they represent: 'international vedettes'; as the opening scene makes perfectly clear. To make a film you need money (even if you are JLG) and to get your money back you need stars.

The Dziga Vertov group made one more film before calling it quits ('Letter to Jane') and since that 'essay' has a direct connection with 'Tout va Bien' Criterion wisely decided to include it inside this DVD.

While this may not be the place to start if you haven't seen much of Godard (Breathless, A Woman is a Woman, Contempt or Band of Outsiders would be more like it) if you've followed JLG's path up to Weekend, they you will certainly enjoy this one and all the extras this edition includes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Power Oct. 11 2005
By Pablo Martin Podhorzer - Published on Amazon.com
After more than thirty years of being done, I have to see some other feature that goes straight to the core of the workers' struggle better than this one (of course I wasn't even borne then, but DVD and video exists for a reason, as also my beloved Tel Aviv Cinemateque). Godard and Gorin succesfully use reflexive techniques to avoid the classic didactism or demagogy of political film and show how and why workers must take control of their workplace (and this doesn't mean to fall into bureaucratic soviet-style communism!). The arguments for all sides are expertly presented in a series of half-interviews (because we only listen to the answers give, the questions remaining off-screen) and reflexivity allows for freedom in the depiction of the beggining of a possible revolution.
The film can be seen and understood in many levels, but I'm afraid that today's workers conciousness is far away from that of the French factory ones after May 1968. Still, if you're going to take to your political movie the mega-stars of the period (Jane Fonda!) this is the way to do it. For Americans: Carrefour is the WalMart of France (and many other parts of the world). The same system, the same faults.
The Criterion edition included an excellent analysis (50 min) of a famous photograph of Jane in Vietnam, plus some excerpts of a Godard interview (explaining his position against naturalism in cinema) and a longer interview to Gorin (the co-director). It is an excellent edition as it is, but an introduction to the May 1968 events and/or to Nouvelle Vague would have been a good bonus for those that are not so into the subject, maybe as PDF-text so as not to take many space on the DVD (C'mon, with only 10 Megs you could include a lot).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good one Dec 7 2005
By Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
Jean-Luc Godard's follow-up to the ultra-Maoist Weekend, featuring Yves Montand as a former New Wave filmmaker and his wife Jane Fonda, as they become active in a factory takeover. The film is of course very sympathetic to Marxism and perhaps Leninism, but it's certainly toned down from the blood fest that is Weekend, perhaps regrettably. Godard insists on reinterpreting and imposing entirely new ideas about what a film can and ought to be, in this case an intellectualized espousal of the working class struggle. A few moments of daring misce-en-scene are worth mentioning; fist, Godard includes an awesome cutaway of the factory to reveal the power-dynamics of the uprising within, and an elaborate tracking sequence in a supermarket to reveal the gross stupidity of capitalist consumerism. Tout Va Bien is clearly a step-down from Godard's brilliant features of the 60's, but it's still provocative and worth any cinephile's time.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A True Intellectual Film July 6 2005
By Stalwart Kreinblaster - Published on Amazon.com
Jean Luc Godard certainly likes to challenge his audience. Challenge them with form, challenge them with content, challenge them with depth. "Tout va Bien" was a challenge for me - but then again politics is, naturally, a challenging subject. On the one hand you have the struggle - the oppression, then there is the struggle within the oppressed - everyone looking out for their own interests, of course, and there are the people on top and all of the bureaucracy and special interests - the whole subject is so complex it makes your head hurt to think about it. Godard captures all of this in a way that is very effective. He is perhaps one of the few people who can get such complex messages accross in a clear and concise way - because his cinema is so complex, it lends itself very nicely to politics. The effect of this film is, indeed, staggering. It is far from perfect as a film, at the same time, because its course is so much against the grain that we can't very easily just sit back and enjoy it - it is unnerving.

Like many Godard films, I would like to say that it is a masterpiece, because in some circles it is fashionable to do so - but I cannot call it a masterpiece, it is simply to difficult to fit into that category.