Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jules and Jim

This film is about love and friendship. I love movies like this. Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) were born to be friends, and as young men in Paris they lead lives of attraction and free will. After giving up on professionals, Jules feels that he has found his dream girl in Therese (Marie Dubois).” But the two discover they are both in love with her, but Jules gets a jump on it and takes her to Austria to be married, and then the war separates them. As members of enemy armies, their fear is that one might shoot the other. After the war, Jim visits Jules and Catherine in their cottage on the Reine. They have a daughter, Sabine, but their marriage is unhappy. When Jules discovers she is not, after all, his perfect mate he explains to Jim why she is not the perfect one. Jules confesses that Catherine has run away and had affairs, but he stays with her because he loves her and understands her nature. In my opinion it takes a strong man to stay with a woman when he knows she has been with other men sexually.
I especially liked this film because its storybook of two good friends that fall in love with the same girl. Most of the time this ends good friendships because it is difficult to continue the friendship and come around when your best friend is married to the one you’re in love with. Thou friendships do continue it at some point and time never the same between two friends. Truffaut is unique for this one because putting two friends together who are very close then fall in love with the same girl doesn’t always have a happy ending in the friendship. Then he puts a twist in it when she goes outside the marriage because she is lonely because Jules is away. Even more so that Jules understands why she did it and didn’t leave her. Wow!

Last Year at Marienbad

The setting for "Last Year at Marienbad" is a grand old European hotel that has long corridors and large public rooms. Chandeliers hang from ornate ceilings and cut-glass mirrors, prints, and old paintings adorn walls. The hotel guests are all very elegant, and their clothing and hair styles suggest that the time is about 1960. The atmosphere is funereal.
Names aren't given for the characters, so I came up with my own way for referring to them. The man who does the brooding voice-over is the film's protagonist, who I call the Narrator (Giorgio Albertazzi). The Narrator is obsessed with an attractive female guest, who I call the Woman (Delphine Seyrig). But the Woman didn't come to the hotel alone—she's there with a gaunt male I'll call the Other Man (Sacha Pito).
The movie follows a simple story, The Narrator expresses disappointment that the Woman acts as though she doesn't recognize him, and he talks in detail about the intimacy they shared at a resort hotel a year earlier. He says they parted with the understanding that he would not see her for a year, and he declares he's now come for her. He begs her to leave with him, and she appears to be considering it, although she seems conflicted. Meanwhile, the presence of the Other Man at the hotel complicates life for both the Woman and the Narrator.
I think "Last Year at Marienbad" is visually amazing by any standard. One memorable sequence is presented in the style of a silent movie: the Woman, wearing ostrich feathers, reacts to the arrival in her bedroom of the Narrator, sometimes she cringes at his approach, at other times she spreads her arms wide in welcome. The film's most famous shot is reminiscent of a painting by Giorgio de Chirico: in a rigidly formal garden, people cast shadows, but statues and shrubs do not.

Masculin Feminin

The film progresses through 15 chapters, watching as Madeleine (Chantal Goya) rises in her singing career, as Paul (Jean-Pierre Leaud) earns a living interviewing teen idols, and as they eventually become roommates along with Madeleine's two female friends. Paul tries to impart his taste for babying and socialism on the girls, but they either ignore him or laugh at him. To me Godard isn't even interested in anything like passion or sex as much as listening to his characters talk. In other words, it was about a young man named Paul who has a ill-defined relationship with a singer Madeline who works on a cigarette trick, engages in politically oriented graffiti, wrestles with only moderate energy with his own political views and watches two strangers get killed. Friends and acquaintances of the pair come and go in and out of the film to no spectacular outcome.
I personally did not care too much for this film. Scenes seem to drag on and lead nowhere. Drastic events happen but really have no demeanor on the rest of the film and to me its like who really cares? The sound of gunfire and titles break the film into chapters for no justifiable reason. It appears to me that Godard’s characters seemed confused as much as he seems as he wrote this film. However, this film has complete original texture of which cannot be faked. Once again we are dazzled by Godard’s mind of creativity and that alone makes him stand out as we have viewed his other films.

Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player directed by Francois Truffaut, was a very interesting film that kept me on the edge of my seat while watching it. This film was funny and reflects the interest of the director, Truffaut, which were American gangster movies and relationships. This film also resembles one of Truffaut’s other films, Alphaville. These films are similar because of its satire of the ganster genre in the 1950s.
This film was successful for two reasons, which is his unique attention towards the subject matter and that the story reflects the life of Truffaut through his character Charlie. Truffaut focuses on the characters behind the scenes of the drama and not just giving all attention towards the drama alone and leaving out the characters. Also, the response of the characters towards each event that went on in this film and what is each characters motivations for the behavior illustrated towards the events that went on, plays a role in its success. It is easy to see that Truffaut is living a secret life through his character Charlie. Does this make this film an auto-biography? Truffaut shares similarities with Charlie of being a young entertainer who regrets his past, or tries to hide his past, and is also drawn to attractive woman but when its time to talk to an attractive woman, he can’t find the words. What is also quite interesting about the similarities between to two, Charles Aznavour who plays Charlie resembles Truffaut as a stature and well-mannered man.

Les Carabiniers

Les Carabiniers was one of my least films directed by Jean-Luc Godard. I am really not a big fan of war story based films, and Les Carabiniers was about two peasants who were recruited to serve in the army. In the meantime, they were both promised to live a lawless life, and promised wealth. They both felt that they could take over and claim whatever no one else claimed and even some of what was already claimed, taking advantage of their opportunity to serve their king. Both protagonists had girlfriends/wives, who were also in it to get rich.
The story was not as interesting to me, as his other films. This film was more straightforward, more of a parody. The intentions of the film are to suck all the interesting things about war, and all the fun things, and make war look like it was dull and uninteresting, and so much more painful than it really is, when actually war is full of interesting things.
In my eyes this film was an unsuccessful film. There was one disturbing scene after another, because of the overwhelming violent parts. This film only shows everyone using others for their own advantage, and good men being taken advantage of by their leaders. In Godard films, he shows that he can tell when he carries on a joke too long and it is no longer funny and how long to carry on with a joke.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two or Three Things I Know About Her

Excitement in the air on this movie! Along with love of course. This movie featured Juliette Janson (Marina Vlady) who was a housewife by day but a prostitute by night part-time. But this is merely an excuse for an extended examination of existing Parisian life. Although she did this only once a month to pay the bills in the house she did this without her husband Robert Janson (Roger Montsoret) knowing about it. You have to be pretty slick to pull this one over on anyone, not to mention play the innocent role at home then play the part to get the money at night. Then to have had sex with different men for money only to come home and lay in bed with her husband is crazy to me because she can do this and act normal as if she is the perfect housewife. The craziest part to me was the scene when the camera seemed to be stuck on the coffee cup as the cream swirled in circles as the music played in the background. I liked this movie because it had love, originality, and a woman who played two different people with two different lives of which one she didn’t want to live. This movie in my opinion is one of Godard’s finest films.

