Monday, May 2, 2011

Godard Or Truffaut...

Two years ago I thoroughly enjoyed a French Cinema class with a most dynamic professor. At the beginning of the course, she asked us a question she hoped we would be able to answer by the end of the semester: are we a Godard or a Truffaut?

I thought of this today when I learned Marie-France Piser passed away on Sunday. Piser was the stunning beauty who at the tender age of 17 was chosen as Antoine Doinel's love interest in Antoine and Colette. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Like many, my first introduction to Antoine Doinel was in 400 Blows. 400 blows indeed...this movie blew my mind. I was so intrigued with young Antoine my heart ached for him, I cheered for him, wanted to slap his mother for him, longed to shake his father for him, and viewing the final scene I found myself smiling over everything the world had to offer him. It is a fantastic movie that I did not want to end. Based upon Truffaut's life, 400 Blows was my first foray into the French New Wave and I was more than ready to take on more.

The next movie we viewed was Godard's Breathless. While I adore Jean Seberg, I could not stand this movie. And I know, I know... there is an abundance of iconic treasure imbedded within this celluloid. I just could not get into Godard's film technique.

My next film was Truffaut's Day For Night. This film is a movie about a movie being made. As you can see, the beautiful Jaqueline Bisset starred along with a grown-up Antoine Doinel. Well, not really Antoine Doinel but Jean-Pierre Léaud, the actor who portrayed him in all Truffaut's films. Day for Night was yet again another great film. 

I enjoy as many Truffaut films as I can and am always on the look-out for more; not including his Antoine Doinel series, I have barely scratched the surface of his genius. Although François Truffaut suffered an untimely death from a brain tumor at the age of 52, his work has influenced many of the great directors we see today.

Oh, and if I left any shadow of doubt, I can say without exception...I am a Truffaut.


  1. Thank you for the film suggestions...I am always on the hunt for good foreign (esp. French) films. xxBliss (now I will be wondering all day which am I.)

  2. I can't say whether I'm a Godard or a Truffaut either because my knowledge of French cinema is extremely limited. The only French film I've watched recently was La Haine which dates back to the mid 90's.
    I'm always open to new movie experiences though, so I might have a look at some of Truffaut's work.Thanks for enlightening me Beth.

  3. Paul - The first time I saw "La Haine" the ending stunned me...I literally couldn't move. Another GREAT film from the French New Wave!

  4. Why choose? I enjoy them both.
    Lately I have been watching Jacques Tati films, my favorite being Mon Oncle, there are barely any subtitles as his films are all visual slapstick, not high brow I know but brilliant and well worth a look.
    I am still upstate but am going back to the city for a while, maybe the Hamptons as well. I dunno, my timing is so bad, NYC is the last place a person should be right now but I do want to see the Alexander McQueen show at the MET.
    I just played with my Malibu Barbie doll and feel the need to throw up my lunch, gotta run.
    X David

  5. I can honestly say that I'm a Truffaut. 400 Blows was his first movie I saw and then followed many more I found interesting, amazing, intriguing: The Bride Wore Black, The Wild Child, The Man Who Loved Women etc. And this evening I'm going to see Stollen Kisses. As for Goddard, I have never understood his movies and I've seen hundreds of movies, from silent films to New Wave, Japanese cinema or Neorealist. I was not impressed with Breathless and the last movie of his I tried to see was Weekend and I just couldn't watch it to the end, so I gave Goddard up. Ada


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