In the wake of May 1968 which effectually bookends the unrivaled movement of Nouvelle Vague, Godard founded Groupe Dziga Vertov (1968-1972), among which Maoist Jean-Pierre Gorin is a key figure, and TOUT VA BIEN is the most well-known works of the group’s output, also heralds Godard’s seminal transition from narrative tradition to a more essayistic, esoteric platform to which he has cleft ever since.
International star power swells in TOUT VA BIEN, Jane Fonda, freshly copping her first Oscar for KLUTE (1971), but subsequently courting backlash for her radical anti-Vietnam War stance stateside, finds a respite in the other side of the Atlantic ocean and a showpiece to flaunt her bilingual faculty, she plays Paris-based American journalist Suzanne and French matinee idol, Yves Montand is Jacques, her husband, a filmmaker relegating to churn out commercials in recent years, they are the nominal “him” and “her” protagonists in a conventional feature film as we know it. TOUT VA BIEN starts with the action of checkbook-signing which cover all the expenditure of making a movie (repeated viewings will be rewarded with specifying the numerical discrepancy among expenses of various departments).
The cynosure is a sausage factory strike in Paris, during which Susan and Jacques are inadvertently held hostage with the factory manager (Caprioli, impersonating a magnificent blowhard, and for once, swallowing the inhuman capitalism’s own medicine during a pee emergency) by the disaffected insurgent workers, the factory set consists a two-story premise, which allows horizontal dolly shots ambling frictionlessly through many an isometric partition adorned with restive, vivid tableaux. Faux-interviews are conducted with hard-hitting fervor, both parties of the conflict make a clean breast of their sundry dissatisfactions and one can grasp the irreconcilable rub of a labor-intensive industry lies deep in the consumerist system per se, Godard and Gorin’s revisionist leftist slant scintillates in its earnest ideological candor and zeitgeisty visual motifs (Godard’s continuity-sabotaging montage, three-colored captions, etc.).
After the factory ordeal, Susan and Jacques start to vent their own frustrations in their respective vocations and audience is granted a peek of their ominous matrimonial rift, but it is up to a 10-minute long shot in a Carrefour supermarket, where Godard’s camera calmly retains its horizontal facility and witnesses a riot as if appreciating a scroll of painting unfolding with its contents shifting organically from placid commonness to uproarious donnybrook, that elevates TOUT VA BIEN from a personal political disquisition to a disarming cinematic hybrid of storytelling and agitprop.
referential entries: Godard’s WEEKEND (1967, 7.7/10); MASCULIN, FEMININ (1966, 6.9/10). 收起全部