Showing posts tagged French New Wave
Composition #35. 
Still from Alphaville (1965, dir. Jean-Luc Godard). Cinematographer: Raoul Coutard
#1-34 are here.

Composition #35. 

Still from Alphaville (1965, dir. Jean-Luc Godard). Cinematographer: Raoul Coutard

#1-34 are here.

Lighting #7 is from Vivre Sa Vie (1962, dir. Jean-Luc Godard). Cinematography by Raoul Coutard.

I love the gentle rim of light around the nose and chin.  

Lighting #1-6

Title Sequence #4 is Contempt. Because it just has to be.

Narrating the credits himself, Godard breaks from all norms in all the best ways.  These credits tell us that this is a film about cinema’s power, but also to announce that Contempt won’t play by its rules.

This sequence gets me excited about filmmaking and the film I’m about to see. It pulls me out of the cinematic space as much as it draws me to it. 

Enjoy.

Title Sequences #1,2,3.

I just love this still of Brigitte Bardot on the set of Godard’s Contempt (1963).

This great Village Voice piece just came out in honor of a new 50th anniversary restoration print of the film. And you can read my thoughts on the film here.

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Composition #11.

Still from Alphaville (1965, dir. Jean-Luc Godard). Cinematographer: Raoul Coutard

Compositions #1-10.

Composition #8. 

Still from Alphaville (1965, dir. Jean-Luc Godard). 

You can see compositions #1-7 here.

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I don’t believe in inspiration that arrives like a bolt from the blue - if it doesn’t also arise from your body and your immediate lived experience. That’s why I always refer to ‘subjective documentary’. It seems to me that the more motivated I am by what I film, the more objectively I film.

Title Sequence #2.

I’ve been thinking about affecting title sequences lately and that line between being too distracting and providing the right tone or prologue, so to speak.  

I thought I would share one of my favorites from Pierrot le Fou (1965, Jean-Luc Godard).  Y’all know I have a connection to this film (see here).  

Original music for the film is by Antoine Duhamel

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Anna Karina and her flats. A lady after my own heart.

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) dir. Agnes Varda

This is one of the films that I consider to be a bookmark in my film history.  There was my life before Cleo from 5 to 7 and there was life after this film; that’s how good it is.  The film chronicles Cleo, a French singer, as she waits to hear about her cancer diagnosis.  In the span of time (from 5 to 7) we follow Cleo as she rehearses with her pianist and songwriter, goes hat shopping (insanely amazingly beautiful camera work), rides in a cab, meets up with a friend, and then finally encounters a soldier who is on leave from fighting in the Algerian War. 

When people utter the words “French New Wave” this is the film (and filmmaker) that comes to mind. Agnes Varda plays with film language in ways that manage to feel buoyant yet grounded in something substantial and current.  Varda utilizes jump cuts, a film within a film (that features Godard and his then wife, Anna Karina), and has fun with diegetic and non-diegetic sounds.  All of this while Cleo waits for the diagnosis, a diagnosis which has less to do with cancer and more to do with a rumination on how we choose to live our lives, in the moments that we have them. Nothing is promised to Cleo as she sorts out how the world views her and how she views it; this film reminds me that all we have is time and the freedom that comes with knowing that’s all we have.

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