French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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Re: French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#226 Post by movielocke » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:58 pm

zedz wrote:Two more re-watches:

Le Bonheur (Agnes Varda, 1965) - The first time I saw this I was quite skeptical about it (a weird word, but seems like the right one for me) as a mix of shallow beauty and provocation, but the film has grown on me over time and plays better each time I revisit it. The beauty really isn't that shallow: even though there are copious references to the commercial art of the time (the closing scene looks exactly like a 1960s knitwear catalogue come to life), Varda does interesting, disorienting things with the editing and focus throughout. And the provocation is complex and uneasy. This time through, the film played like an incredibly sunny, tonally bold horror movie, with the complete erasure of the wife in the closing minutes the ghastly 'twist'. Varda is imagining a fantasy world that's completely dominated by egomaniacal males, whose need for instant gratification overrides the agency of all women. Oh, wait a minute. . .
Yes this. but I don't think it is as simple as the erasure of all female agency but also a critique of how women operate within and utilize the system of oppression to promulgate the system and further the oppression. It isn't just that women have no agency, its that women are complicit because they passively participate in the system or because they annihilate each other in pursuing their individual self interest. a prisoner's dilemma. and she does it all with color (two warring female factions, each with their own color of wardrobe) and editing and the entire thing is set up from the opening credits, in the increasingly hostile sunflower/sweater crosscutting. Perhaps the most ominous part of the ending is that the children are still in their mother's color, signaling bad things to come for them, especially as their father has been claimed by the "new" color.

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Re: French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#227 Post by sinemadelisikiz » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:43 am

Domino, what happened to the orphans for the features list? Looking over the orphans for stuff I've never heard of is usually my favorite part of these projects.

Anyway, here's my list:

1. L'Année dernière à Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961) - I'm pretty fickle when it comes to my favorite film, but on most days this one is it. Words can not do it justice, and that's kind of the point.
2. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967) - Pure joy at 24 frames per sec. I love this candy-colored confection.
3. Les Bonnes Femmes (Claude Chabrol, 1960)
4. Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)
5. La Collectionneuse (Éric Rohmer, 1967)
6. Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)
7. Les Biches (Claude Chabrol, 1968) - ALSO RAN - I have a soft spot for this wicked tale of love triangles, class struggle and cruelty.
8. Zazie dans le Métro (Louis Malle, 1960)
9. Adieu Philippine (Jacques Rozier, 1962)
10. La baie des anges (Jacques Demy, 1963) - ALSO RAN - Gorgeous and achingly romantic melodrama that comes in the classic Hollywood mold
11. Léon Morin, prêtre (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961) - ORPHAN - I know Melville is a tricky case, and I kind of agree with most that he's not strictly part of the New Wave. So I get why nobody else voted for this, but it's his only feature that I think fits and I love it so much that I have no regrets!
12. Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1961)
13. Brigitte et Brigitte (Luc Moullet, 1966) - ALSO RAN - The appeal here comes from the self-deprecating humor and off-kilter zero budget aesthetic. How does this not have a huge cult following?
14. Les Cousins (Claude Chabrol, 1959)
15. Masculin féminin (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966)
16. Le Père Noël a les yeux bleus (Jean Eustache, 1966) - ALSO RAN - It's been said elsewhere, but lovingly criticizing the follies of youth was the New Wave's bread and butter. The flaws are laid pretty bare in this one.
17. Thérèse Desqueyroux (Georges Franju, 1962) - ALSO RAN - Commented on previously
18. À cause, à cause d'une femme (Michel Deville, 1963) - ALSO RAN - At first glance this seems to be another in a line of films glamorizing womanizing and casual misogyny, but the tone is so light, and the girls so humanized, that it all kind of works. Hopefully I'll have the chance to see other Deville films sometime soon.
19. Chronique d'un été (Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, 1960) - ALSO RAN - Fascinating as a time capsule of Paris in the 60s. A lot of time spent letting their subjects interact with each other (and even a trip to the beach!) gave the whole things a loose hang-out vibe that I dig.
20. Les Quatre Cents Coups (François Truffaut, 1959)

And my shorts list was basically a reordered version of the top five.

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Re: French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#228 Post by domino harvey » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:50 am

Whoops, I forgot to include them-- they're already compiled, I'll add them in the next time I'm on my computer

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Re: French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#229 Post by domino harvey » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:30 am

Orphans have been added in-- sorry about that!

My lists, with ORPHANS highlighted

1. Breathless
2. Pierrot le fou
3. La Chinoise
4. Hiroshima, mon amour
5. Adieu Philippine
6. Les cousins
7. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
8. Masculin Feminin
9. Week End
10. Thérèse Desqueyroux
11. Les bonnes femmes
12. Zazie dans le metro
13. A Woman is a Woman
14. Vivre sa vie
15. Muriel
16. Brigitte et Brigitte
17. Ce soir ou jamais
18. Last Year at Marienbad
19. Adorable menteuse
20. Le monte-charge

1. Gare du Nord
2. Antoine et Colette
3. Every Boy is Named Patrick
4. La Jetee
5. Charlotte and Her Jules
6. Night and Fog
7. Le Grand Escroc
8. Les surmenes

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Re: French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#230 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:31 pm

Surprised Anticipation, ou l'amour en l'an 2000 was orphaned, though perhaps too few have seen it - up until MoMA's sci-fi retrospective a few months back, the only place I could find it was a low quality upload on some non-American streaming host that was not YouTube, and even then I had to rip it and track down English subtitles from another source. (MoMA screened at excellent 35mm print of it.) Absolutely love it, it seems to cover the best aspects of Spike Jonze's Her in a shorter amount of time with more invention and (at least to me) without the irritating cloying bits.

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Re: French New Wave Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#231 Post by Red Screamer » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:32 pm

Caught up with Le Gai Savoir and I don't quite know what to think. It struck me as a portrait of modern life as a Tower of Babel, with television fragmenting and distracting the minds of Godard, the characters, and, by proxy, the audience to the point of madness. Learning through unlearning. The only real clarity here is in the amazing interview/free-association segments, with the young boy's as maybe the highlight of the film for me. Godard is really pushing the limits of overstimulation and incoherence here; I can't imagine what this would look like post-Internet!

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