I guess it’s fine though as long as the film’s are being honest.
“I live in LA and there are certain things about LA that I feature in my films that come as a result of living here, small things sometimes that people don’t notice. So what?”
great point. i’m not a film maker, but i’ve taken amateur photos of my suburb, an even the city, on a few occasions, particularly on cold and gloomy days, and people barely recognise the locations, or at least hadn’t looked at them from the same perspective before.
it’s quite satisfying really.
You work with what you have. If you make a film that takes place in Paris, then you show Paris. Sometimes, you take advantage of your environment to show aspects of it that work with the mood and point of your movie. Though that’s not always the explicit intention of the filmmaker, sometimes it just works that way and hooray then, another dimension to the film for viewers to think about.
Odi is right. Location can often be incidental to the filmmaker. But because they know the location so well, they are able to draw out specific aspects of it that might not normally come out. The reason I cite The Red Balloon over any New Wave movie is that the movie is Paris, specifically Montmartre. Yeah, there’s some magic stuff about a boy and the red balloon of the title, but the film’s primary virtue is that of location. Montmartre actually heightens the etherial qualities of the slight narrative. Paris is the main character. At least it was for me, and that’s why I love The Red Balloon.
The Red Ballon was the first film my son saw, when he was a toddler. I was actually introduced to the book way beforehand, my brother had it when we were growing up. My son has the book too.
It’s a great story for a little kid to watch too.
I guess it all depends on what the filmmaker has to say:
“I think a lot of French New Wave films and French films in general fetishize Paris to some extent and get away with it (i.e. Breathless, Vivre Sa Vie, Cleo from 5 to 7, Paris Nous Appartient, etc.”
Get away with what? Why is this even an issue?
Location, landmarks, post card view… that’s unavoidable unless the whole story takes place in a basement or a sewer.
Demy’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg/ Young Girls of Rochefort weren’t set in Paris, but there were enough shots of saloons and sailors in uniform (typically iconic in French films). Why? Because Cherbourg and Rochefort have a huge naval base.
Most films shot in San Francisco feature cable cars, steep hills or a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sure, a perfect cliche for romantic walks and car chases, but that’s exactly how the city looked most days. I know I live there.
I don’t understand some of the objections or comparisons being made to this film.
Is it really a “linear” film? It is in the sense that the story follows a chronologically told central narrative. But what does this matter?
More importantly, it’s non-linear in the sense that plot is not the most important thing: impression is. There are numerous captivating cinematic diversions—details, things revealed or suggested by Truffaut—that are not necessary to the narrative exposition but help to convey mood, suggest emotion. That is precisely what makes the film, in my eyes, sublime.
Antoine’s joy riding the centrifuge contrasted with his hungry desolation while wandering the streets at night. His mother’s cashmere sweaters and cold demeanor. His step-father’s love of racing and the tacit understanding that he and the boy are bound only by convenience. The cold, empty environment of the office from which he steals the typewriter. The way he wolfs down a bottle of milk. It all makes for an impressionistic portrait of a singularly 1950’s Parisian (thus universal) childhood.
Does it “fetishize” Paris? That word seems to imply excess or imbalance to me. Conversely, there’s nothing formally I would dream of changing in this movie that wouldn’t also destroy part of its felt concreteness or its wonder.
Finally, is it “overhyped”? Are there better or more significant or more ambitious films by its director or his contemporaries? Perhaps. But is its reputation as a poignant masterpiece of early FNW and of adolescent soul-searching undeserved? Find me another similar film that does as much and as well…
Yes, i was sure you were talking about the way a less complex character can bring out some of the interesting aspects of other characters. I would definitely not call the father in Our Song a caricature. He may have a limited role but the performer is allowed to exhibit as sense of purpose beyond simply making his daughter’s life more difficult. His failures as a father aren’t overlooked but they aren’t all he is. His interactions with his friend, Lanisha’s mom and Lanisha aren’t stylized in a way that makes him seem buffoonish or villainous in the way so many parents are presented in films. Jim Mckay takes pains to keep things open to interpretation. It’s a shame he only seems to do TV these days.
We talked about Dickens’ use of flat characters is his work around here somewhere, didn’t we?
Not overhyped, in my opinion. It’s celebrated for being a wonderful film, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s not my favorite by Truffaut, but it’s up there.
He was a director with a fantastic track record.
A Big N and O.
Absolument pas du tout…