Saturday, 22 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
Hiroshima Mon Amour was another film I studied in my French Cinema course as part of my degree in French.
Parts of it annoy me (like the woman's voice and her repetition of Nevers) but I straightaway recognised its significance, both culturally and cinematically.
Despite finding a few bits teeth-gnawing, it is undoubtedly an amazingly powerful and beautiful film.
This film from 1959 by aclaimed director, Alain Resnais, and screenwritten by Marguerite Dumas (who wrote L'amant - one of my favourite films) looks at the relationship between a French woman and a Japanese man and was one of the first films to use flashbacks as a story-telling tool.
Elle (she) plays an actress playing a nurse in post-war Hiroshima. She meets a Japanse architect, Lui (him), and both separated from their spouses they become lovers.
The early part of the film recounts the effects of the Hiroshima bomb, in particular, the loss of hair and anonymity of the remains of some of the victims. The film does this in a documentary style and the keeps the narrators unidentified.
The flashbacks are intercut with the lovers story in the present day, which takes place in hotels and restaurants in Hiroshima. Elle starts to tell, for the first time, her experiences during World War II in Nevers, France, where she was involved with a German soldier during the occupation.
Like many other women who associated with the enemy, she was made to suffer the humiliation of having her head shaven in public. By the time she left for Paris, and then Japan, her hair had regrown and her anonymity regained. Lui wants her to stay with him but she won't.
The film was a co-pro and it was stipulated by both Japanese and French production companies that one character must be French and one must be Japanese and that it should be shot in both countries.
Jean-Luc Godard called it the first film without any cinematic references. It's also been called the most important war film ever made.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Le Mepris (Contempt) is a fantastic film from 1960 directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Brigitte Bardot.
I read the book and studied the film at University a few moons ago now.
Apart from being amazingly cool to look at, it has many depths and parallels with both real life and Homer's Odyssey, as well as the process of filmmaking itself. A must see.
American film producer (Paul) hires respected Austrian director Fritz Lang (played by himself) to direct a film adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. But he soon becomes disillusioned with Lang's treatment of it as an art film and hires a novelist/playwright to re-work the script.
The conflict between artistic expression and commerical gain parallels Paul's sudden estrangement from his wife (Camille - Bardot) following time she spends with a playboy millionaire.
Godard's film mirrors both the book its based on by Italian writer, Alberto Moravia and his own real life - to the relationship with his own wife (Anna Karina) and his film distributor. The 3 main characters also resemble Odysseus, Penelope and Poseidon.
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Living in a big city like London, I guess it takes a big effort to keep up a social life.
There was an article in The Times a couple of years ago which focused on a couple of late 20 year olds who both said that unless they had made a big effort to arrange to see friends at least a week in advance they could easily spend a whole weekend at home alone, not talking to anyone. How awful is that? Is that what modern life in the city is really like now? If I die, how long until someone notices? I reckon it would be at least a week for me.