After the generational upheaval of May ’68 and its aftermath, and the personal upheavals of drug addiction, depression, and shock therapy, Garrel made the conscious decision to turn away from the increasingly private poetry of his earlier work, at the center of which was his great love Nico. He turned to the great screenwriter Annette Wadamant, who helped him to organize his thoughts into a narrative of “things that happened to me,” and the result was this spare, elemental, devastating film about two damaged souls (Henri de Maublanc and Anne Wiazemsky) trying to build a life together as her child (Xuan Lindenmeyer) is taken away. As Serge Daney wrote, “It’s as if this autobiographical film has succeeded in holding its bearings without forgetting the trace of each stage of the journey it’s passed through.” Read More »
Tag Archives: Anne Wiazemsky
Grenouilles (Frogs) is perhaps his strangest film. Anne Wiazemsky plays a beautiful Russian spy, Nora, who arrives on an island in the middle of the ocean, to avenge the betrayal of her lover, the artist Tibor. Other characters include a spy from UNESCO, a mysterious stranger who is plotting the end of the world, and a gang of thieves disguised as frogmen…. Read More »
Four chapters based on the birth of a ‘secret child’, or a film, with chapter titles: “La séction Césarienne” (Caesarian section: a descriptive detail introducing the mother); “Le dernier guerrier” (the last warrior: how the father sees himself); “Le cercle ophydique” (the serpent’s closed circle: the couple reunites at the psychiatric ward); “Les forêts désenchantées” (unfairy forests: the film in the making). Read More »
The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson’s Mouchette.
In the French countryside near the Pyrenees, a baby donkey is adopted by young children – Jacques and his sisters, who live on a farm. They baptize the donkey (and christen it Balthazar) along with Marie, Jacques’ childhood sweetheart, whose father is the teacher at the small school next-door. When one of Jacques’ sisters dies, his family vacates the farm, and Marie’s family take it over in a loose arrangement. The donkey is given away to local farmhands who work it very hard. Years pass until Balthazar is involved in an accident and runs off, finding its way back to Marie, who is now a teenager. But her father gets involved in legal wrangles over the farm and the donkey is given away to a local bakery for delivery work. Read More »
During a Post-Apocalyptic period in the near future the majority of the European population has been wiped out by some sort of undefined plague. Cino and Dora, a young couple, are rounded up by what constitutes the authorities on an isolated temporary base. They are examined and given antibiotics which will protect them for six months, told to pick out a deserted house to live in the area, and use that time to conceive a child. They are later visited by an enigmatic group of black-clothed, initially threatening vigilantes who are evidently satisfied with the couple when they hear that a child is contemplated. However, despite her evident fondness for Cino, Dora is reluctant to try to conceive a baby. Then their domestic tranquility is interrupted by a beautiful French interloper who seems as if she is more than willing to fill in for Nora and conceive Cino’s children. Read More »
Born in a decade of political turmoil, La Chinoise has become a cinematic marker for the significant historical events that surrounded its creation. Five Parisian students, their political awareness aroused by Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, envision an overthrow of Western governmental systems – which they aim to bring about through acts of terrorism. One of Godard’s most brilliant films of the 60s, its success lies in the rejection of traditional narrative techniques: it is a dialectical charade which is as disturbing as it is comical. Though criticised in its day as a political manipulation, La Chinoise has proven alarmingly prophetic and its impact on audiences during the late 60s is echoed amongst viewers today. Read More »
Not a good movie, though a prime example of audacious, rule-breaking cinema. It’s an early seventies French film shown almost entirely in negative exposure, which in itself makes it worth a watch.
LE GRAND DEPART (THE GRAND DEPARTURE; 1972) was the only feature directed by the famed French painter and sculptor Martial Raysse. In keeping with the revolutionary spirit of the time, LE GRAND DEPART has no plot to speak of and appears to have been largely made up on the spot. It shares a kinship with such films as BEGOTTEN (1990) and the X-rated short THE OPERATION (1995), both of which experimented with negative exposure (and far more effectively).
For decades LE GRAND DEPART was thought a “lost” film, but in late 2008 it made its DVD debut (in France), to alternately enchant and disappoint viewers anew. Read More »