Monday, October 27, 2008

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.)

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