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.