Friday, November 7, 2008

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a musical directed by Jacques Demy in 1964. This film is extremely colorful and musical which create an almost sensory overload to the viewer. It is a dramatic love story between a young girl who works at an umbrella store with her mother and a man who works as a mechanic. In the beginning of the film the two characters are madly in love but when Guy finds out that he must serve in the military and leave Geneviève, their dynamic changes. As time passes, the couple drifts apart. Geneviève becomes pregnant with Guy's child but since he is not present, she is being pursued by a well-to-do jewelry dealer, Roland. In the end, Guy and Geneviève seem happy with their new lives but both hold onto the past that they had with each other
The vivid colors of the film balance the unrealistic sung dialogue. If the film did not have such interesting color to appeal to the eye, the music would overbear and become to unsettling. Every line of the movie is sung ( en chanté) , the songs do not have a beginning or end, the verse/chorus structure of the music is absent. The dialogue is sung in a more operatic structure and sung very slowly.

Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player, Francois Truffaut's second film, relased in 1962 is based on film noir as well as American gangster films of its time. However, it sets itself apart from American gangster films because of the addition to comedy. Shoot the Piano Player has a comic and tragic tone to it, it has as many funny scenes added to it as it does violent. In one of the shootout scenes, there is a comical undertone to the way that Léna dies. Her body is shot while she is running in the snow and it continues to roll down the hill in an dramatic and awkward manner. Truffaut seems to be de-emphasizing the role of violence in the film throught this scene. The tone of the film seems to change from scene to scene, Truffaut structured this film rather chaotically. The unstrutctured pattern of the film seems to work for it because all of the elements of romance, comedy and tragedy somehow make sense together. Although this film may be classifed as a gangster movies, it could be appreciated by any type of movie-goer, no matter what style of film they appreciate.

Cleo from 5 to 7

Cléo from 5 to 7 was released in 1962 by the only female Nouvelle Vague director, Agnes Varda. The film is shot according to the life of Cléo from the hours of 5 p.m. to about 7 p.m. on a certain day in June. Varda was one of the first directors to experiment with this sort of real-life use of time to portray the characters.
The main character, Cléo, is a semi-popular singer in Paris who is narcissistic and attention-craving. The beginning of the film shows Cléo visiting a tarot card reader who predicts that she may be looking death in the eyes. Cléo believes her while admitting that she is superstitious and continues her day dwelling on the fact that her life may soon be coming to an end because of cancer. Her vanity is evident throughout the film. For example, she plays one of her own songs at a café and expects the customers to react to it positively. When no one seems to pay attention to the music, Cléo becomes even more frustrated with herself. Cléo demonstrates a variety of emotions througout the 2 hours of her day, when she learns that she does have cancer, her mood seems to settle and her paranoia eases.
Varda's camera work is intersting in this film, like Godard she plays with jump cuts in a few scenes. The scene where Cléo is wandering the street and noticing the faces of passer-bys is also memorable.