Bonnie and Clyde

This film is a classic! It has been remade and the name re-used over and over. Each time it seems to bring its own individual excitement, whether it is the persons playing the roles or as rapper Jay Z made a song about it.
Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) were two people that hooked up and began a string of robbing, killing, and kidnapping that stretched across the land. It seemed the more crimes they committed the more in attached they became with each other. It was a big old game they played. The more they killed, robbed, and conniving things they did the more invincible they felt. They loved the worldwide attention they were receiving and that thrived them to do more. They became feared by everyone and spared no one in their path. If someone was spared it was because they wanted that person to tell whoever that Bonnie and Clyde did the crime and no one was going to stop them.
I especially liked this movie because it had blood, crime, and love all in one. Although Bonnie had a man already she became attached to Clyde because her boyfriend was in jail. Bonnie liked the daring, live on the edge type of guy that Clyde had become. In the end, as we all no, this didn’t have a happy ending. But this type of ending was a good one for a movie like this. I feel Bonnie knew that but she didn’t care as she felt her life would be fulfilled being a household name.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Weekend was cast by Roland (Jean Yanne) and Corinne (Mireille Darc). Corinne wants to make sure that she gets all the inheritance money to be left by her very ill father. So she and Roland make a plan to somehow kill them so the wife doesn’t get any of the money. It’s like wow are you serious? They imagine that they’ll die in a crash every time they know they’re going out. Then the two inform their lovers they’ll share the money with them, but I do not believe that for one minute. You can’t trust people like this because if they would go so far as to kill their flesh and blood they would kill anybody. These two are very selfish and shouldn’t be trusted by anyone. For example, we find in the movie that Corinne is cheating on her husband and Roland is doing the same.
Corrine and Roland plan a trip to go see her father, but they get involved in a car crash and by the time they get to Corrine’s parents house they are too late. The father has died, left all the money to his wife and left Corrine nothing. Roland & Corinne believe they’ve found the perfect murder; by putting their mother’s body in with one of the pre-existing car wrecks and set it on fire.
In my opinion you have to be special characters to even play a person like that. Even though this is on film playing a rotten role could be detrimental to your popularity with the people who watch the film. I personally know I didn’t like these two and no matter what other movies they may have played in every time I saw Jean or Mireille in a film they would remind me of the dirty rotten role they played in weekend. These two are some sick minded individuals. In the end they don’t get what they want. This is a typical but true ending. If you play the role, you’re going to pay for it in the end.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day for Night

Francois Truffaut was a founder of the new wave generation. French film critics who sort of mimicked veteran film writers from Hollywood from the 1950s and then added their own touch to them and called it their own. Also, Truffaut acts in this movie (as Ferrand) which was the twist I mentioned, that other directors’ or writers didn’t do in the 50’s.
Day for Night is a movie about making a movie. That to me is definitely different is its own respect. It is a comedy about the hard work that goes into filmmaking, the bleeps and blurbs, and the changes made to make the movie complete. Truffaut is first billed as Ferrand, a director whose current project is “Meet Pamela”. It is an up and coming romance drama which stars Julie (Jacqueline Bisset) as the newlywed wife of Alphonse (Jean-Pierre Leaud), who leaves him for his own father, Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Aumont).
I especially like this film because back then you didn’t really see how a movie was made and what the actors and actress went through. Making a film is not easy by no means and to put a movie about making a movie is unique and back then original. Today, a lot of DVD movies and season shows have the making of the show or movie as an option. Although Truffaut was from the old school, he converted over when the new wave kids came to town.

The Story of Adele H.

This story takes place in 1863 starring the beautiful young daughter Adele Hugo (Isabelle Adjani) of the world famous writer Victor Hugo. While on an Island called Guernsey with her father she met Lieutenant Pinson (Bruce Robinson). She meets Lt. Pinson then falls in love. The Lieutenant proposes to her, but for him it was not sincere, and Adele accepts. Lt. Pinson is then ordered to report to Halifax. She crosses the Atlantic in search of Lieutenant Pinson she believes is her husband to be, her lover, and her life. For months and years she waits for him, harasses him, and then throws herself in his path only to be disappointed as they do not marry. Eventually, her intense obsession gives way to extreme madness. Today, we call people like these… stalkers. She goes across the country on a whim of infatuation.
This was a good film in my opinion because of the suspense that she would travel so far and go through so much to try and be with this man. It keeps you in suspense because you would think the ending would be the two getting married and then the imagination of them living happily ever after with children and a house.
While Lt. Pinson was playing a game with her heart Adele became outraged with passion of love and as we all know, that love can make you do crazy things and that usually leads to a broken heart.

