Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Forgotten VHS #1- Godard's "Numero Deux"

Introducing a new series of entries that will often be found here at Out 1. The forgotten VHS entries are to serve like those "overlooked DVD" entries on so many other sites. Not that overlooked DVDs should not be recognized, but recent reports have shown that there were far more films available on VHS than are currently available on DVD. This leads me to believe that if we don't remember these VHS' then many of these films will be lost and never get the ultimate transfers that they deserve sometime down the line. The shorter entries will be used to highlight these essential films that are currently only available on VHS.

Jean Luc Godard's "Numero Deux," only available through Facets Video, is one of the best and most important films of the 1970's, as well as one of Godard's finest achievements. Though it is usually forgotten in light of Godard's classic works of the 1960's, "Numero Deux" is a film that demands to be watched, especially in the ever present digital age. At once fascinating, demanding and haunting, Godard's "remake" of "Breathless" is a meditation on family life, sex, and alienation in the modern age. Set in, and never moving from, one family's apartment, the viewer watches their lives unfold through multiple superimpositions and juxtapositions within the scope frame. The only full scope shots are in Godard's prologue and epilogue, while he sits, frustrated, at the film's editing table.

It was only recently that I came across this work for the first time, yet somehow I consider that a benefit. The combination of digital, video, and film struck me more today than it would have if I would have seen "Numero Deux" years ago. So many people complain that much of Godard's work is stuck in the moment that it was made. However, "Numero Deux" is advancing and gaining increased relevancy with time. It may be hard to find, but if you are lucky enough to come across a copy, it is an opportunity that should be grasped and will surely be cherished for years to come.

by James Hansen


Nostalgia Kinky said...

Not much to add except to say that I agree with you. This is one of my favorite Godard films. It is also one of the best examples of just how compulsively watchable an obviously experimental work can be...I actually have an original one sheet of this in my collection. I can't remember the exact phrasing but it says on something along the lines..."It's my body, my life, my's too much and yet not enough"

Haunting, brilliant filmmaking...

James Hansen said...

Without a doubt one of his greatest films. Everything he executes is so intuitive. I am falling in love with most of his work, but this one immediately hooked me and is one I certainly need to find for my own collection. I got a copy to watch from a library. Now I need my own.

Dena Darvish Derakhshan said...

I have been looking for this video and it seems the only way to get it is for $70 on ebay/amazon. Any ideas? or would you let me borrow it for a couple dollars?
I'm in San Jose, CA.
-Danny, email me at