Monday, October 27, 2008


First off, it was so awesome going to a movie premier! They had security guards at the door checking for taping devices, making sure all cell phone were turned OFF.

This was an odd film. A young man, who works at a working colonial farm, is trying to find a way to make money to pay for his mom, who has dementia/alzhiemers, to stay in her nice nursing home. To make things exciting, he is a sex addict. In the very beginning of the film he goes to a sex addict meeting, but rather than attending had a quick encounter with a fellow meeting goer in the restroom.

I had to really laugh, a mom brough her four kids to this rated R movie, and ten minutes in was forced to leave, and there was so much nudity and sex taking place that I am sure her oldest child, (maybe 10) must have started asking questions.

I still, a month later dont know what I really think about this film. The main character has no morals at all. Granted the surpise twist, was a MAJOR suprise (I wont go into detail so you can still see it!) But a major twist you would never, ever have seen coming! The film was extremely graphic, maybe more so than it needed to be. It for sure was a film that made you think, and one that could be discussed for a while after coffee.

My recomendation: Go see it, don't take you kids!

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

This film was by Jacques Demy. It was his third film. He was married to Agnes Varda. He died in 1990.

This was by far my favorite film so far of the semester. i love musicals and this was a musical to the 100th degree! Every single word is sung! What a genius idea! The opening of the films says that it will be in "french, in color and in song".

This film was very anti-naturalistic. Especially with the use of colors. The most vivid and sometimes ugly colors ever imagined are used. (pink, yellow, blue, green and purple.) Often times the actors outfits will match or be the exact opposite of the wallpaper in the room they are in. The question arises 'does color have a certain meaning?" We see when the female character is at the train station her waving her blue hanky. When he comes home from war, and goes back to work at the garage, we see all dull browns, including a brown dog. It is evident that Demy wanted the colors to be significant and a major part of the film.

In a weird way this film is about everyday life. We see a woman working in an umbrella store, a place where people frequent everyday in the need of an umbrella. We see young love, and youthful romatic dreams. We see war, and the speration and pain that causes. We see an unwed mother trying to figure out her future. We see people settling for their second choices, and we see the struggle of class. The unwed mother marries a rich man to protect her future, her mother is struggling to make ends meet while refusing to give up her standard of living. The man drinks away his sorrows, until his future love saves him.

I really enjoyed this film. I thought it was extremely original and enjoyed every minute of it. I loved the extremely vivid colors and the possible hidden meanings behind them.

A woman is a Woman

This film was by Jean-Luc Godard. It stars his wife in real life Anna. It was Godard's third film, his second to be released. It is done in color and in wide screen.

The films centers around the main character, a woman. You can tell that the camera and Godard love this woman. She is clearly beautiful and the camera accents it perfectly.

There are many references to other films in this movie. (namely Jules and Jim, Shoot the piano player, Breathless and Lola). The biggest reference is when the star of Breathless, who is also in this movie, states "Breathless in on television tonight"!! You from time to time are reminded that this is a film, especially when the main character winks at the camera. In the scene in her boyfriends apartment, when she walks in and walks around he talks directly to the camera. The first words we hear in the film, is Anna saying in english, "lights, camera, action!"

Godard experiments with the fundamental elements of film. He points out again and again that the film is a process. He wants everything in the film to be noticed. The music in this film was different from many others than we have seen. This film was almost an omage to a musical. The music is very dramatic and related to hollywood fims, and is guiding us, telling us what to feel. The music is always very loud, almost too loud. There is no fading in and out of sound. It just starts loud and ends loud. This movie did use direct sound and was dubbed over again during editing.

There seems to be a color scheme in this film. We see alot of blue, white and red. Everything seems very color co-ordinated. He would rather have the colors look artifical than natural. The script of this film was semi-improvised. There are many jump-shots and quick cuts.

This film was very enjoyable. While I hate to see this type of portrayal of a woman, someone who is coniving and willing to lie to get what she wants it was still a great film. I liked how you were reminded that it was a film, and made to feel as though the actors were sometimes talking directly to you.

Shoot the Piano player

This film is by Francis Truffaut. It was his second film. We see Truffaut continue to work with young boys. This film was based on American Film Noir. It was also based on a novel. It was not popular when it came out, possibly because of how different it was (emotional rollercoaster: from funny to tragic). Truffaut was inspired to make the film from a single image he took from the book (the car in the snow).

The first person we see in the film is Chico. He is running from someone, and runs into a telephone pole. So you assume the moie is going to be about him. But the film is actually about Charlie/Edward, who is Chico's brother. (the first twist!) While we see Chico walking with stranger, who is telling him his life story, the camera uses long continous tracking shouts. We feel as if we are really walking with them. The film consists of rapid storytelling, yet we are not really interested in the sory. It almost feels like a different movie every five minutes.

