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Entries in François Truffaut (5)

Monday
Feb 13 2017

Beauty vs Beast: Blessed Are The Forgetful

"Random thoughts for Valentine's day...Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap."

Jason fromMNPPhere,wishing everybody a happy Valentines (even if I do lean towards the incredulous sentiment expressed above).When you ask yourselves what the great romantic films of our times are,what answers do you come up with?Because I asked myself that question in order to choose this week's holiday-themed edition of "Beauty vs Beast"and it was Michel Gondry'sEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(from whence that quote came) that was the very first movie I thought of...

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Monday
Feb 06 2017

Beauty vs Beast: Direct to the Death

Jason fromMNPPhere - for this week's "Beauty vs Beast"we're celebrating what would have been the 85th birthday of one of the most important figures in cinema,the French critic turned director François Truffaut.What's your favorite Truffaut film?I know the "right"answer isThe 400 Blows(or possiblyJules & Jim) (or maybeDay For Night) but I've always had a real soft spot forMississippi Mermaid- Catherine Deneueve and Jean-Paul Belmondo all sweaty and sexy?Sign me up.

But it's a different sexy pair I'm going to focus in on for this week's contest -- namely the director himself with his seminal book (recently turned documentary)Hitchcock / Truffaut,which linked him forever with the "Master of Suspense"himself.That's right - I found a way to make this series about Hitchcock again!Life finds a way,you guys.

PREVIOUSLYLast week Dario Argento's candy-colored hallucinationSuspiriaturned 40,and sowe pit the film's protagonist,Suzy the dancing girl,against the conspiring witches running her dance academy,and just like in the film Suzy was able to pirouette to safety,taking just over 60% of your vote.SaidTom:

"I feel like the race should be a close one.But in light of recent events,I think many might feel urged to vote against an evil establishment with control issues.I'm voiting for Suzy."

Sunday
Jul 27 2014

1973 Look Back: The End of the New Wave,the Beginning of My Cinephilia

The team is looking back at 1973 as we approach the Smackdown.Here'sAmirwith a personal history...

the first known photo of this famous cineaste pair.Before they were filmmakers.[src]Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut were the poster boys of the French New Wave,its most recognizable faces.Their friendship that had begun in the 1940s had carried them through all their years atCahiersand into their directing careers,was evidenced by Godard's adoration of Truffaut'sThe 400 Blowsand the latter's providing the story for his friend's first film,Breathless.Their early writings manifest the division they had from the beginning about their outlook on the mechanics and politics of cinema.Nonetheless,their friendship continued even through the fraught days of political disagreement in 1968;but no further than 1973.Truffaut'sDay for Night(La Nuit Americaine) was an unforgivable crime in Godard's eyes,and the latter's disapproval of the film was a massive act of hypocrisy in Truffaut's.They were to never see each other again,and only after Truffaut's death did Godard find nice words to say about his old friend.

It's easy to see whyDay for Nightmade Godard's blood boil.It's as conventionally constructed a film as one can expect from anouevelle vaguefilmmaker,an unashamed love letter to Hollywood and cinema itself – and with an Oscar in its cap,no less.By this time in his career,Truffaut had already been branded a sellout by some and would continue to be called as such.He had,in the opinion of some of the New Wave's proponent's,become the very cinema he criticized in his youth.There was no political edge toDay for Night;no radical revision of how the medium operates.It was "a lie,"thought Godard.Some of those accusations might be true,but there is another truth that isn't mentioned as often: this is an incredible film.

When I first watchedDay for Night,I was 19.It was in the days when Toronto's Bloor Cinema wasn't yet devoted to screening documentaries.It was a cheap,dingy but friendly gathering place for the neighborhood's elderly and University of Toronto's students.[More...]

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Tuesday
Dec 11 2012

Curio: Holiday Gift List

Alexahere.Every year I spot gifts that I can't quite find the right person for (oftentimes I just end up buying then for myself).This year I've spotted some truly clever film-themed gifts on etsy that simply don't work for anyone on my list.Is there someone in your life who fits these profiles?If so,support these independent sellers!

