A few days of a dandyish French intellectual in his late 20s named Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Leaud), who’s living with and supported by his lover, Marie (Bernadette Lafont); she’s in her mid-30s and runs a small boutique. In the first scene he borrows a neighbor’s car and tracks down a former girlfriend, Gilberte (Isabelle Weingarten), who’s just started a new semester at the Sorbonne, and tries to persuade her to marry him, only to discover that she’s just agreed to marry someone else. (We and Alexandre briefly glimpse Gilberte with her husband, played by Eustache, toward the end of the film, in the liquor section of a department store.) After hanging out with an equally idle friend (Jacques Renard) at the Deux Magots cafe, Alexandre follows a young woman after she leaves a nearby table, asks for her phone number, and scores; the remainder of the film is devoted to his courting of her. Read More »
The hard life of a young man in the provinces of France in the ’60s when you want to seduce girls or even just have a talk with them. Read More »
Unfinished film by Jean Eustache (1961, or ’63), with Jean-André Fieschi, Chantal Simon, Paul Vecchiali and André S. Labarthe.
7 minutes – No sound
Premier film de Jean Eustache, librement inspiré d’une nouvelle de Maupassant, inachevé et sans bande son. Ce film retrouvé il y a une dizaine d’années fait l’objet d’une projection inédite. « Un homme invite des amis, pour leur donner lecture d’un texte sur le cinéma dont il est l’auteur et qui vient d’être publié. On pense qu’il s’agit de « Vivre le film », l’article publié par Jean-Louis Comolli dans les “Cahiers”. L’ambiance a quelque chose de très Nouvelle Vague » Cahiers du cinéma n° 523, avril 1998 Read More »
Eustache’s debut film follows two young men near the place de Clichy, looking for fun and whatever trouble comes with it. Unsurprisingly, their attention ultimately falls on a girl. They go to a dancing called “Robinson”. Spurned when she decides to go dancing with someone else, their thoughts quickly turn to revenge. Slowly, we discover the layer of despair that sits just under their carefree appearance. Read More »
Le Père Noël a les yeux bleus
(Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes)
Jean Eustache, 1966. B&W. 47 min.
With Jean-Pierre Léaud, Gérard Zimmermann, Henri Martinez, René Gilson.
Daniel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) is desperate to buy a new duffle coat but has no money to do so. Taking a job as a street-corner Santa Claus, he begins to earn income and, more surprisingly, the attention of many young women taken with his costume. Eustache infuses Daniel (and his hometown of Narbonne, where the film takes place) with a keen sense of compassion. As always, daily reality is at the forefront: how Daniel spends his time, his efforts to meet girls, his attempts to make money. A wonderfully earthy film, and Eustache’s first major work. Read More »
Photographer Alix Cléo-Roubaud shows her photos to a young man (Boris Eustache), talking about them as they look at them together. Each of the photos appears as a countershot. Yet after awhile, doubts emerge: we are not really seeing what is being described.
The penultimate film by Jean Eustache, the French director famed for The Mother and the Whore (1973), is Les Photos d’Alix (1980). It’s an 18-minute, 35-mm color film in which we see a photographer—Alix Cléo-Roubaud—showing her photographs to a young man (Eustache’s 20-year-old son Boris). As they work their way through a stack of black-and-white prints, the young man asks brief questions and Roubaud tells him where and how each photograph was made and what her intentions were, what interested her about the images. The photos often feature double exposures and other darkroom techniques (solarizing, masking, dodging, burning). In one of a man lying on a bed, the photographer has used a supplemental exposure to stretch the curving, old-fashioned headboard into a strange sinuous shadow. Another dreamlike images shows a bare-chested man floating in an expanse of milky white light. Later we see a landscape divided by nested rectangular zones of light and darkness created during the printing process. Read More »