Not Built for This: Jean-Luc Godard and Ping-Pong

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Strictly speaking, this probably doesn't belong in the same series as David Roth's Vonnegut item. After all, Vonnegut actually tried his hand at writing about sports, the same thing kind of thing we do here at The Classical. Godard is just some French dude whose movies we kind of dig. However, in "The Urgent Whisper," an on-location 1976 profile by Penelope Gilliatt, Godard offers the following remarks on sport:

"I hate the theatre. Perhaps because actors are shouting. Or because they are serfs. I prefer sport, which is a more free kind of theatre. I prefer the Olympic games"

Then Godard and Gillette play ping-pong on a table he claims to never use. He plays "fairly well" but fares "extremely well" at chess. I suspect that Godard wouldn't be too into much of the stuff we write about, since it is generally played by common people—not exactly the prejudice you would expect from him—and often involves lots of shouting and other kind of noise. Actually, ping-pong might be the most preciously cinematic sport imaginable. I will now take this opportunity to link the opening scene of X, Y and Zee, a very silly Elizabeth Taylor flick that has nothing to do with Godard, just because it's a chance one should never pass up.  

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"The Urgent Whisper," an on-location 1976 profile by Penelope Gilliatt, Godard offers the following remarks on sport: magnum options scam

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Godard's been using tennis as a metaphor for all kinds of things for a few decades now; he's got some funny things to say about grunting in the opening of Keep Your Right Up, and it's central to his incredible short-short Une catastrophe (http://youtu.be/tuSmbllbQ2Q).

And then there's the shot of Iniesta diving toward the end of Film Socialism, while the soundtrack says that "we discover life many times".

And of course the greatest example: The Virgin Mary as a teenage basketball player in Hail Mary.

I'm trying to remember if there are more Godard/sports references in "Everything is Cinema" -- there's mention of him being a gymnast and soccer player in his privileged youth, but not sure if there's much more.

There is, however, this:

"As with BREATHLESS, Godard wrote the dialogue every day. A Swiss journalist following the shoot explained, "For more than three weeks, Godard has been getting up each day at 6AM. He no longer even has time to read L'EQUIPE," the sports daily. "He has to get right to his desk to sketch out the day's work."

Poor guy.