1.For the fan of creepy Javier Bardem,how about thisporcelain bust of Anton Chigurh?Although I would love for there to be a companion bust of Silva,too.Bookends,maybe?

Channing Tatum,Les Miz and moreafter the jump

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Thursday
Jun 28 2012

Best Shot: Isabelle Adjani in "The Story of Adele H"

Previously on Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot...

Today we're officially back to weekly "Best Shot"posts with François Truffaut's biotragedyTHE STORY OF ADELE H(1975).For nearly thirty years French beautyIsabelle Adjaniheld the record for the Youngest Best Actress Nominee of all time;she was 20 whenAdele Hmade her an international star.To add to Adjani's Oscar Curio factor,shestillholds another record: she's theonlyactor or actress ever nominated twice for French language performances.Nomination #2 came for another biotragedyCamille Claudel(1988).[Marion Cotillard surely hopes to tie that particularBest Actressrecord later this year inRust and Bone(2012).]

Adjani all but vanished from screens round about the time she and Daniel Day-Lewis procreated and split.The sensationalQueen Margot(1994) and the reviledDiabolique(1996) with Sharon Stone were her last big draws so I assume many readers are unfamiliar and that this Best Shot subject would be a fresh choice.I did not however make the connection thatpost-Possessedthis meant two movies back-to-back featuring women who utterly debase themselves for the love of a playboy who does,in his defense,try to warn her crazy away.Even though both films belong to my favorite subgenre Women Who Lie To Themselves™ it was a disconcerting double feature.

Adele H doesn't just lie to herself though.She lies to virtually everyone in her relentless pursuit of her former lover Lt.Albert Pinson (Bruce Robinson) who she intends to marry.She prides herself repeatedly on her willingness to cross the Ocean for him,a big deal in 1863.

Though I'd argue that François Truffaut's marriage of traditional costume drama and nouvelle vague experimentation is sometimes an awkward one,I do love the film's take on letters which Adele mostly reads aloud as she writes,sometimes directly to the camera as in this gorgeous passage when Adele recites an entire letter to daddy while the camera actually crosses the Ocean (and then some maps) to deliver it.

She's Written A Letter To Daddy...(my second choice for "best shot")

My dear parents,
I have just married Lieutenant Pinson.The ceremony took place Saturday in a church in Halifax.I need money for my trousseau.I must have 300 francs immediately...in addition to my allowance.If you'd taken care of my music as I've asked you 100 times that would bring me in some money and I wouldn't have to behave like a beggar.

It's in the letter readings where Adjani earns the historic Oscar nomination.Her lies are so proud and delivered with such entitled petulance that she almost seems thrilled to be reciting them.What's false is true and Adele believes this with religious conviction.And nost just Sunday only conviction but a tent-revival sort of fanaticism.Similarly perverse beats occur when she seems turned on by Lt.Pinson's sexual interest in everyonebuther.Adjani is also excellent at delineating Adele's complex relationship to her family name ("H"being the clue and part of the reason I chose the movie at this time) whether she's embracing it,hiding it,or using it as dangling carrot.

Great Moments in Costuming #317,201

But for the Best Shot prize,I choose a shot that falls within a far more typically Oscar-baity context.Toward the end of the film,the inevitable occurs and Adele's internal madness is acutely externalized.After a dog bites at her heels,tearing her dress,she wanders the streets.

In an 18 second unbroken shot she approaches oblivious to the camera she's often looking at.The camera  briefly focuses on the ragged hem of her once rich gown as she passes us by before it pans up again to a bookstore window where Adele's lonely never-suitor stares at his former friend,now utterly alien.She spins about in the street muttering (inaudible) nonsense to herself.She's always spoken nonsense but now that everyone can hear it for what it is,there's no point in listening.

best shot

Don't Believe Her Lies!!!
Antagony & Ecstacy...thinks it a damn good movie.
Film Actually...on a soldier's indifference
Cinesnatch...'for the man you claim to be her father'
Okinawa Assault[SPOILERS] talks downward spirals and dusty mirrors

Next Thursday Night: Kim Novak and William Holden get all hot and bothered in the Oscar favoritePICNIC(1955),which I've never seen!Bring your own blankets and sandwiches (and blog posts)