Monday, December 15, 2008

Perriot le Fou- Godard

Parriot le Fou is a film about a man who loses his job at a television station and runs away with the babysitter  (Karina).  It seems like they leave without the faintest idea of what they are about to achieve, and although it doesn't seem like they always agree with the situation at hand, they make it work out.  They eventually start leading to crimes and somewhat remind me of Bonnie and Clyde.  They highjack cars and kill people which ultimately leads them to their own death.
 Godard uses colors to the utmost effect during certain scenes and almost uses a filter to give the whole image a solid color.  Red was also an extremely common color throught the film as Karina is seen wearing the candy apple color on countless occasions.  I am not sure if Godard is trying to make a statement about Karina in putting her in these shades of red, but it seems to reveal something about their relationship after their divorce, I am just unsure of what exactly he is trying to say.  Not my favorite of Karinas' performances but I liked it anyway. How could you not.    

The umbrellas of Cherbourg- Demy

This film was very touchy feely in the beginning and I had a soft spot in my heart for the two lovers are they were unfortunately separated as a result of Guy serving in Algeria.  Genevieve, the main character is then pushed into a relationship by her mother with someone that she believes to be more respectable and better off with all while carrying Guys child from the last night they were together.  Guy eventually returns from the war to find out his love for Genevieve will remain unreturned and eventually falls in love with Madeline, his aunts care taker.
Overall I really enjoyed the movie, although towards the beginning i was not keen on the idea of watching a movie in which the dialogue was only singing. I was shocked at how natural is seemed despite the constant singing and I actually ended up liking the film and continued to ponder certain scenes in my head.  It was kinda catchy actually and although extremely unrealistic, it was still pleasant to watch.  I would probably watch it again, and would be able to catch more of it.  The singing was somewhat distracting and it was easy to get lost in the conversations at certain points.

Two or Three Things I Know About Her- Godard

A Godard film that I really enjoyed.  Juliette Janson is perfect for the role of a stay at home housewife who is forced to puts herself on the street and offer herself for money in order to pay bills during toughs times.  At first she is very uncomfortable in her actions but she seems to get used to it and almost enjoy the night life as the film progresses on. 
 The most intriguing part to me is that she was able to act so naturally when coming home to her husband.  Of course in reality, one would not be able to act so calm and collective after coming home from a deed like that, but that is the beauty of film.  It made the story unbelivable yet entertaining.  I really like the split personality life she was living and how she was performing one aspect of her life in order to feed the other.   By performing the ultimate task of prostitution, she showed her true love for her husband and family which touched me in an odd sort of way.  
One thing I somewhat disliked about the film was the strong political voice in which it was hard for me to understand.  With maybe a second or third viewing it would come more easily, but there were a couple Anti- Vietnam war statements as well as examples of the rough economic times that France was going through.  A good example f this would be the man who watched children as a sitter and also lent rooms to prostitutes.  This man was paid in commodities such as food rather than money.   Overall, I enjoyed this movie despite there being a lack of activity going on other than what has been mentioned, but i managed to overlook a lack of a complex plot and appreciate it for what it was 

Contempt- Godard

Contempt was a Godard film that I was somewhat puzzled by as I felt there were alot of wholes that were unexplained.  Although I did not understand everything in the movie, this may be Godards exact intent because of his relationship with Karina in poor status. The beginning of the movie left me hanging right off the bat.  Camille seemed to be flirting with Paul and asks him countless times if he likes her numerous body parts, almost teasing him and leading him on.  When Paul tries to make a move on her, he is instantly denied and she keeps egging him on.  This frustrated me, but what guy wouldn't be frustrated after something like that! 
I found the film to be extremely depressive which seems to be the stage in which Godard is going through at the time.  We have seen Godards love for Karina expand in films already so why would we not see their relationship dwindle as well.  I didn't enjoy the acting of Brigitte Bardot as much as Karina and I was just wondering were is Karina the whole time, but that could be a result of my obsession for her.  Godard was one of the first to display a female nude in a film and that was something that I respect, other than a couple other scenes that captured my attention, I would have to say I was relatively unentertained with this Godard film.