Pierrot Le Fou

Pierrot Le Fou is a film of a failing relationship. Here we have two people married, living a good comfortable life and with children. Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) becomes tired of his comfortable life. He then leaves his family and his wife whit Marianne (Anna Karina) who he had an affair with a few years back. My guess is the life on the edge type of person as Anna portrays. She also has connections with the underworld.
As the affair seems to be going just fine a dead body is discovered in Anna’s apartment and the two lovers flee as they go to the south of France to avoid being involved in whatever is going on. There, Ferdinand is just fine with reading and writing poetry. As time goes on Marianne becomes bored and impatience so she leaves to go be with her brother who is a gun runner.
I liked this movie because it had action as well as love and passion. Here you have the perfect storybook marriage only to have the husband get so complacent that he feels the relationship is boring. To me this is the typical what goes around comes around, which means if you do wrong it will come back around and bite you in the rear end. As we found in the end when another dead body was found Ferdinand was the first person in question.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Night At Maud's

My Night at Maud’s is a love story. It’s not your ordinary love story as My Night at Maud’s has sarcasm and good insight even though it is a challenging love story. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Jean Louis who is an engineer and man of the Catholic Church who sees this pretty blonde Maud whom is played by (Francoise Fabian) in church one day and immediately decides she will be his wife. In the meantime, he meets up with an old friend, Vidal (Antoine Vitez), a socialist who leads him to the lovely, vigorous, divorced Maud. The next thing that follows is a deep discussion between the characters, covering subjects such as skepticism, fate and, notably, Pascal’s “wager.” “If a man bets on God’s existence, and God does not exist, then a man loses nothing; but if a man bets on God’s existence and God does exist, then his reward is infinite.” This is deep!
Once again here is a love story. It seems to be a popular topic to write about in this day and era. With this movie however, the twist and uniqueness is comedy, religion, and drama. To me, that is not an easy task to mix love, religion, and comedy but Rohmer finds a way to blend this into a very intriguing film. I like the fact that this movie has a man finding a woman he falls in love with in church. I believe you can find love anywhere nevertheless there’s not anything wrong with finding love in church.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The movie is about a failed playwright (Michel Piccoli) who is hired by a shady American producer (Jack Palance) to work on the script of a movie by a great veteran director. Piccoli is married to a sexy former typist (Brigitte Bardot) that the producer has his eye on.
This movie to me just doesn’t reach its goals. The characters are both kind of droll in the sense that they are so fake that it sort of makes me sick. I feel that there’s no rational thinking throughout the film at all. It’s almost as if they are puppets which are operated by means of strings. For example, the scene where Camille is lying in the bed naked and asks Paul if he likes her toes, ankles, and calves. The mood is right and everything and when Paul makes a move to try and have sex she pushes him off. Then she starts asking questions again. Are you serious? Why is she laying there butt naked only to tease and not to please? It just seems so incomplete in my opinion.
I have reviewed a few of John Luc-Godard’s films and to me this is one he could have kept because although it has its moments of creativity it just more boring than some of his other films. Some of his other films don’t seem so robotic but have a smooth flow to them. All great film writers have one or two films that rave bad reviews and some critics even say this film was great. But to me compared to his others this movie is one I didn’t care for that much. In closing, I must say that back in the 60’s there weren’t too many films where you saw a woman’s bare booty in films such as this so I give Godard credit for having the guts to put that on the screen.


I found this to be a very good, very different film, and for anyone that wants to see something different, I recommend this one as a must see. It seems like the people on Alphaville think they are on another planet. When you have that feeling, anything is possible.
Alphaville is run by Alpha 60 which is a giant supercomputer. Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), an Outland agent, checks into an Alphaville hotel as Ivan Johnson, a reporter from Figaro-Pravda. The hotel manager assigns him a room, a Seductress and a bottle of tranquilizers for the evening.
Alpha 60 has dehumanized the residents by fostering complacency by supplying mind numbing drugs, outlawing emotions, and limiting sources of information. Instead of Alpha 60 evolving to copy the complex behavior of its creator, humans have adapted to the limited capacity of its logical director. Lemmy and Natacha Von Braun (Anna Karina) set out to find the missing men in which that brings chaos to the world of Alphaville. However during their adventure they discover the infinite possibilities of independent thoughts and human emotion.
This most definitely is superficial because back during these times who knew what a computer was? It was like looking into the future and having that feeling of surreal because it wasn’t real. Godard's futuristic vision is presented through an odd synthesis of gangster style, romance, and pop culture, resulting in a cleverly and humorous. This is definitely an original film for the books.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bob Le Flambeur

