Thursday, May 13, 2010

Late 70's Truffaut

So I've had these two films for like two months and not watched them, so I decided to bang these out before I start my summer project. Truffaut again finds himself dealing in a subject that plagues most French men in movies: girls, and simply being able to get too many of them, most troublingly at the same time.

These are not the last films that Truffaut would make before his death, but I'm gonna move on. I'm sure I'll get to them at some point, and if not, I think I've watched enough of his films to be able to say this: Truffaut > Godard.

L'homme qiu aimait les femmes (The Man Who Loved Women), 1977
Dir: Francois Truffaut

Pretty far from Truffaut's best, the film does at least try to throw some sympathy on a daring womanizer. Although one message I kind of got from it was that if your mom is a slut, you probably will be too. 40 year old Bertrand (Charles Denner) is a scientist (what?) looking back on his life to figure out what the heck had happened, and why he fucks too much. I guess that's what happens when you get VD. So Bertrand writes a book called "The Skirt Chaser" to recollect many of the relationships he has had. So it gets picked up by a publishing house, where a female editor changes the name to "The Man Who Loved Women" and then they have sex. There's supposed to be something melancholy about this guy knowing exactly what he is and figuring out why he is the way he is, but it never really hit home with me as hard as it should. It's supposed to be a "sex farce" or something but it's only occasionally funny.

L'amour en fuite (Love on the Run), 1979

Dir: Francios Truffaut

Probably the worst film in the Doinel cycle only because it actually tries to wrap a character that really shouldn't be. The "clip-show" style, memory recollections don't help either, at least not for me. Approaching 40, Antoine (J-P Leaud) is getting divorced from Christine (Claude Jade) while trying to juggle time with his son Alphonse, his new girl, Sabine (Dorothée), and his new life as a published author. While sending off his son to music camp (a scene with the funniest line in the movie, Antoine: Remember to practice hard, and always do your best. Alphonse: What if I don't try hard? Antoine: Well, you'll become a music critic, and no one wants that.) he runs into Collete (Marie-France Pisier), his first love and they spend some time on a train talking about their time together (oh, so it's one of those movies). There's stuff about his separation from his wife, his tryst with one of his wife's violin students/friend (Dani), and the nonsense about how Sabine is also dating the man (Daniel Mesguich) that Collete is in love with. All of Antoine's troubled love affairs were recorded in his first book, and that is the basis of how some of the women in it get together and talk about Antoine. This isn't The First Wives Club (1996) but it occasionally feels like it. Antoine is slightly lost throughout most of the movie, which is good thing. The fact that he actually has some ambition is strange though. The movie at least closes on an note where you are not sure if Antoine has made that leap into a settled life, and it's the one time in the film where the clips from an older Doinel film (the scene from 400 Blows (1959) where Antoine is on the tilt-a-whirl) where it matches well with what is happening in Love on the Run. So in the end it is a slightly disappointing film, but worth watching if you liked Antoine and the other films as well.

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