MEETIN’ WA | 1986, France | Documentary | Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard / Cinematography – Pierre Binggeli / Running time: 26 mins.
Made as a substitute for a Woody Allen press conference after his presentation of the film Hannah and Her Sisters at the Cannes Film Festival that year, Meetin’ WA is an anomaly as both a short documentary and an interview in general. This is of course because it was shot by Jean-Luc Godard. The very fact that Godard agreed to direct it would make one smile.
More than the encounter itself, the driving concept of the meeting between two influential filmmakers comes second to the overall feeling experienced by its director throughout the production. In fact, the story it tells, is more of Godard’s personal journey to meeting a man whom he calls his “old friend,” unusually. Meetin’ WA is brought to the screen in a way that seems to treasure the tension generated by the two’s contrasting views on a variety of topics – mainly cinema. The purposefully clumsy editing almost reveals a sense of disenchantment, frustration or even downright stubbornness on the part of Godard. JLG even brings a comic physicality to the table, so unusual that it seems absurdist. Answers are cut short, questions are left unanswered. There’s an air of miscommunication between the two that is possibly disappointing.
Meetin’ WA is hardly rewarding on any conventional level. Or any factual level, for that matter. It’s possible that even cinephiles, or fans of both Allen and Godard would shrug their shoulders by the time the film’s final title card “meeting’s over” comes up on the screen. Its peculiarity makes it a novelty, so it might be worth checking out for sheer curiosity. Just don’t expect anything like Hitchcock/Truffaut.” – 2/5