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Formalistic Reflexivity

by Isaac Rooks

Godard films often offer very explicit illustrations of what Dr. Casper describes as "formalistic reflexivity," in which audiences are made to notice the construction and artifice of the film they are watching. This is a particularly playful example from one of his early films in which the character's try to be quiet for a minute. The moment is built up, as they comment on how long a minute of silence can seem, and then the soundtrack (including the loud ambient noise of the space) completely cuts out. This gives the audience a true (uncomfortable) silence before the characters get bored and the soundtrack cuts back in, its sudden return as jarring as its abrupt departure. And for those playing at home, the "minute of silence" only lasts about 36 seconds.

Minute's Silence

Godard self-reflexively draws attention to his film's construction through the jolting removal of the soundtrack.

from Bande à part (Band of Outsiders) (1964)
Creator: Jean-Luc Godard
Distributor: Columbia
Posted by Isaac Rooks
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