“I was born with an ace in my palm.” As Bob would say. Bob Le Flambeur (aka Bob the Gambler) is a film made early in the career of French director Jean-Pierre Melville. Bob was played with low-key elegance by Roger Duchesne. Bob is essentially a loner surrounded with a loyal exclusive group of people who share the same interests. Bob has a serious flaw and as the title suggests, Bob’s weakness is his gambling addiction. He gambles anything from cards, dice to harness racing, if he can bet or play the odds, he does. He is a smooth guy and very well liked by many. He is very well known by many in the casino, around town and even by the police.
The way that Bob puts together a team to rob the Deauville Casino reminds me of George Clooney in Ocean’s eleven as he orchestrated a crew to rob a casino.
This low-tech, but infinitely practical approach appears throughout the film. There are no fancy camera angles, no flashbacks or flash-forwards just a gritty, rich black and white realism that captures the colorful glitter and cheap glamour of the nightlife.
The most amazing thing about the movie is the ending. Bob just can’t help himself and it ends up costing him.

A Woman is a Woman

A Woman Is a Woman is a sly, playful tribute to and cross examination of the American musical comedy, showcasing Godard's signature sense of humor and intellectual intelligence. The film tells the story of exotic dancer Angela (Anna Karina) as she attempts to have a child with her unwilling lover Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy). In the process, she finds herself torn between him and his best friend Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo).
In my experience this is love or the closest thing humans can get to love. They love each other deeply, but can't stand each other. This is typical in most cases where a woman wants to settle down after the experience of running the streets and living the “viva loco” life. The man is not ready to necessarily settle down especially in this case because I’m thinking most men wouldn’t want to settle down with an exotic dancer. Furthermore, a lot of men think they couldn’t get an exotic dancer to settle down because they are used to different men every night. The perception of a stripper is that of one who won’t settle down and has different men in their life on a regular basis. I feel that at some point an exotic dancer will want to slow down and have a family. As we see in the film that though Angela is in love with Emile she has a crush on his best friend Alfred. Alfred is smooth and romantic where as Emile is kind of a nerd. This film is creative and has been mocked by many other producers’ over time with a similar storyline.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

This is a story of two young lovers who are torn apart when Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) is drafted and sent to Algeria for two years. When it turns out that their last night of love left Guinevere pregnant, her mother pushes her into the arms of a rich jeweler, and you know that heartbreak lies in store for the two. Meanwhile, almost as anticipated, Genevieve finds she is pregnant. The rich man (Marc Michel) falls in love with the daughter and begins a slow, indirect process which eventually leads to him asking for her hand in marriage even though he finds out she is pregnant. Soon after that Guy returns to the town, finds out what has happened, turns to drinking and then is rescued by Madeleine (Ellen Farner).
It’s a totally original film at least from what I’ve seen but the plot was hard to follow because of all of the singing. I have a taste for fairy-tale like movies that aim for magic rather than realism, and Umbrellas delivers because of its curious art direction. To me it is melodramatic. However, I hesitate to use the word melodrama, but that’s basically what the film is, both for the meaning of the word “melo” (music) and for the finely tuned emotions brought on the music. The music, which is nearly always impressive, compliments the actors. I feel at first the acting seems very plain. I think that’s due to the unusual approach. Catherine Deneuve’s beauty as a young woman keeps us from responding too much aside from her prettiness as she starts off as a typical love struck sixteen year old but by the end she becomes a more elegant young woman. I can merely say that the film turned out both sweeter and wiser than I anticipated.

