Redoubtable is the tragi-comedic account of Jean Luc Goddard’s short lived marriage to the then 19 year old Anne Wiazemsky. Adapted from the actress-turned-author’s 2015 memoir, “Un An Apres” (“One Year Later”), Godard and Anne met when he was directing in his much maligned film Les Chinois. At this point in Godard’s life, films such asBreathless are far behind him and he is a fully fledged part of the Nouvelle Vague, starting to dismiss his earlier work and actors – he has a hilarious speech where he bemoans how dumb actors are – ‘they laugh on demand…they crawl if you tell them’. Anne had fallen in love with the adored Godard, the artist, the charmer but this Godard is a political animal going through a mid life crisis; the Godard who decries modern cinema and all who sail in her.
Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius and with a wonderful central performance by Louis Garrell as mid thirties Godard, the film has light and playful style that emulates Godard’s own early work. There is constant, knowing and fun narration by both an unknown male voice and Anne herself. Anne’s is often the more insightful and honest and towards the end, the most heartbreaking. Stacy Martin plays Anne and has gifted the role with a softness and youth that means it is impossible to not fall in love with the long suffering young woman. Godard states ‘Mozart died when he was 30, he got it right’ and there is the summation of the state of his mind at the point in time this film takes place.
Redoubtable refers to a radio sketch the lovers hear when they are at the stage of adoration, the Redoubtable is a submarine and the radio reports ‘such is life, aboard the Redoubtable’. It becomes an utterly charming reference the couple say to each other, until it doesn’t hold any charm fro Anne any more. The third act sees Godard become more and more involved with a democratic film making group and alienating his former colleagues and those who loved him. As he goes further down the road of killing Godard, Anne’s love for him slips away before our very eyes. It becomes an emotional and melodramatic finale but Hazanavicius overall has managed to create a film that takes a fairly niche take of one of cinema's true auteurs and make it into a funny and charming piece of cinema. I'm pretty sure Godard would HATE IT! Bien sur.