Sunday, 2 November 2008

A bit of Godard and Linklater (and Lynch shorts)

Had a soured romance double bill today. Godard's Peirret Le Fou (starring Jean Paul Belmendo and Anna Karina) and Richard Linklater's Before Sunset.

Going to keep it brief. Peirret Le Fou is a film about a couple on the run, leaving Paris after a murder. They were once a couple years before, the man married with children, who he dumps without guilt. The woman has no ties. They wander through France, hold up gas stations, spend time at a beach and get bored by each other, before ending on a small heist, betrayals and suicide. Its a dour subject, a film made as the director and leading lady were divorcing one another, is focused on the idea that the couple turn on one another, causing the male lead to strap dynamite to his head and light the fuse (He thinks about it, finds it to be a mistake but can't stop the fuse, thus dies). The film is obviously a metaphor for a relationship falling apart after the first thrill, as the people have little in common and look for ways to betray one another. Yet visually its amazing. The style is playful, as is the interaction between the couple in many of the scenes, full of bright colour through-out. The film is fast paced and is incredibly cinematic in framing of people in landscape and action. So despite the dark theme its a very energetic and funny film. Well worth a look.

Before Sunset stays in Paris with a couple meeting years after one day and night together in Vienna (seen in the wonderful Before Sunrise). This also has a male lead who is married with a child, a childless female lead character. The film is completely different to the Godard film. Its a talk film so even though Paris is used well as background. The couple talk about the past years since the last meeting, their failures and disappointments. The film is terrifically romantic, as we watch two complicated, messed up people resuming a relationship through what they say and how they react to one another. Its about twisted romantic aspirations, on how one event can affect a life and spoil many other lives. It's a wonderful film, especially as the romance is unforced and slowly evolves on the character's emotions.

As a finale, have watched some David Lynch shorts. The Grandmother is a stunner, is almost a twisted end for romance, as a angry, bitter couple who has a child who the beat on, he growing his own grandmother, who deal with them and who will always live him. This is all about mood, shots of the angry parents coming to life are very creepy, as is the birth of the grandmother. Its a very difficult to explain as its all about mood. You can read meanings into it but the film is non-specific on what its theme is. Anyone reading this has a chance to see this film, definitely take it. It pre-figures Lost Highway in a lot of ways. It's not something you'll forget. I saw two others: The Amputee (an interesting 5 minute mood piece about an amputee) and Cowboys And The Frenchman (a 25 minute absurdest film, starring Harry Dean Stanton. It's pretty funny, has a great mood to it, an acquired taste film that I loved.) Its in a DVD The Short Films Of David Lynch, a disc that I would highly recommend if you like David Lynch.

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