Day for Night - Truffaut

Day for night is a film about the film industry and show the trials and tribulations of a director and the decisions he must make while directing a film.  Truffaut plays the director himself in the movie which I thought to be very clever in itself.  This way, he can play himself in the movie and portray what he would actually do and say during certain scenes if he was ever presented with the situation.  It gives great insight into the mind of Truffaut.  I found this film easy to fallow because it was structured in chronological order rather than and unusual, out of place order that causes the audience to piece together a puzzle (Godard).  Although I do enjoy the films with a plot in disarray, this film was relaxing and easy to watch which made it fun.  
During the film, many things seem to go wrong on and off the set that delay the production of the film.  Truffaut is trying to show the audience that the film industry can be a very stressful place to work and one must love creating films more than life itself in order to proceed with sometimes grueling  and inconvenient retakes.  When they needed to perform the large scene with hundreds of people as a result of problems with the film, I felt as if I was part of the crew and was just as disappointed as the casting members in the redo.  
Truffaut does a great job with capturing the stress levels and relays his own trials to the audience in which they can feel stressed out as well.  Capturing film making on film made me think about the whole thing on a different level and I realized things that I never thought about in the film industry, especially during the times.  Despite the film conveying high stress levels in the film industry, the film was very lively and up beat with a wonderful display of vibrant colors that we have seen from Truffaut in the past.  

Les Carabiners -Godard

Les Carabiners is a Godard film that i also enjoyed a great deal.  It is a story about two brothers who are called on by the king to fight in the war.  They are promised riches and the ability to do anything they want while fighting including raping, killing, and stealing anything they wish, which they do a good deal of throught the film.  Their wives are thrilled on the idea of being rich after they return and practically give them a kick out the door.  
We see jump cuts just as we would throught most New Wave films.  The jump cuts of real war scenes add an element of the reality of a war and not this fantasy life of raping and stealing these men think that they are in.  I felt unusually uncomfortable throught most of the film which is most definitely Godards intent.  His marxist political views are very apparent throught through characters.  At one point a girl performers a very Marxist type poem before she is killed.
The men come back from the war in which they have lost only with pictures and postcards of the places they have visited.  The wives wonder were the riches are along with the men that went.  They are promised payment by the riflemen and are lead into a room were their "payment" is.  They are then unexpectedly shot by the riflemen, actually getting what they deserve in the end for the terrible actions that they have committed during the course of the film. An unexpected but fitting ending for the circumstances. 

A women is a women- Godard

A women is a women is by far one of my favorite Godard films we have seen.  Anna Karina is just so beautiful and the camera loves her.  Karina is also Godards real wife at the time and I think we see alot of aspects from their life that are directly displayed on the screen.  One thing that I noticed and thought was interesting was the references to other French New Wave films such as Breathless, Shoot the Piano Player, and more.  I just thought it was great when the lead actor of Breathless mentioned that "Breathless is on tv tonight".  Godard strikes again with his witty references.
The color in this film was very animated and helped to portray the Karinas child like actions.  Blue, white and red and extremely common colors throught the film and almost provide a cartoonish vibe as to how bright and unnatural they are.  You would never see a house decorated with such bright colors.  Again, jump shots and quick cuts are seen throught the film accompanied with a very loud sound track. The volume seems to be set at one level, LOUD.
A couple of my favorite parts of the film include direct references and actions to the audience.  Karina  and Emile, her husband bow to the audience towards the begining and make a direct reference to honoring the crowd.  This gives the film theater type feeling.  Karina also winks at the and looks directly into the camera which is uncommon in films at the time.  The film is often described as a musical, but I saw it as a film with musical like qualities than an actual musical.  This is a great Godard film

