EARLY WORD: Godard Is Great


Tonight at International House, the Secret Cinema will be presenting an extremely rare dye-transfer Technicolor print of the1967 omnibus feature The Oldest Profession. Popularized during the foreign film boom of the 60s, an omnibus feature is a collection of shorts made by different directors exploring a single theme. The Oldest Profession is a blithe and often comedic examination of prostitution throughout the ages told in six parts. Despite the fact that it includes a segment from legendary French New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard — which was made during what was arguably his richest period — and one from Philippe de Broca, The Oldest Profession has been cast aside, forgotten, and is unknown by most contemporary audiences. Godard’s contribution, Anticipation ou l’amour en l’an 2000 — which was made around the same time as his dystopic Weekend — is the closing segment and without doubt the pièce de résistance of the feature. Running just around 20 minutes, it was the director’s eighth and final collaboration with his then wife, the unworldly nouvelle vague ingenue Anna Karina, best known for leading roles A Woman is a Woman, Vivre se Vie and Band of Outsiders. Anticipation chronicles a visitor from another galaxy’s patronage of government-run brothel here on Earth. The first prostitute he gets is programmed only for sex and does not speak and as such he is unsatisfied and sends her back. The next prostitute —Anna Karina in a frilled Victorian wedding-dress, that presumably represents sentimental love — does nothing but talk. She plays a large metal comb like an instrument and they take turns squirting water into each other’s mouths with an aerosol can — don’t ask. Then she recites poetry, “Your eyes…/Are like two doves,/And my breasts…/Like baby gazelles.” The camera then jumps to him rubbing his forehead and suddenly there is an ethereal screeching in the background. She says, “Welcome noble stranger into the garden of your sister and fiancé…” but he bluntly cuts her off: “This doesn’t excite me.” But, noble stranger—it’s Anna Karina! Then they discover the kiss and, as the narrator says, make “love, progress and conversation all at the same time.” The screening is a must-see for Godard fans and connoisseurs of prismatic, late 60’s Technicolor. — CAROLINE SCHMIDT

Due to last week’s snopocalypse, The Oldest Profession will screen Thursday  at 7 PM at International House along with a few surprise shorts from the Secret Cinema. General Admission is $8, $6 for Students/Seniors and $5 for members.

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