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The Meeting in St. Gervais cover image

The Meeting in St. Gervais 2010

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Producer n/a
Directed by Frederic Choffat & Vincent Lowy
DVD, color, 44 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Communication, European Studies, Film Studies, History, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Humor, Law, Linguistics, Media Studies, Philosophy, Storytelling

Date Entered: 03/14/2012

Reviewed by Jennifer Dean, MALS student, City Univerity of New York (CUNY Graduate Center)

The Meeting in St-Gervais records a wonderfully intimate discussion with two iconic filmmakers, Marcel Ophuls and Jean-Luc Godard, in a small screening room in Geneva in October of 2009. What starts off as a benign discussion of childhood anecdotes (by Godard) and an intellectual repartee in regards to the role of the written word verses the image of the film soon turns into a spirited and emotionally charged personal exchange about collaboration and a project on Israel and Palestine that the two never managed to get off the ground.

The Meeting in St-Gervais would, of course, be an apropos companion for a viewing of The Sorrow & The Pity (1969) or for a film studies course on the New Wave or the cinema of Post World-War II– but this short conversation addresses so much more. It raises philosophical questions (issues of national identity which would make it appropriate to watch alongside a reading of Etienne Balibar), legal issues of contract and copyright (defended by Ophuls and eschewed by Godard), theories of memory (both in the work of Ophuls and in the recollection that occurs as part of the conversation between these two great figures). The discussion is far from dry. The two engage in humor and connect with one another on a visceral level. The conversation engrosses the viewer intellectually and emotionally and is highly recommended both for academia and pure pleasure.