Pickpocket- Bresson

Pickpocket is a wonderful film enlightening the viewer on the day to day life of a pickpocket and what it takes to be a good one.  The main character Michel starts his pick pocketing as a strange obsession or hobby which later turns into a way of life and a means of living. Michel is unsuccessfully convinced by his friends to straighten out, as he would rather make a living on his own time pick pocketing than obtain a respectable job. 
Simple script and sound is accompanied by complex shots of body language and hand motions.  The most notable scene is when Michel is shown how to perform his task professionally by a man who knows the art of pick pocketing to a tee.  The camera focuses on specific hand motions that are slowed down to reveal every step involved during the plan of attack.  Music is rarely heard but when necessary, classical music is used well to heighten the experience at hand.
Bresson finds no need for a complex plot when he finds ways to portray a story with the use of actions and movement to entertain the viewer.  The shots and images take the place of the plot line as the viewer is focusing on the actions of the pick pocketing and is occupied with concentrating on the motions caught on film. I really enjoyed this film because of this tactic

Bob le Flambeur -Melville

Bob le Fambeur was a very enjoyable film to me as I watched Melville take a gangster film and make the main character a lovable character with an outstanding moral standards despite his compulsive gambling and thief like work.  Bob takes care of a young girl during the course of the film and gives her a place to sleep and money to spend.  She comes on to him at several times during the film, but being the man that he is, he refuses.  This portrays Bob as being almost like a fatherly figure.  He refuses to lend a friend money when he beats his wife and needs money for a lawyer.  This actions show that Bob is very respectful to women and is uncharacteristic of a normal gangster film in which the actions may be reversed. 
Bob is a man who used to be involved in heists but has long been out of it.  He realizes that he is in need of money and tends to gamble everything away.  Bob has no other option but to put together another crew and make a move on a casino safe.  Bobs' luck ends up turning around for him and he forgets about the tedious plan set up by him and his fellow henchman when he begins to win all the money in the safe at a table in the casino.  

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour was a story about a French women and a Japanese man speaking about their past and present relationships and how WWII had an effect on their lives. The woman had lost her lover, a German soldier and the man had lost his family in the bombing of Hiroshima. 
 It was very hard to put this film together for me because of the difficulty in distinguishing past and present stories.  It was structured very uniquely in that the whole story is never revealed but rather displayed in parts hear and their. Very good dynamics within the audio and visual displays.  After very soothing images with audio of war and unpleasurable noises. 
Hiroshima Mon Amour was not one of my favorites for a couple of different reasons.  The dialog was very repetitive and monotone which seemed to call for more during the scenes.  I was disappointed with the nature of the film in its fragmented ways, despite the intent of Resnais.  I was simply not intrigued with the disarray of a plot, although it had a general direction.
I thought the cinematography was beautiful with great shots when they were present. Again the dynamics of the audio and visual were probably my favorite part.  The title is also very cleaver and adds the the emotion before you even turn on the film.

Shoot the Piano Player- Truffaut

Shoot the Piano Player is a story about a man named Charlie( formerly known as Eduardo Saroyan a classical pianist) and his troubles with mobsters who are looking for his brother and ultimately cause a chain of events leading them to him.  
Shoot the Piano Player gave me a different feel than the other New Wave movies so far in that it seemed to lack a definitive genera.  Comedy, tragedy, and gangster were all integrated very well.  I did not find it distracting, I just thought that it was interesting that it could be done so well in this style of film and it was something I did not realize until almost the end because it was done so well.  The real location shooting caused the cinematography to be much darker with more natural lighting which I thought added to the element of a gangster film.  
One of my favorite parts of the film was when one of the gangsters swears on his mothers life.  Shortly after their is a jump cut too of an older women literally falling over and dying.  The clip only takes a couple of seconds but that is all that is needed.  I imagine this clip was very popular as we all laughed strongly in class.  I thought this clip to be clever by Truffaut because it added a strong element of comedy into a story that was an overall serious plot.  I can appreciate something that can make you laugh during a part that you are unexpected to do so.  Although there is many genres in this story, it ends on a tragic note when Charlies' wife cheats on him. She tells him to leave her because she cannot forgive herself and  after he leaves the room she plunges to her death from the building window.

