Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This film really spells out the distance a couple can have when words are held back or simply not spoken. In trying to be polite, Paul lets his wife, Camille, drive with an obnoxious American producer named Jeremy. Secretly, however, Paul does not want her to drive with him and Camille does not want to drive with Jeremy as well. The way that Paul lets Jeremy take his wife makes Camille think that Paul is "giving" her to Jeremy as some sort of sexual present. Camille is horrified by this and the rest of the film shows their deteriorating relationship. However, at the beginning of the film, it opens up with Paul and Camille in bed. Camille constantly asks Paul if he thinks that she is beautiful. She is always looking for reassurances about her beauty, and the way that the film portrays her, reflects this. She is shown as a very sexual person, and she has the idea that everyone thinks of her as such. So when Paul "gives" her to Jeremy, she can do nothing but think those thoughts.
There were a few shots in the film, when they were on the island, that would circle the entire room. The room had floor to ceiling windows that faced the ocean and it almost seemed other-worldly. it was a far cry from the apartment that they lived in that is what really shows how they have drifted apart - they have gone so far that they are - physically, emotionally, and mentally - in a completely different world. 

The Story of Adele H.

Adele is a character with very charming beauty and an elegance that can only be described as soft and graceful. At least this was the way she appeared at the beginning of the movie. There was much room for her to grow and become a full, open character but instead, she becomes obsessed and downtrodden after she travels to Halifax and finds out that Lieutenant Pinson is not in love with her. As the movie progresses, so does the character and by the end of the film, in Barbados, she simply "floats" around the village and does not talk. She becomes nothing but a ghost of her former self - she becomes a ghost that is meant to haunt Lt. Pinson, but she never literally dies, so she cannot even do that. She is so downtrodden by her own obsession that she destroys herself and goes into seclusion for the rest of her life.
The film gives this sense of haunting, unrequited love with the use of deep bold colors contrasted against Adele's ever-whitening face. It shows how out-of-touch with reality she is. When other characters come into play, for example Lt. Pinson, she is in a different place than him and the others around her. For instance, while in Barbados, she sees him talking to another girl and he sees her staring at them. He then follows her but she just drifts through the streets and does not respond to him. He almost seems like a child then, because he is simply confounded as to why she is acting this way. Not to imply that he was a shallow person, but rather, he defiantly did not delve into the aspect of love as deeply as she did. In her own world, she created something that could not be brought about in the world she was actually living in. That is what no one could understand.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day For Night

Day for Night is a film about the behind-the-scenes life of a cast and crew on a movie set. Watching this movie is similar to being at a party and listening to four or five conversations throughout the night. the focus on each conversation is singular and linear, starting from (from example) conversation #1 and making its way down to conversation #5. Information is gathered as to what is happening between each of the people in the conversations, but once the focus returns to the people from the first conversation, there are new developments and changes in attitudes between those people. Drama ensues and there might be a fight, a break-up or someone might just leave the party. The film truly has that "outside-looking-in" approach but its all in what the film is trying to get across. 
The huge irony about the film is that the actors keep on acting off camera, while the crew can tell the difference. there is almost a child-like quality to the actors and their reactions to what goes on around them. they over dramatize (i.e. Alphonse quitting) and have trouble dealing with certain situations. The crew on the other hand Tends to downplay the seriousness of some of the situations, but they still keep a level head and see what is really going on. The way the film is edited - in a short, snappy, momentary way - really shows these contrary personalities because all that is shown are snippets of conversations and attitudes. 
 What the film is really trying to get at however, is the all-encompassing lifestyle of the film industry and its effect on who is involved in it. The actors become more dramatic because they are acting for long hours everyday, and the crew becomes more realistic because they are watching the actors act all day. Either way, there is a dedication to making film that engrosses both sides of the camera, and consumes everyone's thoughts, actions and words.

