February 07, 2005

French Film Weekend...
I watched a total of five French films over the weekend, as part of my French Film class homework (I have to write the essay up this upcoming weekend).
It started on Friday morning with class, where we watched "A bout de souffle" (Breathless), by Godard. It was a revolutionary film in 1960, and still jars the senses. There are a lot of coupe sèche (jump cuts), where the editing doesn't match up (on purposed), and the music has no relation to the film. As well, topics in the film that would normally be considered important are given almost no attention, while the banal details of daily life are brought to the forefront. It was really interesting, but not a movie that I'd watch just for the craic of it.
Then I watched "La Haine" (Hate), a black-and-white film from 1995. It was basically 24 hours in the life of three "mecs de la cité" (guys from the inner-city), and their daily struggles. It focused on the aftermath of a riot in their neighbourhood, and how the react when one of their friends gets murdered by the police. I'll leave the ending a surprise. I'm going to have to watch the film at least once more.
Then on Saturday I watched "Cléo de 5 à 7" (Cleo from 5 to 7), a 1961 early feminist film. It follows Cléo, the main character from 17h to 19h, from a tarot card reader, to the hospital where she goes to find out the results of her medical tests (to see if she has cancer or not). Along the way, you see her meet with friends, her musicians (she's a singer), her lover, and a man she meets along the way in a park.
Then was "Diagonale du Fou" (Dangerous Moves), a film set in Geneva, Switzerland during the Cold War. It takes place around a chess championship -East vs. West, Communist vs. Capitalist, Young vs. Old, etc. It was a bit slow, but intellectually sort of interesting. I wouldn't recommend it.
Last night I watched "" (No), a Québécois film from 1998. It takes place during La Révolution Tranquille (The Quiet Revolution) in Québec in 1970, as well as at Expo '70 in Japan, and the FLQ kidnappings. The "Nô" refers to a Japanese dance, as well as to the "Non" vote during the first Québec independance referendum. It was a bit of a weird film, but strangely interesting at the same time. Another one I wouldn't recommend, but found interesting.


SB said...

THANK YOU. Now I know what french films to rent. Do you know a place to find out about Quebequois films? I want to rent them specifically...

Stephen said...

There's a place in Vancouver called "Videomatica", I think, that's got a good selection of foreign films. BUT, try the SFU library and the public library first.
For a good Quebecois director, check out Denis Arcand (Jesus de Montreal, Le decline de l'empire american, Les invasions barbares). There's also a famous movie called "Les Boys" about a hockey team. There was another cool one, that I can't remember the name of -it was taken by Hollywood and made into a Jim Carey movie (the one where he's in a TV show that he doesn't know about, and his whole life is staged).