DVD Made in U.S.A. [DVD] [Criterion Collection] (DVD 4667641),
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Made in U.S.A. [DVD] [Criterion Collection]

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • MADE IN U.S.A. is vanguard Nouvelle Vague director Jean-Luc Godards great lost masterwork. Filmed during the height of his most fertile cinematic period (between 1960 and 1967), its loosely based on THE JUGGER, a pulp crime novel by Donald E. Westlake. Distribution of the film was long suppressed due to a legal battle between the films producers and Westlake over unpaid adaptation rights. In the decades since its 1967 American premiere at the New York Film Festival, Godards incendiary strike against cinematic convention and mid-20th-century pop culture remains as vibrant, stridently political, and essential as ever. The film stars the directors soon-to-be ex-wife, Anna Karina, as a private investigator (Paula Nelson) searching for her missing boyfriend, Richard P. (a victim of assassination or political intrigue never fully explained), and the deliberately labyrinthine plot follows a trail of dead bodies, cartoon-like violence, and a deluge of leftist rhetoric--no doubt informed by the turbulent events of late-60s France. Jarring edits and the clash of street noise threaten to raze pertinent plot details what is perhaps Godards most conspicuous effacement of narrative and cinematic convention. Notwithstanding some impenetrable plot details, the directors typical self-reflexivity and allusion to film history have never been as deliriously satiric or knowingly capricious. Visually, MADE IN U.S.A. is steeped in a kaleidoscopic whimsy of comic-strip panels and Mod colors--Karina at one point even declares, presumably directly to the audience, "We were in a political movieWalt Disney with blood." Elsewhere, bar patrons indulge in a discussion about semiology, and even Marianne Faithfull shows up, singing an a capella version of her "As Tears Go By." Though largely critical of the byproducts of American cultural imperialism, MADE IN U.S.A. is political polemic mixed with a dash of Hollywood sentiment, invoking, as it does, Howard Hawks 1946 version of THE BIG SLEEP, and noir directors Sam Fuller and Nicholas Ray, whom Godard inscribes in the films dedication: "taught me about picture and sound."
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  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CC1821

  • Credits
    Anna Karina,Yves Alfonso,Jean-Pierre Laud
  • Critic Reviews
    "[A] bright and jagged piece of the jigsaw puzzle of Mr. Godard's career."
    A. O. Scott

    "Elliptical in the extreme and loaded with cinematic and political references, the film is nevertheless compelling because of Anna Karina's radiant presence and Godard's stunning images, dry wit, political fervor and endless inventiveness and daring."
    Los Angeles Times

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