Review: Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘The Image Book’ is a searing essay on human violence

“The Image Guide” divides into five chapters, and the enjoyable of every one — and by enjoyable, I mean onerous work — comes from making an attempt to comply with Godard as he thinks his means via the fabric, a course of that appears no less than as guide as it’s mental. The primary chapter, titled “Remakes,” is a playful riff on destruction and renewal: We get the climactic explosion from “Kiss Me Lethal” and Jimmy Stewart diving into San Francisco Bay after Kim Novak in “Vertigo.” The second chapter, “St. Petersburg’s Evenings,” launches from a dance ball in Sergei Bondarchuk’s “Warfare and Peace” (1967) right into a whirlwind of violence: shootings, impalings, burnings, bombings. Is what we’re taking a look at actual or staged? Our confusion is completely the point.

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