Qu'est-ce que c'est La Nouvelle Vague?

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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Jean-Luc Godard

#51 Post by domino harvey » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:48 am

zedz wrote:
Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:39 pm
His debut film, Les Abysses from 1963, was the only film I'd previously heard of, and I was intrigued by its obnoxious release history. The film was rejected by Cannes, so Papatakis got a bunch of his famous mates (Genet, Sartre, de Beauvoir et al.) to lobby the government with over-the-top claims ("the greatest film I have ever seen!" etc.) so that Minister of Culture Andre Malraux imposed the film on the festival. Papatakis was relentlessly vocal in his work and interviews about the neccessity for revolutionary struggle, but it doesn't seem that those rules applied to himself!

The film was poorly received, and understandably so. Like the two that followed, Thanos and Despina and Gloria Mundi, it's formally impressive (great black and white photography, somewhat inventive editing, solid, flexible mise-en-scene), conceptually bold (with one and a half feet in the gratuitously provocative camp), and with performances pitched so far into hysteria that it's practically impossible to care about anything that the characters go through (ritual humiliation, torture, rape, murder - whatever, just shut these people up!) They're all interesting films, but they're so tonally overegged that watching them is something of a chore. For the record, the "paroxysmic" performances are absolutely intentional on Papatakis's part, but that doesn't make them any good!
While I am relieved to see you didn't like it, you are still far too kind to Les abysses. Since it appears it will soon be coming from Criterion, I can now state that, unbelievably, the Norman Mailer films will no longer be Criterion's worst release. Me calling this the worst film I've ever seen means nothing, as I'm sure I've said it too many times for anyone to believe me. But there's no doubt this is and (God willing) will forever be the most annoying movie I've ever seen. This is like 88 minutes of having two angry six year olds screeching into each ear, nonstop. I can not think of a worse time that I've ever had watching a movie. Beyond the grating nature of its very existence, the film is inept on every possible level-- I don't know how you can praise the cinematography here, given most of the film appears to have been filmed by holding a lamp directly off-camera pointed right at the actors. I also wish I lived in a world where that was my primary complaint for this film. I will never, ever watch another movie this "director" had his hand in, even if he came back from the grave and cast Amy Adams.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Qu'est-ce que c'est La Nouvelle Vague?

#52 Post by zedz » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:32 pm

That stark, high contrast look is - like the terrible acting - deliberate, though it's more unusual and effective in Thanos and Despina, which is largely shot outdoors. If you spare yourself the rest of his films, you're not missing much, though I personally don't think any of them are worse than Wild 90 (or Solo con tu pareja).

dda1996a
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: Qu'est-ce que c'est La Nouvelle Vague?

#53 Post by dda1996a » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:25 pm

I remember quite liking the Cuaron!I'm sure it doesn't rank amongst Criterion's worst

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domino harvey
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Re: Qu'est-ce que c'est La Nouvelle Vague?

#54 Post by domino harvey » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:59 am

Now here’s a weird footnote: while Zazie dans le métro beat it to the on-screen namecheck by a year and a half, Jack Cardiff’s 1962 My Geisha appears to at least be the first American film to directly reference the French New Wave by name— Shirley MacLaine tells Edward G Robinson that she’ll make Yves Montand “Eat his words with Nouvelle Vague sauce!” And that line tells you about how funny this movie is.

Also, for the record, Bob Cummings’ “I’m not 50-plus” funeral parlor rouge is way more objectionable than MacLaine’s geisha makeup

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