Vigo's first short is a product of its times within the 'city view' films of the time period. It's not far away from films like 'The Man with a Movie Camera' or 'Berlin Symphony' but at a mere 23 minutes far shorter. There's little point to the images captured but they are warm well edited glimpses of Nice.
D'une fraîcheur indéniable, pétulant, virulent, varié à l'extrême, ce moyen métrage montre tout le talent de Jean Vigo dans une somptueuse analyse globale d'un état de fait où la dramaturgie humaine se conjugue en contrepoint d'une cite vouée à l'artificiel. www.cinefiches.com
Intriguing portrait of Nice as a beachfront city which hides cruel economic disparities. Many interesting and smart editing choices (the dancing ladies contrasted with ships, the FANTASTIC outfit transition that is the film's most famous shot) but it doesn't come together. But as a work of a first time filmmaker, this is very impressive.
My lukewarm response to this movie was certainly affected by the weight of expectations and the passage of time (neither of which is the movie's fault). Perhaps its measured critique of the idle rich was shocking for some audiences at the time, but it struck me as too muted to really do much damage. It is fine for what it is, but changes in sensibilities make it hard for me to understand the accolades it receives.
Superlative silent era film, both experimental and true to its subject, namely the intense rhythm of summertime Nice. As a truly modernist camera-flâneurie, Vigo's project captures the impressionist moment -even if he has to speed it up or slow it down- with rare dialectical acumen as, for example, in the transition from the parade to the grave. The visual acoustics (pebbles/gambling) that influenced Demy resonate.
We're all naked underneath our clothes....if Vigo, as per the quote on the Mubi page, wanted to inspire revolutionary thought with this short, he failed, but grandly...mostly a montage of banal bourgeois fun interspersed with some (too) sparse abrasive and surrealistic imagery (here i assume the juxtaposition was supposed to incite disgust)...as an artyfact its ok, but "zero" better be better...25 yrs old when made!
Masterful use of editing. This is a short experimental film exposing the good and bad aspects of modern society by contrasting them in an almost absurdist but effective way. It stands as a social commentary on the way that society is fueled by capitalism. Something that popped in my head while watching the film was : "Hiding in plain sight". Capitalism is hiding in plain sight. We, the society, are just hiding it.