4.17.2008

Godard/Truffaut

I was overjoyed yesterday when I saw in the Apr 7 issue of the New Yorker an extensive history/discussion of the impact of the friendship of Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, two of the most important filmmakers of the last decade. Godard and Truffaut revolutionized French filmmaking and, I believe, had a big hand in legitimizing film studies as a discrete discipline when they founded the seminal film journal Cahiers du Cinema with other New Wave filmmakers Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer.

I thought today would be a good today to let everyone know which films I most love from the French New Wave. I was lucky enough to have a whole class on the movement in college (coupled with Italian Neo-Realism) and was really inspired by the work they did:

François Truffaut's Jules et Jim
Agnes Varda's Cleo from 5 to 7
Alain Resnais's Hiroshima, Mon Amour

The Varda film is probably my favorite.



It tells the story of Cleo, a hip French pop singer, as she waits out the final two hours before she learns the results of a serious medical test. Beginning with a portentious tarot card reading and ending with a full life transformation, the film is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply emotional exploration of ninety minutes in a person's life. The film was an early experiment in real-time filmmaking, where film time elapses in tandem with real-world time, and it plays out beautifully.

2 comments:

  1. I remember seeing a double bill of "Jules & Jim" and "Cleo" at the Elgin Theatre (then a revival house, not uncommon before the age of VCRs) around 1970.

    I think I held my breath the whole time and didn't exhale till the second film ended. I'd never seen movies like that.

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  2. I have all three of those films in the Criterion Editions. They are three of my faves. I still have to get Godard's Breathless.

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