Vivre sa vie

Vivre sa Vie tells the story of Nana, played by Anna Karina, a naive shop girl, who abruptly decides to take responsibility of her life. Because she is unwilling to sell herself Nana takes to the streets, becoming a prostitute and a student of human sometimes unpredictable emotions. Like the act of prostitution itself, Vivre sa vie is also intensely personal. Nana’s crucible is Godard’s vital sudden realization, as Nana struggles to see, and say, things as they are, fearlessly concluding, “All is good.” Faced with a failed relationship, a dead-end job, and potential homelessness, young Parisienne Nana Kleinfrankenheim (Anna Karina) turns to “the life” of prostitution. This film has no extra gestures. The movie does not say why she left Paul or the baby. It regards with a level, interested gaze. To me the camera discourages us from interpreting Nana’s life in a melodramatic way. This woman has emotional issues and has seemed to be lost inside herself. The film is a series of blocks. You just take them and set them side by side. In my opinion Nana became in too deep to turn back and became a part of the system. She felt after all that has happened in her life she had done too much to turn back and too much to move on in another direction. It’s like she was stuck. Nana is erratic and it shows as in the end she gets shot. But she lived her life “her way”. Jean-Luc Godard has taken his mind to the next level with this one and I like the creativeness he has presented to the audience.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Le Bonheur

In this film, Francios wanted his cake and eat it too. The emotions illustrated in this film seem so real, so real that it almost seem as though the characters were over-acting. Francios would look into her eyes just like any woman would want their husband to look at them, but I’m sure all women wouldn’t want to be in her situation either.
My favorite part was when the mother pops out her breast and around all then men and other women and children, and started breast feeding her baby. To me thats not something you see every day and the average woman wouldn’t so comfortable to do that. And in the next scene I thought the little girl was going to try breast feed the baby after she saw that. The way the little girl was staring at the baby made it seem like she was. Children are known for imitating things that they see, because they don’t know any better just yet.
I also thought the scene with the tree was kind of weird. I didn’t get the whole concept of the camera man filming from behind a tree and moving from one side of the tree to the other. Almost separating one scene into two scenes. The camera man moved the camera back and forth numerous times showing them dancing. I kind of felt that point of that was saying that they were from different places and trying to illustrate some type of separation between the two sides of the tree.
I also thought it was ironic how he takes off her clothes in a specific scene and, her dress and under-slip, and he stays completely dressed the whole time while they are outside in the grass, made me feel that things were not equal at all in their relationship. On top of that, this film had a thing about nature. It seems as if they were so closed in inside that small home of theirs, that the outside was where they got the most space and felt more comfortable. They also did everything outside as if they were indoors, such as sleeping, eating, and having sex.
And at the end of the film, the kids were dressed in red and the parents were in green matching with the trees of the outdoors, while standing on the inside and the kids standing on the outside. I felt that this had some significance to the film, the title does mean happiness.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Pickpocket was one my favorite we have watched in class so far, only because the story is different from the usual love story. Michael, the protagonist, had love for pickpocketing. I got a kick out of how he didn't do it for the money or whatever he chose to steal, he did it for the adrinaline he got from the thought of being a criminal. This film was inspired from the film Crime and Punishment. Michael, did a good job not showing his emotions while pickpocketing and even afterwards when and if he got caught. And the way i looked at it was, Michel wanted to make others feel miserable because thats how he actually felt inside. It seemed to me he had a lot of emotions and anger built up inside of him and instead of crying or crawling in a shell, pickpocketing was his way of letting of some steam.
I also like how they put emphasize on the actions of Michel's hands, as if he was creating art or like his hands had a seperate life from him, instead of making it seem as if he was being a thief and doing something terribly wrong. The camera showed an incrediable amount of interest in his hands, how he opened and closed doors. And by his lack of emotion makes this film a difficult film to analyze. Emotionless, but the elegance of his stealing is brought to the from by Bresson's close-ups on his hands. Each time Michel stole, it was carried out with perfection, step by step, as if it was a work of art.
I also thought it was quite interesting how it was very little dialogue and no music, making you pay more attention to the picture and Michel's actions. It was quiet by Michel's carefully picked out his place of action, at crowded trains and racetracks. Bresson is known for his concentration on technique rather than character development and emotion, which its also interesting how his characters are non-professionals. And if I had never read about this film, i could never tell that the protagonist wasn't a professional.

Daijon Jefferson