Made in U.S.A. (1966)

Miss Nelson!  'This Moroccan War has made you unpleasant.'  Wars are never over.  Made in U.S.A. (1966) seems to intrude upon some sort of spy mission. 

For the viewer obfuscation instead of explnataion, but all too soon the film begins to comment on itself.  'It's like being in a film.'

The colours are strong, a blue shoes, a white shoes, and red blood.  Colour is constantly synchronised.   Instead of background music, one of the greatest Godard jokes of the era, there is somebody singing on a toilet seat in the next room.

Made in U.S.A. more than any of the other Godard films of the immediate period is chocka with faked cinematic moments.  Such as the fact that everybody owns guns.  Vague nonsense meets something that is not quite comedy, perhaps a la Samuel Beckett.  One comment in the bar scene is highly reminiscent of Beckett: 'Don't just list words, do something with them.'

Often the letters VO appear writ large, another joke. They stand for version originale.

What is the effect of the constantly repeated sound effect of a train passing in Made in U.S.A.?  Godard seems to like it for his own reasons.  There is an unamde compilation tape out there of passing trains in Godard films.  Godard has indicated in the past some wise waffle to the effect that modes of transport in his films symbolise the transposition of sense, which is a good cue.

Made in U.S.A. then symbolically begins at an inn named A LA DESCENTE DE LA GARE.  Shot after shot Godard sets up as white, red and blue.  Fascism is the recurring morality and statements to this effect are throughout.  You can ask why Godard is repeating these motions, along with the physical motions of his actors, such as theie strolling back and fore to deliver lines.

A casual viewer of Made in U.S.A. could not be expected even today to extract any common sense narrative from it.  The mid-section is certainly full of jokes which can be enoyed in and of themselves, jokes about the police, about cinema, about telephones, crime.  The passing trains act like a beat to this.  Splendid photography was also quite new in 1966, at least at the low budget levels Jean-Luc Godard inhabited bu, but there is a plenty of it also.

Fascism gets many mentions, and advertising is a form of fascism, his is clear.  Can it be so?  If a person is able it is a good idea to watch Made in U.S.A. in tandem with Two or Three Things I Know About Her.  Jean-Luc Godard worked on the two films at the same time, spending a month shooting Made in U.S.A. in the afternoons and Two or Three Things I Know About Her in the mornings.

Marianne Faithful