Producer Tom Luddy, cofounder of the Telluride Film Festival and former Pacific Film Archive director, brought Godard to Berkeley in 1968 as part of a complete retrospective
Godard's King Lear, predictably, is not a costume drama set in pre-Christian England. Instead we follow William Shakespeare V (Peter Sellars) as he wanders through a post-Chernobyl world, “a time when movies and art no longer exist and must be reinvented,” trying to reconstruct his ancestor's play aided and abetted by Herr Doktor Professor Pluggy, played by Jean-Luc Godard himself. The film oscillates between telling the story of its own production and reconstructing Lear as a Mafia chieftain engaged in interminable rows with his daughters in interminable hotel rooms. Brilliant, witty, infuriating, the film testifies, yet again, to Godard's astonishing engagement with sound and image and, despite all his own protestations, to an engagement with Shakespeare's text.