Scene Dissection is a recurring feature on here where a movie scene is analyzed to see why it works so well. I decided to go in the other direction and analyze a movie scene to see why it does’t work. I’ve long questioned whether I should do this or not I should do an article like this but I knew if I did, it would be on the movie theater scene in Jean-Luc Godard’s In Praise of Love, one of the most epic “old man yells at cloud” moments in movie history.
In said scene, our iconoclast hero is going to see a re-issue of Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket (one of the greatest movies ever made). While at the theater he passes a bunch of meatheads going to see the latest dumb blockbuster. On its own, it’s just a normal scene of an old director whining about the youth not caring about the movies that he likes.
There’s just one problem: the dumb blockbuster that the meatheads are seeing is The Matrix which, whatever your feelings on the film itself, almost everyone can agree that it’s not just a dumb blockbuster. It’s clear that Godard has almost certainly never seen The Matrix and just assumed it was some Michael Bay nonsense.
It’s especially annoying if you’re familiar with Robert Bresson’s cinematic tastes. Despite being known for artsy masterpieces like Pickpocket and Au Hasard Balthazar, Bresson enjoyed blockbusters. He was a big fan of the Bond films and I can’t imagine he wouldn’t enjoy The Matrix as well.
When In Praise of Love was released, it was heralded as a return to form for Godard. Twenty years later, I still don’t get how you can watch Breathless or Contempt and not wincing horribly at this piece of shit.