Festivals: Modest Fame

Film-festival movies are like mistresses in a man's life: the later they come along, the more they have to do to please, or even be remembered. Judged from this jaundiced point of view, a few films of the second segment of the seventh New York Film Festival still achieved a modest fame.

Jean-Luc Godard would certainly resent the comparison, but he makes movies the way some manufacturers make washing machines—with planned obsolescence. Only a few years after their release, Godard films become museum pieces. His innovations are adopted by other film makers, who...

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