Review: Tout Va Bien

Blu-ray & DVD: Tout Va Bien (1972)

Not unlike Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!Jane Fonda and Yves Montand play the roles of ‘Her’ and ‘Him’, that is, a ‘modern’ couple in 1972.
Director Jean-Luc Godard was told ‘If you use stars, people will give you money’, hence the hiring of two superstars for what a lot of critics cite as his most commercial movie. Hmmm….commerical!?

Tout Va Bien (Everything’s Okay) is an examination of sorts of society having finally transformed into a playground of consumption and commodity for rich people. What we see is fractured,: life, relationships, work, and there are scenes of satire, direct speech to camera, and sheer confusion. Despite it being seen as one of Godard’s best yet, I found myself looking at my phone more than the TV screen.

Montand and Fonda are introduced and their characters begin as ‘she’ and ‘he’ – Montand playing a former new wave film director now working on commercials (looking at this ‘film’ its no wonder he isn’t a film director anymore) and is set during an occupation of a food factory. Him and Her are held hostage by the workers when they come to interview the manager, this is the first section of the film, the second part is the aftermath and examines the impact the occupation has on the two characters. The factory scenes attempt to show a political situation, but one where political ideas are being formed through the action of the workers, and of course this is not a ‘realistic’ depiction. Neither is the comic ‘satire’ around the manager, revealing his his self-importance when allowed to give his view to camera.

Fonda, a journalist, wants to write an article about the occupation, but the narrative then switches to the voice of a worker who is aware of the cliches in their interview as its happening, with the journalist. The film switches between the privileged position of him and her (or even Montand and Fonda) and the UN-privileged position of the workers (and the unknown actors).

It’s so quasi-intelligent-political and 1970’s ‘with it’ and despite my love for Jane Fonda this film is so far up its own arse I got very bored with it very quickly. I do like a good ‘arty’ film, but this was so boring I started falling asleep which is never a good sign. In fact I’d go as far as to say it annoyed me. Not a classic for me I’m afraid.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

  • High-definition digital transfer
  • High-definition Blu-ray (1080p) and standard-definition DVD presentations
  • Original uncompressed monaural audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still (1972), Godard and Gorin’s 55-minute film analysing the infamous photo of Jane Fonda meeting with the North Vietnamese published shortly after the release of Tout va bien
  • Video interview with Jean-Pierre Gorin from 2004 about his work with Godard
  • Vintage footage from the set of the film interviewing Godard
  • Reversible sleeve featuring alternate artwork

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: 48-page full-colour booklet containing English translations for the first time of writing on the film by David Faroult and Godard and Gorin, and a facsimile presentation of the film’s original press book.

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Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.