I am a Francophile. Granted, as an American, my love goes unrequited but that won’t stop me from enjoying their wine, women and…well, not their song. I never could stand French pop music, but I do adore their movies. With the possible exception of Abel Gance I should get around to doing write-ups on all the French directors listed on the left hand sidebar. For now, you’ll just have to eat some garlic and check out the Chabrol essay.
Thriving on a riff!
Notes on the French directors who didn’t make the Master/Major cut and whatnot.
I came around late to Blier. Initially, I thought his films a bit cold and pervy. My opinion hasn’t changed.
Many critics consider Les enfants du paradise (The Children of Paradise) by Marcel Carne to be the greatest French film but I’ve always thought it a bit overrated. I like, but don’t love, Carne’s poetic realism films of the late 1930s and early ’40s. I need to see more of the later films but I don’t have high expectations.
I saw Abel Gance‘s Napoleon on its road tour in 1981 with Carmine Coppola conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. It was an unforgettable experience, the Full Monty of filmgoing. I don’t know if I really loved the film at the time, but I do remember being overwhelmed by it. I feel sorry for new generations of film goers who have grown up seeing movies in shoebox theaters or cineplexes. Films were meant to be projected to the public on enormous screens. We’ve lost that.
I”ve always liked Pialat quite a bit and I’m surprised to find his films rated so low at IMDB. I think uninitiated viewers take Pialat, like Mike Leigh, to task for having unpleasant protagonists.
I’ve tried over and over with Resnais and I’ve come to the conclusion I just don’t get him. Hiroshima mon amour and especially Last Year at Marienbad are visually interesting, but it’s all so humorless, oblique, and obscure. GIve me Stavisky anytime.
I always thought Truffaut strained too hard to be a humanist. The 400 Blows was a promising debut in a large part because there was an undercurrent of darkness to it. It goes without saying Adele H. is my favorite Truffaut film. I know he’s a sacred cow to many people who came of age in the 1960s, but he sure made a lot of fluff.