Meetin' WA (Jean-Luc Godard / France, 1986):

Jean-Luc Godard is framed with his back to the camera against the New York City skyline, the jazzy Manhattan of his interviewee, Woody Allen; the questioner becomes a silhouetted figure on the left corner of the screen, thereís an unseen interpreter on the other side, Allen is the agitated rabbit caught in the middle. Hannah and Her Sisters is in subject, Godard concedes that he digs the buildings in it, Allen stutters through the inscrutable compliment. Impossible intertitles: "Staline loves ski" (Stanilavsky), "Not even the rain has such small hands." Allen: "The way you use it, itís a cinematic device, while I think of it as a literary advice." Freeze-frames, movie stills, disorientating musical cues -- Godardís scowling stance on video cassettes, Allenís unhappiness with his filmed results, rencontre des nerds (a superimposition matches their eyewear). TV is the great corruptor, Godard declares it cultural radiation and Allen plays right into the joke ("Well, I hear you should not stand too close..."). Seriously, this is the kind of brilliant spoof of interview shows you can't find in late-night sketch shows any more. Fragrantly unilluminating, the meeting has the French filmmaker paying tribute to the American not through flattery but by surreptitiously turning their encounter into a bizarre, missing scene from Zelig.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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