I watched a startingly good film with Etto yesterday and discovered the sparkling brilliance of Jean Luc Godard’s ‘French New Wave’ for the cinema! It is now one of my favourite films and I am so intrigued by the director and the style of directing-very fresh, chic and playful. The comedy, the actors, the asides and the continuation of a music and tone, all these were captured with a refined merriment and the energy never let down. With the themes and the stark confidence of characters, it could have been camp, but instead the director gently steers it to brilliance.
The plot is actually very simple. Angela,a striptease artist, wants to have a baby and tries to persuade her boyfriend Emile to go along with the idea. Emile will have none of it so she goes after Emile’s friend Alfred.
Can you do what a woman does, Irving? We shall try when you come (note above for reference).
I am also SMITTENED by this song from the movie soundtrack:
T’es là, t’attends, tu fais la tête / You’re there, you wait, you’re sulking
Et moi j’ai envie d’rigoler / And I feel like sneering
C’est l’alcool qui monte en ma tête / It’s the alcohol that gets to my head
Tout l’alcool que j’ai pris ce soir / All the alcohol that I took this evening
Afin d’y puiser le courage / So that I could draw the courage
De t’avouer que j’en ai marr’ / To admit that I have had it
De toi et de tes commérages / with you and your old wives’ tales
De ton corps qui me laisse sage / with your body that leaves me virtuous
Et qui m’enlève tout espoir / and takes away all of my hopesJ’en ai assez faut bien qu’j’te l’dise / I’ve had enough I have to tell you
Tu m’exaspèr’s, tu m’tyrannises / You irritate me, you tyrannize me
Je subis ton sal’caractèr / I endure your dirty character
Sans oser dir’ que t’exagèr’s / I don’t dare to tell you you exaggerate
Oui t’exagèr’s, tu l’sais maint’nant / Yes, you exaggerate, you know it now
Parfois je voudrais t’étrangler / At times, I would strangle you
Dieu que t’as changé en cinq ans / God you have changed in five years
Tu l’laisses aller, Tu l’laisses aller / You let yourself go, you let yourself goAh ! tu es belle à regarder / Ah! you’re beautiful to look at
Tes bas tombant sur tes chaussures / your sagged stockings on your shoes
Et ton vieux peignoir mal fermé / With your old nightgown badly closed
Et tes bigoudis quelle allure / And your curling pins what an elegance
Je me demande chaque jour / I ask myself every day
Comment as-tu fait pour me plaire / How did you do to please me
Comment ai-j’ pu te faire la cour / How could I ever court you
Et t’aliéner ma vie entière / Give up my whole life for you
Comm’ ça tu ressembles à ta mère / That way you look like your mother
Qu’a rien pour inspirer l’amour / Who has nothing to inspire love
D’vant mes amis quell’ catastroph’ / In front of my friends what a disaster
Tu m’contredis, tu m’apostrophes / You contradict me, cut me short
Avec ton venin et ta hargne / With your venom and your petulance
Tu ferais battre des montagnes / You’d make the mountains fight
Ah ! j’ai décroché le gros lot / Ah! I drew the first prize
Le jour où je t’ai rencontrée / The day that I met you
Si tu t’taisais, ce s’rait trop beau / If you kept quiet, ‘t would be too nice
Tu l’laisses aller, Tu l’laisses aller / You let yourself go, you let yourself go
Tu es un’brute et un tyran / You are a brute and a tyrant
Tu n’as pas de cœur et pas d’âme / You have no heart and no soul
Pourtant je pense bien souvent / Nevertheless I often think
Que malgré tout tu es ma femme / That in spite of everything you’re still my wife
Si tu voulais faire un effort / If you would make an effort
Tout pourrait reprendre sa place / Everything could fall back into place
Pour maigrir fais un peu de sport / To slim down practice some sport
arranges-toi devant ta glace / Make yourself up in the mirror
Accroche un sourire à ta face / Put a smile on your face
Maquille ton cœur et ton corps / Make up your heart and your body
Au lieu d’penser que j’te déteste / Instead of thinking how I detest you
Et de me fuir comme la peste / And avoiding me like the plague
Essaie de te montrer gentille / Try to be nice
Redeviens la petite fille / Become that little girl again
Qui m’a donné tant de bonheur / Who gave me so much happiness
Et parfois comm’ par le passé / And sometimes like in the past
J’aim’rais que tout contre mon cœur / I would love that close to my heart
Tu l’laisses aller, Tu l’laisses aller / You let yourself go, you let yourself go
Wiki: Jean-Luc Godard; born 3 December 1930) is a French-Swiss film director, screen writer and critic. He is often identified with the group of filmmakers known as the Nouvelle Vague, or “New Wave”.
Many of Godard’s films challenge the conventions of traditional Hollywood cinema as well as the French equivalent, namely the “tradition of quality”. He is often considered the most extreme or radical of the New Wave filmmakers. His films express his political ideologies as well as his knowledge of film history. In addition, Godard’s films often cite existentialism as he was an avid reader of existential and Marxist philosophy.
