We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


David Sterritt’s The Films of Jean-Luc Godard: Seeing the Invisible begins with this remark from the man himself (pictured): “I am a painter with letters. I want to restore everything, mix everything up, and say everything.” That sounds like an apt working definition of postmodernism, which strives to possess the past, present, and future all at once. Take, for example, Godard’s Band of Outsiders, the 1964 film that will be screened after Sterritt’s lecture today. It’s a gangster flick, a slacker comedy, a film about thoughtless youth that thinks out loud: At the movie’s moment of release, when the three young protagonists break into the Madison in a Paris cafe, Godard’s voice on the soundtrack tells us what the seemingly blithe kids are thinking. Band of Outsiders isn’t the director’s wildest juxtaposition of idea and action, old and new, cinema and life, but it exemplifies his method: “Classique = moderne,” as the threesome’s English teacher writes on the blackboard, which is another definition of postmodernism. The most quotable of filmmakers, Godard sprinkles the film with quotations and references, Rimbaud, Raymond Queneau, Coca-Cola, and his own mother among them. Sterritt, a film critic for the Christian Science Monitor who’s also had a hand in the creation of two books on Godard, has written that the director’s reputation has risen in recent years as “moviegoers interested in postmodernism and multiculturalism have recognized his work as a precursor and paradigm of important developments in those fields.” In other words, Godard is finally getting credit for mixing everything up. Sterritt’s lecture begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. (Mark Jenkins)