Review of How Is It Going? (1976)
Seen in 2020.
Two communist journalists attempt to make a documentary film about their paper in France, or about communication. One of them describes the process to his adult son, a disinterested machinist. The project is ultimately axed by the central committee as Francisco Franco dies.
This was my last visit to the cinema before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 shut down the cinematheque. I expected the abrasive sound design, uninteresting visuals and abstruse philosophy, but it’s quite pleasant as a think piece and a child of its time. There’s a good scene where Anne-Marie Miéville, playing Odette without ever showing her face, takes dictation on a pretty cool typewriter and muses on how the eyes of the intended reader set the parameters of her task, despite the way the typewriter disconnects the movements her fingers make from the line of text. Though it is not deep, the thinking has aged pretty well. The closing screen even features a prototype of the “data beep” sound effect that would plague cinema for decades.