Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shoot the Piano Player

Truffaut's "Shoot the Piano Player" seems to be more of a Film Noir film rather than French New Wave.  The dark cinematography especially with the night scenes, chase sequences, and the crime thriller of it.  The other side to this film is the love story, which gives more of a French New Wave feel.  The movie in a whole was interesting, but in my opinion didn't display Truffaut's finest work.
 Charlie the main character is a tortured character.  At first we see him as just a simple lounge like piano player, and then his brother shows up.  His brother knowing that he's being followed, decides to go to Charlie for help.  Unfortunately by him doing this sends the thugs that he was running from to start to go after Charlie, and anyone who is close to him. 

Charlie is constantly torn throughout the film by his shyness, and can't seem to act on his impulses. There is a flashback of Charlie when he was Edouardo, which gives the explanation of how Charlie has gotten where he's at in life.  This I think was the most interesting part of the movie, it helped me get a closer, more personal look into how Charlie ticks.  We see that his pianist success was helped along with his cheating wife, who in the end couldn't forgive herself for what she had done to him, and the marriage. His wife begs for him to leave because she's disgusted with herself, he leaves but in his mind he knows that she wants him to stay, and deep down he wants to stay to.  Unfortunately his hesitation, in the end has dire consequences, his wife plunges herself out the window to her death.

After taking this flashback the viewer can be a little less frustrated with Charlie and his inability to act on impulses, and to be timid.
It's interesting to me that Truffaut made 400 Blows before this film, this filmed did not seem to be as refined as 400 Blows.


Monday, October 13, 2008

My Night at Maude's

  Typically I'm not drawn to dialogue driven films, but was very impressed with this film.  The way in which the film made you like characters even though they didn't carry your normal type of heroin or protagonist characteristics.  All the characters had their own idiosyncrasy's that made them seem more realistic.  The plot was unique and extremely interesting, the use of religion showing at times hypocriticalness.  I enjoyed the fact that they never out right made it obvious that Francoise was Maud's ex-husbands mistress before they were divorced.  Or at least that was implied.  

  This script was wonderfully written.  The ideas of what people desire, want, and need where woven together into their actions.  The use of religion, promiscuity (of his early years), lust, and Jean's personal convictions and will were all able to co-exist. The use of showing Francoise as this innocent girl, and then in the end we see her as flawed and human also.

  Maud is seen as an independently thinking, and living woman.  Who is drawn to Jean, but realizes that even though they have a connection it would never be, for them.  Even knowing that she still makes it clear to Jean if someday he wanted her, he could have her.  As much as she's independent she still has a desire to have a man, and one that is true to her. She wants what she can not have.  Jean holds onto his values and is rewarded.

  Perhaps my only criticism, well not exactly criticism was that nothing that was shot was overly impressive.  Again not bad, just nothing stuck-out visually except for the actors and their interaction.

SuAnn Mitchell
ENG 5070

Last Year at Marienbad

  There is wonderful cinematography throughout this film.  Great use of Black and White contrast.  Distinct geometrical patterns in almost every shot.  And an interesting use of posing the actors.
  This film I can appreciate for it's artistic value, but I felt like it was either just over my head, or too highbrow for my taste.  With that being said there are things that i can appreciate for their contribution as in this case, but I wasn't overly entertained by.

SuAnn Mitchell
ENG 5070

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cleo de 5 a 7

  Cleo is tormented over her up-coming results to her biopsy, feeling alone and isolated from everyone that surrounds her.  She has people around her that care, but don't seem to be taking the idea of her having cancer seriously.  Throughout the film you get to see her at an everyday pace, watching life around her. Her everyday encounters with people she knows and with people she doesn't know are seen through very different eyes.  In seeing the mundane you get a feel of someone who might be facing their own mortality and their significance in the world.

  The scene in which Cleo is rehearsing a new song that is brought to her by two young males who write the music for her, is extremely moving and heart wrenching.  You can see the overwhelming emotions in Cleo when she is singing the song about love, and death.  After seeing Cleo sing into tears you realize that she realizes she's going to die.

  The way in which they follow her around doing everyday tasks, but showing the thoughtfulness in every action she does, and the observant manner in which she sees every fine detail that surrounds her. She's so caught up in the idea of no one caring if she lives or dies, and plays her own song to see if anyone notices or cares, and they don't.  Or at least thats how she sees people not caring if she lives or dies.

  Finally she meets someone who grounds her thoughts of death, and gives her a reason not to fear death but to embrace life.  This man faces death also, but in a different way by going off to war.  The end we see her doctor who tells her that she does have cancer and that she'll get chemo and things will be okay.  As if the build up of whether she has it was bigger than actually having it and dealing with it.

SuAnn Mitchell
ENG 5070