Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Married Woman

Commercialized and superficial Charlotte has to choose between her husband (Pierre) and her lover (Robert). She tells her lover that she is will leave Pierre and marry him. However, when she is with Pierre she makes love with him and tries to successfully raise his son. I believe the small boy in the film had a separate birthmother. Pierre tells Charlotte that he wants to have a baby with her, Charlotte responds by telling him he already has one, Pierre states that the boy is not hers. Robert also wants to have a baby with Charlotte, which was stated in one of many overdone scenes of close-up touching.

In between measuring her breasts and fantasizing over lingerie advertisements and in vogue magazines, Charlotte discovers that she is pregnant. This is a strange predicament since she is having sex with two men that both want to conceive a child with her. This issue is left unsolved and the audience is left wondering what happened.

The movie is filled with symbolism and long philosophical rants that are often broken into categories or chapters. I particularly enjoyed Pierre’s co-workers definition of intelligence; in fact this may have been my favorite part of the film. I do believe Godard added this scene to reveal Charlotte’s stupidity. She was the exact opposite of the given in depth definition of intelligence.

Again, the female lead irked me. She was an incredibly materialistic person who was mostly influenced by main stream media and pop-culture. She needed to fit the “ideal”. I found it hilarious when she was measuring her bust—it seemed to be the most complicated and inaccurate way to measure anything! The magazine told her to draw imaginary lines after every measurement. Charlotte seemed pleased because she was very close to having “the perfect bust”.

All around I was pretty disinterested in the film, mainly because I was disinterested in Charlotte and both of her lovers. Pierre seemed both spineless and demanding. He must have known she was unfaithful since he once had her followed. It was almost like he used his wife’s infidelity as a way to control her. He would ask her questions such as “Have you been a good girl?” It seemed he used this against her to get what he wanted sexually.

Robert was simply a boring character. As far as I am concerned he was just a part of the many overdone close ups of male and female limbs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Band of Outsiders

A na├»ve little girl lacking the intellectual capability to make a rational decision—this is how Godard portrays Odile (Anna Karina) in “Band of Outsiders”. Odile is coaxed by Arthur and Franz to allow them to steal money from the home she lives in. She first falls in love with Franz, but then realizes that Arthur is more mysterious and available and goes with him. As soon as Arthur is killed she goes back to Franz. To sum it up Odile—although beautiful—was a pitiful character that irked me throughout the entirety of the film.

Now that I got that off my chest, let’s cover some of the stylistic aspects of the film. It is obvious the film was based off of a dime store novel, for it was for the most part light hearted and somewhat humorous. Again, Godard uses a narrator (Franz) throughout the film. This aspect of many of Godard’s films helps me relate to the main character and is very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the infamous dance scene. The music stopped, the characters stopped dancing and the narrator told the audience what each character was thinking of while dancing. This—which Godard often uses various techniques to accomplish—reminds the audience that what they are watching is indeed a film. Another example of this in “Band of Outsiders” was the minute of silence. All sounds were complete cut out for what was supposed to be a minute (I counted thirty seconds or so). This was of course, uncomfortable and maybe the start of a new beginning for Godard –which led to many uncomfortable scenes in movies like “Weekend”.

Franz and Arthur were not very serious character, they were horrible criminals and it was extremely entertaining. Especially since the man they were stealing from was suspicious because they left the ladder outside the window near his safe.

All together the film was entertaining, but unlike most of Godard’s films it did not challenge me intellectually—it was simply entertaining.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Le Petit Soldat

Bruno--a down in luck hit man for a French anti-terrorist group in the midst of the Algerian War—is full of complexities that eventually lead to trouble. Bruno is rethinking his assignment to murder a certain man, and simply cannot bring himself to take action. On his first day of murder attempts Bruno would hesitate every time he had an open shot. Soon after he was captured by the Arabs and tortured. Like a good soldier, Bruno did not give them the information they required (the address of the French group he worked for). Even though he did not give up the information, he was soon betrayed by the very group he was protecting. He killed the man he did not want to kill, they did not fulfill their promises of two passports and they murdered Veronica (Anna Karina).

This was Godard’s second film—made in 1960 but not released until 1963. Here starts his obsession with Anna Karina. Beautifying and worshipping her with the camera, Karina is the only form of aesthetic beauty through the ugly portrait of the underground street gang version of a war. However, Bruno was betrayed and almost tricked by this beauty. The entire time Veronica was working for the Arabs—and once dated a man who helped torture Bruno. He eventually discovered her betrayal, forgave her and trusted her. In fact, he was forced to kill because of her. At the end of the film, I believe Bruno states “It was the woman”, or it was the woman that made me kill. A woman’s betrayal and love may have portrayed Godard’s personal relationship with Anna Karina.

Godard had a raw and rustic shooting style. As far as I could tell he did not use a studio and shot the entire film on the street. I was also intrigued with the sound. Whenever a conversation was taking place there was zero background noise—even when the characters were driving through the busy streets. This allowed the viewer to pay more attention to the dialogue—making every conversation important.

All around I enjoyed the film, but wish I knew more about the Algerian war. I also liked the undertones throughout the film—i.e the newspaper with Hitler’s photo on the front page.