Cleo from 5 to 7- Agnes Varda

Cleo from five to seven is a film shot in real time and displays the two hour period in which a popular singer named Florence finds out that she has cancer.  Florence acts very childish about her situation often pouting to others while they pretend nothing is wrong.  She does not think anyone cares about her having cancer and no one really gives the indication that they are worried about it.  I absolutely loved the scene in which she is practicing her songs at the piano with the gentlemen who also don't seem to take Florence seriously.I was very touched by the song she sang as it was about death and love and in a sad key.  These heightened her emotion as she began to tear as it heightened my emotion while I was watching.  A very effective technique    I loved how the scenery was so natural because of the real locations of the filming.  The hustle and bustle of the city is very prominent as individuals look directly at the camera, portraying the idea that many people are looking at Florence and are either admiring her or trying to figure her out.  You could see Florence and her everyday encounters as she walked through the city trying to find her meaning.
The story ends nicely with a man who is going off to war and is also tossing around the thought of death, convincing her that she should embrace life rather than ponder death.  This made me feel like Florence was acting like an adult for one of the first times in her life as she took his advice and finally admitted that she feared death no longer.  the doctor ultimately tells her she does have cancer but she will get treatment and she will be ok. 

Breathless- Godard

I found Breathless to be a film that I enjoyed more and more as I thought about the New Wave aspects and how cleverly they were used to give the viewer a certain feeling.  Breathless is Godards first full length film and it is easy to see how it had an effect on the New Wave era of movie making.  Godard took a typical gangster genera and made it into much more, often toying with typical gangster actions and making them unfamiliar or strange.  
Very loud off beat jazz music is often accompanied by extremely choppy scenes and jump cuts. These sound effects are almost distracting and uncomfortable at times as the audio can be abnormally loud for an action that usually would seem to be somewhat quiet.  Godard used this to keep the viewers always on their toes.  This tactic was clever in that it could take a boring cut of a conversation or many conversations and give the scene some spark.  This action by Godard adds suspense as well as distracts, puzzles, and intrigues the viewer as they are overwhelmed with emotion.  I believe this to be Godards goal as it had a large effect on myself during the film.
The animation of the character in the last scene is very notable.  Godard toys with the typical gangster scene (gangster gets shot, stumbles about and dies) as Michel stumbles down the street for what seems like eternity until he finally falls.  His final words are misinterpreted by the police which also seems to be a strange occurrence that Godard adds to make the scene different from what would be typical.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

400 blows-Truffaut

In the movie 400 blows, Truffaut uses the main character Antoine Doinel to depict his childhood in small ways. The film is often thought of as a semi- autobiographical.  The 400 Blows is a story about a young boy named Antoine and his trouble making tendencies.  Antoine skips school and is extremely disliked by his teacher.  He is often made an example of in class but he seems to keep getting into mischief without the thought of consequences which are rarely worthy of the crime.  His mother dose not really seem to care that much about his upbringing as she goes around town having an affair which is ultimately seen by Antoine.  He doesn't really seem to mind and goes on with his usual affairs and doesn't let it bother him.
Antoine has a very loyal friend named Rene.  Rene is not only Antoines' friend, but his only support system. They were almost like brothers.  Antoine and Rene try to pawn a typwriter after stealing it but have trouble during the pawning process. They are caught when they try to return the typewriter and are arrested.  Antoine is sent to a work camp by request of his mother.
Still shots and freeze frames were very common in this film and added to the overall emotion to certain scenes.  The freeze frame on Antoines' face during the end is very emotional as you do not really know what his life is about to amount to after he escapes the camp and runs to the ocean.  There is a small feeling of happiness and hope, but I believe that Truffaut wanted the viewer to feel happy for Antoine only for a moment as he has many more trials to bear before he is free from trouble.    
I really enjoyed this film because Truffaut had the ability to transform a character that was usually disliked by other characters in the movie and make him likable and fun to watch.  Although Antoine was a devious child, I still wanted to see him succeed  and be free from the camp.