After attending school in Nyon, Godard returned to Paris in 1948. It was there, in the Latin Quarter just prior to 1950, that Paris ciné-clubs were gaining prominence. Godard began attending these clubs, where he soon met the man who was perhaps most responsible for the birth of the New Wave, André Bazin, as well as those who would become his contemporaries, including Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, Jacques Rozier, and Jacques Demy. Godard was part of a generation for whom cinema took on a special importance. He has said; “In the 1950s cinema was as important as bread — but it isn’t the case any more. We thought cinema would assert itself as an instrument of knowledge, a microscope … a telescope. … At the Cinémathèque I discovered a world which nobody had spoken to me about. They’d told us about Goethe, but not Dreyer. … We watched silent films in the era of talkies. We dreamed about film. We were like Christians in the catacombs.”
Despite its intricate manifesto, the guiding principle behind the movement was that “Realism is the essence of cinema.” According to Bazin and other members of the New Wave, cinematic realism could be achieved through various aesthetic and contextual media. They favored long shots that embodied a more complete scene, where visual information could be transmitted consistently, and avoided “unnecessary editing”; they did not want to disrupt the illusion of reality by constant cuts. This technique can be seen in some of Godard’s most celebrated sequences, though there are equally famous sequences in his films featuring fastcutting, especially those where jump cuts proliferate.
An interesting aspect of Godard’s philosophy on filmmaking was his inherent and deliberate embrace of contradiction. In short, Godard used “mass-market” aesthetics in his film to make a statement about capitalism and consequent societal decline.
Running through the Louvre…An animation excerpted from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 movie Bande a Part (Band of Outsiders). The three main characters cross Le Louvre Museum by running. In 2003, Bertolucci’s Dreamers (Louis Garrel, Eva Green and Michael Pitt) defeated their record.
As I was watching, I kept telling Etto, Anna Karina looks like Maria Callas!!
After seeing Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil at the Expo 58, Godard was influenced to make his first major feature film, Breathless (À bout de souffle, 1960), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg. The film distinctly expressed the French New Wave’s style, and incorporated quotations from several elements of popular culture — specifically American cinema. The film employed various innovative techniques such as jump cuts, character asides and breaking the eyeline match rule in Continuity editing. François Truffaut, who co-wrote Breathless with Godard, suggested its concept and introduced Godard to the producer who ultimately funded the film, Georges de Beauregard.
From the beginning of his career, Godard crammed more film references into his movies than any of his New Wave colleagues. In Breathless, his citations include a movie poster showing Humphrey Bogart (whose expression the lead actor Jean-Paul Belmondo tries reverently to imitate); visual quotations from films of Ingmar Bergman, Samuel Fuller, Fritz Lang, and others; and an onscreen dedication to Monogram Pictures, an American B-movie studio. Most of all, the choice of Jean Seberg as the lead actress was an overarching reference to Otto Preminger, who had discovered her for his Saint Joan, and then cast her in his acidulous 1958 adaptation of Bonjour Tristesse. If, in Rohmer’s words, “life was the cinema”, then a film filled with movie references was supremely autobiographical.
The following year, Godard made Le Petit Soldat, which dealt with the Algerian War of Independence. Most notably, it was the first collaboration between Godard and Danish-born actress Anna Karina, whom he later married in 1961 (and divorced in 1967). The film, due to its political nature, was banned by the French government until January 1963. Karina appeared again, along with Belmondo, in A Woman Is a Woman (1961), intended as a homage to the American musical. Angela (Karina) desires a child, prompting her to pretend to leave her boyfriend (Jean-Claude Brialy) and make him jealous by pursuing his best friend (Belmondo) as a substitute.
Godard’s next film, Vivre sa vie (1962), was one of his most popular among critics. Karina starred as Nana, an errant mother and aspiring actress whose financially straitened circumstances lead her to the life of a streetwalker. It is an episodic account of her rationalizations to prove she is free, even though she is tethered at the end of her pimp’s short leash. In one touching scene in a cafe, she spreads her arms out and announces she is free to raise or lower them as she wishes. The film’s style, much like that of Breathless, boasted the type of camera-liberated experimentation that made the French New Wave so influential.
Godard’s engagement with German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht stems primarily from his attempt to transpose Brecht’s theory of epic theatre and its prospect of alienating the viewer (Verfremdungseffekt) through a radical separation of the elements of the medium (in Brecht’s case theater, but in Godard’s, film). Brecht’s influence is keenly felt through much of Godard’s work, particularly before 1980, when Godard used filmic expression for specific political ends.
For example, Breathless’ elliptical editing, which denies the viewer a fluid narrative typical of mainstream cinema, forces the viewers to take on more critical roles, connecting the pieces themselves and coming away with more investment in the work’s content. Godard also employs other devices, including asynchronous sound and alarming title frames, with perhaps his favorite being the character aside. In many of his most political pieces, specifically Week End, Pierrot le fou, and La Chinoise, characters address the audience with thoughts, feelings, and instructions.