Monday, September 15, 2008


Jean Luc Goddards film Breathless is regarded as somewhat of a reflection of a Hollywood gangster film. One of the main characters, Michel Poiccard, is influenced by Humphrey Bogart, a famous figure of the American B films that Goddard admired. Poiccard is constantly rubbing his lips the same way that Bogart once did. Throughout the film, Poiccard continually shows interest in all things American. He chases an American girl, steals American cars, and imitates a popular American celebrity. On the other hand, Patricia Franchini, an American who works for the New York Herald Tribune in Paris, submerges herself in the French culture. She works in Paris, speaks broken French, admires French artwork and music as well as French clothing designers. In two scenes of the film, both characters compare themselves to symbols of each other's native culture. Poiccards, who stares at a picture of Bogart in front of the cinema, and Patricia, who compares herself to the woman in the Renoir painting.
Aside from the characters, the film is famously known for Goddard's New Wave filming techniques. Goddard shot the film with a natural style. His use of sound during the scene where Patricia and Michel are in the apartment help create a more believeable scenario between the characters. Their conversation seems to be improvised and is drowned out by sirens and noise pollution from the street. Goddard deliberate use of jump cuts also make this film stand out in the French New Wave era. His use of a hand held camera allow the viewer to focus on exactly what Goddard intends to show. Goddard's Breathless will forever be a revolutionary film from the French New Wave era.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Truffauts 400 Blows

Truffaut's film, Les Quatre Cents Coups, translated as The 400 Blows, depicts a semi-autobiographical story of a young mischevious boy who is regarded as a trouble maker by both his parents as well as the teachers at his school. Truffaut's first film is often regarded as one of the best French New Wave works of art. Truffaut is praised for his innovative use of camera angles as well as his ability to develop his characters with a believable, natural presence. The 400 Blows portrays the life of a young French boy, Antoine Doinel, who is trapped in the middle of an unstable family while being labeled in society as a juvenile delinquent. Antoine continually looks for trouble, whether it's stealing, plagairizing, starting fires, or skipping school, his actions are constantly destroying his reputation. Antoine acts as if his behaviors are non-consequential, he seems to accept his bad luck. Truffaut rarely shows a genuine expression of emotions through the character Antoine. One moment where the audience can grasp a sense of what the boy is experiencing is when Antoine is at the carnival with his friend the day he skipped school and he seems happy for the first time in the film as he spins around and soaks up the experience. Truffaut does not dwell on Antoine's emotion towards his family. He is aware of his mother's affair, yet he seems to accept it and stay out of her business. He is constantly reminded of her lack of interest in being a good mother. Antoine is left to himself to figure out how to get by in life, even if he finds out the hard way.