Before production began on Tout va bien, Godard had a motorcycle accident that put him in a coma for a week and resulted in a lengthy rehabilitation and recovery. Godard was seriously incapacitated during the making of this film about a left-wing filmmaker (Yves Montand) and journalist (Jane Fonda) who investigate a strike at a sausage factory, his last completed project with Jean-Pierre Gorin. The result is a film by turns melancholy and antic, the peak of Godard and Gorin’s partnership, inspired by Jerry Lewis in general and The Ladies Man in particular.
Letter to Jane
Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin | France | 1972 | 52m | 16mm
Godard and Gorin’s meditation on and dissection of a famous image of their Tout va bien star Jane Fonda, taken during a trip to Hanoi, rendered on the soundtrack by the two filmmakers in hard-boiled English. Far from the dry-as-dust film of legend, this is a formidable piece of political analysis that reaches some kind of peak when they find a direct link between Fonda’s expression of caring for the Vietnamese peasants she’s talking to the same expression on her father’s face, thirty years before, in The Grapes of Wrath. “We made this film in the same way that you’d make a can opener,” said Gorin. A can-opener that’s built to last.