Sympathy For The Devil
(One Plus One)
Godard’s most effective meditation of role of the artist in political and social reformation comes in the form of Sympathy for the Devil. Godard was utterly dissatisfied with Sympathy for the Devil because the producer had included the completed song at the end credits which is exactly opposite to Godard’s purpose. Godard shows the gradual path to revolution and intentionally leaves out the orgasmic moment, precisely like in the erotic stories that visit the narration now and then, urging people to get to it by themselves. And naturally, his director’s cut, One Plus One, will have a better edited version of the film.
Once again, Godard utilizes multiple sound and image threads to weave together a mysterious fabric of ideologies. The prominent thread shows The Rolling Stones creating one of their songs from the scratch in a mundane fashion, so typical of Godard. These images are interleaved with verbose sequences taht are overtly revolutionary in character. Using these scenes Godard targets a range of things that include the fascist, racist and misogynistic nature of occidental art, improper methods of activism and dissemination of revolutionary spirit and political power for the black (boy, would he have loved if Obama had been elected then!). He uses his characteristic word games to the full extent devising words like Cinemarxism and Sovietcong.
And the using the Rolling Stones part of the film, Godard quietly raises issues about artist and the society and the futility of language. He contrasts the talky campaign of the extremists with the subtle yet effective nature of artists but never answers if their paths should cross or if artists should indulge themselves at all. Also intriguing is the film’s cinematography as it snakes along the cramped recording room with protracted pan shots. And the final image, a possible homage to Pudovkin’s arresting film Mat (1924), is vintage Godard as he signs off with his distinctive chromatic shifts.