Philippe Theophanidis at berfrois:
There’s no doubt that Adieu au langage, like many of Godard’s previous films, has the potential to feel “baffling”, “incoherent”, “irritating and often incomprehensible”, as some critics have suggested. American film theorist David Bordwell remarks about Godard’s work in general: “The brute fact is that these movies are, moment by moment, awfully opaque.” Borrowing from Proust, one could say that Adieu au langage is a film that resists the viewer’s gaze. It offers images “which the eye cannot penetrate”.
A simple way to understand this experience would be through the title of the film. Could Godard be suggesting, in his idiosyncratic style, that we must bid farewell to language as a means of communication? After all, it is nowadays a rather common observation: the world has become incommensurable to the various means of expression we have at our disposal. The words we could use to account for the ongoing mutations are failing us. In one of his previous films, Éloge de l’amour (2001), Godard has one of the characters reciting a line from Jean Cocteau’s diary: “Too many changes are in the air that still lack a means of expression” (1988:299; my translation). In Adieu au langage, a similar idea is conveyed by a quote from a book by Alain Badiou:
What is happening to us in the early years of the century – something that would appear not to have any clear name in any accepted language? (2012: 1)