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"Notre Musique"

"Cerebral" is a word that may drive some to this outing and some away, but it is not completely inappropriate for this picture. "Notre Musique" can be difficult. A sample line from Olga, thrust at us midconversation: "I only regret that the powerful notion the Russians have of evil alienates them from conscience. This is due to syntax."

Even so, the film is rewarding if you stick with it, regardless of whether you get everything intended to be gotten. The narrative sections make dramatic leaps in logic, time and plot, while the entire first act, composed of manipulated stock footage and musical accompaniment, is a simple but utterly compelling visual dirge that conveys a host of humanity's various cruelties. Godard makes the rest of his picture thick with subtext and references — to books, art and other films — and leaves the whole open to interpretation. It is a meditation more than a story, but a rich one that invites the viewer to come back and look around more than once. — Wayne Melton



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