CINEMA: FOR EVER GODARD

IN TWO FILMS--ONE NEW, ONE RESTORED--THE MASTER OF MOVIE MODERNISM DISPLAYS HIS LASTING VIGOR

Two nude corpses lie on a beach. Then someone quickly covers their bodies: the man's with a tuxedo, the woman's with a formal red dress. It seems a restoration of dignity after death, but it is only the rough bustle of filmmaking: the corpses are actors, and they must get dressed for the next shot.

This scene, from Jean-Luc Godard's poignant, invigorating For Ever Mozart, lasts only a few seconds--yet it serves as a surreal image, a joke and a requiem. After 40 years, Godard can still astonish and amuse in the cinematic shorthand he virtually created. Now two of his...

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