There are many references to other films in the movie. One is the reference to silent films, we see the bartender greedily taking money for Charlie and Lena's address. This would have happened in a silent film. At the end of the film at the shootout, we see a reference to ganster film. What horrible shots they all are! The scene where Lena is shot and slides down the snow is quite moving as you don't expect it.

The voiceovers in the film seem to be commenting on the story and trying to tell Charlie/Edward what to do. Truffaut messes with the point of view of the story so much that is makes it almost impossible to determine who is actually narrating.

Again we are reminded that we are watching a film. When we see Lena's dead body we see the shadow of the camera. Perhaps Truffaut left it there to remind us that we were watching a film. The film is very self conscious of what it is doing while at the same time being experimental.

This film could also be broken down by how it portrays gender. We see the importance of relationships, and also the shy male lead, who is not made fun of, but featured as the protagonist. The relationships are very important to Charlie, his relationship to Lena and his neighbor prostitute.

This film was not one of my favorites. I could not help but think the whole time, if these two guys are chasing him and he had done absolutely nothing wrong, why he did not stop and confront them and explain they were in fact looking for his brother. (I am not saying he should have turned his brother in, but explained his innocence.)

Cleo from 5 to 7

This film was directed by Agnes Varda. She was the only woman among the French new wave directors. She was born in 1928. Interestingly, she just had a film play at Venice and Toronto film festivals. She was a still photographer before she became a director. Before she started making films she had only seen 20-30 films in her lifetime! (Can't believe that!!) This was her second film.

The main character is Cleo. It is very hard to emphatize with her. She seems very self involved throughout the film.The film takes place in 1962, during a "real" two hour period. In the film we see Cleo as she spends the hours between 5 and 7. She is waiting to go to the doctor to find out her test results to see if she does indeed have cancer, and if so what her treatment options are. Varda was inspired bu the painting of Death and the Maiden. The lead actress was also nspired by the same painting. Death is constantly looming over Cleo, it seems to consume her thoughts and actions.

We see Cleo try to go between her life as an actress (famous person), her own real life and the streets of Paris. When cleo goes into the cafe, she plays her own song on the jukebox, and walks around hoping someone will see her and realize it is her song playing. She gets very irritated when no one notices her or the song. She is very vain. She is quoted as saying "ugliness is a kind of death".

We are almost forced to not be at one with her, we see her documented. The film goes back and forth between the protaganist and he environment. The film is relatively fast paced, however, when Cleo enters the park the films seems to slow down. Almost as if for the first time she is calmer, maybe her thoughts are no longer racing. She rushes around to see the doctor, who spends a total of 30 seconds with her. He tells her she has cancer and will be fine with treatent.

This film was reall quite depressing. She is constantly worrying about her possible impending death, and yet that seem to be unable to stop her from being vain and self centered. I did find it very interesting and entertaining how the film took place in real time. you don't see that very often.

Hiroshima Mon Amour

This is Alain Resnais's first feature length film. It came out in 1959. Resnais had a long history of short films, and this was his first fiction film.

This film was very unusual. It stars two main characters, a french woman and a japanese man. The film is based on a 24 hour encounter that is seperate from the main characters every day life. Due to the fact that it is seperate from every day life, we are able to see more emotional extremes. His family all died during the attack on Hiroshima (he was fighting in the war), and the day he spends with her his family has gone out of town for the day. Throughout the film there is a sense of displacement, she is in Hiroshima filming a movie about peace (which we see being made, which brings us back to the reality that we are in fact watching a film). This film was made only 14 years after WWII so emotions were still strong and high.

This film had no real beginning, middle or end. It is very anti-naturalistic and very stylized. Goddard was once quoted as saying "every film must have a beginning, middle and end, just not necessarily in that order". The flashbacks in this film seem like normal flashbacks but in reality the flashbacks seem to be memories with narration over it.

The film starts with close up of their bodies inter-twined. At first you dont even understand what you are seeing. The first 15 minutes of the film consist of some shots of actual documnetary clips from the destruction of Hiroshima. The film is very focused on time and memory. When the woman begins to tell her story, she becomes confused as to whom she is telling it to, and what is happening. When she is telling us about her love, the german solider, we never see a close up of his face. When we do see his face it s covered by a shadow. This might mean that her memory has faded, which would also explain as to why as she is telling her story to the japanese man, she calls him you (refering to the german solider).

This film was constantlky twisting and turning. While very enjoyable, it was somewhat hard to follow, as you had to constantly be aware of what was story, what was true, and what was memory.