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Tout Va Bien

In May of 1968, France experienced a momentous period of civil unrest, protests, and general strikes that erupted nationwide, ignited by student demonstrations. Millions took to the streets in opposition to American imperialist influence, capitalism, and the rightward shift in France's government . This movement inspired and fundamentally altered the perspective of one of the leading filmmakers of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard.

Following the events of '68, Godard's cinematic trajectory is often interpreted as a departure from the playful, stylistic films of his early career towards more enigmatic filmmaking techniques and narratives that prioritize politics and ideas over pure cinematic expression for its own sake.

This transition led to collaborations with fellow filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin and the establishment of the Vertov Group, a filmmaking collective dedicated to producing films through a Marxist and left-wing lens, culminating in the creation of the film I will discuss today.

Released in 1972, "Tout Va Bien," co-directed by Godard and Gorin, delves into the story of a sausage factory embroiled in a strike and occupation, famously featuring Jane Fonda shortly after her controversial protests against the Vietnam War.

The film embraces a genuine Brechtian structure, now manifested in cinematic form, aiming to engage the audience not only with political discourse but also with the very essence of cinema itself. Through direct address to the audience and a narrative rooted in surrealism, "Tout Va Bien" often prioritizes abstract ideas over conventional storytelling, a choice that initially received criticism and continues to divide audiences, particularly those enamored with Godard's early '60s work… which, don’t get my wrong. I also love.

For me, "Tout Va Bien" stands as a masterpiece and a vital contribution to political discourse and the concept of art as protest. I also, thinks it’s an incredibly fun film and endlessly entertaining to think about. My admiration for Tout Va Bien is such that I am hosting a screening at the Benson Theatre on May 15th at 6:30 PM, featuring a discussion with my friend Breht O'Shae from Rev Left Radio. The film is also available on the Criterion Channel.

"Tout Va Bien" is essential viewing, particularly during the month of May, which bears historical significance with the protests of 1968 in France and the observance of May Day.

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Joshua LaBure is a documentary filmmaker, radio producer and podcaster based out of Omaha, Nebraska. His experience includes having directed and produced several short films, two narrative features and two documentary features, with his works featured at the Lone Star Film Festival, The Bureau of Creative Works and other filmmaker showcases. His most recent documentary had a sold-out premiere and received a standing ovation at the Benson Theatre. Furthermore, he founded the Denver Filmmakers Collective, which hosted local filmmaker showcases, has served on jury for major film festivals and has hosted countless film screenings.
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