My Life to Live

This film was strikingly similar to the movie Pickpocket in that both man characters resort to illicit habits for a sense of thrill and life. Anna Karina's character, Nana, is a confused, bored, and very un-enthused about life. After she turns to prostitution, she continues to spiral into being a lonely and alienating person. She loses her boyfriend, gets evicted from her flat and cannot get a role in movies, so she resorts to something that she thinks is adventurous and thrilling. She rationalizes her actions in a very nonchalant way, and begins to give attitude and by the end of the movie, she just becomes another one of "those girls." She simply becomes another floozie that blends into the crowd.
The way the movie is shot really depicts this loss of individuality. At one point in the film she is all dressed up and ready to "work" but as she is walking through the restaurant and the street, she doesn't stand out anymore. The film at one point focuses on her eyes and it really shows how much of herself she has lost. The film is also shown in "episodes" and although they deal with the same character, they show her gradual decay into a world that she is trying to hang on to.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The main element of the movie that makes it what it is, is the parallel of the filmmaking to the implied meaning of the film. Basically, the film is very flowery with nothing but singing and bright colors. At the end of the movie, when Genevieve and Guy meet again, there is so much repressed emotion (be it anger, jealousy, sexual tension, or love) that no amount of happy music and loud color can hide what they are feeling or what they felt when they were younger. The movie starts off with young love and nothing but potential, but after Guy leaves, Genevieve gives in and marries Roland. After Guy gets back and marries Madeline, he becomes the stereotypical shop owner and Genevieve becomes the stereotypical Bourgeois married woman. Neither of them wanted that when they were younger, but that dream never comes true.
The fact that the movie is a constant musical is another important aspect of the movie in that it helps to portray the whimsical love and nature of the couple but ironically, it doesn't end like a musical. Instead, it ends in a confused, distant conversation. Rather than exemplify an ordinary situation, as most musicals do, this highlights the situation of the young couple, and makes it look hopeful, but then ends it in a disappointing, awkward way. This juxtaposition from beginning to end is what really makes the film stand out. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Woman is a Woman

Every aspect of filmmaking that this movie uses is very effective but on a subliminal level. The most apparent device is music. The entire film is a parody of a musical, but the ironic thing about it is that there is no real musical number. The music is overly dramatic in some spots when it doesn't need to be, and it is constantly in the foreground. This all culminates to the point where it makes the viewer aware of not just music and its effect on the audience but the whole idea of sound combined with sight and what it can make the viewer think or feel. In other words, it makes the viewer very sensitive to the structure and feel of the film. 
 Along with the emphasis on sound is the focus on color. Most of the colors used in the film are bold, stark primary colors that stick out and seem bright and loud. There is also a color scheme of white versus red that is apparent. This makes the viewer really pay attention to the surroundings and the actions of not just the main characters but of everyone and everything on the set. This scenery coupled with the music makes the viewer really pay attention to not just the film but to what is being said and done. The film then becomes more than just a movie - it becomes a stretch of the imagination and thought. It forces the viewer to look, hear and think, as opposed to just viewing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shoot the Piano Player

Shoot the Piano Player is Truffaut's pseudo-parody that was a response to the more serious film noir that was prominent at the time. Although he helped to perpetuate the genre, he came back with this film as a sort of respite against what was expected. However, in that attempt, it is still classified as one of the best films in that genre. The characters are the most obvious spoofs of characters from other films. For example, Charlie's passiveness is very similar to Michel from Pickpocket. Their situations are also very similar in that nothing goes well for either character. The classic, tragic ending occurs for both characters. However, in Shoot the Piano Player, it is almost comical as to how Charlie finds himself back at his piano after another run-around with a woman who wants the best for him. The two thugs who are chasing him are also a point of importance. They make outrageous and outlandish statements that are satires of the gangster lifestyle seen in Breathless or Bob le Flambour. 
The plot itself and the series of events that take place are also reminiscent of other films, but in a humorous way. For example, the death of Charlie's boss doesn't come with consequence for Charlie, rather, he is pardoned. In what has been seen in class so far, there is usually a repercussion for a murder. The biggest parody in this movie is Charlie's averageness. He is a virtuoso piano player, but his situation is almost always taken care of. He constantly has someone watching over him whereas in the other films, there is no guardian, and no easy way out.