Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault
“Two young French filmmakers, Bernard Dubois and Philippe Venault, had the provocative idea of making a follow-up to the 1964 anthology film, Paris vu par, that became a manifesto for the emerging directors of the New Wave. Unfortunately, the unity of that movement is long gone, and this new project is wildly uneven, ranging from the brilliant (Chantal Akerman’s opening sketch, J’ai faim, j’ai froid, is an entire coming-of-age film compressed into 12 frenetic, hilarious, and ultimately touching minutes) to the intriguing (Philippe Garrel’s Rue Fontaine offers a rare Stateside opportunity to see the work of this acclaimed avant-gardist, whose work suggests a crossing of John Cassavetes with early German expressionism) to the mediocre (the segments by Dubois, Venault, and Frederic Mitterrand) to the unwatchable (Vincent Nordon’s Paris-Plage, certainly the longest 13 minutes in film history). A sad lesson emerges–that the French have no more new ideas than we do–but the Akerman itself is worth it all.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum Continue reading Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault – Paris vu par… vingt ans après (1984)
Woody Allen – Jean-Luc Godard? This might seem an odd combination to many American film lovers, at least to much of Woody’s loyal audience, trying hard to be highbrow and intellectual, but not perhaps all that much interested in the challenges of a mischief-maker like JLG. As it happens this is a highly entertaining and somewhat informative look at both filmmakers as they are passing through middle age (Allen 51, Godard 56), lamenting the loss of cinematic and artistic innocence through the corruption of TV and at the same time celebrating their own longevity and continued relevance in the small world of art-cinema. I was especially intrigued by Godard’s use of title cards and the couple of shots of him playing around with videocassettes and books, and a still photo near the end of the film that I think was of Allen around the “Take the Money and Run” days but may have in fact been Godard; both are small, owlish men and the similarities both physical and intellectual are certainly played up here. Continue reading Jean-Luc Godard – Meeting Woody Allen (1986)
Henri Langlois, Georges Franju, and Jean Mitry, founded the Cinémathèque Française (a Paris-based film theater and museum) in 1936 which progressed from ten films in 1936 to more than 60,000 films by the early 70s. More than just an archivist, Langlois saved, restored and showed many films that were at risk of disintegration. Films are stored in celluloid, a material which requires a highly controlled environment and some degree of attention to survive over time.
During the Second World War, Langlois and his colleagues helped to save many films that were in risk of being destroyed due to the Nazi occupation of France. Continue reading Jean-Luc Godard & François Truffaut – Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut: In Defense of Henri Langlois (1968)
This short film is Godard’s message to the people of Lausanne, specifically Freddy Buache, giving his reasons why he will not make a film about their town’s 500th anniversary.
First Godard expresses his frustration with the town. When attempting to film on the side of a highway, they were forced to stop filming by the local authorities. The officer said they could only stop for an emergency. Godard replied that it was an emergency because the light was perfect. The officer wasn’t understanding, and Godard complains that it could take 5 years of shooting to get the necessary lighting again. Continue reading Jean-Luc Godard – Lettre à Freddy Buache (1981)
In Scénario de ‘Sauve qui peut la vie’ (1979), director Jean Luc Godard discusses many of the themes, motifs and film-making practices that would eventually be utilised in the creation of his following film, Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980). The film is interesting in the same way that Leos Carax’s later short film Sans Titre (1996) was interesting; offering us a window into his particular creative world and establishing many of the ideas and characteristics that would later be found in Carax’s own underrated masterpiece Pola X (1999). Carax, of course, is one of the filmmakers most clearly influenced by Godard, even appearing as an actor in Godard’s widely criticised adaptation of King Lear (1987), as well as paying homage to the older filmmaker with his earliest films, Boy Meets Girl (1984) and Mauvais Sang (1986). Continue reading Jean-Luc Godard – Scénario de ‘Sauve qui peut la vie’ AKA Scenario for Every Man for Himself (1979)
Jean Luc Godard’s first short film. A documentary financed by his work as construction worker in Switzerland. Continue reading Jean-Luc Godard – Opération béton (1954)